A woman hears a boy’s voice in her backyard days after her son’s death and is startled to see a small boy dressed in rags standing there.
“Hello? Am I talking to Mrs. Caroline Smith?”
“Yes. How may I help?”
“We regret to inform you, ma’am, that your son was killed in a car accident this afternoon. He was crossing the street and was unaware of a car approaching from the opposite direction. We went through his belongings and found his school ID as well as your phone number. However, we would like you to identify the body to be certain.”
Caroline’s heart sank when she heard the terrifying news. It had been just like any other day when her son Jacob left for school that morning. She chased after him, telling him to hurry up and get ready, but the boy, as usual, was not ready to listen to his mother and was instead playing video games.
She’d even chastised Jacob that morning because the bus had already arrived, and he wasn’t ready. If you don’t listen to me, Jacob, I swear I’ll never buy you any video games again! She’d yelled at him. However, when she received word from the cops that her son had died, she couldn’t bear the shock and just collapsed on the ground.
A few hours later, when she opened her eyes, she was in a hospital. Two cops were sitting by her bedside. They had rushed to her house after her phone line was abruptly disconnected that afternoon.
“My son!” she cried, opening her eyes. “My little boy! I want to see him!” She wouldn’t stop crying.
“Please calm down, ma’am. You’re not even in a position to move. And we’d advise you not to go for the identification right now,” one of the officers suggested.
But Caroline’s heart wouldn’t rest until she saw her little boy. At one point, she was convinced it was all a bad dream that would end soon, but when she went to the morgue, all her doubts vanished.
The little boy lay all pale, lifeless, covered in a white sheet. His face that was once home to a million smiles and an evil laugh when he teased his mother was motionless, as if life never existed in that little soul. Caroline couldn’t control her tears at his sight and kept blaming herself for his son’s death.
It was only two years back that she fled her abusive husband Harry and moved to Mexico. It was hard for both her and Jacob to adjust to the new life. The little boy, after spending a few months at a new school, didn’t have many friends and always felt left out. So he found a four-pawed one in the next neighborhood.
Every afternoon after school, Jacob wouldn’t even change his clothes before going to collect leftovers from his mother and feeding his furry friend. Caroline would always warn him to be cautious when crossing the street, but he never listened to her.
This would not have happened if I had tolerated all of the abuse and stayed with Harry. It’s entirely my fault! Caroline broke down again, thinking about her son.
One afternoon, when she returned home from work during her lunch break, she noticed Jacob was already there. She worked as a tailor in a nearby boutique, so she came back home in the afternoon when Jacob returned home from school.
When she walked into the kitchen that day, she noticed Jacob taking some extra food from the fridge and exiting the house through the door that led to the backyard. Didn’t I pack the leftovers today? Maybe I forgot. she thought as she saw Jacob leave. But it happened again the next day and the next. Jacob began arriving home from school early, and the food in the refrigerator started to disappear.
She resolved to confront Jacob about it one day, but she became preoccupied with work and completely forgot about it.
Please come back, Jacob! she sobbed, thinking about her son and how happy they’d been in the past. I promise I will never scold you. You can play video games in the morning, and I won’t say a word. Sadly, the truth was Jacob would never return.
After saying goodbye to her beloved son, Caroline sat alone in his room for several days, hugging his toys and clothes. Sometimes she’d just stand by the window for hours, staring outside, hoping Jacob would run up to her after getting off the bus and hug her. But several days passed, and none of it happened–no matter how hard she tried to convince herself that it was all a nightmare.
One afternoon, she was standing by the window when she heard a voice in the backyard. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Smith. I’m sorry about what happened to Jacob,” a sweet, squeaky voice, that of a child’s, appeared. Am I imagining things?! Or did I just hear a boy’s voice for real? Caroline was perplexed.
“Can you please open the door? I want to tell you something about Jacob!” it said again. This time Caroline was pretty sure she wasn’t hallucinating. Perhaps there was someone in the backyard, maybe a neighborhood kid, she reasoned as she approached the door that led to the backyard.
When she opened the door, she was startled to see a boy, about seven or eight years old, standing there with a little girl and a dog. Both the boy and the girl looked frail and were dressed in rags.
“What’s your name, kid, and what brings you here?” she inquired, concerned about their scruffy appearance, thin bodies, and sunken cheeks.
“You’re Mrs. Smith, right?” the boy said. “Jacob’s mother?”
“Yes, I am. You said you wanted to tell me something about him?”
“Yes, I do,” the boy said in a trembling voice. “Jacob…he…” the boy started crying. Feeling terrible for the children and the dog, Caroline brought them inside. She gave the kids milk and cookies, and she put some milk in a bowl for the dog.
As the boy finished his meal, he thanked Caroline for her kindness and began telling her the entire story about how he met Jacob.
It turns out the boy’s name was Ryan, and the little girl was his sister Rachel. Jacob met them one day when he was feeding his doggo friend. Ryan and Rachel had escaped from their orphanage because they were mistreated.
When they told Jacob their story, the little boy promised them he’d get food for them from his house, just like he did for the dog, and began returning home early from school every day so he could take extra food without Caroline noticing.
So that’s why the food kept disappearing. Jacob was feeding these poor kids and the dog! Caroline’s eyes welled up.
“That afternoon, Rachel was crying because she was hungry. When I saw Jacob coming with the food bags, I signaled him to run faster, and that’s when a car hit him. It’s all my fault. I wanted to tell you everything long back, but I was scared,” said Ryan.
Caroline was devastated. If only Ryan hadn’t told him to run faster, Jacob would be alive. If only she’d asked Jacob why he took extra food, she could’ve helped the poor kids, and Jacob wouldn’t have to sneak out like that.
She couldn’t blame the poor kids for what happened because she believed it was her fault too. She should have paid more attention to Jacob and prioritized him over her work.
Considering everything to be destiny, Caroline decided to adopt Rachel and Ryan and give them a better life. She also decided that she’d adopt their canine friend as a pet dog.
Caroline knew that if Jacob was alive, he would’ve loved to help these kids out. She hoped he was happy to see her helping the poor kids and his doggo friend wherever he is. These were her thoughts as she signed the paperwork to begin the adoption process.
What can we learn from the story?
What has been done is done. It’s pointless to dwell on the past. Caroline decided to move on from her son’s death and provide a better life for Rachel and Ryan.
Learn to be kind and helpful. Jacob, upon learning the truth about Ryan and Rachel, helped them without expecting anything in return.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a store clerk who kicked out a little boy who wanted to buy a doll for his dying mother.