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NOT KNOWING
by KAEERA
RATED FRC

It's quite sad. Or so I was told.


He didn't 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.

But Alan 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 instead.

But that 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.

Mom 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 laughing?

But Mom 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.

Gordon had 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 dare to.

Alan had 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.

Gordon had 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.

And then 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.

Alan had 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.

But when 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 him.

Then John was there, looking all lonely and sad, his eyes shining with tears even though Alan knew that his older brother never cried.

He was running before he knew it. John scooped him up and hugged him tightly, just as Scott had done, burying his face in Alan's hair.

"Johnny..." Alan was scared. "Johnny, what's wrong"

A sob wracked through the other's body. "D---Did nobody tell you"

"Tell me 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.

"Oh god..." John squeezed his eyes shut, tears pooling down his face. Alarmed, Alan patted his cheek. His hands came back wet.

This was not normal. Nothing was normal. John didn't cry. Well, not much. He hated crying. So why.

"John, 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.

John shook his head. "Mom's...Mom's"

And then 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.

"Where's Mom?" His voice rose, shaking like a leaf.

John didn't answer. Alan clenched his fists, overcome by sudden fear. "Mom"

No reply, just John's harsh sobbing and the feeling of his arms around his body.

Tears formed in Alan's eyes, as panic started to well up. "I want Mom"

"Alan...she won't...she's not here"

"When will she be back"

John looked almost sick. "She...no...she won't be back, Alan...she's...she's gone"

And just like that, his world fell apart.

The wail 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.

Then it 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.

 
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