As I thought about the last for years as someone living in the United States, I asked myself, "how did we all make it?" But of course not all of us did. There has been so much tragedy and hardship for so many. With the rise of hatred and racism. It was always there bubbling under the surface but certain political enablers had emboldened it. With banning certain people from the country, and the terrible separations at the border. Nothing has really felt alright for empaths for the past four years. And then the pandemic hit and everyone was forced to make a choice. To stay home and take precautions or to do whatever they wanted. But for most of us, we were faced with true disaster for the first time. So for those of us still hanging on and getting by, what has got us through four years of repeated chaos and then several months of heightened trauma?
After several days alone in Nellie and Zach’s room grieving and not eating, Blaze realized she had to make herself move on, to survive somehow. Her life is what Burn had died for and she wasn’t going to waste it not trying to help people.
Burn and Blaze gossiped until Chase got out of the shower, then Burn took a shower. Burn had told her that Chase liked her and talked about her the whole time they were stuck in the room. They all sat around the dinner table after the boys were clean and ate a good meal. Everything was seemingly fine, at least for the moment. For the rest of the week Blaze felt more and more free, even though she was stuck in a bunker. She almost let herself feel hope that they were going to make it through this. Then out of nowhere they heard pounding on the bunker door. The one inside the cabin.
Over at Burn’s house, Blaze paced back and forth waiting for a text from Chase. As soon as she heard the buzz of her phone she opened the window in Burn’s room that led to the backyard.
Things in the bunker had started off as more than awkward, Nellie couldn’t sleep at all the first night. She heard Zach whimpering in the other room as she stared at the ceiling. She knew better than to go wake him up because she could get hurt. She waited a while until he calmed down and got up. She tiptoed to the door and opened it a crack and peeking into the living area. Zach had a video game set up to a big screen TV. If you didn’t know better you’d think you were in a really nice basement game room. Zach was awake with the controller in his hands and earbuds in his ears. She felt bad for him but smiled at how innocent he looked in his boxers and undershirt. Like he might be a college student just hanging out in his basement, up too late because he needed to finish his game. Zach must’ve noticed the movement because he looked at the door. The light was out in the bedroom so he couldn’t see her, but he could probably see the crack in the door. She didn’t want to freak him out, so she opened the door and pretended like she needed a drink. She gave him a little wave and went to the kitchen area. She got a jug of juice out of the fridge and started looking for a glass. She opened a couple wrong cabinets before she felt someone behind her.
At Burn’s house the two families watched the news together, Blaze had to get up and leave because it was causing her too much anxiety. She went to her house and got her phone. Chase had texted her. This was interesting, now they had a reason to talk. School was cancelled indefinitely; she could spend her time at home and work on art and text her crush. She knew it was selfish to think of the positives considering all the people out there suffering but it’s what she needed to stay sane. The next morning her parents got up at the usual time and started to head off to work.