Book 1: Charlene: A tragic past

Charlene was fifteen years old, she had long black hair, which she wanted to cut as she was fond of fashion shows and that in most of them, the girls had extra short hair, but as she didn't want to offend her parents who liked her long black hair, she did not cut them. There was also another reason why they did not want to make her cut her hair; this was because they were poor, extremely poor. Charlene, for this reason, did everything to please them.

And most of all, she was really kind hearted.

When there was only one day left for the 21st marriage anniversary of her parents, Charlene made up her mind to give them the most beautiful present they ever had had.

Her parents, like all the parents in the world, said that she did not need to give them anything, as she had always been kind towards everyone. Nobody neither in the school nor in the neighbourhood had ever reported to them that she had done something wrong, they said that they hoped this would continue and that this was the best present she could give them.

But surely Charlene did not listen to them and was daydreaming and that not listening to her parents caused her to have just heard:

"We hope you will keep your promise and we are sure you will do your best to surprise us!"

In fact she didn't hear this; she just made it clear in her mind that she wanted to hear that part of speech. She heard only what she wanted.

Surprised, but still excited and pleased by the enthusiasm of her parents, who normally were boring, she wandered in the shade of the old apple tree at the back of the house, wondering what would be the perfect gift.

The neighbours, who were not really fond of Charlene, kept an eye on her and from time to time, gave her a nasty glance.

"A child of this age cannot always do whatever her parents want! She's not an angel, I should pretend to talk to her mother and then take a look on her some other day…"

"Perhaps when she kept wandering out of view of her parents, she just smoke or something like that!" they kept chattering.

The neighbours, jealous not for having a girl like Charlene, searched and searched in her some faults but naturally did not find any and so, invented some. Everyone in the neighbourhood so wished to report Charlene of everything that came in their mind but they were not so wicked and cruel to report somebody without proofs.

At that moment Charlene didn't had any idea of what to offer to her parents. She had thought too early that it would be easy to find a gift for them.

"It will be too easy to find out what would please them," she had wondered weeks ago, "I can wait till I have finish all the work for school!"

And now she was rather worried because she hadn't a single idea and the day was approaching faster and faster. There was only one day left and she was sure she could hear the clock making the usual 'tick tack, tick tack….' As if to say, 'you have not much time. Fast.'

She jumped on her feet and ran in the direction of a shop named 'special gift shop'. She ran so quickly that arrived at the metal door of the shop, her purse containing more than one hundred rupees which she had just kept for the gift of her parents, slipped from her pocket and she did not noticed it.

A man at about thirty seven years old, rather fat, black-haired and who had an unpleasant and disgusting appearance was passing by, whilst Charlene entered the shop. He looked rather anxious as he walked down the road, chattering to himself but when his eyes passed on a purse dated the 20th century, they shined as brightly as the sun in the sky the day before. No matter how old and worn out the purse was he did not care.

He stared at it unbelievingly and took it in his big, shaking hands. Nobody could imagine his joy at that moment as nobody would imagine the sadness of Charlene when she was going to discover her missing purse. The latter continued staring at the purse with a lot of money inside with a pleasant look on his face, put it in his pocket and ran away like a mad man.

Charlene, knowing that she had more than one hundred rupees, didn't bother to ask and ask for the price, fearing that the gift chosen might be costing. She admired excitedly the perfumes, roses and antiques thinking that she could buy all these.

Finally, after exactly twenty seven minutes, which to the shopkeeper seemed an eternity, she saw and chose without waiting, a beautiful and well-decorated book on cookery. She was sure this gift would please them…