The Spell Maker

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A Christmas tale of the gift of life for the loss of another. A young sweatshop girl weaves a spell into a teddybear.

Submitted: November 21, 2009

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Submitted: November 21, 2009



The Spell Maker

June 22nd.

The heat from the relentless sun beat down on the corrugated iron roof of the Haitian sweat shop, thirteen year old Madeleine Lesseliers’ head dropped in exhaustion. The sweat ran from her forehead and into her dull eyes, is this all I have to look forward to for the rest of my miserable life? she thought. What would it be like to live somewhere else, somewhere where the air is cool. Perhaps where these toys are going to. A shout from the overseer brought her back to reality, ‘Stop dreaming and work you ungrateful wretch,’ he screamed. Madeleine picked up the material, it was cheap and golden coloured. Part of the material had been sewn and her job was to stuff the toy and finish the sewing. Grabbing a handful of the shredded coconut husk she carefully pushed it into the material until the shape of a teddy bear was achieved. She picked up with great difficulty, a large darning needle and proceeded to sew up the teddy bear. Her hands were raw from the coarse stuffing but she sewed the toy with love and devotion. When she was satisfied it was the correct shape, she then sewed on the clothes, a yellow coat and bright blue trousers, on its head she stitched into place a small red hat. Had she been able to read, she would have deciphered the lettering on the hat, it said ‘Santa’. With each stitch, she added a little wish, and hoped that the child that received the toy would have a better life than hers. When it was finished, she lovingly placed it into a cardboard box along with the rest of the toys and gave a little smile. The overseer strode past and saw her smile, he raised his hand and brought it down on the back of her head. ‘You have nothing to smile at girl’ he shouted. Madeleine’s head snapped forward and she banged her face on the work table breaking her nose. Her nose started to bleed and several drops went on the teddy bears coat which infuriated the overseer, he grabbed her hair and dragged her to the door where he threw her out. She fell to the hard packed dirt and lay there gasping for breath. She started to cough, gently at first, but the spasm increased in intensity and she placed her hand over her mouth. When the spasm finished she looked at her hand,it was covered with blood from her mouth. As she lay in the dust she saw a glow that seemed to hang in the air a few paces away. A voice entered her head that sounded calm and reassuring, it told her to stand up and walk towards the soft light. She did so and the light engulfed her, a tremendous feeling of well being entered her, gone was the pain from her tortured lungs and broken nose, all she felt was an aura of serenity. She looked back towards the sweatshop and saw her crumpled form laying in the dust, the pool of blood near her head was covered in flies. The voice told her that she had fulfilled her destiny and it was time to go.


December 1st.

A small teddy bear lay on the shelf, all alone. The bear was a reject because of the brown stains on the blue trousers and yellow coat. He had been there for over a month and was a silent witness to the comings and goings of the lockup owner and his assistant. He lay in the cold dampness of the store room, his eyes shone when caught in the reflection of a passing vehicle headlight beam, what, he thought, was to become of me? His fellow bears had all been sold, gone, he was quite sure, to the homes of children desirous of a golden bear. Had he been able to weep, he would have done so, for he was alone and miserable, not unlike the little girl who made him. He was, he realised, just an inanimate object and incapable of voluntary movement and so he lay and accepted his fate, whatever that might be. It was in the dead of night, the headlights had ceased to dazzle him when he saw the light in the centre of the room. It seemed to hover just in front of the rack on which he lay. A gentle voice spoke to him, it was not like the voice that the store owner used, it was soft, reassuring and seemed to come from within him and yet it was all around. ‘You are unhappy with your fate are you not?’ the voice said. The bear spoke, ‘I have been here for such a long time and it would appear that I am unwanted, for I am marked with the life essence of the child that made me’. ‘Ah, yes, the spell maker, she left you with the mark that made you special, into each stitch she sewed a spell and into each spell a wish’. ‘Will I ever be wanted? he said, what is my destiny?’. The voice spoke,’ Your destiny has been mapped from the very moment the child gave you form and substance, yours is a greater task than that of any other of your fellow bears’. The bear pondered over this revelation as the light and voice faded away. So I will be wanted he thought. ‘I wish that I could make some child happy’.


December 24th

Harry Greenfield looked over his stock contained in the lockup under the viaduct, he shouted to his brother in law who acted as his assistant and general dogsbody. ‘When you have finished sweeping up, lock up and take that box of Santa oddments down to the local kids home and dump it on them’ he said. Bert carefully deposited the floor sweepings into the bin and took the box of oddments out to the van. He returned and locked up, he had every intention of going to the kids home but it was a bit out of the way and well, it was, after all Christmas Eve and who would notice if he just dumped the items in a skip. Bert drove steadily over to the area where the skip lay, he stopped and opened the rear door to recover the box of oddments. As he did so, the rear of the vehicle flooded with light and a voice said, ’No Bert, not here, you know where to go’. He looked around but saw nothing, but he knew what he must do. How he knew, he wasn’t altogether sure, but he did know. He drove through the town until he reached a secluded place of parkland surrounded by a large wall. The gates to the parkland were open and so he drove in until he reached the main building. He pulled up outside the imposing entrance and carried the box in past the highly polished brass plate that announced that he was at ‘Broadoaks Hospice for Children’. He placed the box on the reception desk and announced that the box was expected. The rather bored receptionist carried on filing her nails, but after five minutes, telephoned for a porter to remove the box. He did so by walking through one of the wards and depositing a reject toy into the safety bed of the children. When he got to the last bed he stopped and looked at the child. The child, according to the bed name plate was called Mathew Burroughs and his illness a monstrous tumour on his face and head, it didn’t look like a human for the tumour had eradicated both eyes, mouth and nose. The porter looked down on the six year old boy with no emotion, that had disappeared over the years of working in the establishment, he placed the Santa teddy under the arm of the boy and left with the empty box. The boy clutched his rejected teddy as close to his face as he could and fell into a deep sleep. During the night, a glow descended on his bed and wrapped itself around Mathew.

December 25th.

The day sister took over the ward from the night staff and proceeded to walk down the line of beds for the hand over. On reaching Mathews bed she glanced down at the sleeping child and gave a sigh, she turned to the nurse, and said that it was a shame that Mathew had died, but perhaps it was for the best, nature has a way of dealing with such problems. ‘Check the wrist band of this child and change the bed allocation card for the new occupant’ She returned to the office to complete the takeover paperwork. She had been sitting but for a few seconds when the nurse knocked on the door and walked in. ‘Sorry for the interruption sister but there is something you should see’. They walked up to the bed occupied by the stranger, the nurse lifted up the child’s arm that held what remained of a Santa teddy, its once golden fur was black and charred its clothes mouldy and drab. The sister read the wrist band. ‘Mathew Burroughs age 6, Blood Group, O neg. ‘Is this some kind of joke, if it is then I find it in very bad taste’ she said. They looked down at the sleeping child who looked perfectly normal. ‘Nurse, get the doctor, in fact, get everyone’


June 2nd Thirty years later.

The television chat show host spoke to the audience, ‘Well ladies and gentleman our next guest is Mr. Mathew Burroughs, philanthropist, research scientist and owner of the multinational pharmaceutical company ‘Burroughs Health’. Turning to Mathew he said, ‘Mathew, why is it that you gave to the world free of charge the drug named after you, ‘Burroughmine’ the cure for cancer in nearly 99% of all cases?’ Even for a philanthropist such as your self, it is a huge gift for mankind’ ‘Well Joe’ he began, ‘It all started when I received a small teddy as a Christmas gift’.

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