Eilen heard her sister call for her in the darkness in front of her. She turned the corner and flashed the light down the tunnel where Jessi waited. The light reflected off Jessi who was still wearing her dirty and tattered outfit and a dirt black, tattered teddy bear drooped over her arm.
Eilen motioned to her sister and scolded her in hushed tones, “Be quiet. Come on.”
Jessi rushed down the darkened tunnel. Only brief flashes of her as she crossed the beam of light allowed Eilen to track her. When Jessi joined her, they wrapped their arms around each other as if the few minutes that Eilen was away seemed like an eternity.
“Is everybody… you know?” asked Jessi.
There was a trembling in Jessi’s voice and she spoke so low that Eilen almost missed it. She did not have an opportunity to do much exploring. She only went as far as to find a flashlight and something else that she wished to have not found and was trying to force it out of her mind.
It had been hours since she heard anything other than her sister. She did not know if it meant it was safe to come out of hiding. Those flying guns made almost no noise and by the time you heard them, it was too late. She wanted to believe that the reason that nobody came for them was that nobody else knew where they were. In the back of her mind, she knew it was a false hope.
“I don’t know. Let’s get to the muster spot.”
Jessi grasped Eilen’s hand as they began to walk down the dark tunnel. They would need to find their way out and to the place where they were to meet in an emergency. It was a small structure about 100 yards from the camp. While it was not as safe as the camp, it was a place that Chief chose for the purpose.
Without warning, Jessi asked, “Was that thing from the enclave?”
Eilen answered without hesitation, “Yes, Jessi… it was.”
Jessi was silent for a bit, “Why?”
“Because Jessi, like Dad said, never trust the enclaves! Now be quiet.”
She did not intend to say it like she did. She had the same questions and, like Jessi, she did not have any answers. The frustration of not knowing what happened to the rest of the clan and knowing that her father warned that this would happen made her angry.
Jessi released her hand and from behind her, Eilen heard sobbing. She turned and walked back and placed her hand on Jessi’s shoulder.
“Jess, I’m sorry.”
Through choked tears, Jessi responded, “All I want to know is why.”
“So do I… but crying and getting angry is not going to help right now.”
Eilen could sense movement in her sister and knew she nodded. She choked back one last sob followed by a slight chuckle, “you almost sound like Mom.”
She thought about it for a second. Yes, that was something that her mother would say. She hugged Jessi and took her hand and continued down the tunnel until they arrived at an intersection with another tunnel. Eilen wanted to avoid this place and she pulled her sister with her as she turned left.
“Why aren’t we using that exit?” asked Jessi as she tried pulling Eilen to the right.
“We can’t go that way. They blocked it.”
Eilen was glad that Jessi was not able to see her face at that moment. She had just told a lie and she could feel her face burning as punishment. The truth was that the flashlight she held was their father’s. She found his body and drug it into that tunnel so that Jessi would not see it as they came this way.
It was wrong to lie. She knew it especially one as big as this. The Holy Bible said that it was wrong but despite that, she could not force Jessi face that truth; at least not yet.
“…we have to go through the common chamber.”
Eilen finished Jessi’s sentence and got an empty churning in her stomach. She did not think of that. They said that lies always came back to you. She was not ready to face what she knew was in the common chamber and she knew that Jessi was not either.
There was a hard choice to make. Should she reveal her lie or learn what happened to the rest of the clan. After some thought, she realized that they were going to have to face that truth if they were to survive.
Eilen sighed, “We have no choice… no sense in putting off bad news.”
She hoped that her mother… and father… was not watching them from heaven right now and if they did that they would forgive her for her sin.