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Tales of Thanksgiving: A Drabble Collection: 16. Belief
"Belief" is a quadrabble-four hundred words-also about Maglor. It represents an attempt to mingle the legends of Middle-earth with modern legends surrounding Christmas.
The orphanage was a formidable place, rising from the cliffs that soared over the angry sea. Its hallways were labyrinthine, cold and damp, with drafts that came from between the stones and put rattles in their chests. "Witches' fingers!" chanted little Samantha when the nuns weren't looking. "Witches' fingers! Witches' fingers!" But all of the children-even Samantha-feared the witches' fingers above all else, for some of the children's chest-rattles had become blood, and they had been sent to the sanitarium, never to return.
Three of them were close in age-neither little and tearful nor big and sullen-and they snuck out at night and knelt on the cliff that hung over the sea, watching the water dash itself upon the rocks. Just visible to the east was a strip of beach, and the children imagined where it might go, when it tapered out of sight around the cliff.
"To a castle!" said Nathan and Thomas cried, "To the lair of a dragon!"
"Away from here" was Samantha's reply.
On one night, the clouds were low, and fat snowflakes spiraled slowly to the earth, and the three children crept from their beds and went to the cliff, both frightened and exhilarated by the great height and the occasional surge of wind that snapped their nightclothes like banners on the breeze. Numb fingers clutched the rocks and peered at the water-and the beach-beneath.
"Tonight is the night of magic for children," whispered Samantha, "when the Wandering One comes and leaves a beautiful item for each of us. Sometimes pearls or sometimes gold from ships that have foundered. Special things, that come from the sea."
Thomas snorted. A skinny, mistrustful boy, he scoffed at such storybook notions, and Samantha was prone to whimsy. "And why would he do that?" he asked.
"For once, long ago, he tossed the greatest treasure known to the world into the sea. And since then, no beautiful thing can touch his heart, and so he gives them freely to others, who shall find joy where he cannot."
The children's breaths steamed in the darkness as they squinted at the beach and the churning black sea. It was Nathan-sharp of eye if not of mind-who gasped and pointed. "Are there footprints? Upon the sand-?"
"Of course there are," Samantha breathed with a smile, fingers tightening on the rocks. "If you believe."
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