Mother Teresa said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in the world than for bread.”
For Maeve, every moment on the streets was about two things: where could she find food and a safe warm place to sleep. But today she stood in a crowd transfixed by one of a store’s many Christmas display windows. She allowed herself this time to just be sixteen in New York City.
The faces of the tiny ballerinas were each different, unique. The only thing they shared was that they lived in a sugar plum village and performed a synchronized dance. Maeve stood entranced, remembering when she was five and her mother gave her a ballerina doll. A tear rolled down her cheek and she turned away from the sweet memory.
Sixteen-year-old Mike Harris pulled his peacoat tighter and slipped his hands into his gloves. Even though the wind rushed through him with its fierce cold, he did not move from his space in the crowd. She was here again today.
As much as he admired the perfect art of the tiny automated ballerinas dancing beneath swirling snowflakes, he admired her more. The girl had her own perfection in his mind with her bright green eyes and soft cinnamon red hair. Looking so pretty and sweet, she watched the figures in the window but never once looked his way.
Mike guessed she was around sixteen. Today he would summon his courage and talk to her.
A blood-chilling scream pierced the night air.
“What is that?” She leaped to her feet. “Mike!” Maeve ran in the direction of the terrifying sound.
Joe chased after her. “Don’t run into the dark, Maeve!”
A strange feeling shivered through her body. The screams weakened almost strangled. Sheer panic and dread caused her to turn down street after street. With her box cutter in hand, she ran faster.
A lone streetlight like a bare cold moon shone down on a body. The shadowy figure hovering above it twisted in her direction. Glowing red eyes glared at her. Then it rushed right at her.