The creeping darkness fills the small room. Everyone just looks at each other, not knowing what to say. Dalton begins to cry. So do Nicoli and Cavan.
"Come on, guys, don't cry." Begs Stefan. "Things will work out in the end, I just know they will. Trust me!"
I want to join in their tears. To scream and cry. To yell from the bottom of my lungs that life is crap and why this has to happen. But I can't. I have to be strong. To be the rock that never cracks. It sucks sometimes, but some has to or Konrad will dictate the room with a cold word and an iron fist.
"Guys, don't worry. Things look pretty bleak, I'll be the first to admit it, but it's okay. If things never looked bleak, then things could never shine. If we stick together and try our best not to fight with each other, then I'm pretty sure we'll end up okay." I blurt into the blackened air.
"Thank you for those motivational words of encouragement Alek." Sneers Konrad from his bed. "That was really touching, a tear just rolled my down my cheek, but do you really think we can survive war torn California with no money, no resources, and no way to go anymore? I know for a fact that at least half of the kids in this building will die within a week of the closing. Maybe even the first day! I know it's better to think things will work out and everyone will end up healthy if we try, even the R10 and R9 kids, but it's just not gonna happen! We are destined to live on the streets! The beggars and the cardboard box livers! We are the future homeless men who die within the night and no one gives a damn! This is how it's supposed to go! How are lives will be taken from us to sit on the sidewalks in torn sweatshirts from the dumpster, begging for a coin or two! From the moment this damned war took away our future, this is the one they gave us! And we can't change it! Not for all the blasted hope in the world!"
Marco crawls out of his bed and to Konrads. The sound of him slapping Konrad explodes the air. "At least he's trying to do something instead of complaining about every idea someone has! He's trying to fix our broken future so we won't have to die as hopeless beggars! And maybe Aleksander will fix it!" Yells Marco to Konrad. "Try actually helping the rest of us before shooting down everyone else you ungrateful crap hat!"
Dalton cries even harder. He sounds as if his lungs will give out at any moment.
"Everyone stop fighting!" Screams Nicoli. "It's late and you can't think right when you're tired. Let's go to bed and talk in the morning."
Everyone sighs and heads to sleep. Jetho and Dalton's sobs become quieter and quieter until all I can hear is nothing. I lie down and fall asleep to my own deafening sadness.
I sit up and stare at the room. Rocco and Les's beds remain empty. I guess they're spending the night in R4. I can't bear the idea to lose any of them. God knows we've lost enough already. I flop onto my bed and turn to Marco. His face, even when sleeping, is so serious. He almost looks angry. A stern face, with drooping eyebrows and a worrying forehead. Full of anger and nervousness. Like he grew up too fast. I flip over to look at Nicoli. A small round face, cheeks puffed out, full of air. So childish, young, full of ideas and happiness. Two so unlike, yet so close. I stagger out of bed and begin walking around the room, looking at my brothers. Dalton, Stefan, and Jethro. I tip-toe over to the walkway between Rocco's and Les's beds. For some reason, I pull up the covers of their beds and make them up. I don't why. I think because that's the protocol when someone dies. Make up the bed, hold a service outside, leave the bed for others to leave small tokens, bury the tokens given after a week, strip the bed, and get it ready for the next kid. It's mean to think of, but after having so many friends die, it kinda manifests it the back of your head whenever someone disappears. I pass by Konrad and Cavan's beds, and head over to the window by Marco's bed. I step onto the edge of his bed and somehow thrust myself up to the windowsill. Once I settled myself, I pushed over the window curtains to get a perfect view of the city. Before the war, it would be bursting with flashing signs and smiling people. Now, only a few lights flicker in the town. The lighthouse on the opposite mountain barely flashes upon the sea. Rubble and debris line the margins of the town. I can see why the mayor would want to rebuild the town. I don't understand why the mayor would want to use this spot as the town hall. There's plenty of room down there. I try to imagine before the war, with Mom and Dad in the big house. Waking up to sunlight and morning air streaming through the windows. Spending everyday smiling; then came the war. With Dad leaving to go be a medic. To Mom and I waiting for his return. To the tall man with a scar running down his face telling us the news. To Mom telling me pack up everything I can. To three days sitting on a crowded train. To climbing into Auntie's big truck. To waking up on the side of the road, coated in crusted blood. To the war, hiding, living each moment in fear. Tears rush down my face. I still remember my house address.
"907 7th street Parkersburg WV." I whisper to the soft breeze. Eventually I get tired, perched up on the thin board. I pull my legs up my chest and lean my head against the glass pane, drifting asleep to sound of the gentle waves.
YOU ARE READING
In the near future, in a war torn Santa Monica, lives an old Medical Center, dedicated to helping orphaned children and teens. There live three boys, Marco, Nicoli, and Aleksander, sick from biological warfare from the war. There, they spend their d...