Paper Angel

By: Chet (Dee)

“Can you pick me up Ted so that I can put my wish on the Christmas tree before dinner?” A little girl sitting in a wheel chair asked as she stared up at the meager Christmas tree in the center of the room.

The Christmas tree lay surrounded by beds in long rows, each bed set next to a small window inside of the Hazzard County Orphanage. The large room a cosey warm with a fire burning in the fire place in the corner.

“Yes, Emily.” Ted, one of the staff members at the Orphanage replied.

Carefully he picked the small girl up in his arms and held her close to the tree, but up so that she could reach towards the top. Emily placed her angel shaped ornament on the tree an then nodded that he could put her back in her wheel chair.

Ted wheeled her into the dinning area an she ate among the other kids at the Orphanage, the normal kids. Emily didn’t feel very hungry, so she ate as much as she could, then placed her empty plate in the sink and returned to her bed.

The next morning the Christmas tree was removed from the Orphanage and carefully carried down the street to the gazebo. Suddenly the wind picked up and blew against the tree hard, a single angel shaped piece of paper was blown off the tree. Slowly as the win died back down, the piece of paper fluttered down from the sky and landed on the wet side walk.

Not a soul noticed the single tiny piece of paper that had fallen from the Christmas tree, it went entirely unnoticed by the men carrying the tree and as planned the tree was placed in the center of the gazebo. Where the whole town could come and chose an ornament from the tree an donate the gift that was written on the small pieces of paper.

Such valuable pieces of paper, each a tiny wish for a child without a family to share a warm and loving holiday with. The tiny angel that had fluttered from the tree lay on the wet concrete as the cold wind began to blow again, this tiny wish would not be chosen from the tree like the others.

At this unfortunate time there was only 5 days until Christmas day, 5 short days for a bundle of tiny wishes to come true with a few meager gifts. The afternoon of the first day wore on, bit by bit citizens of the town would pass by and choose one of the wishes off the tree.

But the tiny wish that lay on the concrete went unnoticed, stepped on, trampled and dirtied on the side walk it lay there hopelessly lost. The afternoon grew into evening, the cold wind turning bitter, and for the first time since anyone could remember snow began to fall in Hazzard. Blanketing the earth in its fluffy white wings of powder and frozen frosting of beauty.

All awhile Emiley sat on her bed looking out her window, the snow flakes sticking to the glass and looking as pretty as ever. But she could never hope to touch them, or go out an play in the snow like the other children did at the orphanage. The slightest chill was a great risk to her terminally ill body, the chance of getting sick was far too much risk for her.

Ted and the other adults at the orphanage new that everyday she spent with them was a valuable gift in itself, but because of the low income, there was nothing they could do to make her life any better. She wasn’t expected to live as long as she had, her heart Doctor had said that she would be lucky if she saw her fifth birthday, an here was at twelve years old.

It was known to all the children who surrounded her that Emiley was born with wholes in her hurt, her mother had died giving birth and the little girl was left alone in the world. There was no telling when the childs time would come to leave this earth, an the people at the orphanage could tell that this may very well be the girls last Christmas with them.

After awhile, over come by fatigue Emily laid down and went to sleep, looking forward to awakening to more snow. It was the first time she had ever seen so much snow in GA in all her life, it wasn’t something that happened very often there.

The next day came life any other, the snow blanketed the ground and had accumulated to more then 2 inches. But the snow and fridged air didn’t slow the hustle and bustle of the people in the streets, striking out to make there last moment purchases for that special gift.

Two days passed by, an the snow built up more and so did the hurrying to get the shopping done. The wish tree lay nearly barren of wishes by the third day, also by then it lay surrounded in plentiful gifts, wishes and dreams that had been granted in tiny boxes an fancy paper.

An somewhere berried in the snow on the side walk, the lost paper angel lay. The third evening came on slowly, the sun settling hazily and the snow began to flutter down from the sky again. Darkness swallowed the town, the streets became empty and quiet at the late hour.

But in the bitter cold a single large creature stirred, someone that was much like the mascot of the town, feared but some and loved by others. With night seeing white pupils an a 14 foot long body, from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, the blue, white and black striped tiger walked the town.

The snow flakes stuck heavily to Razors thick coat, but his 800 pound body moved steadily through the snow on huge white paws. It was chilly for him, even with his heavy winter coat the bitterness seemed to seep in.

