World Gone Mad – Pandora
One minute they were enjoying the bright colors and air of celebration. The next minute she heard the sound and began running for their lives.
“Girls!” G screamed as she grabbed her two small children, the elder one by the arm, the younger, smaller child by the waist. She ran through the streets of downtown carrying the small child like a sack of potatoes and dragging the other like a rag-doll with a steel grip on her narrow wrist.
The crowd parted as G pushed through with her wailing children.
“Mommy! No!” the younger child screamed.
“Stop it,” G snarled in response. “We’ve got to get to safety.”
“But mom, we are safe!” the bigger child exclaimed.
The crowd peered around at the scene being created by G as she continued to storm away with the two unappreciative children. G began to notice that people looked worried, like maybe this person hauling these two kids around was not in her right mind, which made G feel even more frightened.
“Why aren’t you running?” She yelled into a concerned elderly woman’s face.
The woman stretched her arms out as if to take the burden of the children from G. This made G even more terrified that someone, an anonymous stranger was trying to steal her children.
“No!” she yelled as she twisted away and ran on past the concerned and unconcerned faces in the crowd.
The children stopped fighting against their mother. Though it had been awhile since her last episode the children knew that once she started a vision there was nothing they could do to prevent her from doing whatever it was she felt would protect them. One time it meant climbing a tree to escape the flood she had seen sweeping them out of the yard and down the street. Another time they had sat quietly in a darkened closet, without even a flashlight, awaiting the sound of an intruder G had dreamt came in through an open window. And today they were running from a Mayday parade that had been filled with colorful floats and scores of elderly union leaders wearing the badges and jackets of their locals. The perfectly clear blue-sky overhead seemed to mock the feeling of terror that G felt when she imagined she heard the noise of an exploding bomb.
Arriving in front of the apartment building where they lived G released her grip on the girl’s wrist and set the younger child down beside her. The sudden strength that had surged through her body enabling her to carry two kids a half-mile through the city was gone. She felt weak and shaky. Her keys rattled in her hands as she tried to open the front door.
“Here mom. Let me do it,” said the elder girl, gently taking the keys from her mother’s trembling hands.
Once inside the apartment the younger child led her mother to the couch, placing a small crocheted pillow under her head as she stretched out with her forearm over her eyes. Both children knew that now their mother needed darkness and quiet to recover from what she had seen. They quietly lowered the blinds allowing her to rest in the darkened room.
Retreating to the kitchen the girls made a snack and clicked on the small tv on the kitchen counter. With the volume turned down they flipped through the channels, past the same repeating image of an explosion, ripping through a crowd of elderly union members watching a Mayday parade.