I don't do things right. In fact, I buck the system. So here is my #SaturdayScenes
contribution. On Sunday night
From Warrior's Curse,
book five of +The Warrior Chronicles
It's less than a month away folks.
A few minutes later, Cort and Liz turned a corner into the area that had been set aside for the children. There were pods that had been printed to form a school. There were three dozen rooms surrounding a courtyard, all with clear walls on the side facing a printed park. In the park, wolves were socializing with children. There were only human adults visible, but Cort could see images of Jaifans and other species on screens in some of the classrooms. When he saw a Nill on one screen, he remembered Speral.
It was at that moment a little girl approached him. She was pale, clearly malnourished, but he knew from Liz the children were being nursed back to health.
The little girl looked at him and said, “Your clothes are funny, like Elizabeth’s.”
Cort realized that he and Liz were the only two people in the school who had military uniforms on. The teachers, who had been taken from the Marines and ship crews were in simple, light blue tunics, and the refugee children were all in brightly colored clothes. Cort suspected they were somehow color coded, but wasn’t concerned as to how. His focus was on the little girl.
“Yes, they are. Your clothes are very pretty though.”
“Teacher says our pretty clothes are proof that the monsters can’t hurt us anymore. The monsters didn’t let us have clothes.”
“Nope! We had to be naked. Even when we were cold. Now I have lots of clothes. Well. Kind of. I only have one set, but every day I get a new one that is a different color. So I know the monsters aren’t here.”
The girl was incredibly cute. She had a very slight Chinese accent, but spoke clearly. Cort suspected she was abducted from Hong Kong. He said, “Well, we do have some people who don’t look like us, but they are aren’t monsters. And you don’t need to be afraid of them.”
“The Jaifans?” the girl asked. “I know about them, they helped rescue us from the real monsters.”
“Yes, the Jaifans. They look like monsters, but they aren’t.” Cort led Liz and the little girl to a nearby bench. When they sat, Bane stayed at Cort’s side, but nuzzled the girl’s hand until she began to pet him.
“Is he really a wolf?” She asked? “I thought wolves were mean.”
“He can be. He would be if someone tried to hurt me.”
“No. Wolves know when people are really mean. They try not to hurt good people.”
“What about the monsters?”
“Bane, that’s his name, wouldn’t be nice to them at all. He would fight them.”
“If I had a wolf, I wouldn’t be afraid of them anymore.”
“What’s your name?” Cort asked.
“Melanie. What’s yours?”
“Hi Melanie, my name is Cort. The grownups have to call me Sir or General. But you can call me Cort all the time, okay?”
“Melanie, it’s okay to be afraid of the monsters. Everyone is afraid sometimes. But you don’t have to be afraid anymore.”
“I still have bad dreams about them,” Melanie said.
Cort’s flexpad vibrated. “Excuse me just a moment, Melanie.” He looked at the pad, then at Liz who had watched the exchange with tears in her eyes. Cort tapped out, Are you sure?
Liz nodded and he reread her message.Her parents are confirmed dead. I’ve been coming here every day and talking to her. I’m going to adopt her, so don’t get your heart caught the way I did, Cort
Cort tapped, That’s great, Liz. Have you talked to her about it?A little. She wants to start staying in my quarters. I was waiting to talk to you about it
.You have my blessing, Liz
“Do you like it here, Melanie?” Cort asked aloud.
Melanie pointed at Liz as she said, “I like the wolves, but not the school. I would rather spend my time with her.”
“Well Melanie, I am the boss around here, so I’ll make you a deal. If you will come to school every day, I will make sure you get to play with the wolves, and you can spend the night with Elizabeth. Would you like that?”
Melanie threw her arms around Cort and said, “REALLY? YES! YES! YES!”
Liz began to cry, so Melanie said, “Why are you crying?”
“They are happy tears, honey. I didn’t know I loved you until I met you. So I am happy the General is letting you stay with me.”
Melanie looked at Cort and said, “Even Elizabeth has to call you General?”
“Most of the time she does,” Cort said. “But not always.”
“I won’t be as afraid tonight.”
“Like I said,” Cort began. “Everyone is afraid sometimes.”
"Even you?" the little girl asked.
He nodded. "Yes. Even me."
She was suddenly concerned. "Even monsters?"
"Even monsters," Cort assured her.
Doubtfully, Melanie asked, "What are monsters afraid of?""Me."
Melanie looked questioningly at Liz, who nodded. “It’s true. Even monsters are afraid of him.”
“Are you afraid of him, Elizabeth?” Melanie asked.
Liz was startled by the question. She looked at Cort for a long moment, then without breaking his stare, answered, “No. I’m not afraid of him. He is a good man.”
In that moment, something passed between the two of them. She would never again question his killing of her brother and uncle, and he would never again question her loyalty. Cort stood and said, “I have to get back to the Kalashnikov
. Liz, turn things over to your flag captain and show Melanie your quarters.”