It wasn’t uncommon to see Razor out an about like a regular citizen, especially at night when it was quiet and he could be alone. Unlike the average tiger, Razor had the intelligence of a human, but like some humans he showed no pleasure in the celebration of Christmas.

To him it would be just another lonely day, with no warm home to go to and no family to spend the season with he would roam around lazily. Continuing on his walk down the snow covered side walk Razor couldn’t help but pause when a small piece of paper stuck the pad of his paw. The paper had been hidden under the snow, sitting down in somewhat irritated way he pulled the paper from his paw with his mouth and placed it on top of the snow.

The small piece of paper was half torn but it was unmistakably in the shape of a small angel, an the ink on it lay half washed out but still read able. On the paper was written…

“Emiley’s wish. A cat.”

Razor looked up from reading the piece of paper, an he glanced around, he had heard of the wish tree in town square. This must have been one of the wishes from the tree, an apparently someone had dropped it.

The big cat shivered in the bitter cold, he picked up the ornament and carried it in his mouth back to his bed. Which was nothing more then a pile of musty old hay in an abandoned shed in a farmers field. He lay down on the hay and reread the piece of paper…

Razor hadn’t ever been much for the joy of Christmas, but he knew where the wishes on that tree came from and he knew what they meant to the children in the orphanage. He stared at the piece of paper, his white eyes intent on it as he pondered.

Something rattled inside of him as he rolled the little girls name over in his mind, an the more he thought about it the more it seemed like something inside of him was telling him to…. to find this orphan. She had wished for a cat for Christmas, a simple cat…. why had she chosen such a gift? Such a meager gift.

He knew how bad things were at the orphanage, but he also knew that the children had been able to see many animals from local people. Why hadn’t this little girl been able to see the cats? The ach in Razor’s stomach grew, an he could not ignore it so he made up his mind to try and find the little orphan named Emiley.

*****

**1 AM The Orphanage**

Ambulance sirens wailed, lights flashed red and blue lighting up the front of the orphanage. Ted carried the little orphan out in his arms and climbed up into the back of the ambulance, little Emiley clutched to him fearfully as she gasped for breath.

At 1 AM that evening she had awoken with a raging high fever, her heart racing and pounding in her chest a million miles an hour. They rushed her to the hospital, there was no doubt in anyones mind that she was in bad shape.

It took only a short time to settle her in and get her calmed down, the Doctor’s tested her and found that it was indeed her heart. Immediately they hooked her up to numerous monitors to watch her closely, but they allowed her to rest and go to sleep, there was nothing more anyone could do… just pray.

The next morning arrived and Razor awoke to more snow then the night before, but the bitter cold in the air was gone and the sun was shining. He started to make his way towards the orphanage, his mind set on finding the little girl named Emily who had made the wish on the paper he had found the night before.

It was a short walk in the snow to the orphanage, he arrived and boldly trotted up the steps and pressed the door bell with one paw. He waited patiently hearing someone moving around inside and an old women’s voice called out.

“Im coming!”

Seconds later the old women with a white Christmas apron came to the door and opened it. She gasped at the sight that was brought to her eyes and her heart raced in fear. Before her sat the huge blue tiger, his fur sleek and clean.

“Please… I beg you don’t be afraid. I will not hurt you… I was once a human…” Razor quickly said and backed away from her.

“Oh my goodness, you are Razor… the towns mascot, the one I have heard so much about. What can I do for you my dear?” She said calming, she had heard a lot about him and no longer felt threatened.

Razor drew the piece of paper from where he had put it neatly folded under the buckle of his collar, he held it out to her and she took it. The old women brought her eye glasses up to her eyes and read the piece of paper carefully.

“Ah yes, this is a wish off of the tree in town square…” She paused her eyes swelling in tears.

The tiger watched her, an he felt the swell of sadness in her heart as it reflected on her face. He stepped closer to her and offered one of her hands a gentle lick with his tongue.

“I am looking for the little girl whos name is on that piece of paper… is she here? Do you know where I can find her mam?” He asked, his white eyes intent on her.

Razor watched her face, her _expression giving him reason to worry, she had not turned sad until he had asked for the little girl. Slowly she shook her had and blotted her eyes with the corner of her apron.

