Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Group Home

Sorry about changing the schedule around on you, but I needed a bit of a reset yesterday. The news about Benton hit me pretty hard. I'm feeling a lot more stable now, having spent nearly a month doing everything I can to feel better, but such terrible news is hard for anyone with a heart to take, much less some who kind of lost it the way I did.

That wasn't the only reason I spent yesterday focusing on the real world. A few hours after the cleanup effort in Benton started, the traders doing that grim work discovered something in the ruins. Tucked away in the basement of what looked like an abandoned shack were two dozen children. No one knew there were kids of any age in Benton. No one had ever seen any.

It hadn't occurred to anyone to wonder why there would be a decrepit, abandoned building inside the walls of the place. No one went there, it didn't look utilitarian or important. According to a few of the older kids the traders rescued, the people of Benton have been stashing them there any time outsiders showed up. If there was fighting to be done, danger to be faced, or strangers to be met, the kids were secured behind a foot of concrete, two-inch metal doors that locked from within, and enough food and water to last them for weeks. There was even a clever ventilation system set up, easily powered by the kids themselves.

The adults of Benton saved their best commodity from their attackers, both living and dead. The basement was built specifically for the purpose it served and hidden from sight by the old shack. I'm astounded at how effective simple misdirection was in this scenario. It also stings a little to realize how much time and effort we've all spent on clever defenses when such a basic ruse did the job.

Then again, for it to work all the adults had to die. So maybe the trade-off isn't really symmetrical.

I'm happy beyond words to know those kids made it out. If I should go out fighting one day, I want it to matter that way. To save those who need saving.

That being said, I'm worried about those kids. Only about half of them are biological children of people from Benton. The rest are strays and orphans that Benton took in and cared for. It happens a lot in the world as it is. Many families here are composed of parents and kids that were strangers a few years ago. The philosopher in me recognizes the abstract truth that love doesn't see chromosome pairs. The realist in me understands that those kids--who are all demanding to stay together--will have a hard time adapting to new parents. The children see themselves as one family. Splitting them up would be cruel and difficult.

Maybe even dangerous. Even kids nowadays can fight like ten kinds of hell.

The discussions have already begun. There aren't a lot of settlements between here and Benton. Though the place is a good distance from us, it's in a direction not many people travel. The realistic choice is to bring them here. We're already planning to accept another fifteen hundred plus new arrivals. A couple handfuls more aren't going to tip the scales.

I don't have any say in that, but Will is our governor and I know him well. I'm not saying it's a sure thing. All I'm saying is that we can manage it better than most, and that I love kids. I think I could be a friend to them. Most people in New Haven could.

Yes, Will. I'm hinting. Pick up on it or I'll punch you in the kidneys.

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