Legal Theft Project: Security Blanket – Part 2

She woke up deliciously warm. She blinked sleepily and held the comforter up to her chin. Soft as a cloud and warm as a bakery at mid morning and twice as cozy, she adored her bed. She’d picked out the delicate violet duvet cover and the soft cream flannel sheets. Rolling over she looked at the narrow window and smiled at the pale rose curtains she’d made herself. She hugged her teddy bear as she gave thanks for another day where she wouldn’t worry about if she would eat, or if she would get too cold, or if… There were too many ifs to list. So many things she did not take for granted, not for one minute. Long sleeved floral pajamas. Slippers to keep her feet warm as she slipped out of bed.

The sun was up and warming the clouds, making the snow piled outside look like a glittering down blanket. Her breath fogged up the window and she drew a star in it. Gliding over to the door, she cracked it open and took a deep breath. The morning smelled of cinnamon rolls, citrus, and pine. She slipped down the stairs and perched on her usual stool.

Her guardian looked over from icing the cinnamon rolls and smiled at her. “You can open your stocking if you like.”

She glanced over at the pretty tree, with its white sparkling lights and elegant decorations, a couple brightly wrapped boxes underneath. Then over at the fireplace where two stockings hung, both pleasingly full. She smiled and shook her head. “I’ll wait for you.” Sitting very politely she watched the progress of icing swirling over cinnamon rolls.

Something festive and orchestral played softly from the hidden speakers. This was only their second Christmas, and it was far more deliberate than that first holiday when she’d snuck in a pint sized tree. He’d blinked, asked her if she wanted to celebrate, and then gone out and bought garland and holly and stockings and candles. The tree was bigger this year, the garland fresh, and all of the uncertainty was banished.

Cinnamon rolls frosted, kitchen tidied, he turned back toward her and smiled. “They need to rest for five minutes.”

The grin took over her face like sunrise and drew some matching warmth out of him. She took down his stocking and he took down hers, and they exchanged. He sat down in his arm chair and she sat on the floor next to the coffee table. He’d gifted her two bottles of good ink, hair ribbons in a cascade of pastel shades, a new pair of sewing scissors, some candies, and a tea cozy shaped like a cat. She’d given him a set of gourmet sea salts, an oven thermometer, a fine ball point pen, an orange, and several smaller exotic fruits. Finally, she gave him a hug. For the first time, she knew they would both be warm that year. And possibly the next year. It was a good thing to count on.

This first line was stolen by a gang of thieves awhile back. So I decided to steal it too. See Part 1 or the other stolen works by clicking the links.


Legal Theft Project: Security Blanket-Part 1

She woke up deliciously warm. There was a faint crackling of a fire and a richly scented promise of chocolate nearby. For three whole heartbeats she forgot about cold and fear. She let out a silent breath and fully opened her eyes. She was in a sparsely decorated living room. Two windows, sealed, no latches. Three doors and an archway. Light and sound came through the arch. Clinking and clanking of a kitchen and the subtle rustling of cloth from a single person moving. The other doors, two interior and one exterior. Exterior door locked. Interior unlocked.

The coffee table in front of her held a tray with a small mug of hot cocoa and a plate of gingerbread.

“You’re awake.” A man was standing in the archway, leaning against the frame. She froze, looking for warning signs, but he didn’t come any closer. “I found you on the roof. You were too cold. I thought you might die. I brought you in. Made sure you were warm. The cocoa and gingerbread are yours.” He stopped briefly, but she did not reach for the treats. He didn’t nod but she got the sense of one anyway. “I am going to go back into the kitchen to make some soup and a sandwich. Then I will bring them out on a tray, and you may have them as well. After I leave the tray, I am going to go through that door,” he nodded at the interior door closest to him, “and not come out until tomorrow morning. You can sleep here. The other door is the bathroom. Use what you need.” And he turned back into the kitchen like he said he would. Adults said a lot of things. Some times they did what they said, but most times they didn’t. She made sure she had a clear view to the kitchen before taking the mug and slowly sipping the cocoa. It warmed her insides just as delightfully as the blanket and fire had warmed her outsides. The whole environment soothed the familiar ragged edge to a strange ache. She set the empty cocoa mug down and clutched the blanket around her shoulders.

“I’m coming in now,” the man said from the kitchen.

She slipped off the couch and moved to the end farther from him, keeping the arm between them. The man walked to the coffee table and set down the tray. “Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Leave the dishes on the tray when you’re done. I’m going to my room now. I hope I’ll see you tomorrow.” He nodded to her and left through the other door.

The grilled cheese was crackly brown with butter and the tempting cheese melted slightly out of the sides where it got all crispy. The bowl was small and the sandwich was a half. She sat down and took a small bite of the sandwich. Her eyes closed. Cheese and bread had never tasted so good. In small bites, she ate the entire sandwich and the soup. For the first time in weeks she really felt full.

She left the dishes on the tray and went to explore the bathroom. She washed her face, re-braided her hair, and perused the linen closet. Among the linens, she chose a sturdy grey pillow case and carried it to the kitchen. There was a distinct lack of Ziploc bags. All the food was kept in glass or ceramic containers. Half had labels she didn’t understand. She did find aluminum foil, parchment paper, and plastic wrap, so she made small packets of essentials as she raided the pantry. Dried fruit and nuts, packets of uncooked rice or dried beans, or any other non-perishable, she made well thought out packets of supplies, wrapped them carefully, and packed them in the pillowcase. In case she had to run, at least she wouldn’t be hungry. Her eyes were getting heavy as she made sure everything was meticulously back in its proper place in the pantry. Clutching her running bag, she dragged her feet back over to the couch. Clambering onto it, she tucked the bag between her body and the back of the couch so it wouldn’t be seen and pulled the blanket up over herself. The fire was mellow and low and she was warm from food and the soft hug of the blanket. Her eyes closed and she hoped that this dream, maybe, could last a little longer.

Thieves abound! See who stole this first line over at the new Legal Theft site.