Deciding to stay home for the day might of been a bad idea, I can only think of the past. Laying on my bed, my arms splayed out, and the sound of my siblings busy in the garden in the background, makes me believe that Dex will return. In my right hand I grip my newly found treasure tightly, although not hard enough for my hand to bleed, and run my finger over the smooth surface. The surface still dirty from lying on the ground, not being properly cleaned, and the roughness of my fingers as it slides across the surface, makes me feel as if I'm just staring off into oblivion, with only this piece of glass to keep me anchored to this world. Believing, wanting, to go back to the time where my mother still breathes, but not being able to the winged glass reminding me of the present. Dex isn't coming back, neither is my mother, and I must step up and care for my family like never before.
The hallway is quiet, my siblings voices mute in this one space, but once I reach the living room I am able to hear them once again. The light filters softly through the window in the kitchen, almost dancing as the tree causes the light to shift differently. I hear Ren's light hearted laughter and for second I am able to imagine fairies dancing in the streams of light. They play, dance, sing, and laugh, right before me in my mind, I'm mesmerized by the joy that lights each of their face. Looking at these imaginary fairies play, would make one believe that all we need to do is smile and dance. As my imagination lets the fairies dance off into the sunlight as I return to reality, I feel much more relaxed. I am able to smile more freely, more confidentally, and more from the heart, which is all I really need to do today, that is to be happy and confident.
I step out onto the back porch and walk to the edge, looking down I see them as they tend the garden. I sit on the ledge of the porch, leaning against the house with one leg hanging off one side and the other pulled up to my chest. I watch my brother, wondering if I should start his training. Given that I started my training at a way younger age then him, but still too scared to start his training because I fear he will become like me. Much like the glass, I have become fond of, I am cold and hard, but unlike the glass I'm not beautiful. At least I do not feel beautiful, I feel empty, and I hate that about myself. Not wanting my brother to feel like that is no surprise, who would even consider making someone like themselves, especially if someone feels that they are broken.
My smile tightens and the world is slightly more gray now as it does. In the distance, the sound of a gun going off is evident but we are so used to it we don't pay it any attention. However, Ben is staring off towards the Square and my brow knits together in worry. Ben, showing signs of wanting to be trained, continues to stare off into nothingness as his sisters continue their work. He looks like mother whenever he stares off into space, and that worries me more, that means he'll be like mother and want to become apart of the front line more than anyone else. He'll make a good soldi-
"No." I whisper softly, not meaning too, but couldn't keep the word from rolling off my tongue. Ben snaps his head toward me, and I put on my best smile when addressing him. "Come on Ben, that isn't the first time you heard a gun being shot. It happens every day, all the time when I was doing my training." Ben gives me a pointed look, but before he can say what I fear he will say, I change subject. "How about we go to the square tomorrow? I know none of us have really been before, but it couldn't be as bad as De- I mean, Dad said it is."
Amy looks at me with a new light in her eyes and nearly explodes with excitement. "Can we really go Dra? I have always wanted to go to the Square. Ashley, down the street, says they have so many things of the world past and many people are there as well."
I have never seen Amy so excited, but Ben answers Amy before I can. "No, Amy the Square isn't a place for women or children, you know that. Dad always said that we should never go to the Square, under any circumstance. It's like signing your own death certificate."
I shoot Ben a disapproving look that let's him know that he should keep quiet. However he is as defiant as I am with Dex. "Ben, I'm in charge now and I say we can go. Besides Amy's friend Ashley went so how much harm could happen to us, especially with me around. You know I train everyday to protect us, right?"
"Yoh didn't go towday." Ren speaks up, her child like tone and her words do not fit. I jump down from the porch landing with a thud and pat Ren on the head. Looking up at me with her big brown eyes, I smile at her the biggest most caring smile I could muster and respond with, "Don't worry, one day want make my skills go away." I turn to Ben and Amy. "We go tomorrow morning, if there's anything you want to trade in exchange for other things, you should bring it."
I stick my hands into my pockets, making my way down toward the well. Only a five minute walk from our backyard, our water well is an old one, the stones around it old and the rope and top structure has been redone by Dex before I came into this world. It's impractical to come and get water this way, however it conserves what little water is still being ran through the plumbing system. Kicking a stone nearby, I recall the words of mother as she worries over the water, wondering when running water will no longer be. Apparently they managed to keep water running in this part of the world, I don't know about other parts, but at least we still have running water.
I remove my hand from my pocket and pick up the rock I have been kicking as I reach the forest edge. As I enter the forest, my body become more relax, the bright green of the forest calms me and I walk with more ease. The well comes into view shortly after and I pick up a bucket upon entering the area around the well. I hook the bucket on the rope and lower it slowly into the depths of the well. The well was dug so deep that I cannot see the bottom where the water lies. This must be because we are on top of a hill, but the disturbing feeling that comes over me each and every time I look into the dark well is unnerving.
