Explosions rocked the world around him as the boy struggled to keep pace with the woman running next to him.
"Mother, what's going on?" His mother gave no verbal response simply grabbing his hand, silently urging him to run faster. The carnage of what had once been their home continued to burn in the raging infernos.
A continuous jolting woke the young girl. Puzzled, she raised an arm to her eyes, rubbing at them sleepily. Nope, this definitely was not her room. She tried to get up, failing to notice that she was slipping.
"Baka!" A voice she knew very well called back to her, as strong arms readjusted her position. "Don't let go of me!"
Yes, she knew that voice, as well as the shoulders she was currently holding onto.
After a while, the two of them slowed down-not a lot, but enough so that he didn't have to struggle to keep up. "Mother, why did they blow up our house? What did they want?"
His mother took a deep, shuddering breath."I don't know, but the important thing is that we managed to get out of there safely. And we have to leave before they find us here."
"Nii-san, where are we going?" The girl asked her brother as he continued down the seemingly-endless staircase. It wasn't the first time she had been down here, but it was the first time her brother had carried her down this way.
"We're going down to the secret place." Oh…she knew where that was. But she was still confused.
After all, her mother and father had told her that that place was somewhere they were only supposed to go when something bad happened. So why were they going down there now?
Finally, they stopped running. The boy gaped at the huge ships that stood before them. "Are we getting on one of those, Mother?"
His mother looked around cautiously, raising a finger to her lips and making a soft "shush". Crouching down, she started to make her way behind the crates lining the dock, heading for a small opening in one of the ships, where a pair of men were heading inside with several of the large boxes.
"Do we need to close 'er up?" He heard one of the men ask.
"Nah, this one'll do it automatic 'fore takeoff . 'Sides, didja see how annoyed the captain got when I tried to it to open it up earlier. Hates anyone else touching his ship, I bet." The other one answered. He watched the two men as they swaggered past the spot where he and his mother hid. As they left, his mother continued to carefully make her way to the hatch, with him creeping after her. When they reached it, she grabbed him by the hand once more, practically shoving him inside the dark space.
"No matter what happens, I want you to stay in there, all right? Until it's safe, you have to stay in there. I want you to promise me that."
"O-okay." He nodded, a little uncertainly, looking scared. Why were they creeping around in the dark? And where was his father? And what did those men want with them?
She grabbed him by the shoulders, all but shaking him as she forced him to meet her eyes. "Promise me!" Her voice was filled with desperation, her fear reflecting in her eyes.
Heaving a sigh of relief she pulled him tightly to her. "I love you. Never forget that." She let him go, pushing him lightly as she pressed a small button next to the hatch, sending a slight vibration through the air as the door came down.
When they reached the bottom of the staircase, her brother removed her from his back, then strode towards the far wall, where the entrance to the secret place was. She followed, staring up at the ancient runes covering the walls. The first time she had come here, her parents had told her she didn't need to be frightened of the strange marking everywhere, something she completely didn't understand. There was nothing frightening about them…Not when they felt so warm and comforting, the same way her family did. Speaking of which…."Nii-san? Where are Otou-san and Okaa-san?"
Her brother froze for an instant, an emotion she couldn't describe flowing over his face. "Don't worry about them, right now we need to get inside." She watched as he drew a small knife from his pocket and pierced the tip of his finger, kneeling down and smearing the drop of blood that had appeared over one of the most recent runes near the bottom. "I'll tell you where they are later."
In a way that seemed both instantaneous and excruciatingly slow, the wall in front of them began to change, the stones shifting and forcing themselves away from each other. Suddenly, the motion stopped, forming a doorway barely large enough for two men to stand side by side.
"Come on." Her brother took her by the hand, and walked through the door, his footsteps lacking the hurriedness they had when he was heading down the stairs. She wondered if it had something to do with the strange, yet familiar feelings coming from this place. She walked in alongside him, peering at the ruins that were scattered throughout the large chamber.
The sibling's feet padded softly along the sand, towards a large pool of water at the far end of the chamber. She remembered her father explaining to her once, when she questioned how it got down there, that the water came from a spring, deep underground. "All right, we should be okay now….But I need you to stay quiet for a little while, okay?"
"Okay..." She said, plunking herself down next to the water's edge.
He watched as the hatch finished closing, too confused about why she would stay out there to move. Once it shut, he was unable to see anything beyond that which was revealed through a small window. However, as he peered through it, he noticed his mother facing away from him, walking back in the direction they had just come from.
He watched, as several men suddenly appeared before her, shouting. Though he could not make out their words, he could hear the anger in their voices. After a few moments they stopped, and he heard his mother's voice, just as desperate as it had been before she put him into the ship. Suddenly, there was silence once more, before he saw one of the men turn away. The man said something so softly that he could barely even hear him speak. His mother remained quiet and the silence was only broken by a sort of strange, loud noise similar to a thunderclap, before she crumpled to the ground.
He watched as the man who had turned away turn back again, kneeling down to where his mother laid on the ground, before standing up and shouting once more, this time apparently some sort of order, as the men with him started to rummage through the remaining crates on the dock.
A rumbling vibration ran through the room as the engine started to hum, signaling that the ship was beginning to depart.
She sat at the edge of the water, sticking her hands in and twirling them around, watching as the light flowing through the water changed with the movement of her hands. "Nii-san? I know I promised to stay quiet, but how much longer are we going to have to stay down here before Otou-san and Okaa-san come and get us?"
Her brother sighed, and knelt down next to her. He simply sat there for a while, before suddenly turning and wrapping his arms around her. She was shocked. He never hugged her! Well, not never, but it was a very rare thing for him to do. When he finally spoke, his voice was quiet, as if he was on the edge of breaking. "They're not coming."
"Huh?" She pushed back a little bit, looking at her brother's face. "Why not?"
As the ship began to lift into the air, he caught one last glimpse her, lying there on the dock, motionless in a pool of some strange, dark liquid.
And it was then, as the ship blast off through the atmosphere that he realized his mother's fate.
She couldn't believe the words that her brother spoke, wondering if it was part f some sort of sick game. But the look on her brother's face told her that it was no game.
Two innocent hearts, billions of miles apart, shared the same cry that night.