Children of Christmas Eve (Short Story)

Short Stories

Children of Christmas Eve

By, Oskar N.

December 13, 2010


In the midst of the night in December, down a dark ally in New York City, there were a couple of children lying in the cold night.  They pulled their blankets to warm each other up, but the deep winter cold was no match, that they knew it will be a long night.  This ally was not just any ordinary ally; it was near RockefellerCenterwhere music and joy was upon us all.  People danced, laughed, drank with happiness because they knew Christmas was around.  But for these two children, all they knew was what they saw from others, and they only wished for one thing: Hope.

Fritz and Petranever really knew why there were always people dressed up in red suits, never knew what wreaths, anddecorations were about.  All they can remember was that their mother was left out in the cold because she had lost her job and had no money to pay rent.  Fritz and Petrawere young at the time.  Maybe four years old at most when all this happened.


About ten years ago, Fritz and Petralost their father.  He had gone off with another woman and left their mother, Maria, to go to California.  She had filed a divorce thatleft her with little money.  She worked asa waitress at a nearby diner, but that wasn’t enough to pay for rent for her two children.  Four years have passed and by the time her children were four years old, the land lord couldn’t help them as much anymore and Maria was forced out of her apartment leaving everything behind that she had owned except for her two children.


Now both ten, they only know how to beg for food, rob from the corner food stands when they can and not get caught.  Sometimes Fritz would go off with other homeless children that Petrawas never fond of because they would spray graffiti on old buses and apartments, but it kept them occupied.


A day doesn't go by that theydon'tmiss their Mother.  She passed away a few years ago, when she tried to save Fritz from in front of a moving bus.  She got hit, but managed to rescue Fritz.  But she did not survive.  Ever since that day, Fritz and his sister have managed on their own.  The next few days after her accidentwere crucial because they would remember the death of their mother.  They never grew up in knowing what Halloween, Christmas, New Years was.  It was just another day for them on the streets of New York City.




The next day,Petrawas walking along Central Park, enjoying the crisp winter air, watching other kids play in the snow, and families getting together for the holidays.  She saw tall trees overlooking the streets from the residents’ apartment with lights on them, but was always curious why only in December they were up.  She came up to a horse-drawn carriage and started to pet the horse. “What nice horse you are,” Petrasaid.  The owner of the carriage saw her and shooed her away. The man said, “Go away kid, we don’t want the tourists to get scared.  Go on, go home”.  Petragot scared of how can someone be so cruel and yet enjoy tourists.  So, Petradid what the man told her to do, she left running and crying.  All she was hoping was for some food maybe.

After a while of running, Petrastopped and kept walking away, knowing that no one wanted her.  Not the carriage owners or the tourists, and definitely not anyone.  For she only had her brother by her side.  She kept walking down 8th Avenuethinking where her brother might be.  She was thinking, “He’s probably after no good with those boys, I’m telling you they are trouble.”  But if she told him how shefelt, he’d probably run away just like their father.  But she kept it to herself because she did not want to face reality.  She came to an intersection at Columbus Circleand saw Christopher Columbus’ statue.  She crossed the street and saw children playing snowball fights with each other around the fountain.  So, she decided to join in on the fun.  She didn’t care who they were, just as long that she was having fun.

After long fun hours of having fun in the snow, the children’s’ teacher said, “Children, time to go back to school.  Form a line so that we can get back on the buses.”  All the children formed a line or two and got onto the bus.  Petradecided to do the same thing got on the bus too not knowing who anyone was.  The children were still smiling and laughing when they got on the bus and talking about the great fun they had.  While the children were getting on, the teachers were counting to make sure they had all the students. “1, 2, 3, …. 10, 11, 12, ….. 20, 21, 22, 24, 25.”  The last teacher got on and noticed there was an extra student on the bus and decided to do a head count again.  She only counted 24.

On the way back to school, the children started to sing Christmas Carols such as Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Winter Wonderland.  Petrawas scared since she never heard any of these songs before until now.  Not even her mother would sing them.  The only songs she knew were those that homeless hummed and most were without lyrics or they were words with profanity in them.  So, when a profanity came up, she’d be saying “bunny” or “flowers” just to make them sound better.


