“The Big BOOM” is one of the outstanding stories of the second biannual International Short Story Contest 2017 written by Isabella Lee, Australia.
The Big BOOM
When the orphanage exploded, all the children and carers died. All except one. Her big blue eyes shone as the fire raged on but, surprisingly she did not cry. In her cradle, her short blond hair withered in the hot, rusty wind. Then she let out a little squeaky cry 'waaaaa!!!' Nobody heard. But then, a few days after the terrible tragedy, a young woman passed the site. She saw the baby, perched on a fallen log. She picked it up gently. 'I shall name you Rosie, for you do so smell like pretty roses,' said the woman and with that, she carried Rosie home.
'Mum! Where's my math book?!' 'In the kitchen!' In the old wooden house of the young woman, Rosie was preparing for another day for school. She was now just under eleven, and had grown into a sensible, well-behaved child. 'Rosie, dear, where's your new ribbon?' 'Mummm! Do I have to? ', complained the girl. 'Yes! 'Come on!!' Rosie tied her hair up with her new blue ribbon and set off to school. On the way up Hee-Ho Hill, she always passed the ruins of the orphanage. 'What is that?' she often asked her mother, but her mother made no reply, for if her daughter found that she was adopted, she wouldn't be happy.
'What's that weird pile of rotting wood that I pass everyday on Hee-Ho Hill?' she asked her friend, Wendy. 'Oh, that's the old orphanage!' she replied. 'Mother told me it burned a long time ago, when we were probably babies. By the way, what did you look like when you were a baby? I looked like this.' and Wendy held out a photo that was a little burned. It showed a little toddler, with dark, frizzy hair and a big, round face. 'Ah, cute!' But inside Rosie was really thinking, 'what did I look like as a baby?'
That afternoon, she raced home as fast as she could. "Mother, mother!" she cried. "Yes, dear?" "What did I look like as a baby?" Her mother looked at her adopted daughter, suddenly turning pale. She turned from knitting to go to her room. "Wait, Mum, I want to know! Please!" The woman suddenly turned and cried "You're adopted, ok, adopted!!!" Rosie stepped back. "A-adopted?" She ran out of the little cottage. Her mother ran to her room, and quietly sobbed into the sheets. After calming down, she set off to look for her daughter. Where on earth could she have gone? Then she had a sudden thought in her mind. She raced off to Hee- Ho Hill. She found Rosie sobbing on a rotten log, the very same one her mother had found her ten years ago.
Rosie peered over her shoulder, then whipped right back around when she saw it was her mother. Her mum gently put her arm around the child. "I'm sorry, love." "W-Why didn't you tell me I was adopted?" "B-Because I thought I'd hurt your feelings... and I understand if you won't forgive me. I'm an awful mother."
As the lady staggered away, she felt a tug on her pinafore. She turned to see her dear daughter hugging her tight. "I love you, mum." Those words were what mothers hold dear for the rest of their lives. "Come on, then, dear! I'll tell you how I came to see you. Then the pair perched on a fallen log and built a fire out of the wood. "It was a crispy cold day and....."