“No… my dear, I am sorry she is not here. She is at the hospital, she took a turn for the worst very early this morning…. the doctors say that she may not make it.” The old women sniffled and whipped away more fresh tears.

“What do you mean?… What is wrong with her?” Razor asked placing his right paw on her arm gently.

“She is terminally ill, she has a very terrible heart condition.”

Razor’s eyes widened and he backed away from her a couple of steps shaking his head in disbelief. Before another word could be spoken he gently grabbed the piece of paper from the woman’s hands and whirled around, he dashed off the steps and began to run. His heart leading him on, he knew where he was going, Razor hated going into the city but he needed to see this little girl before it was too late.

Half way out of town the big tiger had no choice but to slow down to a steady rolling jog, he knew if he didn’t set some kind of pace that he would not get there before the next dawn. An chances were that would be too late, the little girl would die before he could get there if he didn’t pace himself. None the less he kept on as steadily as he could, only stopping long enough to drink from a creek.

In a few short hours, just before the sun was setting on the horizon and evening was coming on he came into the city. Tired from the long journey he panted and his pink tongue hung out the side of his mouth lazily. His hot breath wisped into the air like smoke and descended into the frigid air. Razor walked down the street, his ears perked an his senses on high alert, he knew how dangerous the city could be for him to be in, anyone could feel threatened by him and call the police.

After walking 7 more miles into the city, crossing numerous roads an busy streets he came to the front entrance of the hospital an paused. For a long moment he just stood before the huge building and peered up at it, a lit with bright lights. Somewhere inside this building was a little girl possibly clinging to life by little more then a tiny thread, her wishes and dreams passed by like a broken toy.

Hesitantly Razor stepped onto the mat that opened the automatic doors, the doors swung open an he couldn’t help but flinch as they slapped the wall behind them. Just inside the doors was a large waiting room, the late evening hours saw the room empty except for the secretary at the desk busily working.

Razor couldn’t help but feel huge an completely out of place in such a huge clean building, just the same he walked up to the desk and sat down before it. He knew this was going to be a shock to the young secretary, but there was no other way to find out which room and which floor Emily was on.

“Excuse me young lady, could you possibly tell me which room a little girl named Emily is in?” Razor said an raised himself up so that he could look over the counter and rest his front paws on the counter top.

The young women looked up at the moment her eyes landed on Razor, Razor knew that this was going to be one big disaster just waiting to happen. Her voice caught in her throat at first an then she screamed so loud Razor had to turn his ears back as the sounds echoed through out the halls.

A hospital officer came running after hearing the secretary scream, the officer froze in his tracks as Razor dropped down to all fours and turned to face him. The officers hand dropped towards his gun, his fingers shaking and his face paling.

“Don’t do it…. don’t you touch that gun. Im quicker then you will ever be in your life time.” The tiger spoke, challenging the law officer.

The officer froze and his eyes widened yet further, this animal had just spoken to him like a human would. Ok he thought, that was the last straw, his hand rested on the butt of the gun and began to raise it. Razor leapt forward just as he drew the gun up to chest height, the big tiger head butted the bottom of the gun where the officer gripped it. The brute force of the tigers head sent the gun flying through the air and crashing through glass that surrounded the secretaries desk.

Now mortally terrified the officer grabbed his walkie talkie from his belt and called for back up. Razor could feel his patients growing thinner by the moment, he just had to see this little girl, he turned back to the panic stricken secretary and demanded the room number.

“What is Emily’s room number!” He snapped at her.

Crying and sobbing in depth the young women with her hands shaking took the files from her desk and read them.

“Room….room… 112 on this… floor.” She said sobbing louder.

Razor looked both ways trying to decide which hallway would lead him to her room, lucky for him the hallways had arrows and the room numbers that were in that specific hallway. Finally his eyes landed on the arrow with the room numbers 105-115, he dashed around the officer, his soft paws slipping and sliding every which way on the smooth floor.

He ran down the hallway watching the room numbers fly by in each door way, they were going up, getting higher and higher.

“108…109…110… come on, come on its got to be here!” Razor said to himself as he kept running.