The other homeless adults always looked at her and laughed.  She would always get upset when they did that to her.  And when that happened, she would always hide her face or crawl into her little box and cry.  Even Fritz laughed at her and told her to get over it.  They mean nothing to him, but yet he goes and laughs with his ‘friends’ at other old people down the street where they stayed.  Fritz was just like any brother.  He would always take care of her sister no matter what.  When his friends bothered her, he would tell them to knock it of off and that only he was allowed to bug her.  His friends rarely liked that of him, but they accepted it because he was like the big brother she never had.  He even promised Petrathat, when their mother passed away, thathe would be there for her no matter what.

All that started to change right after he met these boys.  They were just as homeless as Fritz and Petrawere.  Most were orphans that either they were kicked out of the orphanage or escaped there or kicked out of their own homes because their parents got tired of them and did not wanted them anymore or they ran away from home because they felt unsafe from their parents.  After a while, the children got accustomed to their surroundings and managed on their own.  Since most were around the ages of nine or ten, most could not read because their parents were poor and did not have the money to buy them books; the rest just did not care anymore and just did not want to read.  So most begged around the corners, in Central Park, or wherever they could see a lot of people.  They would even rob from The Salvation Army during the holiday season not caring where the money was going.  These were the Homeless City Kids, those who got forgotten because the only people that went to shelters were the older men to seek warmth.




By the time the children got to back to their school, they all got off the bus and went back in their classrooms.  Petrawas scared and did not know what to do.  So she followed the other students into the classroom and she sat down.  She started to stare at all the colorful pictures, drawings, designs, and Christmas decorations.  Some of the students started to stare because they did not know who she was and she was not wearing the right clothing as the other children are.  Her pants were ripped on the knees; her shoes stunk really badly as if she had found them in the trash, her shirt was all covered with dirt from the gravel and sand from the streets, and her once red hat, was all black with only a few markings of red still intact.  One of the children asked her in low voice, “Who are you?”  Petrawas unsure on what to do because she never been in school before.  Did not know what it was or what they do.  So, Petrajust kept quiet sitting in the chair while the other children stared.

Their teacher, Ms. Sullivan knew something was up with the children because they were quiet while she was writing the afternoon assignment on the black board.  They were too quiet for that matter.  She turned around and noticed that all the children were staring at one particular kid.  She saw that she wasn’t from around her, did not know who she was or why she was there sitting in her classroom.  All she saw was a child in dirty clothes. She asked the child who she was.  Petrajust kept quiet and sat still.  Mrs. Sullivan asked the children to move aside because they were scaring her.  She sat down next to Petraand said, “No one is going to hurt you, darling.  It is okay to be shy.  Who are you?”


Ms. Sullivan was just an ordinary 3rd GradeElementary Schoolteacher.  She must be in her early 30s and never married.  Has been teaching at the local school for about five years now and has enjoyed every moment of it.  She has taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders.  Always a bright young lady when it comes to making decisions for the school; and decided to become the Chorus Teacher this year. On the way back from the park, the children were actually practicing for their concert next week and decided to sing some of their favorite Christmas tunes.


Petrakept her face down looking at her feet because she was unsure on what to do.  She knew the teacher would not harm her in any way neitherthe students.  The students were just as curious as the teacher.  Ms. Sullivan was right, she did have counted 25 students who entered the bus, but was unsure where Petrahad hid at the time and only counted 24 afterwards.  The teacher asked again, “Who are you?”  Petrakept quiet.  Ms. Sullivan suggested to Petrato nod with a Yes or No while asking questions.

Ms. Sullivan asked, “Can you hear me?” Petranodded Yes.

Ms. Sullivan continued, “Good!  Did you enjoy yourself at the park with the other children?”  Petranodded Yes again.

“Are you homeless?”  She kept quiet after that question and then she realized that the teacher did seem harmless and she nodded a Yes once more.

“Do you know where your parents are?”  Petranodded No this time.

