It's quite sad. Or so I was
know what was happening, of course. He never did. People
didn't bother to inform him, judging that he was too young,
too innocent, or simply didn't understand.
did understand – understood that something horrible had
happened, something that brought tears to his eldest brother's
eyes and made his father all gruff and impatient. And even
though he had been called spoiled on several occasions, he
knew when to stop making a fuss and went to hide in a corner
didn't stop him from being curious. He wished someone would
tell him what was making his family so sad. He hated being
left in the dark.
usually took care of that. Mom was so gentle and sweet and
caring and she always took her time with him, explaining the
things he didn't understand, because, you see, with four older
brothers it was sometimes very embarrassing to admit that no,
you didn't get what they were talking about, and why were they
wasn't here and everybody else was busy, or at least ignoring
him. Even Gordon, who had been forcibly removed from his bath,
wasn't making a fuss. Alan thought that strange. Wasn't Gordon
normally the one who cried when he couldn't be in the water? A
notion Alan couldn't entirely understand, for he hated water –
yucky, wet stuff, it got into your eyes and nose and ears and
you couldn't breathe.
looked unhappy, but it was a different sort of unhappy, all
weird, his face bunched up as if he wanted to cry but didn't
asked him what was wrong – timidly, stumbling over the words –
but Gordon had ignored him. And then Scott had come, scooped
them both up and given them a tight hug; so tight that it was
hard to breathe. That was even weirder, because Scott was far
too old to give out hugs and he didn't really like his younger
brothers anyway. He was always annoyed and shouted when Alan
dragged his toys into his older brother's room or showed him
his latest discovery.
started crying then, and Alan, confused, had clutched his toy
animal closer, glad that his black, stuffed companion was
faithfully by his side, even though nobody else was.
the house had been full of people, coming and going, most of
them crying and weeping and his father amidst them all,
looking stony and scary and not like his father at all.
been scared and gone to hide in his room. He didn't like not
knowing; and nobody was telling him. Where was Mom? She would
tell him what was going on, he was sure. She always explained
things, and she never teased him because he was slow, or
clumsy, or dumb.
the noise died down, and still his mother wasn't there, the
feeling of wrongness intensified so much that Alan peered out
of his room. How much time had passed? He looked at the round
clock on the wall, but as always, it didn't make any sense to
was there, looking all lonely and sad, his eyes shining with
tears even though Alan knew that his older brother never
running before he knew it. John scooped him up and hugged him
tightly, just as Scott had done, burying his face in Alan's
"Johnny..." Alan was scared. "Johnny, what's wrong"
wracked through the other's body. "D---Did nobody tell you"
what?" Alan's eyes were wide, confused. He was used to not
understanding things, but this time, it seemed much more
important than ever before.
god..." John squeezed his eyes shut, tears pooling down his
face. Alarmed, Alan patted his cheek. His hands came back wet.
not normal. Nothing was normal. John didn't cry. Well, not
much. He hated crying. So why.
where's Mom?" Mom always knew how to make one feel better. She
would certainly help John. And explain Alan what was going on.
They just had to find her.
his head. "Mom's...Mom's"
the cold feeling in Alan's stomach dropped even lower, as he
suddenly realized that something was very, very wrong. Someone
was missing. Still, he had to go on and ask because...because
he hated not knowing things, because he needed to, because,
this little voice in his head was telling him to confirm what
he was dreading.
Mom?" His voice rose, shaking like a leaf.
didn't answer. Alan clenched his fists, overcome by sudden
just John's harsh sobbing and the feeling of his arms around
formed in Alan's eyes, as panic started to well up. "I want
"Alan...she won't...she's not here"
she be back"
looked almost sick. "She...no...she won't be back,
like that, his world fell apart.
pierced through the house like a sword separating bone and
flesh. It cut through everybody's heart, intensified their
grief tenfold, for the scream expressed exactly what they were
feeling – loss, betrayal, fear, overwhelming grief.
stopped, abruptly, and only running footsteps could be heard,
the slamming of a door and the harsh sobbing of a
four-year-old who, for once, wished that he could have gone on
not knowing things.