Isn't it amazing how deserts can be so damn cold at night, yet so hot in the morning? The sun always felt so relentlessly hot upon a person's back as they struggled to eke out a living in this hell. At least that's how it always felt to Sarah.
It was probably one of the biggest things she missed about America. The town from which she had come from was a pleasant one with average weather. She remembered with ill humor that she had used to hate the rain, but her opinion had changed swiftly.
Sarah took a deep sigh and set down the bowl that she had been washing in the sink. It was made of dull red clay, not ceramic. Another reminder of the world that she had been taken from long ago. However, like always she would ignore those little reminders and focus on her life now.
Sarah had stayed in Sis' old home, taking care of all the children, as Sis would have wanted. Sarah had even let her hair grow out a bit longer, not nearly to the length it had been when she had been taken from her world. However the blond strands had grown out to hang about her shoulders, and to fall in her eyes. So Sarah often tied her hair back in a small pony tail, that made her look a bit motherly. Or so she'd been told.
Sarah almost jumped into the air with a cry of fright when a crash sounded behind her in the living room. A sound that brought upon her visions of the wars that she had been thrown into. Gunfire radiating throughout family homes, the booms of explosives, the screams of horror, and the shrieks of pain┘ The moment came and went as it often did in her life, and ignoring the moment of tension within herself Sarah went into the living room to find the disturbance that had interrupted her thoughts.
Lo and behold there was one of the boys crouching down next to the remains of a vase and holding a small yellow ball in his callused little boy hands. Seeing the devastation to one of her water pots Sarah let out a low irritated sigh that all the children recognize as the universal sign of her frustration. Thank god that pot was empty of water, Sarah found herself thinking, it would have been a horrible waste.
With a simple reprimand and a harmless knock on the back of his eight-year-old head, Sarah sent him along to play with his friends. While she set up about to clean up the mess of broken vase, she would have to ask Barri to make her another vase to replace this one in the morning.
It was there, amidst the shards of shattered clay that Sarah heard the soft pattering of little footsteps, coming up from behind her. Sarah recognized the dainty pattern of light footprints, the subtle grace and joy in them. The kind of grace and joy that could only come from one so full of innocence, from someone born after Hamdo's fall from power. Those footprints could only come from her daughter.
Sarah turned with a light smile and beheld the vision of her sweet little 5 year old daughter. Sarah loved the girl with all her heart, despite the painfully obvious resemblance the girl had of her father. The girl looked almost exactly like that soldier of Helliwood, except his hard features were softer in the girl, quelled by what little of herself Sarah could see in the girl. Like her eyes, her daughter had inherited Sarah's eyes. Except her daughters eyes didn't have that tired haunted look that Sarah's had. Her eyes were un-jaded and free of Sarah's horror. Her eyes were the free and cool azure that Sarah's should have been.
"Hey, honey. You alright?" Sarah spoke with a warm and gentle smile she reserved for her daughter. She noted that the girl seemed a bit bothered, as if she had been thinking about something troubling.
The girl, who could
still be considered a toddler, made her careful way over to her mother.
Bare feet carefully skirting past the sharp pieces of clay upon the
ground, so that she may sit down upon her tired mothers lap and speak
with her, with all the seriousness that a five year old could muster.
"Mommy, tell me about my daddy," Her tiny cherubic face was screwed up in that childish determination that still looked quite adorable despite it's attempt to be taken seriously. Sarah's heart clenched painfully in her chest making each heart beat a struggle. Sometimes a child's words made simple things, like breathing for instance, hurt painfully.
"Your father?" Sarah had thought upon this moment often, and each time she would push it out of her mind, praying that it would never come. That her daughter would be happy with her mother and that would be that. However that was a foolish wish and Sarah had known it deep down. Deep within herself she had known that a day would come that she would have to tell her daughter about the man who sired her.
Sarah would not lie, could not lie, to her daughter. However there was no way that she could tell her young daughter of only five, that her mother had not loved her father. There was no way that Sarah could tell the child she had originally not been wanted. That Sarah had at first tried to destroy the child in her womb. Sarah shouldn't tell her, Sarah wouldn't tell her, Sarah couldn't tell her, yet she would not lie.
"Yes, daddy," the youth responded simply. Her hands were folded in her lap, tangling in the folds of her stained, flower patterned skirt.
"What brought this on?" Sarah found herself stalling as she tried to think of what she could say to her offspring. The girl who sat in her lap, with her legs crossed, tiny fingers playing with the fabric of her skirt.
"Zanzee, Noodle, and Pip were talking about their daddies," She had her head tilted down, her father's black hair falling into the blue eyes she had received from her mother, "And then Zanzee started asking about my daddy. I told them I didn't have a daddy, and they said everybody has a daddy. So, I wanted to ask about my daddy"
Sarah turned away from her daughter in thought, her fingers absentmindedly going through the coal black strands upon her daughters scalp. So few memories existed of that man, most, forcibly forgotten. Others burned into her soul forever. Sarah turned and looked out the window in lost thought, the cold black night, with it's twinkling stars provided no answer for her problem.
"Your father was a brave sold-" Sarah stopped, she had to chose her words carefully. If the girl ran about proclaiming her father was a soldier, which she probably would not knowing any better, then the automatic assumption would be that her father was a soldier of Helliwood. Even though her father was a part of Helliwood, the girl was innocent. However, so many people have lost so much to Helliwood that they would disregard this fact and possibly attack her for it. "Your father was a brave fighter."
Sarah turned away from the moon and stars out the window to fix her eyes upon her daughters matching blue ones, the eyes that were full of wonder at finally hearing about her father. Sarah's heart swelled and with it memories came. She pulled the child close and whispered heartfelt truths, words of vindication.
"Your father was a brave man indeed. He went into rushing water and rescued a little boy, only to be swept away in this once act," Sarah could feel the little girl tremble in the enormity of the moment "Your father died saving a life. Even though he's gone, he left you with me. He had always thought of you, because when this village was about to be attacked he tried to get me to leave. He tried to get me to leave because he wanted you to be born. He died loving you with all his heart, as I love you."
Sarah pulled her daughter close in an embrace, the little girl's hands pressed against her sides. Sarah decided she didn't care about the frigid desert nights, or the black sands. Not so long as she had this little girl, this warm little girl who had become Sarah's reason for living. So long as Sarah had her daughter, neither the rage of the sun, or the cold of the night, could ever hurt her.