“Can you tell me your name?” Petranodded a Yes and quietly in a small whisper she said, “P…p… e…t…” and got quiet again.

Ms. Sullivan was unsure what she had said as her students were the same.  So, she asked Petraif she wanted to whisper into her ear and Petranodded a No.  One of her students suggested an idea and asked if she could whisper into his ear and Ms. Sullivan agreed.  That is when Petrablushed and nodded a Yes to him.  Jimmy asked Petra, “What is your name?”  Petrareached over to Jimmy’s ear and whispered, “Petra”.

Jimmy asked if it was okay for him to mention her name to the class and Petranodded her head to a Yes.

Jimmy said, “Her name is Petra, everyone.  She is just a little shy.”  He asks her, “Why are you shy?”

Petraresponses back, “I do not know who you are, where I am, what all these decorations are.  I just want to go back home” Petrastarts to cry.

Hours have passed and Petramanaged to speak to Ms. Sullivan and her class, but in quiet voice.  She finally understood, and was able to learn a little but about everyone in her class, including Ms. Sullivan.



While Petrawas making new friends, Fritz did not like what his friends were doing.  His friends, Mikey and Jay saw an old man down the street lying on cardboard and in front of himself; he had a bucket full of money that he was collecting to get himself some food and new blankets.  The old man must be in his late 60s, but Fritz’s friends did not care.  They walked quietly to the old man, and when they could, they ran and grabbed the bucket from him.  Mikey and Jay ran back to Fritz to show himtheir treasure.  Fritz knew it was wrong what they were doing and did not wanted to be of any part of them.  So he left his friends to find new friends.  Mikey tells Fritz, “Hey Fritz, sounds like you are a chicken. Bop Bop Bop” and shakes his hands like a chicken.  Fritz did not care and walked away.  He wanted to go back home, but where is home to him?  He headed to the ally were him and his sister were staying which was just a few blocks from RockefellerCenter.  He noticed that Petrawas not back yet from her stroll.  She usually goes around the blocks to gather food for the night.  Most of the time she gets kicked out of the stores, but when she can, she robs fruits from the local corner store and something to drink from a street vendor.  Hours have passed and Petrawas no where to be found.  Fritz started to worry and was hoping that she did not leave like their parents did.  He decided to wait a few more hours before he went to find her.  Two, four hours passed and still no word on where she is.  Fritz decided to walk around to see if anyone that knew them had seen her, but no one has.  He saw the old lady that always took care of them when they first became homeless and right after their mother died and shesaw Fritz was worried.  She came up to him and said that she saw Petraaround lunch hour and she walked down the street toward the big statue at the end.  Fritz decided to walk down the street to see if anyone else had seen her.  He was starting to get hungry and the old lady gave him her last food for the night.  He did not want to have it because he did not want the old lady to starve.  She insisted and he took it.  Fritz started his trekking down to the big statue to find his sister.  He was worried and unaware of what may have happened to her.  His mind rushed with many thoughts from getting mugged, being around the wrong crowd, being taken away from him, etc.  But he instead stayed strong to hope that she is well.

Fritz reached the big statue at the end of Central Park, also known as Columbus Circle, to find no one in sight.  Hewalked over to the statue knowing that children always played there during the hot summer days.  But those days were long gone since it was now winter.  He never thought that this place would still be open during the snowy days and even more, for snowball fights.  The day was starting to get late and he started to worry even more.  He noticed a black cloth near the statue and walked toward it.  Picked it up and saw that it was the last scarf his mother had made for Petrabefore she passed away.  He knows this, because Petra’s initials were sewed into the scarf, “PM” for Petra Matthews.

Fritz was now confused because he had no idea where she could be.  He sat down underneath the fountain to enjoy thedinner that the old lady had given him.  He bundles up because he knew it will be cold tonight.




After hours of having fun and enjoyment with her new friends, Petrahad somewhat forgotten about her brother.  She missed him, but he knew he’d be with his new friends working on getting in trouble.  The end of the day came and all the students started to go to their parents and go home.  Petrastayed in the classroom and Ms. Sullivan noticed she was still there.  She walked up to Petraand asked, “Aren’t you going home, Petra?”

