"Mummy how long is it till Christmas?"
"The same as when you asked me twenty minutes ago Chloe. Two days!"
"So where are we going now?"
"Christmas shopping! You'll just love it. You can have absolutely anything you want."
"Anything. And I'll wrap it up and put it under the Christmas Tree and you can open one on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning."
"What's a Christmas Tree?"
"Do you remember those pine trees that were all over the place near where you used to live?"
"You mean the orphanage?"
"Yes the orphanage."
"I remember. I didn't like them. They were boring and spiky."
"Well a Christmas tree is a pine tree except you decorate it with special Christmas Decorations. Tinsel - that's like a long fluffy shiny scarf for the tree, baubles and fairy lights! And not forgetting the Christmas Angel that sits on top of the tree to watch over the presents at night."
"Wow. Are Christmas Trees magic?"
"You know Chloe, Fairy tale magic isn't real but if it was, Christmas trees come as close as you can get."
"I can't wait to see one! Oh..."
"Chloe sweetie, are you ok?"
"I'm fine, I just feel a bit weird. My face feels numb."
"Maybe it wasn't a good idea taking you Christmas shopping. Far too cold out today. We should go home if you're not feeling well, you can sleep and I'll go tomorrow."
Chloe Stean looked up at her adoptive Mother lovingly. This was her first Christmas outside of the orphanage. She'd been living there since she was a baby and was adopted at the age of 5. Now 6 years old, she couldn't wait to spend her first proper Christmas with her new family and see her first Christmas tree...
"I du-nt feel..fe..I.car..can't..."
In a matter of seconds, a perfectly healthy 6 year old girl, collapsed into the snow. Her Mother rushed to her aid, eyes wide in panic. An ambulance called, Chloe Stean was rushed to hospital. Four hours of waiting later, a Doctor finally emerged.
"Doctor! Doctor, is Chloe ok?"
"Yes and no, Mrs Stean. Chloe has had a stroke. We've done several tests and scans and fortunately she will recover fairly quickly.
"So what's the bad news?"
"I don't know how to tell you this but...Chloe is blind."
"The stroke has affected the left occipital lobe in her brain which has caused blindness in both her eyes."
"Will she recover?"
"I wish I could say. This is very rare and the chances of her sight returning are.. unlikely. I'm sorry. She's awake though. You can see her if you want."
Mrs Stean entered the ward and sat down by her daughter's bed.
"The Doctor says you've had a stroke."
"Mummy, I can't see. Everything is dark. Is it night time?"
"No sweetie, it's not."
A lump formed in Mrs Stean's throat but she held back her tears.
"I can't see..."
"That's a side effect of the stroke Chloe. You may not be able to see for a long time but I am always here. You don't have to be scared, I will always be by your side. Okay?"
"Will I be like this forever?"
"I don't know Chloe. I don't know..."
"Will I still be able to see my first Christmas tree?"