As the fire crackled Burton looked around at his huddled family and realized he couldn't be considered luckier if he had won the lottery. His wife
Karina, his rock....always ready with a soft hand or a firm retort depending on the situation. His oldest, his daughter, never afraid to defend her
position or the rights of others....beautiful Amber. His son, Edward, handsome and intelligent and scared of his own shadow but to proud to admit it.
That brought a smile to Burton's face, that boy was the best among them.
Karina looked up from the fire and noticed her husbands smile. Returning it with slight hesitancy she asked if he would grab the other bag of
marshmallows from the truck.
"Only if you'll tell the kids a story before bed" Burton responded.
As he made his way to the truck he heard his wife start to spin one of her fanciful tales, full of faries and dragons or princes and villains, she
created them on the fly and never disappointed. He popped open the tail gate and grabbed the mallows from the cooler. One of the last edible items
remaining. Closing the tail gate he turned and leaned on the bumper. Looking up through the canopy of the clearing they had called home for the last
week, he marveled once more at the night sky. Not in over a hundred years had the stars been so bright, no wonder ancient man was so obsessed with the
heavens. Burton closed his eyes took a deep breath and listened to the sounds of the world.
The first sound was of course his wife, her tale building to crescendo, using her gift to bring comfort to their children. Burton had always been good
at hearing the background noise however and the other sounds began to emerge. The buzz of the insects, the wind through the leaves. A toad croaked
from the nearby pond, calling for a mate that did not respond. Further out however the world was quite, almost anticipatory. Thats what got so many
people, the quiet.
A lightning bolt exploded in the sky to the north bringing a temporary light to the world allowing Burton to see the veins in his eyelids, followed by
a thunder clap. Opening his eyes he knew the time had come, the truck would go no further and the quiet was approaching. Turning back to the truck he
reached over the tail gate and grabbed one more item. As he came around the truck and back to the fire he realized the story had ended, his wife
laughing with the children at whatever ending she conjured to the story.
"Eddy catch!" Burton said as he tossed the bag of marshmallows over the fire to his son, who attempted to catch it but was never the athletic type and
the bag fell to the dirt.
Karina caught sight of the other object he was carrying and gave him the look he had been dreading. He gave a nod indicating that yes the time had
arrived and leaned it against the bummper of the truck. Luckily the kids were distacted and didn't notice.
"Alright guys, marshmallows then bed, we move agian tomorrow." He lovingly told them.
Burton sat next to his wife on the log, wrapping his arm around her he could feel the tremors down deep. Using his hand he turned her face to him and
kissed her long and deep, there was nothing more to be said.
After the kids finished thier marshmallows Karina led them to thier tent. Burton came in next and kissed them both with a tear in his eye, told them
how proud he was to be thier father. Coming back to the fire Burton grabbed the water bucket and extinguished the flame. As the smoke rose he sat
again by his wife and together they listened to the quiet.
After a time he heard Edward begin to snore and knew both his children were asleep. Amber was always out first. Karina stood and turned to him.
"I can do it for myself" she said holding back the tears.
He stood and gently grasped her shoulders. "No, you have to go with them. If you do it you will end up somewhere else."
Her head dropped, chin to her chest, and she silently sobbed. She made her way to the tent and looked back, he gave her a nod.
"Ill be there in a moment" he said to her. She turned into the tent and lay next to her children. Burton walked to the truck and retrieved the object
he had left earlier. With no more time to waste he walked into the tent, a moment later three shots rang through the night.
Stumbling out of the tent with tears streaming down his face, Burton sat on the log he and his wife had just embraced upon a said a silent prayer. He
set the rifle on the ground at his side, drew his pistol and shot himself.
Moments later, his unseeing eyes gazing up at a star filled sky, the infected of the quiet swarmed past his dead family. Possibly looking for another,
a family that decided to continue the fight one more day.
edit on 17-5-2016 by coven83 because: (no reason given)