Petrareplied, “No ma’am, I have no home.”

Ms. Sullivan suggested to go home with her and to keep this new friendship a little secret.  She did not want the other teachers to know what was going on.  Petrawas unsure, but she would be happy in a warm place that wasn’t inside her little cardboard box.  So she went with Ms. Sullivan and to her apartment nearby.

Ms. Sullivan lived just a few blocks away from the school in a five-story apartment building.  The building was all brick with white cement ledges.  Inside the Entrance Hall, Bob came up to Ms. Sullivan and opened the door for her and Petra.  Petrajust stood outside not wanting to come inside.  Bob just smiled and kept the door open.  Bob asked, “Aren’t you coming in little lady?”

Petrawas in more fear then before because she did not like talking to strangers she did not know.  Ms. Sullivan walked back to the door and offered her hand.  Petragot a hold of it and went inside.  Petrawas unsure about all of this and told Bob to keep it quiet and he understood with a little smile.

The lobby of the building was old from the 1930s chromed in gold plating and the elevator was an old caged elevator.  Ms. Sullivan got into the elevator and told Petranot to be afraid.  She hopped in and the door closed.  She had never beenin an elevator before, so in a way she was both excited, but also afraid of where it was taking her.  The elevator reached the 3rd floor and they both got out and walked toward Ms. Sullivan’s apartment, #3.  The door was alreadydecorated for Christmas with a Christmas garland hanging from it.  She opened the door and walked in.  Petrastayed outside because she hadnever been in another person’s home since her mother was kicked out of her apartment.  Petrajust stood there, outside Ms. Sullivan’s apartment, waiting for her to say something.  Ms. Sullivan turned around and asked her to come on it and said, “I don’t bite, Petra, come on in”.

Petrawalked in looking even more shocked and overwhelmed and she had never seenan apartment sobeautiful as when her mother lived in one.  There were decorations everywhere.  Santa Clauses on the doors, decorative garlands around the doorways, even real Christmas tree stands next to the window to overlook for others to see.  Petraremembers seeing these during this time of year, but never actually knew what they are or what the need is for.  She asks Ms. Sullivan what they are and she replies, “It is a Christmas Tree.  You never had one before?”

Petrarelies back, “No, Ms. Sullivan”.

Ms. Sullivan replies back with a smile; and tells Petrato call her by her first name, Susan.

Petrasmiles and walks around the apartment checking out all the decorations in detail while Ms. Sullivan prepares dinner.  Ms. Sullivan then calls Petrato have dinner.  Petragets confused since she has never sat at the table to eat.  So Ms. Sullivan and Petrasit on the floor to eat dinner while the Christmas Lights are on.  They share stories and talk with each other.




Petra completely forgets about her brother as a couple of weeks have gone by.  Ms. Sullivan continues to keep Petraat her place, taking her to school each day and showing her the meaning of Christmas.  What it is about, its history, and its gifts.  Petracontinues to have fun.  She makes her own decorations with Ms. Sullivan not just at her new home, but also at school with her new friends.  She plays snowball fights just like any other kid too and has gotten new clothes and Ms. Sullivan has been treating her as her own child, but more as a friend to her.

It is just a couple of days before Christmas Eve, Ms. Sullivan and Petrago to a local store to see Santa.  Petrais excited to see him as is Ms. Sullivan.  Petraasks, “Susan, is that Mr. Claus?”

Ms. Sullivan looks down, nods, and smiles.  They are next in line to see Santa; Petrais both nervous and excited at the same time and has no idea what to ask him.  She sits on the Santa’s lap and is speechless on what to ask him.

Petrathen tells Santa for one wish, “I wish for Hope.”

Santa replies, “Ho Ho Ho, are you sure you want that, little girl?”

Petrareplies back, “Yes, Santa.  See, this is my first time I see you and I have no idea what to wish for, so I am wishing for Hope and Happiness for myself and my family.”
            Santa responses back, “Ho Ho Ho, I will do my best little girl.”  Petrajumps off his lap and walks over to Ms. Sullivan with a big smile.  Ms. Sullivan asks, “Hope you had fun, let’s go and get some food.”



