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Now she knew Mama was not coming back.
It started with the blackening sky, the thunderstorms, scattered rain then scattered bombs. When chunks of cement and bricks were hurled into the sky she knew her Mama was not coming back.
When the air raid was over all she was left with was a pile of debris for a house and her mother favorite white rose. She would press her face against the plush twirl and feel a pleasant warm pit lodge in her chest. She knew the rose was important. Whenever her Mama was sad she would steal away to her room and take the rose. When she came out the happy glow would be restored to her face. She also knew this rose was special. She had passed the flower vendor on the corner. At the beginning of the week the flowers would be colorful, happy and upright. At the end of the week they would be drab, sad and downturned. This rose lived since Mama was a little girl. This rose had seen from corsets to short skirts to shoulder pads. This rose had seen treaties, alliances, assassinations and two wars.
"Take this rose and don't you loose it until the day you needn't it."
"How'll I know Mama?"
"You'll know, I promise. Promise to keep it 'til that day?" She nodded dutifully and held the rose close to her bosom with two small, chubby hands. When her Mama slipped into the taxi cab and drove away she tried running after the checkered vehicle. She thought the rose made her invincible. Now she knew she was everything but.
It was just another day of wandering about the rubble and ashen remains of London. While his mum was slaving away over textiles and his classmates were slaving away over complicated multiplication tables he was wandering the affected areas of his city. He enjoyed climbing and crawling through the chunks of building and scattered beams. He made himself believe he was a fantastic superhero explorer, hot on the trail of some fantastic discovery. By then he had found himself an empty tin can, a telephone dial, a door knob and a grainy silver ring. But he wanted something more then little scattered treasures, he wanted a treasure chest, a jackpot a grand discovery that would earn him the front page of every periodical.
It was her second day alone when he discovered her. She was slumped on the stump of a pillar with the rose stuffed in her face. Whenever she got sad, tired or hungry she would just stuff her nose into the soft folds of the flower. But on that particular pleasantly cool May 12th afternoon she didn't need the rose to smile. When she saw him, she couldn't help but smile. The first site of him was a bobbing tweed cap surfacing from the pile of ruins. He was scrawny, ungainly with a set of big ears and big teeth. He seemed to be too engrossed in whatever was inside of his bag to notice her. She started to giggle when she heard his commentary. "Captain Almond's on the case, blimey look at this magical ring! Sure to grant ye any wish you want! Sure to make the headline all around the world!" When he heard her laugh he spun around and glared at her.
"Don't be daft! This is int' laughin' matter lassie! This is the next most impor'ant thing ever! With this very ring I'll save the whole entire world! I'll give it t'all the big people in the goferment they favorite wishes!"
"Do you think you could ask somfin' of yer ring fer me?"
"Tell it ta please make me be safe."
"You don't need a ring t'have that 'appen! I'm Captain Almond! Nothin' could possibly 'appen to you when I'm 'ere." She squirmed and stared at her feet. They stayed like that a while, he standing uprightly and ambitious in front of her, while she slouched and let her mind wander.
Then the sirens started to wailed.
"Quick, com 'ere lassie! The x-terinatons are upon us! No fear I shall protect ye!" He grabbed her hand and she was yanked off the pillar.
"Wait!" She dragged him back so she could retrieve the fallen rose.
"No time! They are upon us!" They scrambled through the rubble then galloped through cobblestone streets. The sirens screeched and emitted pulsating lights. Above them airplanes infested the sky, they sounded like a pack of hornets. The buzzing, propellers and piercing whistles were followed by earsplitting explosions. Not thirty yards away from them a restaurant erupted into a million pieces. They continued running. Her worn shoes rubbed blisters into her feet and she begged him to stop, but he kept running dragging her along.
"We have arrived to safety milady!" They stopped in front of a subway stop, the sign was turned upside down, rusted and hanging to the post by mere threads.
"Come on!" They bounded down the steps into the murky mouth of the public transit station.
It smelled like murky water, sweat and dirt. She started to cry and felt the small arms of her rescuer clasp around her.
They stood there not moving.
They stood there amongst hundreds of others, the only children with no parents, hungry, thirsty, hurt, dirty and happy. She felt safe. She felt the familiar pleasant warm pit lodge in her chest. She felt safe. He had promised himself to her, she was his lass, the only one he would transform in his alter-ego Captain Almond to rescue from the face of danger.
"I promise ya tha whole entire world." He slipped his magical ring onto her finger, kissed her and her collected her back into a hug. In their tight embrace she smiled knowingly and loosened her grip to let the rose escape into the breeze.