Amber and Vivian turned onto the forth street to the left of the main road. To the left, Amber had said, the second house was where they would surely be welcomed. Amber had been thinking of Elliot and Leopold, great friends of their mother. They had one daughter, Caroline, and some summers, when their mother traveled here with them, the three girls would play together. Many memories of these warm summer nights flooded Vivian's mind, and she smiled faintly at them.

   When the two sister's knocked on the door, Elliot answered, shocked to see them alone and filthy standing at the threshold.

   Elliot was a petite woman with a head of long and soft strawberry blond hair, wide and almost child like brown eyes. Tonight, she was dressed in a form-fitting green dress with a pretty pattern of small flowers embellished onto it. Vivian remembered this dress well; she had seen it just last summer. Elliot had worn it when they arrived last time.

   To Amber, Elliot was a blob of bright green against the violet haze of her normal vision. This color had become very familiar to Amber over the past years. Amber welcomed the color, feeling tremendous joy in its presence.

   Elliot helped them clean up, telling them Caroline would be back soon and would be delighted to see them, and Leopold was at the tavern with some buddies-- he, too, would be elated to see them.

   "Where is your mother?" Elliot asked after some time. Amber and Vivian were sitting at the small round table eating a bowl of warm soup Elliot had been kind enough to fix for them.

   They looked at each other for a moment, faces somber.

   "She's... well..." Vivian tried to say, but the wound was too fresh. Finally, Amber answered for her, looking directly at Elliot.

   "She's dead." Elliot's eyes went wide and glossy, as if she might cry. Another moment of silence, and she did.

   "I am terribly sorry. Do... Do you mind if I ask how?" Amber sighed, looking at Vivian, who gave a nod though she knew Amber would not see it. Amber relaid the story, though, as if she had seen. She did not leaving out a detail.

   She told of the frightening soldiers, Vivian helping to describe what they looked like, how they had hid in the crawl space, what they came out to see, even of the hand. Elliot gave an exclamation of surprise and disgust at that. Finally, she gathered them into a very tight embrace, crying with and for the two girls. Finally, they quieted and calmed down, sobs turning into hiccups.

   "It is a good thing you thought of coming here, to us. You are welcome here at any time, under any circumstances," Elliot told them, looking into each of their eyes. Amber's were starting to get a tint of amber in the irises, close to as they usually appeared. Vivian's, too, were returning to the typical color you could usually see.

The End

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