• I got up out of my cot slowly and pushed the curtain aside quietly. The children were sound asleep now and the fire from the stove was burning to embers. I walked over to it and put in another small log to keep it going so this large room could stay warm. I'm Skylark. I lost my home a year ago and now i live in an abandoned building that many poor people take shelter in. I have short blonde hair and icy eyes. The two children i have here i found wandering the streets one night. They both left their abusive parents and had nowhere to go.

    I tended to the flames and embers with a metal bar. I heard one of the kids stir and i looked behind me. Carol was awake. She looked at me and yawned. Then Eric, her brother, woke up too.

    "What is it you both?" i ask them tenderly.

    "We're cold" Eric said. He's older than Carol. He's an nine year old who's got shady brown hair, blue eyes and also the courage of a lion to stand up to someone who's at least twice his size. Carol though, is only six but looks like a doll when her brown hair is flowing and her green eyes shining.

    I smile and turn back toward the fire. I turn the log and i move from the wood burning stove. I place the metal bar off to where it belongs.

    "It'll warm up soon. Go back to bed now or you both will be tired for school in the morning" i say as i walk back over to my cot. I hear them lay back down as i close my curtain. This whole room is a big large space with a kitchen section, a separate bathroom with running hot water surprisingly, a big living space, a large closet, a window where i sleep and a door leading to the hall.

    I lay down and wrap myself in all my blankets. I watch outside the window and see the soldiers walking around in the snow like always. Keeping watch like always. Waiting to shoot someone whenever they can like always... After a few recent explosions set off to kill important buildings like the mayors office and the military base, law enforcements have gotten harsh and the soldiers must watch every street. They're cruel and black hearten men who only cause trouble or stand still until help is needed or when they need to kill someone on spot. We've had many people get killed, mostly those who have trespassed into our town or those who break laws... or whenever nothing happens and the soldiers need a laugh. They're only out at night though and rarely outside during the day.

    I have seen one act that i believe must stop. They take women and take them to their homes or somewhere else by force or the woman's willingness and they f*** them. Superiority is what the soldiers want, to be in command and to be feared of. A few times they almost got me but i ended up running away or one of my friends, Galen, saved me a few times.

    Galen is a black haired boy with icy eyes like mine. He's eighteen but luckily not a soldier but instead works as a hunter and runs a shop with his father. I work as a medic or intern at the near by hospital. We both met when he came in for having a bullet in his arm after an accidental shot from someone who mistook him for a moving creature.

    Suddenly i hear gun fire outside and i get up fast. Carol and Eric both come running into my sleeping area and huddling close to me while i hold them both tightly. I peer through the curtain and see that the two soldiers shot someone. And that someone is dead with red blood spreading from their body, tainting the snow. I keep them both from looking even through Eric wants to show how strong or brave he is, i refuse to let them see someone shot dead.

    The only problem is, everyone living in here must be quiet or they'll be fined or killed. There's at least twenty other people living in this building. I knew that when i came here but it never seems like it at night, everything is more silent than snowfall itself. I may be able to afford everything i need like food, clothing, wood and more but i don't have enough to live on my own yet. I also have Carol and Eric to take care of until Eric can work.

    When i see that the body is gone and the blood is covered up by a pile of snow, I loosen my grip on the children. Eric peers through my curtain hiding the window and sighs.

    "Why can't i see a dead body yet? I'm old enough to see one" Eric asks quietly. I ruffle his hair.

    "I don't want you to see how someone's life ends like that, it's not polite or a kind thing to do. Would you like many onlookers to see you dead in the streets from gunshot?" I ask him softly.

    "No i don't but i can't even look once?" Eric pesters.

    "Off to bed and no more, Eric. Your sister is already scared enough" I say ans he looks down. Eric goes back to bed while Carol sits next to me with pleading eyes.

    "Will they shoot us?" she asks. I smooth her hair gently.

    "Of course not Carol, no off to bed" i kiss her forehead and she goes to lay with her brother. I close my curtain separating my sleeping area from the rest of the room. I look out the window and see everything looks as the way it was. I lay my head down and close my eyes. Darkness overtakes me...

    * * *

    I stir slowly and hear the kids moving around to get ready for school. I get up and open my curtain. Eric is making soup while Carol brushes her hair. I smile. I slip on socks and an extra shirt.

    "Morning you both" I smile.

    "Sky, Eric used the last cans of soup" Carol says. I open the pantry and see that it's empty except for some spices and a bag of sugar.

    "I guess I'll go shopping today then while you both are at school" I say. I go to the closet and pull out a pair of pants for myself and i close my curtain to change. I change into jeans and a different long sleeved shirt. I pull out my boots and place them down and then slip on my long coat. It's black and has my medic band still on it. I come out and see Carol and Eric eating their soup. They both have their bags, boots and coats ready. The fire has turned into embers. I take a bucket of water and pour it over them carefully to put them out sort of. The steam rushes up and i move back. I move toward the door and see that it's still locked tight.

    Carol and Eric both get up and slip on their coats and boots. I slip my boots on too. They grab their bags while i grab my bag with essentials such as money, ID, hospital ID, a pocket knife and a mini first aid kit. I unlock the door and peer through to see no one, we leave quickly while i lock the hidden top latch of the door so no one can get in. We head down the stairwell and walk into the cold as if nothing happened. No one is out an about. I begin walking the children to school in the cold morning of another day...