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The Snowflake Angel
"Amanda, there's company here to see you." A middle-aged nurse stepped into a hospital room, shivering at its chilly and haunting air. She pushed up her spectacles, smiling softly. The woman stepped back, letting two adults, slightly younger, walk in. Both of them wore a royal blue t-shirt with "Have your wish come true!" written in fancy red script. The taller adult, a blond woman, led the way. Her companion followed. They stopped at the bed, white sheets covering a small lump.
"Hi Amanda. My name is Tracy, and this is my partner, Joanne." The blond, Tracy, nodded at her ginger partner who smiled.
"We're from Grant-a-Wish foundation. Have you heard of it?"
"Yes." A muffled voice answered from underneath the sheets.
"Good, good. Would you mind uncovering yourself, hun?"
“You don’t want to see me. I’m hideous.” Amanda whimpered. Her voice came out raspy and small, and most definitely scared.
“Oh sweetie, you’re not hideous. Please come out.” Joanne told her gently.
“P-promise y-you won’t laugh?”
Slowly, Amanda pulled the blankets off. Her sad expression slowly shifted into a smile as she realized they were keeping their promise. Her big green eyes were distant and shallow, reflecting her silent pain. They stood out against her bald head, and even the tumor lump that was on her neck seemed like nothing compared to what her eyes said.
Amanda opened her mouth and smiled a yellow grin. The Chemotherapy made her throw up more than most patients, and the results were obviously not pretty.
“So I have heard of people like you. I can wish for anything, r-right?”
“That’s right, darling.” Joanne assured her, assuming the wish would be simple and common: a vacation somewhere, maybe a shopping spree; perhaps meeting a celebrity.
Amanda took a deep breath and looked up. Her eyes shone with trust and determination. As she spoke, her tone softened.
“Then I wish to see my daddy. H-he’s in war, and I want to see him before I die….”she paused for breath. Her eyes were glazed with tears, but the child refused to let them fall. Tracy started to protest at such pessimism, but Amanda held up her hand.
“Don’t say I’m not going to die. I know I am. Dr. Trouder was telling my mama that chances of living are incredibly low, and surgery is too dangerous. I wasn’t supposed to hear, but I did. I came out of the bathroom and her mama crying, so I went to see why. All I want is to see daddy, before I leave. I want to tell him I love him, and let him wrap his strong arms around me. Please?” The girl’s speech left her breathless and crying. She hung her head, as though in shame for allowing herself to cry.
The nurse from before rushed in, calling out, rather stupidly. “Is everything okay? Does anything hurt, honey?”
Amanda looked up and her eyes flashed. “No. I’m not okay. All I want is to see my papa. I love him…miss him. My wish is to only bring him home.” The girl looked younger than she was; her pleading left her looking helpless, innocent.
The women exchanged glances and nodded. They couldn’t, wouldn’t let her down. Arguing was useless. Tracy placed a hand on Amanda’s shoulder.
“We will try our best dear.” She finally promised.
~~Five days later~~
The screen went black momentarily, a white circle telling Amanda Skype was loading. After what seemed like hours, the picture came into view.
A young man in his mid-twenties appeared. Amanda's father. His head was shaved and his skin was caked with dirt, hiding bruises and sunburn. Even though he wasn't in the best condition, nothing could replace the love and warmth in his expression.
“Hey there, snowflake.” He grinned, using Amanda’s favorite nickname.
“Daddy, I am glad I can Skype with you. But I wish so much that I can see you. I want to hug you.” She whispered. She shifted her body in the hospital bed and touched her father’s face with a single finger. She began crying and as though it was contagious, her father began to as well. Behind him, at the camp, soldiers stopped and looked at him with confused expressions. They saw his situation though, and understood.
“Oh sweetie, I love you. You and mama are always in my prayers; you're my two beautiful girls. Snowflake, there is no man who loves his daughter and wife more than I." Amanda's father murmured this to her, touching his own screen. He looked back, as though to make sure no one was around, and began to speak again.
"Honey, I have good news. We were told not to tell anyone, but you deserve to know. Just don't let anyone else know, not even mama. Okay?"
Amanda nodded slowly.
“We are-“ The young man stopped short at the sound of a bomb going off, followed by a series of gunshots. His face painted with worry, he shot up, rifle in hand. He was about to run off, but then he leaned down to the computer screen.
“Amanda, take care. You’ll always be my little snowflake, remember that. And Amanda, don’t forget that I love you. I-I'm also coming home soon, if there aren't any more surprise battles.” He shouted this over the roar of screaming men and women.
“Daddy I-“ It was too late for Amanda to say anything, for her screen had gone black.
But it hadn’t gone black before the scream of war sounded; a spine-shivering scream embraced with fear and agony.
A scream that belonged to her father.
~Five years later~
Dark clouds lingered in the sky, promising a storm later on to the man limping up his concrete driveway. He had a stack of mail in one hand; with the other, her used a silver cane to pull his prosthetic leg along.
“Why, how often,” the man wondered, “does it get this cold in Virginia, in September? On Amanda’s birthday, too. She would have loved it.” A single tear ran down his face at the thought of his dead daughter. She had been deathly ill with cancer, and Grant-A-Wish had visited her. He had been overjoyed when he heard she wanted to see him. A free day at camp led him to seeing his sick daughter. However, a battle out of nowhere had erupted and he had been forced to leave. During battle, a nearby bomb went off and the young father lost his leg, which earned him a trip home. Unfortunately, Amanda had died only days before his arrival. He knew it was no one's fault, just fate, but he would never stop missing her either way.
Suddenly, snow began to fall. Amanda's father stuck out his hand, admiring the snowflakes. As soon as one touched his palm, it would melt because of the heat.
Except for one.
The beautiful creation stayed in his palm, not vanishing like the rest. He didn’t dare touch it; in fear his large, battle-scarred finger would crush the delicate snowflake immediately.
While looking at the unusual occurrence, the man’s thoughts drifted back to his little girl. Her nickname was Snowflake, for she loved snow, and was born in the middle of one of the fiercest snowstorms in her home state, Alaska. He called her Snowflake, because she presented the precious, fragile nature of one.
“I wonder darling, is this you? Oh, my beautiful Amanda, your mama and I will always miss you; we'll always love you. You just wait for us, okay? One day I’ll see you in heaven and I will hug you." The man fell to his knees, sobbing.
"I'll hug you and I promise I will never let you go, my beautiful snowflake angel."
Finally, five years after her death he could feel himself letting go at last. He’d always remember her, but after this incident, he knew that one day, whenever his time was up, he would again see his daughter.
And when he did, he would never crush his snowflake angel.