What Frank said about us leaving the den wasn’t true. He said if we left that we’d die. Well he’s wrong. Every morning, when everyone was still asleep, I’d sneak outside and sit next to the trap door and watch the sun rise. It was so beautiful. And it was also the one thing I could rely on to never change. Every morning that same sun rose and for a while, it made the desert look beautiful. And then sun went too high and it turned back to its ugly self.
One morning I was out watching the sun rise when suddenly the trap door opened and someone crawled out. It was Rining. He smiled at me “What are you doing out here? What if BLI showed up?” I held up my ray gun “Your sister told me you were a total wimp.”
“I was a total wimp.” I nodded “But then I had to be brave. I didn’t have a choice. Honestly, it’s way more fun being brave than a wimp.”
Rining laughed “I used to be a wimp as well. My Mom practically kept me inside a glass bubble so that I didn’t get hurt. She was lovely my Mom was. Even if she was over protective.”
“What happened to her?” I couldn’t help but ask.
Rining looked over towards the rising sun “She died. BLI killed her. I was at school so they didn’t get me. They knew I lived there obviously because there pictures of me everywhere but they decided I wasn’t important enough for them to wait for. It’s a good thing because if I’d shown up and they were I’d either be a draculoid or dead. Anyway, I found my Mom dead and I was so scared that I just ran off.”
“I’m really sorry.” I whispered “My Mom died too. I didn’t see the body. Jennifer wouldn’t let me. She saw the body and said I wasn’t allowed to see it because it’d upset me. I thought she was just being an annoying older sister at the time but now I’m glad I didn’t see her. I don’t wanna remember her dead. Whenever I think of her, I see her alive instead of her dead body like Jennifer sees.”
“You’re so lucky having an older sister to look after you.”
“You’ve got Ben and Jack.”
“I didn’t have them for a really long time. I was by myself for most of it. It didn’t matter I guess. Until BLI caught up with me and recognised me as the little kid from the pictures. I dunno why they killed my Mom or why they were so mad when they found me but they tried to kill me too. Well I wasn’t about to fight back. In fact, I was kind of happy with the whole thing really. I figured I could join my Mom. But Ben and Jack saved me.”
“They saved your life.”
“Yeah and I’m so grateful that they adopted me and all that. But in a way, I kind of wished that BLI had just murdered me. I’m not suicidal but I just don’t… I don’t know how to explain it.”
“It’s okay, I understand.” I replied “I used to feel that way when Jennifer protected me. Like they kidnapped me and told her that unless she did everything they asked her then they’d murder me. I wanted her to run away. I didn’t want her to have to follow BLI’s rules. But she did it anyway. Because that’s what she does. Protects me.”
“She doesn’t seem so protective anymore, not now that Bob’s around and now she’s pregnant and everything.”
I nodded “I kind of miss that in a way. But I’m older now. Old enough to take care of myself anyway.”
Rining nodded too “I dunno. Don’t you want someone to look after you?” He put his arm around me. Wow, that was weird. No boy had ever put their arm around me. Or shown an interest in me “Why don’t we go inside? It’s boiling out here.” I nodded dumbly and we both went inside.