Overwhelmed, Heartbroken, Beautiful
A small face peeked out from behind a torn piece of corrugated tin. A grimy hand rose to scratch the runny little nose. Someone coming. She turned back inside the old, broken building and scooted into the back.
“Mommy wake up now,” the little girl crooned, but Mommy just wouldn’t wake up. In fact, she didn’t move at all which was funny because her Mommy always was busy doing something. Mommy wasn’t even blinking. Maybe if I just let her sleep a while longer, and when she wakes up she’ll be better then. Jackie heard voices approaching. She scurried back to the torn flap of tin and peeked out. Two women. Could be rebels, there wasn’t any law enforcement for miles. She shrank back to let them pass. Outside, one of the women saw the movement and tracked it with her gun.
“Who is that? What you doing in there? “Said the taller one, Tara. “Sebbe, come around heah.” She pointed toward a bombed out store. “They someone in there. Git behind me. I tole you bring a gun.”
A gun? Jackie didn’t know what to do. Mommy was asleep. Well, she could be sick. Maybe that was too much blood around her; Jackie didn’t know how much was too much. It wasn’t runny so much anymore, it was sticky now. She wanted mommy to wake up and make these scary ladies go away. Overwhelmed, she sat down and hugged her knees.
“You better come on out now!” Tara started toward the torn storefront.
“Listen Tara!” Sebbe grabbed her arm. “Listen to that. There’s a youngun in there. You hear it?” Sebbe’s hand pushed the muzzle of the gun down. Tara started to protest but Sebbe got down and crawled through the torn wall. The lack of daylight took a second to get used to but she slowly made her way forward.
Tara came in behind. It was hard to see. She could hear the crying though, it was getting louder. When she came around the corner, well it was the saddest thing she’d ever seen in her life, bar none. A little girl, trying to cover up with her mama’s coat. Crying so hard her baby knees were shaking. Heartbroken, she cried aloud.
“My Mommy won’t wake up. I’m hungry and she w-won’t w-wake uh-up!”
Sebbe came and picked up the little girl. Another war-orphan, thank heavens they had found her and not some rebels. She didn’t even want to think about what they would have done.
“There now. Hush baby. It’s alright. You’ll be alright now.”
Tara checked on the woman, and then shook her head. The mother was beyond help. Sebbe and found a beautiful locket around the woman’s neck, tucked into her dress for safety. She took it and put it on the little girl. The child would need that as a remembrance as she went through life. Everyone had to have something to hold on to. Especially little kids who lost their parents, thought Sebbe, fingering the locket around her own neck. They would try later to find out who the child was and where she belonged. For now though, they needed to get out of this area it wasn’t safe.
“Let’s go then, have to keep moving. You’re going to be with us for a while now.” Tara said, smiling gently and holding out her hand. They continued on, looking for more survivors. It was simply what they did these days.