I awoke with a start. It was 3:00am. I turned over to grab hold of Sam but found only empty space. The night always made me forget he was gone.
I rolled back over and placed my feet on the floor. A bright light flew past the window.
“What the hell,” I mumbled. Our house was in the middle of nowhere. I moved to the window and pulled back the curtain. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked like a meteor shower gone horribly wrong. The house suddenly shook and I realized that must have been what woke me. Looking to the ground outside, I sucked in a breath.
“Shit,” I said, running out the bedroom door and down the stairs. I crashed outside and ran onto the lawn, sweeping Sarah into my arms.
“Sarah, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” She was staring at the sky and the blazing objects hurdling toward the earth. Her arms were stretched outward.
“I’m counting the stars, Mommy. Look! They’re falling,” she said, as innocently as only a child could.
“Maybe later, sweetie,” I said, clutching her tightly against my chest as the ground shook. I fell to my knees and Sarah screamed, finally sensing the danger we were in. Her hands tightened around my neck as I stood to run back in the house. An explosion to our left made me jump and I knew it was only a matter of time before one hit our house. There were so many of them. I carried Sarah down to the basement and into the far corner where our tornado shelter stood waiting. I fell back against the wall with Sarah still in my arms. I could hear her quietly crying. I wished I could tell her it would be okay but I wasn’t so sure.
For days, we sat in the shelter and waited for the earth to stop shaking. I was grateful for always keeping our shelter fully stocked. We could survive down here for a while if we needed to.
On the fourth day, I realized it had been over twelve hours since the last explosion. I needed to check the status of our house. Sarah was sleeping but I nudged her awake.
“Sarah, I need to go outside and see what happened but I need you to stay in here. Can you do that for me?”
Her big blue eyes searched my face as she thought through the question. Finally nodding, I pulled her close and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
“I’ll be right back. I just need to make sure it’s safe for you to go outside, okay?”
I moved to the door and slowly pulled it inward. The basement was still there at least. It was dark but I knew where to go. Voices suddenly carried through the basement door and I stopped.
“Just grab whatever you can carry,” a female voice yelled through the house. My house. I clenched my fists together and pushed down my rage. Looters. That wasn’t a good sign.
I felt around for the object that always stood at the foot of the stairs. My hand grasped the cool steel of the crowbar and I moved silently up the stairs. A figure moved across the open doorway. It was a man. Could I take both of them?
I heard one intruder running up to the second floor. I moved out of the basement and silently crept toward the kitchen. A man was stooped over, taking everything out of my fridge. Before I could think, I moved toward him quickly. He heard me coming and tried to pull up but he was too late. The crowbar hit him in the back of the head and he went down. Hard. I knelt beside him and turned his face toward me. All I could do was stare.
“No, no, no, no,” I said as Sam’s lifeless eyes stared back at me.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him, knowing I would never hear his voice again. The woman upstairs was yelling down for him. I could only stare at the growing pool of blood under Sam’s head.
I sat back on my heels, my mind running a mile a minute. No one could ever know what happened here. Especially Sarah. As I heard the woman running down the stairs, her voice edged with panic, I stood slowly, gripped the crowbar tightly, and moved behind the fridge to wait.
Come Get Sloshed At The Speakeasy!