by Eric J. Krause
Angelica watched the little girl shuffle through the mall. She should be with an adult, but no one around looked like they knew her. The little girl, however, paid none of this any mind. She was on a mission. Angelica only wished she knew what it was.
Up ahead, Santa loomed. Of course. No little one could resist the allure of the jolly old elf. She clutched something in her fist, no doubt a crudely written list of Christmas wishes. Angelica almost left right then, content this one had found her way. Mom or Dad would surely be right behind.
Until the little girl wandered past without so much as a glance at the Santa display. Now Angelica watched with full attention. Where could one this young be going by herself, especially when she had no business being alone?
Angelica scouted ahead to guess the destination. Then she lagged behind to find any frantic parents searching for their little darling. No luck.
Others around the mall began to take notice. This was good, to a point. Most people had nothing but honorable intentions, but those few that didn't . . . Well, they were the reason Angelica searched a bit harder for answers.
Before anyone could intercept the girl, she found her destination: a kiosk specializing in wallets. The twenty-something behind the counter smiled down at the girl.
"Do I have enough for a new wallet?" She held out a small amount; Angelica saw three dollars and some loose change. "Daddy says he never has enough money, so his probably has a hole in it."
Angelica waved her hand at the clerk so he'd see the correct amount. She'd make sure the till had enough before closing. She also perked the clerk's curiosity about the girl.
"Where are your parents?" he asked as he handed her a brown leather tri-fold wallet.
"Mommy's in the bathroom, and Daddy's looking in the TV store. I wanted to surprise them."
The clerk chuckled. "And I'm sure you have." He picked up a phone, likely to call security.
Angelica drifted to where she guessed the girl's parents would be based on the description. She found them on the brink of hysterics, but a peaceful word calmed them both. They hurried in the direction of their daughter, now certain they'd find her.
Not far from the wallet stand, the young family reunited in tears and hugs. Angelica twirled her halo, unfolded her wings, and rose back to the heavens. All in a day's work.