Thunder roared as the cloaked figure trotted hastily up the stairs to the church, holding the tiny bundle they carried close to their chest, stopping under the canopy of stone. The figure let the hood of their cloak fall, exposing the beautiful features of a woman no older than 18. The woman knelt to place the tiny bundle she carried on the cold stone of the church. She watched as the bundle of blankets began to squirm, she pulled back a layer or blanket to expose a tiny face. With that face came a small baby, the woman watched as the baby opened its eyes to gaze at her. For a moment, she thought about picking the small child up again and retreating to her warm home. But she knew she couldn’t, she couldn’t risk taking this child back home for her father to find and kill. Before she could continue to think like this she stood, turning hastily and rushing down the stairs of the church. ‘They will find him out there, and they will care for him, I know they will.’ she thought to herself as she quickly made her way in the rain. They have never denied a child yet, so why should they deny this one?
The man hummed lightly as he made his way to the church door, stepping lightly up the steps to the church door. He stopped midway when he noticed a bundle of blankets resting on the landing. He drew closer to the bundle, carefully kneeling and bringing his hand to the opening in the blankets. He pulled them back gently to reveal a tiny face, he gasped quietly, quickly scooping the small child up into his arms and holding it close to him. The child whined quietly but did not cry out, the man looked around the church landing, hoping to find any sign of the child’s parents or at least a note. When he found nothing he sighed and looked at the child in his arms once again. “Well little one looks like you are stuck with me from now on,” he whispered as he opened the door to the church and disappeared inside.
As people filled in through the doors, the man stood at the podium, watching carefully as nuns and churchgoers filled in. As everyone found their seats one by one, he looked down at the small child in his arms. Once the hall was silent once more, smiled and spoke to them. “My friends! This morning I have discovered something most wondrous!” he paused as people began looking at him quizzically. “God has sent us a new angel, in the form of a child!” he exclaimed as everyone looked around at each other in surprise and delight. He raised the bundle he held in his arms to show those in the pews. He watched as they all smiled delightedly at the small child. He noticed a young girl in the pews staring at the child in a completely different way than everyone else. Her eyes glistened with a pain he had only ever seen mothers with. He watched as her eyes filled to the brim with pain as she looked at the child with a longing in her eyes. He wondered for a moment if this was the child’s mother. ‘No, she is a girl of only 16 and not married, never would she do something like that.’ he reassured himself, but the thought still sat in the back of his head as he lowered the child back to his chest and motioned for a nun to take him. He continued his sermon normally, keeping the girl in the back of his mind until he had time to think on his own.
As he watched the children of god fill out of the church he stopped the girl and her family. Her mother was small and sickly looking, as were her younger brothers and a small sister. Her father and herself though looked healthy and well-fed…odd. He doesn’t comment on their appearances, not wanting to intrude. He speaks to them as he would any other churchgoer, giving no hint that he believes that this man’s daughter was the one that left that child on his front step. Instead, he speaks to him of his farm and his children, how lovely his wife is, and how well behaved the little ones are. He smiles at the tiny girl in her mother’s arms. The two looked identical, scrawny arms and wide, watery eyes stared at him in an almost pleading way. He swept the look from his mind, instead looking at the boys. They stood no taller than small tree saplings, and just as scrawny. They too had that pleading look in their eyes, as if they were trying to speak to him with only their eyes. He looks to the father, who for a moment looked as if he’d strike the two boys. But the look only lasted a few moments as his eyes turned back to him, quickly replaced with a look of obvious mock pride. He says his farewells to the family and return to the nuns. He meets mother Anna, the small child he found outside of the church sleeping in her arms. Other orphaned children sit around her, starring widely at the boy. He smiles, pleased that they seem excited to have a new member of their makeshift family.