Owen was furious, and refused to take part in anything to do with the children. He also yelled at me for leaving my post when it was clearly no time for a break.
"Funnel, if you want to tell those kids that their friends and teachers are dead, then by all means do so. But don't expect me to care if any of them get upset over it. We have more to worry about."
We didn't see him after that.
Anna was saddened by his harsh words, but they were the reality of the situation. She said that she couldn't tell them either, and I knew Rhubarb wouldn't.
The job had been left to me, and I had to do I in the little spare time I had. There was no easy way about this. The oldest kid here was six, for God's sake!
While Maddie was playing with the kids whose carers were on supply runs, I called her over.
"Maddie," I crouched down so that I was at her level. "I have a good idea. Do you want to hear it?" She stuck her thumb in her mouth and nodded, eyes wide. "I think that we should all have a big sleepover. What do you think? Is that a good idea?"
Her eyes lit up immediately. "Ish everyone allowed to come?"
I grinned and nodded. "Now, quickly, go and invite all your friends over there!"
She giggled and ran off.
Anna sighed and put Zac on the floor, nudging him in the direction of the other kids. "Funnel, I'm seventeen. I'm not even legally old enough to drink yet. How did I end up in a situation where I've had to throw away thirty-eight small shirts because they were stained with blood?"
"I don't know, Anna. But I'm fifteen, and I have to tell them all where their friends have gone. But, y'know, at least I can relate," at that point, I shut up because I was getting angry with myself and Anna was shooting me warning signs.
Then Si, Tom and Jon walked in. Si swung his little kid Juniper up onto his shoulders, and she giggled and began brushing his hair with a small plastic comb. Jon also lifted his child, Ben up.
Tom walked over to me and Anna.
"You've pissed Owen off majorly. What did you say to him?"
Anna explained what had happened and then she walked away, clearly on the brink of tears.
"Ah, don't worry Funnel, I'll help you," Tom hugged me. "Not that I know how to talk to kids, but y'know."
"Thanks," I tried a smile. "I just... I mean, what if I burst into tears? What will I do then? It's like hell! I'm not prepared for this! I'm basically a child myself! And whose to say I'm any different from the damn zombies anyway?" I broke down and collapsed to the floor.
"Hey, Funnel, don't cry," Tom put his arms around me. "You can't have done anything as bad as murdering people. You're just not like that."
I panicked and pushed myself away from him. "Yes I am. Tom, I killed my dad. My own father! He raised me and my brother pretty much on his own, and I repay him by murdering him! He did nothing to hurt me! Not once, not ever! Who does that? Who kills their own dad?"
He stood up rapidly. "If you're going to be like that, then fine," he snapped. "I was just trying to help."
Then he took his child and walked away. Jon and Si had gone already, so I was left alone.
Next minute, I was at Rhubarb's side. She was in absolute shock, and didn't seem to know how to respond.
"What's... what's wrong?" She asked hesitantly.
I looked at her, and tried to talk through my sobbing "I miss my dad, Rhu. I've never looked after myself before, and I miss him so much."
She did her best to comfort me, but still seemed to be at loss.
One of her kids came up and tapped me. "I made you a flower," she said, holding out her picture of a daisy, "To make you happy. I miss my daddy too."
"Thank you," I said through a fresh wave of tears, taking the drawing. Afterwards, I sat there for a long while just staring at the paper.
It always seemed strange to me how children's minds worked. Give them a picture of something pretty, and it cheers them up. Simple things like that. I wished I could be that young again.