Locking the door on the way out to catch the last post Daisy noticed she’d left the Christmas lights on. well it’s only a five-minute walk to the post box they’ll be okay she thought. Pulling her scarf snuggly round her neck from the biting winter winds Daisy carefully trod in the newly fallen snow. With the moon shining down everywhere looked bright and clean, even the dilapidated old cottage in the lane looked welcoming with its dim flickering light peeping through the grotty window. As she walked passed the cottage Daisy suddenly wondered why there was a light Nobody had lived there after the night that devastated the village on Christmas eve, hurrying towards the post box trying not to slip over Daisy couldn’t stop thinking about the cottage.
Maybe it was just the moon playing tricks with its soft gentle glow bouncing off the pure whiteness of the snow. “Yes, that’s it ” Daisy said to herself “it’s the light playing tricks” Almost there and Daisy pulled the envelope out if her pocket ready to post. If all went well with her application Daisy would be leaving the village in the new year to start a new life in New York. The last few years hadn’t been happy for Daisy, growing up in the village had been fun but after the fire things changed. No longer were there children running carefree through summer fields or excited faces as the village prepared for Christmas adorning everywhere with festive lights and decorations.
Nobody could have foreseen what would happen that terrible night, the snowy winter night when the children were all excitedly waiting to perform the nativity for their families. Everyone had gathered at the school teacher’s cottage eagerly putting on their costumes that Miss had lovingly made for her pupils, when suddenly the lights went out. With squeals and laughter, the children waited for Miss to light the candles, something they were used to living in a village miles from the nearest town.
Daisy deep in her memories suddenly saw from the corner of her eye Tommy the little boy who was apple of her eye, with his cheeky smile and locks of black hair curling round his face revealing the brightest blue eyes.
“Hello miss” said Tommy running towards Daisy. Daisy scooped him up in her arms. “Tommy” she squealed as hugged him so tightly that he said “Miss your squishing me”. Daisy lowered him to the bench next to the post box.
Brushing her fingers through his hair Daisy asked Tommy where he’d been, Tommy lifted his face towards Daisy and in his gentle innocent voice he said ” I’ve been playing with the Angels Miss”. Daisy looked at him adoringly “Oh my darling Tommy” she said.” I’ve missed you so much”. Pain seared through Daisy’s body as she held him tightly against her. Then the memory of that night came flooding in. Tommy grabbed Daisy’s hand pulling her to get up. Daisy followed Tommy who was running down the lane towards the old cottage. “Come on Miss” he shouted “they are waiting for you”.
As they neared the cottage the candles brightly glowing in the windows, Tommy rushing to the door turned to Daisy who was stood motionless as she saw the faces of the children smiling and little outstretched arms waving to her. Was this a dream? Daisy stepped further down the path, as the door opened the light so welcoming streamed out. As she stepped into the cottage the children gasped and giggled with excitement. “We’re ready now Miss” said Milly. Daisy fell to her knees. “My children” she sobbed “my beautiful children”.
The children all rushed to Daisy almost knocking her over. With tears streaming down her face Daisy stood up and looked at the children standing before her, all dressed in their nativity costumes that she had lovingly created.
In that moment, Daisy realised that this was no dream, her children were here with her, It was as if time had stood still. Looking around her everything was as it was that December night eight years ago, the night the power went out as the class was getting dressed, the night Daisy had lit the candles so as they could finish getting ready.
In that moment, the guilt Daisy had lived with since that fateful Christmas eve overwhelmed her. Tears running down her face her heart aching for the children she loved and lost. The children were bubbling with excitement of their nativity play. The children who Daisy left in the cottage while she ran to her car to get the torches they’d need to light the way to the church. It was then it happened. An earth-shattering bang! Daisy screamed as she turned to see the ball of bright orange engulf the cottage. She tried with every ounce of her being to get to the children but the heat and smoke stopped her.
As the villagers ran to help, nothing could save Daisy’s children. Days, weeks, months & years passed but nothing lessened the guilt Daisy felt. She was not to blame; the cottage was in the process of being modernised.
They said it was a gas leak that had caused the explosion but Daisy was inconsolable.
In time, she decided to leave the village as the memories it held she could no longer bear, her class now gone forever. It was then she decided to leave.
Daisy filled in the application form and hurrying put on her coat it was last collection on Christmas eve. The snow had been falling for hours so she’d need to be quick if she was going to catch the postman before he left. As she closed the door behind her she noticed she’d left the Christmas lights on, but it was only a five-minute walk to the post box.
As she made her way carefully up the lane treading on the crisp white snow Daisy was thinking of her new life, would she ever be happy again? It was then when she turned to cross toward the village that the truck came hurling round the bend, the driver slammed on his brakes but the snow made stopping hard.
Daisy looked up and in the corner of her eye there he was her darling Tommy. Running towards her he squealed with joy. “Miss Miss we’ve come back”. With her heart singing Daisy scooped up her boy and held him so tight. “Miss your squishing me” he chuckled. Tommy grabbed her hand and led her to the old cottage they were all there, all Daisy’s children. As she looked back up the lane Daisy saw the villagers rushing to the truck…”I didn’t see her” shouted the driver. Daisy turned back and saw the bright gleaming eyes of her class. She opened her arms as she fell to her knees, my darling children she cried as they ran towards her.
As she led them towards the church all dressed in their costumes Daisy passed the accident. She looked adoringly at her class, her children and for the first time since that fateful Christmas eve Daisy was happy again, she was back where she belonged with her children.