Part two of my Christmas story. If you haven’t read part one, please do so before reading this section.
“Margaret, where is your sister?”
Margaret’s eyes grew wide as she looked around her, then back at her father. “I thought she went to find you.”
Margaret’s parents exchanged a frightened glance. “Let’s stay together to find her.”
They pushed their way through the crowded street. The Christmas Bazaar was especially crowded this year because of the unusually warm weather and the decision to move it outside.
They made it down one block without seeing her when a blood-curdling scream rent the air and the street went quiet as everybody turned to find the source of the scream.
A man a block down frantically tried to get into the alley he was close to. “No! Don’t!” He yelled just as the boom of a gunshot echoed off the buildings. The man took off running and two women nearby ran into the alley after him.
“Ginny,” Mrs. Halberg whispered. “Please God, don’t let it be Ginny.”
Mr. Halberg tried to make his way through the crowd to find out what was going on, but the mass of people acted as if nothing had just happened and went back to their shopping. Were shootings really that normal in this town?
He finally made it to the alley five minutes later, his wife and eldest daughter right behind him. The first thing to catch his eye was the pink frill of the dress the girl wore. It was identical to the dress his wife had made for Ginny the month before.
“Ginny!” he cried, his voice catching.
The women on either side of the figure looked up with sad faces. They both held wads of gauze to the girl’s body.
He ran to them and looked at the girl’s face. It was his Ginny. “Will she live?”
One of the women pursed her lips. “I don’t know. She’s still alive, but she’s losing a lot of blood and it isn’t easy to stop. Whether she lives or not depends on when the ambulance arrives and if the bullet hit anything vital.”
Mr. Halberg looked up, a wildness in his eyes. “She has to live.” Mrs. Halberg and Margaret came up behind him.
“Edward, we need to stay strong,” Mrs. Halberg said.
Edward Halberg stood up and put an arm around his wife, his hand touching Margaret’s.
The ambulance arrived a few minutes later and the whole family rode with Ginny to the hospital. The EMTs got immediate doctor’s assistance and a nurse brought the family to a waiting room.
“I’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything about her.”
This gift of God we’ll cherish well,
That ever joy our hearts shall fill.