More officers were coming, he could see them over his shoulder as he ran, they were trying to follow him and others were trying to cut him off. Suddenly a hospital bed rolled down the intersecting hallway and banged into the wall in front of him. Razor’s paws slipped an slide as he hurried to come to a stop, only two rooms away from room 112. He turned around only to be greeted by a heavy duty rope as it landed in a loop around his neck.

The rope around his neck tighten an another rope caught around his front right foot as he raised it to take a step back. Both ropes tightened and pulled on him, Razor leaned his weight onto his rear feet and pulled in return.

“Let go of me!!!” He snapped at the officers and bit at the ropes.

Razor chewed on the rope around his neck for a few long seconds and then it gave way breaking, easily he slipped out of the rope around his paw. He turned and leapt up onto the hospital bed blocking his way, Razor stood on the bed pausing to see what the officers would do as he tried to get to room 112. All of the officers dashed to get down the hallway and block the tiger from trying to escape there grasp. Seeing the officers run to block him, Razor quickly jumped down from the bed.

On his way down his collar suddenly snagged itself on a bar sticking out from the side of the bed abruptly chocking him and pulling him to a halt. The leather collar stead fast throughly snagged on the bed, frantically the tiger tugged and pulled hard trying to free himself. The bed wiggled and moved in the direction that he pulled, its wheels nearly pinching his toes.

The officers grinned at each other, why catch the cat when the cat gets itself snagged on its own. Tired from his struggle Razor paused an panted hard watching the smiling faces of the officers, there grins curled into evil smirks. A young brave officer with a rope in his hands ventured forward, slowly letting out the rope with the intent to take the tiger in with ease.

Razor snarled an swipped his sharp claws at the officer, his huge teeth barred an his lips turned up in defense. The officer quickly slung the looped rope around the tigers neck an moved his hand forward to pull it tight, his comrades watching from behind. Seeing the officers hand move to pull the not on the rope tight he yanked hard on his hung up collar an snapped his mouth down hard on the young officers offending hand.

Immediately blood flowed as the officer cried out in pain, Razor clawed at him shredding his uniform. The young officers comrades gasped fearfully an hurried forward with there sticks to try beat an fend the tiger off, they clubbed him in the head an nose, anywhere they could to try an get Razor to release.

A state officer stepped back an drew his pistol, he knew there was no way to tear the tiger away from the young officer, hurriedly he fired two shots into the concrete floor. Now up on his rear feet mauling the officer Razor yelped at the sound of the gun shots an jerked on his collar.

Finally his collar slipped from its hang up on the bed and Razor bolted away making a mad dash for room 112 that was in sight. Drops of blood dripped heavily from his beaten muzzle an his paws moved unsteadily over the waxed floor.

The state police officer reacted quickly lining the tigers body up in his pistols sights he fired two shots. A spray of blood puffed in the air from Razor’s left shoulder and he tripped forward onto the floor with a heavy grunt of pain. The momentum from his run caused him to slide after falling and go head first into the heavy oak door of room 112.

The officers standing around released a heavy sighed of relief as the beast slammed into the door an lay on the floor dazed and bleeding from his wounds.

The sudden gun shots from the hallway drew a fearfull cry from the termoinally ill child from within room 112. Ted stood up from his chair where he had been sitting an holding a carefull vigil over the dying child. He gasped an flinched hearing the second set of gun shots just outside of there room door, Emiley cried hard an Ted spoke to her softly calming her. Seconds later a heavy THUD came against there door and all fell silent.

Worried an in fear of Emiley’s condition, Ted hurried to the door an opened it his brow creased in worry.

“What is going on out here?!” He burst out as he opened the door.

A team of police officers stood in a half circle, one clutching his bleeding hand an arm. A soft whimper came to Ted’s ears an he looked down, his face suddenly flushed into a agonizing _expression as they met the familiar sight of the tiger. He grimaced seeing the small pool of blood on the floor near the tigers shoulder, an the animals badly battered muzzle.

“Sir, everything is under control please go back into your room.” The State officer said coming towards the open door, his gun still in hand.

“No… no.. Please! Don’t shoot!” Ted held up his arms trying to stop the officer.

The officer paused, his gun still at ready as the Hazzard County Orphanage man knelt down, a sad look on his face. Ted gently spoke to Razor an ran the back of his hand over the tigers back as he shook in pain.

“Easy Razor… easy big guy.” Ted spoke softly to the withering tiger.

