Title Pic

Title Pic

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chapter 1

“Children!  Children!!  Listen to me.  I want you to all sit at your desks, put your heads down and be quiet.  The busses will be arriving soon.” 

A boy in the front raised his hand.  “But Miss Preston, I don’t ride a bus.  My grandmother or auntie picks me and my sister up.” 

The teacher nodded though we could all see that something was wrong.  There were giant sweat stains under her arms like the air condition had been off, but it was blowing full blast and so cold I wished that teacher would let me get my jacket out of my cubby hole. 

“Everything will be just fine.  Office staff will call you when your parents – or your ride – arrives to pick you up.” 

It wasn’t that very long later that a voice on the intercom said, “Bus 1055 has arrived.  Please check your rosters and have all children that ride this bus ready for pick up.”  My hand shot up; that was my bus. 

I grabbed my stuff from the cubby hole that had my name on it and then they walked us down to the bus circle.  It was weird to see 1055 to be the only one there.  I heard all of the adults talking quietly and could tell something bad was happening but I didn’t know what.  When I got on the bus it was very scary to see that all the big kids were there until I saw my brother and I went running back to him and almost got in trouble. 

“Young lady …” growled the mean, fat woman that had been the bus driver that day. 

“It’s ok.  She’s my sister,” Tim had said before pulling me into the seat with him and a girl that I can just barely remember being his girlfriend.  I don’t remember her much and she isn’t a part of the story anymore but I mention her because my brother treated her nice, not like men do today, and he was just a kid too.  He was fifteen. 

“Where’s Geri?” I asked. 

“Shhh.  Keep your voice down Sissa.  She’s already at home.  The bus from the middle school is already home.  Look, I know it’s going to be weird but I need you to sit on the floor here.” 

“Ew.  It’s dirty down there.  And your feet stink.” 

He jerked me around and that was the first time that I got really scared.  Tim had never been rough with me and he didn’t look like he wanted to be rough with me then either, like it hurt him to do it.   “You can’t cause problems Sissa.  Just do what I say.  And when we get off the bus you hold my hand and we are going to run home as fast as we can.  You got that?”  All I could do was look at my big brother and nod. 

And that’s what we did.  Mom met us at the door crying.  Geri was crying too and I didn’t understand why a big thirteen year old girl would be crying.  Then I saw Daisy and her husband there and it got really freaky. 

“Where’s Daddy?  I want Daddy!” 

Tim turned around and said, “Knock it off Sissa.” 

Daisy came over and snapped, “Take it easy Tim, she doesn’t understand.  I’ll take her up to her room and get her packed.” 

“Packed?  Where are we going?  And where’s Daddy?!” 

Daisy took my hand and pulled me up to the room that was mine alone after Daisy moved out and Geri got her old room.  “Daddy is picking up Uncle Rick and his family.”

“You promise?  He’s not sick or anything?” 

“Why would you think that?” she asked as she dumped my dirty clothes bag out and started putting my clean clothes in it. 

“’Cause Momma looks just like when Uncle Wesley died.  She’s all white and crying and stuff.” 

“Mom’s just … look Sissa, you’re too little to really understand and I know you hate it when we say that to you but this time it is true.  Something bad, really bad, happened in the world today.  A big bomb went off in this place called the United Nations building.” 

“I’ve heard of the United Nations.  It’s in New York.” 

Daisy said, “It is … was I mean.  Now it’s not anymore and all around where the building used to be there is this bad stuff called radiation.  And the people that did it are … are scaring people and telling them they are going to do it in other places too.  Daddy and Uncle Rick are going to take us to the farm. We are going to stay there a while and be safe until things can get back to normal.” 

I really didn’t have a clue.  All I cared about was that Daddy would be home and the family would be together and we were going to the farm and then we’d be with more family. 

We did move to the farm and we lived there until I turned ten; long enough for life to change forever.  I learned lots of things from my grandmother, mother, and aunts.  How to make do, make over, or do without.  How to hoe.  How to stand on a stool and help make whatever we were able to grow … and keep, because the government was always around taking a bunch of it away to keep the people in the cities from coming out into the country and taking it themselves.  Long enough for Daisy’s husband to get drafted and never come home.  Long enough for my brother, cousins, and other male relatives to get involved in something called a militia and get the whole family in big trouble. 

That was an election year, the last one there’s been since.  Just in case they still don’t have them by the time you are old enough to read this an election year is when people are supposed to be able to vote for who they want to be the boss of certain things.  Only there were a lot more people in the cities than there were in the country so it was their people who won the elections and those newly elected people had promised the people in the city that had voted for them more food and more other stuff and when they couldn’t deliver on their promises fast enough they blamed the people in the country for being ignorant and selfish.  That’s when things blew up in my life all over again. 

I think they are all dead.  I think they would have tried to find me if they weren’t.  Or maybe they did try and they think I am the one that is dead.    One of these days I would like to know for sure.  If they think I am dead I’m pretty sure that I’ll let them keep thinking it.  My family were nice people, I don’t think they could deal with what really happened to me.  I think it would hurt them too bad and I don’t want to have to live with that on top of everything else.

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou for the new chapter, I think this is going to be another really good one!