Joseph: The Orphan

It's probably true, what they say about it being the darkest before dawn.  The only light now is the embers and sparce flames in the ruble. 

Ryan sits next to me, his arms around his knees.  Deep in thought.  He's probably dead on the inside, knowing that even though he did his best to keep them safe, he failed.   That a young lady and innocent girl had died.

But it isn't entirely his fault.  He had tried, had he not?  Who would have known that the Jacks were capable of tearing two-inch thick metal into shreds?  If anything, he had done his best.  And his best just wasnt good enough.

I take his hand and squeeze it softly.  I don't want him to hate himself, and I want to say something, but nothing comes to mind that would make this any better.  I'm dying to see the old him, the one who jokes and irritates me with his stupid sense of humor and dimpled smile and carefree laugh.  But looking at where we are, what has happened, sitting in this dark orange glow, it's hard to believe any other life existed before this.

The sun finally comes up.  Ryan finally moves and shows signs of life.  His face is blank, his eyes are tired.  He gets up and moves over to Sparky, whose wings are cradled around Joseph.  He pats the top of her head until she wakes.  She lifts her head and looks at him with her beautiful violet eyes.

"Do you think you can handle a nice long flight?  We need to get far away from here.  To where there are many humans around.  Can you do that?"  He asks her.

She purrs and presses her head against him.  I have to wonder how civilization would react to us flying in on a monster.

"Why would we go find civilization," I ask, "if we have Sparky? People won't trust her.  She's a giant bird thing with feathers like bones.  She's not exactly a huge puppy."

He lowers his voice, "It won't be for long.  It's for Joseph.  We can't keep him around.  He's a child, for goodness sakes.  We aren't his parents.  He needs to be around people who can take care of him and take place of his family."

"You mean we're going to drop him off at some orphan shelter?" I almost yell it.

"What other choice do we have, Felicia? He's lost everything but his life.  He barely knows us.  We can't take place of his family.  Besides, how long until the Jacks attack again?  Or Rex?  He's not safe with us."

Translation: I'm afraid I'll get him killed too.

The End

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