Slowly he drew his old handkerchief from his pocket an placing his free hand comfortingly on Razor’s head he pressed the cloth over the bloody hole in the tigers shoulder. The touch of the cloth drew a cry from the cat an he struggled a few moments in pain. Frowning Ted looked up at the officers, his free hand stroking the tigers huge body.

“One of you hurry an get a Doctor, you have no idea what you have done, this is Razor, Hazzard counties mascot. He is the only living blue tiger on record….” Ted paused an folded the blood soaked handkerchief, pressing it back to the wound. Razor lay awake, but still clearly dazed from hitting his head on the floor an the door frame. “Whatever he’s done Im sure he did it for a reason, now go hurry!”

Staring in disbelief, the officers stood watching, each of them wide eyed in surprise. They all blinked snapping out of there trance, one Atlanta officer darted away to get a doctor, while nurses an other people working the late evening hours begin to gather around wondering what had gone on.

Ted stood up from kneeling next to Razor an stepped into Emileys room an returned with some napkins. He carefully blotted at the lacerations on th tigers muzzle an spoke to him softly trying to get him to reply.

“Can you hear me Razor? Come on… talk to me, I know you can.” He smoothed his hand over the tigers face, trying to rub the animal out of his daze.

Razor blinked his already open eyes an groaned, his mind returning to the reality, he raised his head slightly an drew his right foot under himself getting more comfortable.

“Ted…” Razor winced licking the back of the hand of the man he knew from the orphanage. “I found… the angel….Emily’s angel….” He gritted his teeth baring the pain of the pressing bullet.” The angel… from the wish tree Ted… I found it… in the snow.”

Ted’s brow creased as he understood what the tiger was telling him, he stroked the animals long body, an at that time a doctor appeared, looking skeptical. The officers began to clear the area of the mingling people as the doctor knelt down near the tiger hesitantly.

“Alright people, lets clear out of here.” As they were told the people mingled away returning to there work an rooms.

Carefully the doctor removed the bullet from Razor’s shoulder an did his best to bandage the journey wary tiger. Feeling better shortly after Razor sat up on his elbows tenderly an licked Ted’s face an hands in appreciation for coming to his rescue.

“Tell me again what brought you hear Razor, you were hard to understand earlier.” Ted said as he stood up an looked down at the tiger at his feet.

Still urgent to get to Emiley, grimacing Razor forced himself to his feet. “I found one the wishes off the wish tree in town square on the ground. It belongs to a little girl named Emiley, she wished for a cat, the lady at the orphanage said that she was here an in bad shape. Where is she Ted, am I too late?”

Tears swelled in Ted’s eyes as he listened to Razor tell him about his journey to get to the hospital to make the little girls wish come true.

“She is still alive Razor, but she is fading very fast, she was born terminally ill an has beat all the odds. But her body is givin’ out on her an she just can’t take anymore.”

Razor eased off of the hospital table an limped up to Ted an grabbed him gently by his shirt sleeve. “Please Ted, let me see her, I am her wish, let me make her final wish come true, please I beg of you.”

Quietly Ted stared down at his cat friend, watching him plead for his help. Slowly he nodded in a yes reply, but it was on a condition. Ted drew a clean handkerchief from his pocket an carefully tied it around Razor’s muzzle, he knew better then to think that the tiger would ever harm the little girl. But Ted was afraid that Emiley would be afraid of Razor an that maybe the bandanna would give her some last effort confidence in her dreams.

“Come on Razor.” Ted said holding the door open as the tiger followed him slowly, limping.

Man an beast made there way to room 112, where nurses stood by the bed of a young child futilely clinging to life, holding onto her dreams. Razor stepped into the room, watching as Ted went up to the bed an took the little girls hand into his own an spoke to her as she opened her eyes.

“Emiley, sweetheart, do you remember the wish that you made for Christmas an hung it on the wish tree?” Ted said rubbing the small hand between his.

The little girl nodded her head, from where she laid she could not see Razor over the bed bars. “Yes Ted..” Her voice sounded very tired. “I remember my wish.”

“Emiley, someone very special is here to make your wish come true, he came a long way just to see you. Are you ready?”

“Yes.” Emily replied squeezing Ted’s hand gently.

“Ok Razor, try not to startle her.” Ted said as he lowered the bars on one side of her bed so that the tiger could raise his head an look onto the bed.

