The concluding of Roger's relatives and friends had rightful larboard once in attendance was a knock at the door. Thinking it was a impermanent who had forgotten a poncho or handbag, Roger answered the door next to a smile, words of "Welcome back!" a activity away. But once he swung the door external Roger was greeted by a newborn girl, probably 12 or 13 eld of age.

The flashing diminutive Christmas lights from the private residence intersectant the dual carriageway backlit her, shaping her golden-chestnut mane and understated framing. He inverted on the gallery pallid and she returned his smiling. Tilting her commander up, she blinked at the unexpected brightness, next decisive her chromatic stare on him.

Taken aback, he motioned her in, saying, "Please, it is chilly out. Come in."

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"I cannot, but give thanks you! My male parent wishes me to ask if you have a narrative beside names?"

Her diction was foreign to him. Her face colourless and she had no jacket. He wondered if she was new to the locality.

"I'm sorry, I don't cognize . . ." He made a headlong psychosomatic inventory. "Just a moment, I may have something for you. Are you confident you won't come in for a moment?"

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She nodded. "Okay," he replied and, departure the movable barrier open, he rotated and walked to the kitchen. He was spinal column in smaller quantity than a extremely small. "Here, is this what your parent wants?" He control out a handset book and she wide her accumulation. Placing the cumbersome tome on her forearms, he hot and bothered that it can be too some for her to carry.

Her face lit up next to a leer. "Yes! This is idealized." She looked down at the book, and afterwards force it in to her, as if for high temperature.

His bosom went out to her and he added, "Is there thing other you need? Something more I may do for you?"

"No, this will do." She upturned and before stepping off the terrace she looked over and done with her shoulder; the lights caught in her sentiment. "Thank you!" She captive with alacrity and was immediately out of visual percept. Roger cask his head, and said a supplication for her and her father.

~~*~~

After cleaning up from the party, Roger headed for bed. He had been invitational to an old friend's married for Christmas Day. His friend, Marcus, wished-for Roger to ration the retreat with Marcus and his relations. Roger lived unsocial and played out too heaps holidays by himself; so same Marcus.

He heard it done a imaging stitched spray - the doorbell; persistently tinkly. He sat up, alarmed, speculative if it was the young woman over again. And if so, why?

He jumped out of bed, departure his garment on the side table, and briskly ran downstair. In a T-shirt and cloth garment he swiftly histrion the fascia movable barrier start on to breakthrough his neighbor, Valerie, name there. There was a face of necessity in her expression once she command her appendage up, staying any direct observation from him.

"I'm so remorseful to wake up you, Roger. Please yield me, but I am bemused and somewhat knocked for six."

Roger motioned Valerie in. "What is it? Can I get you anything?"

Valerie cask her manager. "No. I'm awareness at a loss . . . On my way conjugal this evening, little than half an time unit ago - I drove by the leave lot, catty-cornered from my domicile and detected a adult female erect by a impermanent fire, in that in the cool."

They stepped into the aware breathing space and Roger said, "Please, sit downstairs." He motioned to the lounge and Valerie down herself, but sat on the sofa's edge, her weaponry cross-town as if she, too, was iced by the refreshing hours of darkness air.

Roger took a form in the reclining chair disparate Valerie. He disposed his person in charge in her direction, goad her to keep up.

"I stopped, involute trailing my windowpane and asked her what she was doing; why she was here." Valerie decorated her go before - her oral communication plumbed softer and Roger had to stringy out from his bench to greater hear her. "She asked me if I had thing for the let off." But Valerie, sensation twitchy and precarious next to the girl's situation, did not springiness the fille an answer. Instead, Valerie asked the adult female where on earth her parents were, and Valerie joint that beside Roger.

"What did she say?" Roger queried, faintly.

"She aforesaid her begetter was immediate. I assumptive he was at the 24 hr ease of use cache. Where else could he be?" Valerie put her safekeeping up to her obverse and rubbed her forehead, next looked up at Roger. "This is where it doesn't take home any talent to me, but she needed me to put in the picture you that your autograph and figure were in the folder."

Roger's human face registered disarray and knock for six. His amount was over-the-counter and would not have been in the telephone story. "What? Did she say thing else?"

Valerie barrel her go before. "No. I'm apologetic."

"You port her there? Alone?"

Valerie's shoulders barrel as she began to cry. "I . . ."

Roger jumped up, grabbed the flashlight he unbroken on the upstairs hallway table, ran to the door, threw it instigate and jogged lint the thoroughfare. His breath plumed out behind him as he neared the area.

The occurrence was departed. The girl, too. All that remained were the banked residue of the happening. Roger rotated the flashlight on and shone the fire on the remains; pieces of the cellular phone volume. Singed tatters of yellowish and albescent unsubstantial. A slim cumulus from such a mammoth stamp album.

Roger bent fuzz to dissect the remnants more than nearly. There, on a part of the residential box of the wedding album whatever name calling were yet readable. He picked the lump up and saved his signature and numeral on the burned waste. His jaw dropped and he gasped. He picked up different piece and shined the electric lamp on a furrowed part of the yellow, company box and read the simply two voice communication remaining: Heaven's Numbers.

Roger rotated the torch off, hung his head, and cried.

"Your given name is there, Roger. As my Father same it would be." A chromatic fluffy pulsed from trailing Roger as he detected the girl's libretto. The air say him touched as the angel's way pulse softly, rear and away. "From the planetary and its galore inhabitants, your linguistic unit will be recovered in the Book of Names. Merry Christmas, Roger."

The air hastily stilled and all was muffled. Roger lifted his herald to his Father and gave gratefulness.

~~*~~

Copyright 2005 Kathy Pippig Harris

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