Christmas Rages On
“That’s very good, Toby.” Kristen commented with a forced smile, her eyes pooling as she fought back the tears.
Toby was only ten years old, but his drawing ability surpassed his age, surpassed Kristen’s entirely. She leaned over Toby’s shoulder, touched her hand to the paper next to the green leafed tree and brightly colored flowers around the base. Next to the tree, kneeling down to smell the flowers was a woman with long yellow hair, and at her side, holding her roughly crayoned hand was a little yellow haired boy. The rest of the paper was filled with green grass, blue sky, and a bright yellow sun that Toby was still filling in, making it larger and larger. Kristen glanced around at the other pictures that the other children had created. None was as clear, or defined as Toby’s, but there meanings were just as clear. They were all of things that the children missed from the past, normal lives. Lives that were a daily event until a few months before, their lives prior to the Rage Virus being unleashed into the world, and humanity’s fall, from it’s sharp teeth and claws.
“It’s my Momma…” Toby said softly, his voice small, sad, and without a touch of hope. “Wasn’t she pretty?”
Kristen stared down into his sad eyes as he looked up at her with an expressionless face. She wanted to take him into her arms, hug him, let him know that everything was going to be okay, but she couldn’t. She didn’t know if it would ever be okay again. She suddenly had an overwhelming urge to run from the room, run down the hall to her room, lock the door, and cry.
“Miss Kristen, are you okay?” Toby asked when her only response to him was tears starting to stream over her soft cheeks. Toby twisted his small body in his chair, and wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his face into her shoulder. “Don’t cry Miss Kristen… you’re just as pretty as Momma was.”
Kristen gently combed her fingers through the boys hair and hugged him back. She let her hand glide down over his flushed cheek as she pulled away from him. She wiped her eyes and gave Toby a comforting smile. The same beautiful smile that had comforted him since the day the soldiers brought him to sector five.
“I can draw a picture of you too, would that make you feel better?” Toby said with a smile of his own.
“I would like that very much.”
“I want to draw you too!” Karen shout from the seat on Kristen’s right.
“Me too!” Added Jason and Alice in unison on the other side of the table.
Kristen stood straight and gave them all a grin. “That’s wonderful, you all get started and I will check back on you in a little while.” She walked back over to the door, looked back at the four children already starting their new project. “You guys behave, okay.”
“We will!” They all called out, not looking up from their work.
Kristen knew all too well how the children felt, each of them had lost a parent, some both, as well as siblings. They were all so young to have felt such loss, and had no idea how to deal with it. She did the best she could to comfort them, help them through their mourning, but it was difficult to help them deal with what she had been unable to coup with herself. And the fact that they were all now stuck a hundred feet under ground, and had not see the sun in months wasn’t helping at all. She couldn’t help but wonder what kind of life they were living, if that is what it could be called. Just as the children, Kristen longed for her normal life, one that is lived under the sky, not tons of dirt and concrete. Something had to be done, and she was going to do it, normal was a must, and she was going to bring some back to them all. The problem was she just didn’t know how.