August 13, 2008
By Alisa Carter, Brentwood, CA

His fingers are chilled to the bone. He is only nine years old, yet he feels as if he has seen a lifetime. He has waited so long for this moment, yet he knows that it still may not come. He looks to the top of the hill, waiting for forever. The hat atop his head sits still keeping his dark curls in check. He keeps his hands inside the sleeves of the jacket that is much too big for him. The pants that hang over his feet offer no comfort for his toes. The only warmth he has is the arm linked with his. She is twelve. The red scarf across her neck cannot stop her breath from clouding her vision for small moments as she exhales and returns her gaze to the top of the hill. Her braids move slightly as a breeze sends shivers through her body. The tears in her dress dress offer no hope. Only what she waits to see can give her that. So she waits. As her toes grow numb despite the thick boots. They are lathered in mud and the edge of her dress is covered in it prolonging the gooseflesh on her legs. Her only warmth comes from her mothers hand in hers. She can stand tall. Pretend for her children's sake that it will be good in the end. It pains her to look forward, but she will never look back. She cannot face the ashes that she loves. She still loves the cahirs, tables, the pictures and her children's toys. Stupid, so stupid. She should not be missing such things. She should be happy. The burns no longer pain her. She has only the pain of waiting as her peircing blue eyes watch strait ahead. She wants to see him; needs to feel him. She can invision him at the top of the hill. She watches him. He has scars. They cover his face and arms. She cannot see his legs but his pants and boots are lathered in mud. He holds nothing but the rifle slung on his back. She blinks to blur the vision as the saltwater runs down her cheeks. But he will not leave her. He becomes clearer. He is there at the top of the hill. His legs move and he grows as does the hill behind him. Their waiting is over. All four run.

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