It happened when they were almost completely through the museum the only thing they hadn’t seen was the Martian War display. They went into the big room and Alita and Rowel explained what everything was to Linda. They turned a corner and chills rippled up Rowel’s spine as the soft cries of a baby filled his ears. In front of him was a cut-away-version of his Aunt’s-one-room-house. A wax figure stood at the stove and a wax Leena was running toward her father’s outstretched arms. He could hear Alita explaining the display quietly to Linda and tears welled up at the carven smile on his cousin’s baby-face. He hadn’t known her at this age and he wanted to reach out and hold her and never let her go, he wanted to stop his Aunt and Uncle from leaving at least then they might be alive. He snapped back to attention when Alita put her hand on his shoulder. “Come on Rowel. There’s more to see.” He nodded and followed her around the next corner.
The next scene showed the house again but this time his aunt and uncle were standing in a corner frightened and 5 guards were looking around the house. Three were sitting on the bed. He didn’t see Leena anywhere.
“Are you all right Rowel?”
“I’ve never heard this part of the story Alita. I didn’t know that they had trouble with the soldiers.”
Leena was in the next display but he almost wished she wasn’t. His aunt was cradling her in her arms wax tears were set on her cheeks and his uncle was sitting behind her his arms around her. There was a nasty cut across the baby’s cheek. The stand in front of the display told him she had got it from a spring that broke when the guard sat down on the bed.
He heard a slight gasp from next to him and he turned to see Linda staring intently at the display as Alita read the stand to her.
He was having a hard time keeping the tears back and he wasn’t sure how much more he’d be able to take without completely falling apart.
Rowel hadn’t even gone into the room. The sight of the Martian ships and his aunt, uncle and cousin lying in a heap on the ground was more than he could take. He felt himself getting dizzy. He slid down the wall until he felt the floor underneath him. He saw Alita coming toward him and he absent-mindedly wondered where Linda was but the overwhelming display pushed the thought away as soon as it entered.
“I didn’t know they died like this Alita. I didn’t know why they left. I didn’t know it was so hard for them. I didn’t know-“But his voice caught and he couldn’t go any farther. Alita put her arms around him while he cried. “I did this for Sira the first time she came here.” She said “At first she didn’t want to come again. But later it helped her feel closer to her aunt then she ever had before.”
Rowel looked up then. “Really Sira couldn’t take it.”
“Not at first she remembers more about what happened than she lets on and when she saw this place it tore her up. She’s only been able to let go because she comes here so much…and she talks about it.”
Rowel nodded and was about to say something else when a commotion from outside interrupted his thoughts.