How Claudia Became a Bad Girl (a short story)

From Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile Sun Feb 17 2013, 23:00:00

On the day the light appeared at the top of St. Mary's steeple, Claudia was sure her prayers had been answered. Although her father looked at the red-gold light high up in the sky and decided the only cause could be aliens, Claudia was convinced that God had finally found time in his busy schedule to listen to her nightly prayers. Every night for two and half years, once the door was firmly closed, Claudia knelt at the side of her bed and made a deal with him; she would be a good girl for the rest of her life if only he would find her mother and bring her back home. Somehow she was positive the light was him saying the deal was on.

It showed up on a Friday night. Claudia and her family lived in the house at the corner, just opposite to the church so they were among the first people to see the light. Claudia's younger brother, André, looked out of the window after hearing a noise. He was always thinking he heard stray dogs outside, so any noise had him rushing to the window. André believed that though their father had banned all dogs, a stray dog was a different story. Who could pass up an orphan? Claudia knew the answer was her father. That night, like all of the nights before it, there was no stray dog. Instead it was the beginning of the crowd that would soon begin to assemble on their front lawn.

"What's that?" André said pushing the dusty curtains aside to get a better look.

Their father got up from the sofa where he'd been reading the newspaper to see what André was on about. "Well I'll be damned! Claudia, get the camera!"

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