Seventeen: Good-Bye


Sam didn’t know how long she just laid there, staring up at the dark ceiling.  When she sat up to check on Biz and Becca, she found them fast asleep in Biz’s cot.

They looked so peaceful.

She remembered watching Joey as he slept.  Like a perfect angel.

Now, he truly was an angel.

Suddenly, Lance appeared in the entryway of the large room.  He motioned for her.

Sam stood, and walked to him and he led her back in to the diner section.  Alma stood at the front door, staring out of the its large window.  She noticed the woman held a pitchfork.  Lance armed with a rifle of some sort.

“Myron just stopped by to let us know that the infected are about to breach the far southeastern corner of the park.” He said.

“Okay.  Where is that in relation to us?” She tried not to sound too clueless.

“We are in the extreme northern part.”

“Got it.” She was fairly certain that it was where the Sandy and Andy’s Theater was located.

“I need you to wake up all the kids and be ready to move.”

Sam hesitated for a second before nodding.  Lance went back to the front door, and she turned to face the kids many of who were sleeping peacefully.

How is she going to do this?  

She took a deep breath, and knelt beside the sleeping Biz and Becca, and began to gently shake the older girl.

“Biz, sweetie?” She whispered.

The girl stirred a few times before her eyes opened. “Mrs. Dunham?”

Biz’s voice instantly woke the sister as she sat straight up. “Has Santa come yet?”

“No, dear.” Sam’s voice shook slightly. “Biz, I need you to help me get everyone up and ready.”

“Are we leaving?” Biz’s brown eyes widened.

“I believe so.”

“Where are we going?” Becca asked as she hugged her baby giraffe tight.

“I believe only Alma knows.” Sam fingered a stray hair away from the little girl’s face.

“Maybe we’re going to go see Santa.” The hopeful expression on her tiny, sweet face caused the ache in Sam’s chest to worsen.

“Perhaps so.  Let’s get the others up, shall we?” She forced herself to smile which the girl returned with a big, beautiful grin.

“Yes, Mrs. Dunham!”

By the time Lance returned, Sam had the kids dressed and readied.  Sam moved to stand close to him so the children won’t hear.

“What’s the plan?” She whispered.

Before he could answer, Alma suddenly appeared next to them.

“Follow me.” The woman said.

In a single line, they followed her out of the large room, and to the narrow wooden stairs that hugged the far wall.

“Up here everyone.” She said.

It was tight, but they all managed to step their way to the top floor, and continued to follow Alma as she turned to the right, and down an even narrower hallway to the end to a closed door.

The woman turned around and looked down at everyone with a smile. “A most splendid treat awaits the children on the other side of this door. That is all I will say for if I say anymore I fear you think me a crazy woman!”

“I’m not understanding.” Lance said.

Alma turned the round knob and the door opened on its own with a low creak.  It revealed a furniture-less room with an expansive double glass door that led to a no-rail patio outside.

“There’s not much time.  Everyone in.” She leaned back against the wall to allow them passage into the room.

Lance and Sam were the last to pass through but before Sam could, the woman grasped her arm.

“This won’t make much sense now but if you ever  need someone to trust, you can call upon a man named, Raulf.”

“What is going on, Alma?” Lance’s voice took a serious tone.

“You will see.” She smiled at the man. “I will bolt the door from my side so that should give you ample time to get away.”

“But–what about you a-and the others?” Sam asked.

“No more questions, my dear sweet lady.” She caressed Sam’s face.  “We will see each other again one day.”

And she closed the door