Couple of weeks had gone by and Fritz gave up looking for his sister.  The days got colder and darker and he just sat underneath the Christopher Columbus statue hoping she would return.  He keeps seeing all these peoplelaughing with joy, but yet no one has seen this little girl.  He tries to explain to them what she looks like, but they all look around and point at other homeless girls around him.

A man walked by and suggested for him to look inside the stores too, but he had already tried that and just kept to himself hoping someone would drop some food for him.  He walks over to a street vendor asking if he could have something to eat, but the vendor denies him and tells him to go away.  He continues to beg and even asks him if he could even help washing dishes.  The vendor changes his mind and he starts to clean the dishes and utensils.  At the end of his shift, the vendor prepares a dish with fries and a New York Citystyle pretzel and wishes Fritz a happy and blessed Christmas.

Fritz goes back underneath the Statue and starts to eat his dinner.  About five minutes into his meal, two men in their mid-20s see the boy with food, they walk up to him and try and steal it from him.  They take Fritz and throw him into a pile of snow without any warning and take his food laughing.  Fritz looks on and knows it would not be worth going after them because he knew he would get hurt again or more.  So, Fritz just sits under the statue and hopes for a blessing to come by.


Back at the food court of the store, Ms. Sullivan and Petragather their food because Petradecided to give her leftovers to the homeless.  On the way back, Ms. Sullivan decided to take Petrato where they had met and perhaps give the food to someone there who might need it more than herself.

They walk down the street while holding hands and smiling with love and laughter.  They reach the Columbus Circleand notice the big statue.  Petrarecognizes that she was playing snowballs with Ms. Sullivan’s class and decided to gather a ball or two and throw them at Ms. Sullivan.

“Susan, watch this," Petrasays.

Ms. Sullivan ducks and then throws one at Petrahitting her on the side.  They laugh and roll in the snow.


From afar, Fritz watches a woman and a child playing in the snow.  Throwing snowballs at each other in happiness and cheer.  He just sits there and wished it was him and his sister throwing snowballs at each other.  Weeks ago it was just that.  But he realized that it was a mistake andit was not her, but it was him.  He was the one always going off and causing trouble with his two “friends”.  He thinks to himself, “gosh, how I miss my sister; how I miss my mommy too” and starts to cry.

Moments later, the girl and women stop playing in the snow; and just sit there watching the sky as it starts to snow slowly.  The streets start getting quiet as it is soon Christmas Eve.  People start going home early to finish decorating their homes’, they finish shopping and have some warm cocoa or eggnog.


Ms. Sullivan and Petrajust sit there talking about how much fun it has been being together and how they met.  They stopped talking for a while when Petraall of a sudden starts to cry in Ms. Sullivan’s arms.  She tells her that she misses her brother and wished she could find him again.  Ms. Sullivan asks Petraif she remembers where they use to sleep.  With all the excitement lately in Petra’s life, she has forgotten where she has slept before only to remember the big statue here.

Ms. Sullivan comments, “Now now, Petra, it will be okay;” and gives her a big warm hug.  Let’s start heading back home to get out of these snowy clothes.  But before they did that, Petraremembered to do one last thing before going to her new home.  She promised Ms. Sullivan that she would give someone homeless her leftover dinner.  She asked Ms. Sullivan if there was a candidate and she pointed out the boy underneath the statue.  “I’ll go with you, Petra, but be careful,” says Ms. Sullivan.

Ms. Sullivan and Petrawalk to the young boy and leaves the food on the end of his toes and says, “Boy, here is some food, may itswarmth and strength keep you warm and happy. Have a good Merry Christmas!”  As soon as Ms. Sullivan and Petrastart walking off, the boy opens his eyes and says, “Thank you!”  In that moment, Petrafroze and remembered that voice.  Something in the back of her told her that she knew that voice from somewhere.  Ms. Sullivan stopped and turned around, “Petra, are you okay?”  Petraturned around toward the boy and saw his eyes.  His eyes were glowing in the snow as he saw something that he recognized from before.  It wasn’t just some random homeless boy, it was someone he knew.  Someone he missed and had forgotten about him in the period that she had been gone.