The feeling I am being watched, over comes me, and I turn around for a moment. It is a moment before I continue to draw up the bucket, the rope rough in my hand. As I resume my task, my thoughts drift to Ben and Amy, they should have been trained long ago. Dex, being lenient to his other children, caused them to be unprepared and untrained to survive this world. I do not possess the skills to prepare them, I am not a teacher or like mother. The bucket reaches the top and I bring it towards me grasping the handle tight as I unhook it from the rope, the weight of the bucket compares so little to the weight of my thoughts.
I hoist the bucket up and away from the well all together, beginning my journey back home. I hear a noise and look around, the hair on the back of my neck standing on end. I tighten my hold on the rough metal handle of the bucket and scan the tree all around me. Not seeing anything in the forest I love so dearly, I continue my walk, hopping it is all in my head.
As I exit the forest, little Ren is sitting on the ground right outside of the forest picking at the grass. Ren doesn't seem to be aware of me and I can't help but scare her a little. "Boo!" I scream with a small smile on and Ren jumps a little. At first she is taken aback, but then Ren burst out laughing and jumps up.
Ren runs up to me, grabs onto my free hand, and looking up at me with those big teddy bear eyes of her's, she asks, "Dra, can you gimme a piggy ride back?"
"Ren..." I start only now noticing how heavy a bucket of water is, but I cave anyways, "Okay. But only this one time, cause today is a special day." I place the bucket on the ground and knell down so that Ren can climb on to my back. "Today is the first day where we start training your siblings." I am uneasy as I say this but Ren just clings onto me and giggles. "Another thing, please don't choke me to death Ren."
"Ben and Amy will be happy. They wanna be like big swister." Ren says simply.
Child logic, I wish I still had some of that, then maybe it will make taking care of them slightly easier. Standing up and picking up the bucket of water with one hand, supporting Ren with the other hand, I continue my walk down hill towards the house. Ben and Amy come into my view, they seem to be searching for Ren, and for a second I am slightly disappointed in Ren for just taking off like that. I guess I will need to teach Ren how to be considerate of others, and how to tell others where she is going.
I let Ren down and call over to Ben. Handing him the water bucket I instruct, "Water the plants then meet me out by the shed. It's time I started training you."
I didn't look Ben in the eye or glance at his face, I already new what would show on his face, excitement. Fearful of seeing that expression on Ben's face, will probably make me not look at him for awhile, something hard to do when you are training them. I make my way to the shed, taking the key out of the hiding place, I careful unlock the shed looking around before entering. The shed is dark with only the light coming in from outside, it takes a minute before my eyes are accustomed to it.
What lines the walls are weapons and survival gear. The shed is small so there are only a few guns, including pistols, revolvers, one shotgun, a couple of rifles, and one submachine gun. My hand reaches out to the gun and I quickly retract, picking up one of each carefully and bringing them outside to the back fenced in area. Dex had constructed somewhat of a gun range, where we could practice our firearm skills. I start setting out the guns, wishing I had my own shotgun that is sitting on my desk in my room, lining them up according to level, or at least my grading level.
As I finish Ben comes in through the gate, his eyes immediately attracted to the guns on the table. "Am I really going to shoot a gun?"
"No." I say, with no humor in my voice, "Before you can shoot a gun, or even hold one, you need to know the dangers, how to handle one, and how to respect one. There are rules for every weapon, they are dangerous, and if used wrongly, you'll end up killing someone you hold dear."
Ben sighs, and I can tell he's disappointed, "Then why did you take them out?"
"This," I picked up the empty pistol, took it apart, put it back together, loaded it, and shot at the target. I so much as glanced at it before I pulled a the trigger, hitting the target, "Is how someone who knows all those things, is able to shoot." I unload the gun and pop the one from the chamber, and continue, "This is a pistol. Today I am teaching you about the guns we have and how handle them properly. The last thing I need is for you to shoot me, one of your sisters, or yourself. Today we start with guns, tomorrow is how to retreat, the day after that is hand to hand, and so on and so on. Each day will be something new, by the end of the week you will have been given a tutorial and after this week each day will be filled with us doing everything from this week. If you don't think you can handle this, then go back to the garden and send Amy over here. We don't have time to play around."
Ben is obviously nervous, but his eyes are strong with will power to do this. I sigh and start showing him the different guns, showing him the basics, explaining the history, warning him of the dangers, and trying to hide my inability at teaching him. Ben however is focused and wanting to learn, something Amy probably wouldn't be.
The night is approaching and the lighting is slowly becoming more and more dim. I dismiss Ben and start to put the guns back into the shed, I clean up the area well and shut the shed door locking it tightly. Looking around before stashing the key in a new hiding spot, before going inside for dinner. It is obvious that I am being watched.