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Are You There, God?

Time: 2018-08-02 02:34cheongsam dress Click:

When the power shut off, no-one thought much of it. The power goes out all the time, right? Everyone thought it was normal. They had no idea what was coming.

There were few twinkling stars lighting up the sky that night, fewer than usual, everything was near pitch black. Mother lit a cinnamon-scented candle and I watched the flickering flame dance, waiting for the power to turn back on like it always did. Mason, my younger brother, laid down next to me on our new couch, just a few weeks old. It had been a birthday gift for Mother, violet, like she asked. It was way past Mason’s usual bedtime and his blue eyes fluttered as he tried to stay awake. Carol, the oldest of the four siblings, played a light symphony on her violin. Carol, Hope, Mason, me, Mama and Papa. That’s how it has always worked. Carol started playing higher and higher notes on the violin as if trying to keep the fated disaster of the night away. It didn’t work.

A loud tortured scream filled the air, echoing in all of our ears. I gripped the side of the couch in shock and fear, my small hands barely reaching around the whole arm rest. Carol stopped playing her symphony and set her violin down on the table. Her green, cat-like eyes were narrow.

“Father, what’s going on?” my seven year old brother had asked. I was frightened, more like petrified, but I hadn’t dared to ask. Father didn’t seem to know either. That much was clear as he grabbed his hunting gun from the forbidden chest beneath the TV. The grainy images had clicked off minutes ago with the power. The news about the upcoming election had been on. I hadn’t cared much for it but the rest of the family liked it. That is all except Mason. He was still too young to understand politics. Does the election have anything to do with this anyway? I mean, no-one likes the candidates. Could that be it?

Dark silhouettes appeared in our window moments later, close enough to leave smudges from their breath, clouding up parts of our window.

I listened as a sharp rapping sound followed only seconds later. 1,2,3,4-5. The pounding grew louder and the knocking noise came at faster intervals. Men outside were speaking in a language I hadn’t recognized, and it chilled me to the bone.

“Get in the basement kids,” Father told us through his gritted teeth with his gun aimed at the door. His knuckles were white from gripping the gun so tightly and his facial features showed grim determination. Mother rushed to his side, putting a hand on his shoulder. Father tried to shoo her away but she wouldn’t budge and he stopped trying and instead held her hand, holding the gun with only his left hand.

“OPEN UP!” one of the male voices shouted from outside, his accent still clearly there. The banging on our door did not cease and the shouting and screams sounded as if they would never end. I sat there, glued to our couch. Mason was getting up, his expression had been slightly curious. He didn’t like the guns, but he was too young to have memories of the police chases and the terrorist attacks that became more frequent, especially along the coast. Carol took his hand, leading him away from the door. I was tense, frozen yet shaking in fear.

“Come on Kiki,” Hope murmured gently, grabbing my hand. My nickname was like a wake-up call. I held my sister’s hand close, never planning on letting go. She smiled at me reassuringly as we ran to the basement door, reinforced since the terrorist attacks became more well known and dangerously close to home. Our running wasn’t quiet, but it drowned out the gunshots, imagined and real. Carol and Mason ran just ahead of us.

“Where’s Mother?” Mason asked as we reached the basement, his voice small and frightened. There was as much tension in his face and voice to match Father, which was scary. This shouldn’t be a problem for a young boy who likes to play with toy cars and chases the neighborhood cats around the street.

When no-one answered his question his lower lip puffed out and started to quiver. Tears welled up in his beautiful blue eyes. I saw Hope open her mouth but then close it, realizing that we all know where Mother is. She decided to stay with Father. The basement door, made of titanium steel, stood in front of us. We stared at it for a few seconds, not believing that we’re actually going to use the basement. It was just a safety precaution, it should’ve stayed a storage closet for the rest of our lives. Carol opened the door, reminding us that it’s not just a storage closet anymore. It was what would save our lives, while this attack would end so many more.

“Go! Get inside,” she urged and I watched helplessly as Carol shoved Mason in, the last of us, and locked the door sealing us in with more darkness than before, if that’s even possible. I heard the passcode being put in as Carol locked all five latches, each slightly different from the one before... leaving herself outside.

Even through the steel door we could hear the splintering of wood and our Mother’s terrified screams. They were cut off sharply, and that could only mean…

Mason started to sob when the gunshots erupted in our home just outside the door, his little body shook as we sat in the darkness.

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