I, like a good citizen of a zombie apocalypse, had enthusiastically thrown myself into making bread and cookies. Mostly cookies, though.
All the kids were in the kitchens of the hospital we were staying in, helping out. They all had little jobs to do.
Maddie and a few others had grasped weighing things out from my explanation, "Pour it in the bowl until it gets to the right number, then pass it along."
They were all proud to know how to press the on/zero button at the right time.
Rhubarb was helping them pour milk in while waiting for loaves of bread to bake, and I was supervising the littler children, like Juniper and Zac, who were putting a lot of concentration into stirring mixtures to the exact right consistency.
We even had ding! monitors at every oven, who were quite happy to watch things bake and alert someone when the timer went off.
We'd divided all the ingredients up into batches to make it easier for the kids, and set aside two batches worth of butter and sugar. I took Maddie to one side and showed her how to make icing, and she went and taught two or three of her friends and they set to it.
At some point, Tom and Si walked in and entertained the kids by pretending to steal cookies or eat mixture.
Then Tom walked over to me. "Are you scared of the dark?" He questioned, after asking me out again.
"Yeah, why?" I responded, quickly stopping Juniper's mixing bowl from falling off the edge of the counter.
He rolled up his sleeve to reveal a series of light bruises on his upper arm. "You were holding onto me pretty tightly," he laughed. "Especially when the candles went out."
"I..." I coughed. "Sorry."
"Don't mention it. My gun kills my arms every day, I can deal."
I didn't say anything at first, but then I thought of something. "Tom, I'm sorry about when I was going on about my dad. I didn't mean to offend you."
He shook his head. "Nah, it's OK. It was just that you were going on about how bad it was that you'd killed him, as if I didn't know. But I do, because I did the same thing, and he wasn't even a zombie. And it's not just my dad I killed, it's also Si's. And I have to live with that. You had valid reason for what you did."
"It was an accident, though," Si, who'd been listening, put in. "He didn't do it on purpose."
"Yeah, I still did it though, didn't I?" Tom was suddenly agitated, and he stormed out of the kitchens.
"Don't mind him, he's like it all the time," Si grinned. "Besides, our dad didn't like me anyway."
"Why not?" I wondered.
"'Cause I'm gay." He said. "And I know that's not really a valid excuse for shooting him, and I'm not saying it is. I miss him like hell. It was just that he was way, way more devoted to religion that me."
And he smiled sadly wand went to find his brother.