Ms. Sullivan asks again, “Petra, are you okay?”  Petrareplies, “Yes!” and jumps in joy with a big smile on her face.  She yells, “Fritz, is that you?!”, and runs toward the boy.  The boy lifts his head from eating and recognizes that name and realizes that he found his sister after so many weeks since she had disappeared.  Ms. Sullivan as confused as she is, walks toward Petraand the boy to realize that the boy is her brother.

Fritz drops his dinner and gives her sister a great big hug of joy.  “Sister, where in the world have ya been?" he asks.

Petrareplies, “Well, it all started like this…”

After half an hour passed, Petratold Fritz her story and apologized what had happened.  She introduced Fritz to Ms. Sullivan of how she was taking care of her, explaining the meaning of Christmas, and even Santa too.  Fritz was amazed about all the stories, though he was worried and thought that he would never see her again.  After everything was explained and told, Ms. Sullivan asked Fritz if he would join them at her home.  She was able to convince Fritz and all three walked back to Ms. Sullivan’s apartment.


It was Christmas Eve, the day everything would change in their lives.  Fritz and Petraare back together again and not sleeping on the streets anymore.  Petraexplained Fritz as much as she could about the meaning of Christmas, although Ms. Sullivan helped her with the missing details.  That night, they both went to sleep in Ms. Sullivan’s bed, since her apartment was only a 1-Bedroom apartment.  Ms. Sullivan on the other hand, she went to sleep on the coach next to the Christmas tree.  All three slept the night thinking of all the great happy thoughts they have been going through.

The sun started to come up and shine through the windows of the apartment.  Petraopened her eyes slowly to notice that Fritz was still there with her.  She got out of bed and walked into the living room to see that Ms. Sullivan was making breakfast for them.  Ms. Sullivan walks up to Petraand says, “Merry Christmas, Petra,” and gives her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  As soon as she brought Petradown, she saw Fritz on the doorway and told him to come here too and wish him Merry Christmas and a hug as well.

They had breakfast right after and were exchanging gifts.  Petragot a new bicycle with helmet and knee pads.  Fritz got some skateboard with helmet and knee pads as well.  When Ms. Sullivan opens her present, she couldn’t believe her eyes when she realized it was the most beautiful present she had ever gotten; a card that said “Thank you”.

Thanks to Ms. Sullivan’s teachings to Petrafor the few weeks of teaching her at school and her new friends, Petrawas able to write “Thank you” with their help.

She looks at Fritz and Petraand gives the two a big hug and starts to cry.  The next few days were full of happiness and joy and then Petraasks the one wish she wants for the new upcoming year.  She asks Fritz about the question and agrees with her and tells her to ask Ms. Sullivan about it.  She says, “Susan; Fritz and I have something to ask you.”

Ms. Sullivan sits and is ready to listen, “what’s that Petra?  I am ready.”

Petracontinues with her question, “Susan, we want you to be our Mommy.  We understand that it is a lot to take in, but you have showed us how to love, treasure, and hope not just for ourselves, but for each other.  We will understand if you do not want to.”

Ms. Sullivan just sits there and starts to cry with tears of joy.  As soon as she starts to talk, she is unable to say any word, but smiles at them with happiness.  After a while, Ms. Sullivan is able to talk again, “I would be delightful to be your mommy.  Monday morning, we’ll go to the adoption center and make you both into the Sullivan Family.”

Petracontinues, “We know that you will not replace our mommy, but we know you will be a great new mother for the two of us.”  Ms. Sullivan walks over to her new future kids and gives them a hug.



Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas/Holidays and

a safe New Years as well.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Sorry if it is a LONG "Short Story".  I don't think their are any guidelines on here that state that it needs to be only a certain length.  I am also sorry if some words are combined into one.  I am not sure how that happened from when I Copy & Paste it from Word to here

View moscadini's Full Portfolio