The sirens echo in the distance. Great Grandma Jolene turns off the lights and presses the lock-down button. Every window and every door is cut off by a tough titanium sheet - three layers of the stuff. She opens the panic room and we head down. I help her take each step slowly and carefully; she always smiles back at me. Her smile always had a bittersweet ring to it.
Great Grandma Jolene sits down on a small chair to the corner of the room, it was cold and uninviting but she never paid heed to it. She sighs and mumbles a song. The home shakes for a few minutes and a deathly silence settles. Great grandma’s mumbling slowly disappears and within the hour, we shuffled out of the room and sit in the middle of the living room.
A small candle flickers beneath our breaths.
“Grandma Jolene, why do we hide? What is out there?” I hug my teddy bear as the small candle lights our faces.
She stares with her tiny, worn eyes and smiles, “from my mistakes, honey. Now, sleep. Tomorrow will be another day.”
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No, the sky was never like this. The sky was blue, filled with clouds and tiny flying birds. Birds of any kind, sometimes storks - and even crows! Those were the days of our great grandparents. A time of the single sun, a time of a whole moon. The gods would still look down at us and smile at our achievements. We opened the gate. We knew what it would bring but opened it nevertheless. I didn’t do it, or my father or my grandfather. It wasn’t my great grandfather either, but a friend he used to know.
My mother would silently cry in her sleep - that was after my father walked out of our lives and into the abyss. She carried the weight of the world, the shame of the family and a troublesome little girl that would always tempt death. She died nine years ago - my great grandmother is still here.
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