Here it is, the last part! Very short, but basically gives closure to the story. I just finished another, and have a short story that deals with Vinnie again to put out.

God the ideas just keep coming! I'm in such a writing mode right now! See, it's like this and then I won't write something big for a month or two. Don't ask me.

Anyway, thank you so much for all your reviews, T.H., Lysaka, races-goil-only, Kora, and all you others. You guys really help me. And T.H., I can't wait to read your story, go write! Go! Shoo! Hehehe.

I had a lot of fun writing this one and teasing my friends about what was going to happen. Cya!


It was almost three month later when Jack awoke in the middle of the night.  What had awoken him, he wasn't sure.

Maybe it was the bright stream of light drifting through the open window. Open? Grumbling, Jack slipped out of bed and wandered to the window. The chilly winter wind was blowing in, but it did not have the same biting cold as usual. There was something calming in the air tonight.  He shivered but closed the window.

When he turned around, he was due for a shock. A young woman was in the room, walking without a sound down the rows of bunks, looking at each of the boys sleeping faces. She paused at the one below and beside Jack's.

Slowly, he made his way closer. He saw her bend over Racetrack's face, brushing his bangs out of his face. The moonlight seemed to illuminate the boy's face, making him seem almost angelic.  The woman planted a kiss on Race's forehead and the boy stirred in his sleep, but did not wake.

She whispered something to him that made him smile gently, but Jack could not hear. With one final kiss, and a touch of her hand to his chest, she stood up.

Jack thought she might be angry or frightened when she saw him, but she only smiled. She moved forward and Jack wondered if she was really walking, her feet made no sound.

Her long skirt blew about her as if there was some light breeze. Her long black hair was tied in a simple bun and she seemed not too much older than himself. Her eyes seemed so familiar, Jack thought, though he couldn't place them. there was some sort of strange unearthly light about her. She smiled gently at him. Then she reached out and touched his forehead.

"Ringraziarlo, Kelly di Cricco. Maggio Dio lo benedice sempre." The words were spoken in a voice like the wind and just as soft.  The translation was lost on Jack, but the meaning was clear. 

Then she led him back to his bunk and he climbed in, suddenly so very tired.  She put her finger to her lips and smiled. Jack nodded and closed his eyes.


December 25, 1899.

Jack yawned as someone shook him awake. He waved the tormentor away, but the noise didn't stop.

"Jack! Get up! Get up! It snowed!" Jack opened one eye to glare at Boots, but grudgingly got to his feet. He let his legs dangle off the bed as the younger kids ran downstairs and the older ones stumbled out of bed, or rolled over for an extra minute of sleep.

Beside him, Race rolled over and got to his feet. He looked behind him at Jack and grinned. Then he frowned.

"Whut?" Jack asked. Race frowned again as he twisted his upper body around.  Jack shook his head.

"Don't to dat Race, you'll hoit yerself again." Everyone knew that Race was still sore when he turned around or used his side muscles. But this time, Race ignored him and did it again.

"But it don't hoit, Jack." He said, turning to Jack and bending over, testing it again. Jack frowned, then suddenly the previous night came back to him. He stared at the window, just as Blink hurried from the washroom.

"Come on, guys!' he said, grinning. "It snowed!" Snow? Hadn't the moon been shining so bright last night? There wasn't a hint of a cloud in the sky.

"But the moon was out last night. It couldn't snow." Blink shrugged.

"Moon or not, it snowed. It's cold enough."

"And how would ya know?" Race asked from where he was touching his toes, still perplexed about his mysterious cure. He eyed Blink, still clothed in his long johns.

"Because some bum left da window open." Jack froze, staring at Blink as he hurried to get dressed. Race had finally given up and had grabbed his shirt.

He had just pulled on his vest when Jack spoke to him.

"Race, what does ringraziarlo, Kelly di Cricco. Maggio Dio lo benedice sempre mean?"  Race paused and frowned at him. He hoped the boy's Italian was still fresh in his mind.

"Kelly di Cricco, well, dat's your name. Jack Kelly. And da rest? Ringraziarlo means tank ya, and maggio Dio lo benedice sempre means May God bless ya always. So I guess it means, Thank you, Jack Kelly. May God bless you always."  He stared at his friend, confused. Jack did not often ask him to translate things in Italian.

Jack turned to him, a strange look in his eyes.  Those eyes, the woman's strange brown eyes were gazing back at him, from the face of his friend. Race blinked as Jack stared at him.

"What?" he asked, feeling uncomfortable.

"Your eyes, Race. Where'd ya get dem?" Race gave him a long look, as if trying to figure out just why Jack was asking him these strange questions.

"From me mudda." He said, before shaking his head and sitting down to pull on his shoes.

"Where's she now?" now Race was very confused. Families were a closed subject here. if you had one, great. If not, you weren't alone. Most boys wanted to forget they had ever been anything but the person they were  in those walls.

"Dead. Along wid da rest a' me family."  Jack nodded. There was a long pause. Neither boy noticed the room empty. Jack only sat with a strange mystified expression and Race  finished getting dressed.

Just before he placed his cap on his head, he turned around to face Jack one more time.

"Why?"  Jack looked at him,  as if he were seeing a ghost. Then he smiled slowly, as if understanding had suddenly dawned.

"No reason."