Running Again

October 12, 1982

“I don’t know!” Alice screamed.

Augustus had tears streaming down his face. “I don’t wanna move.” His short black hair was ruffled and big blue eyes were red.

Neville crouched down to five-year-old Augustus on the couch. “We don’t know if they have found us.”

May pushed her blonde hair back over her ear. Her petite body sat beside her brother. “But how did they find us?”

Alice felt tears rolling down her cheeks. “I said I don’t know.”

Neville held up his hands to stop the discussion. It always shocked him how mature his children were for their ages. “We do not know anything yet. Mavis and your mom have gone down to see if they recognize him. If he was there at all, perhaps he was just passing through.”

The children sat quietly for a moment.
Neville continued, “In fact your mom should be back soon.”

Augustus asked, “Do we need to pack?”

Neville ruffled his hair. “No, mom and I were always prepared in case we had to run.”

“Where will we go?” June asked.

“We have other safe areas where we can get to. One is back in Canada and the another is somewhere in the Bayou in Louisiana.”

Quiet again amongst the white walls of the living room.

“I don’t wanna go to Canada,” Augustus screamed and began to lead the younger children in a group wail.

“Guys,” Neville tried to calm them but had no success.

Finally, Alice stood up and went to each of her brothers and sisters, one by one. She crouched in front of each and took their hand. Each child, in turn, calmed and relaxed.

Neville watched her go around the room, shocked by the reactions as quiet returned at first, then even some giggling. “What did you do?”

Alice offered a weak smile and walked away through the room and turned down the hall.

Neville looked at May. “What did she do?”

May shrugged. “I don’t know. I suddenly just felt warm and happy.”

Neville followed the direction Alice went and found her bedroom door closed. He knocked, “Alice?”

He opened the door when he heard weeping on the other side.

Alice was laying on her bed with her face buried in her pillow and red hair splayed out.

Neville sat down on the floor beside the twin bed. He glanced around at posters for the bands Kiss and Van Halen. “Alice? What can I do for you?” His hand brushed the back of her head.

Almost violently she snapped his hand off her head and held it in both of hers.

Neville felt the little girl’s fear. He felt her sorrow for disrupting her brothers and sisters. It nearly overwhelmed him until he calmed himself.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered and her tear swollen red eyes closed.

“For what?”

“I had to push that out. Usually I would to mom, but…”

Neville smiled and kissed her forehead. “No problem. However, none of this is your fault. They did this, not you. Your mom and I knew what we were getting into.”

Alice frowned at him.

“Okay, your mom knew what she was getting into. I learned quickly enough.”

She laughed and hugged his neck.

The kids voices came through the door with excitement of seeing mom coming home.

“She’s here, we better find out,” Neville said to Alice and helped her up from the bed. He took her hand and led her from the bedroom.

Bette and Mavis were surrounded by the children. Both were very pale.

Neville hugged Bette and then held her shoulders with his hands.  “Verdict?”

Bette looked up into his eyes.  “We run, now.”

Neville released her and turned to the children gathered around them.  “Okay, guys.  Go get what you need only.  Books are acceptable, because we will be on the road for awhile.  We leave in twenty minutes!”

Mavis left for her own home to gather her things so she could come with them.

The children followed Neville’s instructions.  He went out to the garage and began pulling the emergency bags out to the tiny white school bus they had bought.  It could take up to fifteen, including the driver.  The tears only started as all seven children and three adults sat in the bus and pulled out of the driveway.

“I don’t wanna go to Canada,” Augustus screamed.

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