In the Wake

She held my hand, swinging it softly. I helped her swing our arms as we walked down our street that was still in disarray.

Looking at us, you would think this was the first time we walked this road, even though we walked it every day to get to her school. You wouldn’t be able to tell, though, her gaze holding to everything we pass, as if it’s the first time she’d seen it. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched her.

“You know that theater over there? My dad and I used to go there all the time to see movies.” I pointed at it with my free hand. She looked at it for a long moment before looking up at me with curiosity in her eyes.

“Mama, what’s a movie?” My heart dropped for a second. Of course, she wouldn’t know what a movie was. I took another look at the theater, it was pretty much in ruins now. Its sign was on the ground, leaning into a hole in the side of the building. It had been abandoned for a long time. The war had not been kind to the world, especially with things not deemed a necessity.

Lucky for me, when the war broke out both of my parents were doctors. We were allowed to stay within the walls of the city as my parents tended to the people within it. But for others, they were not so lucky. Many families had been ruined and most cities were left as ghost towns. Many people still too afraid to leave the walls they began to call home to return back to the homes they had before the war.

The war ended years ago and while school has returned, there was still an underlying fear that another wave would break out. Most of the kids and teens alive only know a world of war, a world of suffering.

Why would anyone go to the movies in a world like that?


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A short story about a conversation between a mother and daughter in a post-war world.

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