Mike and Clarissa were silently crying against the wall
as Tony sat crisscross in front of them
rocking back and forth, chanting "children never die, children never
die." This has never happened to any of them, not even in the scariest
movies that they sneaked out of their rooms in the middle hours of the night to
watch as their older siblings fell asleep. Mike was the youngest. He was not
sure what was happening, but Clarissa was crying. He had to cry if Clarissa
was crying. She never cried.
Clarissa was the sister Mike never had. Tony was the
oldest, he was going to kindergarten after this summer. He was the leader of
the pack. He knew how to control the situation. He always knew when a tree was
"climbable," the branches fell just right and the other two sometimes
could not perceive it; and then he would climb. He would always know a new
outdoor game, he always had the confidence to make his own game, his own rules.
He always led them on adventures, and always found the way home when the other
two were sure they were lost, and he did it all before dinner time. He always
But now the two men in black were outside ransacking the room
as Tony looked out through his one strip of light between the closet doors and
Tony could see no way to get Mike and Clarissa home for dinner. He saw no way
out. His dad never lied down like that, that's how he knew. He had no way out,
no plan, all Tony knew now was that children never die. That was the only
thing keeping him from breaking out crying. In his brother's movies all he remembers
is what he saw outside now-two men screaming, blood, his parents lifeless.
The way his moms arm fell towards the closet they were in, pointing, trying to
grab them and defend them, helplessly. That seemed out of one of the movies.
The scene that played out now proved those movies are real, and the movies
proved that children never
The men in black seemed unorganized,
haphazardly throwing everything they wanted into duffle bags they had.
Blood started pooling around Tony's parents like islands surrounding
them, only showing how helpless he was to get to them, isolated, how defenseless he
was. This wasn't supposed to happen in real life.
Outside the men seemed to
stop taking things. They walked quickly from room to room checking if they
forgot anything. Mike fell asleep, but Clarissa grew louder in her crying. Tony
should have quieted her. He didn't know he had to do that though. He didn't know
they were hiding. The shorter of the two men came into the room for another
final check and he heard that faint crying. At first he thought it was an iPod
or a phone, something of value to him maybe. But no, it was nothing, he would
soon discontentedly discover it was only three kids.
He quickly slammed open the closet. Light flashed on the
kids. Tony's back against the far wall, Clarissa on the side and Mike on her
shoulder. The four awake baby eyes turned to the man and Tony's eyes finally
grew watery. Clarissa knew Tony didn't cry. She knew something was really
wrong and only Tony understood what was happening. But he knew it would be
okay because children never die. The man in black closed the door and never
said anything else for as long as he was in Tony's view.
The two men spread a
sort of water from a red container all over the walls and furniture. They spent
extra time washing the bodies with this liquid. Clarissa was happy
they were cleaning up and it would finally be over. After some screaming
between the men the children heard the front door slam. They heard the car
start outside like it does when Tony's dad takes his older brother to school in
the morning. He recognized that car, it was his parent's car. Now the kids smelt
what they thought was Sunday afternoon when they watch their fathers start a
barbeque and smell that rich smoke. Rich smoke, that’s what they smelt.
could only wonder where his brother was and whether he was okay. Clarissa was
already asleep now. Tony had to lay down, he was getting sleepy. It seemed
brighter outside. His view blurred. He kept whispering " children never
die, children never die." he was hoping Mike an Clarissa were in
happier places now, dreaming of their adventures. Tony was sure they
would go back to those adventures when they woke up. Everything would be
better once they all woke up. Sleep just did that somehow. That was another
thing Tony didn't understand, but he just knew. And he would tell Mike and
Clarissa and they realized it too, because Tony was always right.
asleep as the outside became brighter. It
would be okay though because children never died, he whispered one last time
before he fell asleep as the room became the brightest ever, "children never