Children of the Fall

Luke's little sister is a small miracle in his eyes. She seems so tiny and fragile and petite – until she opens her mouth and screams.

Luke likes to sit next to her crib and let her clutch his finger with her tiny hands or sings to her to put her to sleep. Their mother finds it endearing how much time Luke spends with his little sister and Patrick even complains that he doesn't see him anymore, but that's nonsense since Patrick lives next door and is always with Luke and Nina, especially because Patrick's cousin Simon, whom Patrick lives with because his parents are dead, is only a year older than Nina.

They grow older and Luke and Patrick spend afternoons on the couch in either of their family's homes and watch films that they aren't supposed to watch wile Simon and Nina play in the next room, but always in sight.

When Nina is three and a half year old, their father dies in an accident at work. Their mother is a wreck, crying in the bedroom and although Like would like nothing better than to go over to Patrick and curl up on the couch and play video games until it doesn't hurt anymore, he sits down and tried to explain to Nina why their daddy will never come home again.

Nina doesn't believe him. She crosses her arms over her chest, stomps her little foot and cries: 'NO!'

This night and nearly every night afterwards she sleeps in Luke's bed instead of her own.

Time goes forward and they learn to cope without their dad. Their mum works even more than before so that they can keep the flat and everything, so Nina and Luke spend most of their time with Simon and Patrick.

Simon is already in school and turns his nose up at Nina in the beginning but at the end of the day they forget that the other is just a stupid boy/girl and chase each other around or play cards.

Luke and Patrick do their homework in the meantime or rather Luke does his and Patrick's too – they're thirteen and Patrick is not enormously interested in things beyond sports, motorbikes, action-films and video games.

One afternoon (it's a Saturday and Luke's mum is home, which is why they're on the couch in Luke's home) while his mum cooks and Nina helps her, Luke and Patrick play a racing game on Luke's playstation. Patrick wins. It's a difficult level and Patrick never managed to beat Luke in it before.

'Strike!' he roars and then, because Patrick is nothing if not impulsive, he kisses Luke.

It feels strange and great at the same time, so Luke kisses him back. Patrick's hands are on his back, clutching the fabric of his jumper and Luke's hands are on Patrick's shoulders and Patrick's tongue is in Luke's mouth and Luke's is in Patrick's and it feels great, fantastic until –

A giggle and suddenly Nina cries:

'Luke's kissing Patrick, Luke's kissing Patrick!' In a sing-song voice. They leap apart and Luke follows his first instinct and chases Nina though the flat and into the kitchen, where Nina hides behind their mum.

To say that dinner was awkward would be the understatement of the year.

After Nina is asleep, his mother tries to talk to him but Luke defends Patrick and himself and it was only a kiss and he's thirteen and knows about sex. His mother shakes the head but lets it go.

Luke and Patrick continue with the kisses. Everywhere: At home, in empty class rooms during breaks, in the locker rooms after training, in shadowed alleyways on the way home. Every second they're not touching seems to be wasted, because it feels so good. There are no other words for it: good, great, fantastic. It feels right.

Around them the world falls to pieces – the epidemics in America, the new laws – but it doesn't reach Luke and Patrick.

Not yet.

Another law passes and of course, it makes people unhappy. Only, this time it's worse than unhappy. Much, much worse.

They takes the children of Nina's and Simon's school as hostages and threaten to kill the children one by one if the government does not abolish the new law. One child each hour.

Luke and Patrick and Luke's mum and Patrick's aunt and uncle and all the other children's families gather together. They plead, beg the government to safe their children. The government promises that it will do what it can.

86 dead children later the army storms the building.

The end result is 103 dead children, 31 injured(4 of them die in the hospital later), 2 dead soldiers, 14 injured(none of them dies) and 25 dead terrorist.

Nina was the 53rd killed child, Simon survives with a wound on his right upper arm that leaves a scar.

That is pretty much the end of everything.

Luke's mum goes to work and afterwards locks herself in her bedroom and cries. The flat feels to big and too silent, so Luke spends barely any time there anymore. Patrick rails against the government but he didn't lose Simon. He doesn't feel the pain Luke does.

Luke grows cold and begins to plan. He will bring them down.

He and Patrick still kiss and touch and after their first time Luke feels like before the real world came and destroyed the peaceful little bubble they were living in. Of course that feeling doesn't last but it's nice to discover that he still can feel like that.

At university he meets Julian and gets in contact with the Fishes. He takes Patrick with him because it's Patrick and it's good to have someone with you, you know you can trust and who will do the grind work for you.

Luke rises fast. Not too fast but fast enough, because he is polite but determined, a good planner but not too ruthless.

A few years later Simon joins them because Simon is to Patrick what Nina was to Luke and if she was alive then he would have brought her with him, too. But then, if Nina was alive he would probably never been here in the first place. If Nina was alive then he would have some boring job in an office and Patrick would work in a garage and take part in motor cross competitions on the weekends. Nina would have probably had her first kiss with Simon.

Maybe, the world would be normal if Nina was still alive.