“What is it?”
The walls were silent. The steps were worn with a banister of varniducshed pine. Lights shone to light the corners and to keep the shadows of the past at bay. Humanity had lived here for a very long time. The garden at the top of the stairs had see lovers come and go, hidden from their chaperones by windows and a willingness to not see certain things that would make life uncomfortable under ground. Life here was cool, but not chilly. Life was quiet without being unbearable. Life was vented so that even in times of trial, the air with the fresh smell of flowers or snow would flow down to those held beneath.
Two sisters walked along the path, moving awkward students before them. Fall was a good time to move briskly through books of knowledge. It kept the students and faculty from being distracted by the uncertainty of winter. The stores from the summer’s harvest rewarded the community at dawn and dusk. Evenings flowed into music, drama and literature. Mornings were resplendent with the study of science and the explosions that sometimes resounded. History, mathematics and languages filled the afternoon, puffing student’s chests out and egos up.
“What is it?” An eight year old child peeked down the hallway at the courtyard. Her brother pulled his jacket close and then buttoned her coat.
“Shh, don’t make any noise. We’ll be heard.”
The sound of metallic doors slamming and booted feet marching filled the hallway. The children were lucky, no one had entered the hallway yet or looked in their direction. The boy pulled the girl backward, away from the light, away from the sound, away from the marching feet. They couldn’t avoid the speakers that blared.
“All persons are required to move promptly to the courtyard to begin deportation screening. Any person avoiding screening will be subject to arrest and prosecution for violation of the Homeland Security Act.”
“Children, come away. Come away now.”
Holding hands tightly, the children followed Sister Cecelia into the dark. As the Sister moved them into obscurity, the sound of gunfire filled the courtyard.