by Missy Vinson
“You did this! I told you it was foolish.”
“I know, Papa. I thought…”
“Stupid child, we will all die. If not now, on the outside. Cora dropped the basket. No food, no seeds.”
“The light, Papa! Look. On the west wall!”
“Yes, Cora, come close to Papa.”
Evan looked to the southwest corner. He remembered home, when Mama was still alive. She would clear the table after supper, and lift the fireplace guard behind the oil lamp to focus the light into the corner. Shadow theater by candlelight! They spent hours cutting backgrounds from an old tablecloth and fashioning paper dolls for an elaborate performance. But simple hands made for the best play. Cora’s favorite was the mouse, one of his more difficult tricks using a few bits of string for whiskers. Evan, however, never tired of the hawk. Thumbs linked; fingers ready to fly.
“Papa, we can make it. Take Cora’s hand.”
“No, we can still go ba…”
“Run!! Stay against the wall. Find the hole!”
“Evan! Evan! Stay with us! Where…”
“Keep moving, Papa!”
Evan ran, pumping his legs so fast he lost any sense of the ground at all. One look back. He could barely see his family in the darkness.
“Papa, I see it!”
“Cora, go. Go, now!”
Evan stopped, blinded. Papa looked back to see his son glowing like an angel, as his shadow covered their escape.
As the shots rang out, Evan lifted his hands, thumbs together in flight.