River Lullaby

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     They push the door open and run off while we waited for all the zombies to trace them. I grabbed my brother’s hand and ran the opposite direction they went. South. Into the forest. I didn’t look back and neither did Ty. All I heard were cries and wails but that could have been anybody… it still wasn’t a nice thing to hear. There were obstacles in our way, but all we did was dodge them. I wasn’t going to let my parents go in the forest and find us dead. All chewed up on the floor… no way. We made our ways into the trees, and sat against one. I held him against me. I didn’t want him to be scared. We had to be close. Keep a lookout for each other. We were all we had. Not a zombie in sight…

“Don’t listen to them, Ty, don’t listen.” I said rocking him, covering his ears.

~

     It was even scarier when it’s dark. I was still holding him, grooming his hair with my fingers took off my cardigan and wrapped him with it. Then sun went down and it was…quiet. Heard some rattles on the floor, but it would be just lizards. Some rats. But my father told me to listen to every word, and I remember him mentioning that he’d be back before the sun set. This was when I began to worry.

“It’s dark.”
“I know.”
“It’s quiet.”
“…I know.”
“It’s cold.”
“I know.”
“Rose? When are mom and dad coming back?” He made my heart ache. I didn’t want to face what might have happened to them.
“I… I don’t know.”
“They should be back by now.”
“They will be. Remember? He promised. He never ever breaks his promises.”
“Yeah… hey Rose? I’m scared. I don’t think I can sleep tonight.”
“Me neither… but we have to keep our voices down. Stay alert.”

     The crickets sung all night, and I sang along with them to my brother.
“Hush now my baby be still love, don’t cry. Sleep like you’re rocked by the stream. Sleep and remember this river lullaby, and I’ll be with you when you dream. Here in my arms, safe from all harm, holding you, I’m smiling, too.” I continued to hum the tune on repeat.

     I haven’t sung that to him since he was a toddler and he watched that Moses movie but he loved when I sang to him. Put him right to sleep, and it still worked. I prayed.

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us for our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil… amen.”

     Although my brother slept tight, I stayed up the entire night… what a waste. Nothing came at us at all, I could have slept. I guess it’s too late now. We couldn’t sit around again, we had to be productive.

“They’re not back yet.”
“They’re probably looking for us now. Don’t worry…” I took a second. “You play video games… even zombie ones, right?”
“Yeeeah?”
“Good…good. What do you use to kill them?”
“Snipers, bazookas, grenades…” I let out a sigh. “Pistols… hammer’s, knives…”
“I’ve seen you play. When the loading screen pops up, they show you tips on how to kill zombies right?”
“Mhm.”
“Name a few…”
“Uh…I only remember one.”
“And what was it?”
“They only die if you hit the brain.”
“Perfect! If you see one around, aim for the brain okay? Do everything those games ever taught you… we need to go into the city. See if we could find you a weapon.”
“Like a sniper?!” I laughed.
“Yes, like a sniper.”
“Wooh!” He jumped, and I shushed him.
“We need to stay quiet. We’re going to be like spies okay?”
“Okay, cool.”
“You have to stay close to me. If you get close to getting attacked, you run as fast as you can and hide behind this tree. I’ll find you.” I take my scissors and engrave the letter “R” on it. “Remember the ‘R’ stands for Rosaline. This is our tree. Do not forget that.” He nods. “Well, let’s get to it.”

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