The little girls eyes brightened immediately at sight of huge tiger, the huge cat, a cat was what she had wished to touch and see for a little while. Tears brimmed her eyes an she reached out and touched the side of Razor’s face, felling the thick white fur and smoothing her small hand over his head.

Seeing the joy in her eyes Razor licked her hand an rested his paws on the side of the bed so that he could raise himself up into her reach better. Slowly he rested his head beside her small body, just letting her touch and pet him. Her hands roaming over his ears an muzzle, taking every inch of him in. Finally she looked up at Ted with a huge tear streaked smile an lay her arm around the tigers neck, just holding onto him with every ounce of her strength.

“Oh Ted…. he’s so beautiful….what is his name?” She asked, clinging to Razor’s neck with a death grip.

Ted smoothed his hand over the big cats back letting his fingers float through the thick blue fur. “This is Razor, he walked all the way from the orphanage to see you. He found your wish from the tree.”

Emiley smiled scratching between the tigers ears. “Razor… thank you Razor. I wished for just a little cat, but I got you… I got a big wish.” She laughed alittle feeling so happy an excited to have him there.

For a long time she just lay there petting him, Razor stuck close to her the whole time, his strong senses feeling the weakness in her body growing. After nearly a half hour of clinging to him she drifted off into a deep weezing sleep. Ted dozed in the chair, exhausted from his long vigil over the ill child.

Noticing that everyone had fallen asleep, Razor moved slowly and climb up onto the edge of the hospital bed, being ever so careful. The small movement stirred Emiley for the faintest moment an she reached for him, her small eyes pleading him not to leave. Razor licked her hands comfortingly and reassuring her that he was not going anywhere. He lay down on the edge of the bed, her arms wrapped tightly around his neck as she drifted off to sleep.

Razor lay down, allowing her to hold onto him how ever she wanted, he rest his head beside hers on the pillow and closed his eyes feeling ever so peaceful. The late evening hours turned into early morning, as the white snow continued to fall outside. The sparkling cold dust touched the Georgian ground like gold leaving a blanket of diamonds over the ground.

The morning wore on until the first rays of bright sunshine peaked the faraway mountains an rose slowly into the thinning clouds. Those strong rays of sunshine beat into the hospital room warming it with its thick fingers of comfort. Light seeped into the sleeping big cats eyes an he blinked them an carefully yawned, his pearl eyes squinting at the brightness as he looked at the little girl laying beside him.

A bitter sweet emptiness enveloped his heart as his keen senses revealed the cold stillness of the body beside him. An yet the warmth of the golden rays of sun shown through the big window like a stairwell to heaven, giving an angel…a tiny angel her chance to walk forth an make her final journey home.

Tears wailed in the massive cats eyes an he whimpered at the feeling he had inside, he felt so happy an yet so sad. He had granted her final wish an he could feel the fingers of heaven an happiness clasp onto his very own body in appreciation for what he had done. Now she was gone from the world, never again to face another day of lingering pain.

Razor raised his head an licked the deceased child’s cheek an slowly climbed down from the hospital bed. He felt so good, he had mad a difference in some ones life, he’d done something good in the face of what had seemed to all as a lost cause. An best of all, he’d held a paper angel by the hand an helped her gain the happiness of single wish before she grew her wings an made her final journey.

The tiger paused, standing in the sunlight that beat through the doorway an looked at Ted still asleep in the chair beside the bed. Carefully he took the crumbled up piece of paper from being tucked beneath his tight leather collar an pressed it into the mans hand. He knew he’d understand, with this Razor walked out of the room an down the hallway glancing back to admire the golden rays once more.

His ears perked, an his eyes a silent almost invisible smile that he could not hide. A simple piece of paper, in the shape of an angel had led him here an opened up his heart to the precious gift that life truly is. An it all made sense now, Paper Angels weren’t a tree decoration at all, the are the tiny gifts in the world given in the form of a child. A child like Emiley an so many other children are out there just waiting for there wish, so that they can spread there wings an fly.

Paper Angels, your in my thoughts and prayers
No matter where you are
Remember God’s right there
He’s asking all of us, to help take care
Of his Paper Angels everywhere

[“Paper Angel” by: Jimmy Wayne]

 

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