It was so cold Lori could feel the bones in her little body go slowly numb. She hugged herself tightly but it did nothing to ward off the nibbling shards of winter wind. But it was still pretty. Yes. Remember the good things her daddy said when things feel bad. But it was more than bad this time and didn’t think there was anything good enough in the world that could heal the hurt inside her. But she let the delicate lattice of the snowflakes, her most favourite thing, distract her from a fact she had to face. Lori hung on to the moment as long as she could, letting the tears from the sky land gracefully on her upturned face and feather chilly kisses in mock comfort. Painfully, she lowered herself to the unyielding ground to the truth.
She was there for who knows how long, it was at dawn when the baker opened his door to find the milkman still standing on the steps, limp hands hung at his sides and together they looked on helplessly at the opposite side of the narrow street, at the small bundle of a girl on the snow covered sidewalk, her stringy russet hair framing her face. She sat there braced against the rough dirty red bricks of the old pharmacy, with her mother’s head in her lap and the rest of her body lay there in a blanket of white but the blotches where here stomach should be was where it was the deepest of reds. It told of the lifeless broken body that lay beneath it all. And the girl, the girl was paler than bleached flour and her lips chapped and blue were singing softly to the woman who could no longer hear.
The baker pushed past the milkman and walked slowly to the child and bent low. He laid a gentle hand on her frail shoulders but she paid him no mind. He spoke to her but she didn’t respond. After a while of trying he lifted her up unprotesting in his arms where she was a feather and carried her into the warmth and comfort of baking bread before she joined the poor woman in the snow. She was still singing.