As nighttime finally began to fall, so did a downpour of rain. While Ray slept soundly in the passenger seat, Robbie had taken control of the wheel and struggled to see the road ahead of him clearly. Rachel and Rebecca were fortunate enough to sleep for over a half hour, but now found themselves wide awake and watching in pity at the desperate passersby along the road. Their working vehicle caught the attention of many envious eyes and the young driver grew uneasy as the crowd outside began to grow.
"Hey Ray." Robbie said, glancing anxiously at the seat beside him. "Ray! Dad!"
Ray jumped in his seat and rubbed his eyes, looking around them at the mob that seemed to have formed around their van.
"Can you...maybe, just take the wheel now?" His son asked. Ray nodded and maneuvered himself back into the driver's seat as Robbie climbed back into the passenger seat.
The tiny box of glass and metal they sat in seemed to be of little comfort to Rebecca and Rachel, as fists pounded fiercely against the doors and windows. Robbie glanced about in every direction, his nerves on edge that something bad was about to happen and Ray struggled to do his best of steering them and the van safely through the sea of people.
An older man, finding his fist to be of no use in his fight for the van, bashed his flashlight against the side window, causing it to crack in all directions. A second smash broke the entire window and both girls beside it screamed in fright, shielding their faces with their arms.
Everything after that happened in a blur of only a few seconds. Ray, thrown off by the unexpected action, swerved violently across the road, nearly hitting a few bystanders. Robbie had climbed into the back seat, covering his sisters' bodies with his own and screaming at the people that tried to claw their way in through the window. Having lost all control of the vehicle, Ray pressed hard on the brake and the van crashed head on into a telephone pole.
The moment they crashed, the mob of people swarmed the van in any attempt to try and save themselves. Ray fought back as he was pulled from the front seat, but his three children had little luck in defending themselves against the desperate attackers. Robbie was dragged into the crowd, punching and yelling for his dad and sisters. Rebecca was thrown from the car and did her best to protect herself from the stampede of people and feet around her.
Rachel screamed for her dad, having been left in the van, but nearly suffocating from the amount of people that tried to force their way into the back seat.
"Rachel, get out of the car!" Ray yelled ducking as someone threw a punch at his face. She nodded and struggled to pull her small body out from under the crowd, clawing at the broken window beside her for help, but found it no use.
The yelling and fighting of the crowd stopped suddenly when two gunshots went off in the air. People slowly backed away, leaving Ray in the center, a gun held in his hand. He pointed it around at individuals in the crowd, trying to catch his breath. "My children! Where are my children?"
"Whoa, hey take it easy, buddy." A man close to him tried to reason.
Ray spun and pointed the gun frantically at him. "I said…where are my children?!" He shouted louder, the gun shaking in his hand.
A small group of people backed away as Robbie staggered out and collapsed on the ground beside his dad. Blood was smeared across his nose and he took in deep, ragged breaths from having been kicked repeatedly in the stomach. A few seconds later, Rebecca was dragged from the side of the crowd by a random person, and clung to her brother as she was thrown beside him. She was shaking uncontrollably and seemed unaware of the blood trickling down the side of her face from a gash above her right eyebrow.
At the sight of his two children, so battered and bruised, something in Ray snapped and he aimed the gun directly at the large group of people crammed into the van.
"Get out of the van! NOW!" He screamed and fired the gun once more into the air. The people scrambled out the doors and windows and Ray swiftly picked up Rachel and carried her back to where Robbie and Rebecca were now standing, leaning against each other for support.
Pointing the weapon once more into the crowd, Ray stood protectively in front of his two older children, Rachel's arms still wrapped tightly around his neck. "We are taking OUR van and no one comes near us!"
Not one person from the crowd spoke or even nodded their head. All their eyes and attention seemed to be on the man standing beside Ray, holding a gun to his head. At seeing the wild look in the man's eyes, Ray slowly lowered his whimpering daughter to the ground and turned slowly to the man, his arms spread in a nonthreatening manner.
"Put the gun down." He ordered.
Ray stepped back an inch. "Look, I don't want any trouble."
"I SAID PUT THE GUN DOWN!" The man screamed, the gun still pointed directly in Ray's face.
He instantly dropped the gun, but the man refused to lower his own. "I'm taking the van."
Ray only nodded and backed away slowly, until he stood once more in front of his children. Once the man got into the van, Ray hastily picked Rachel back up and ushered the other two into an abandoned coffee shop behind them.
Robbie clutched his stomach as he practically fell into one of the restaurant's booths, Rebecca sitting down beside him and leaning into him, her body shaking from a mix of shock and the cold. Rachel clung to her father as they sat in the opposite booth. A single gunshot outside startled the four, looking out the window to find the man who had taken their van had been shot and killed by someone who had picked Ray's gun up off the ground.
Ray now found himself at a loss of what to do. The little hope he had was now gone and he found himself suddenly overwhelmed, looking into the scared faces of his children. All of them were too young to die and much too young to have to experience the horror of what was happening. But this was something he couldn't stop. With that thought stuck on repeat in his mind, Ray finally found himself able to cry and not stop.
The sound of sniffling caused Robbie, Rebecca, and Rachel to all look at their dad. They had never seen him like this before. He was always the one to keep it together in hard times and allow things to simply roll right off his back, but now he was falling apart right in front of their eyes. It was at that moment, seeing their dad just as fearful and doubtful as they were, that the disaster around them became real and not just a nightmare they would soon wake from.