Chapter 2

Underneath the scattered remains of her town, a baby cries, as far as she knows her entire family dead, her house gone, her life has been so short before it was destroyed. She cries, in her basket she rocks back and forth, the comfy cotton sheets slightly covered in ash, her pink pajamas dirty and along the side of her basket in bright pink curly letters the name Brianna is embroidered onto the side of the wicker cradle. She soon stops crying hearing a strange noise above her. The trap door opens sending a large amount of ash onto the hard cement floor. A boy walks through closing the door behind him. A dark blue wet wash cloth covering his mouth and nose. When he sees the baby his eyes fill with tears, he smiles for the first time in 3 days. He runs quickly up to the basket picking up the baby.

"Brianna!" he screams picking her up, cradling her in his arms pulling his wash cloth down from his face hugging her.

"Nio" Brianna manages her chubby baby legs start kicking with excitement. Brianna being so small has a new perspective on life, now that her older brother is here to protect her.

"Mama" Brianna asks in her baby voice full of chunky syllables and under enunciations. Nio shakes his head dark tears rolling down his face and small streaks of cleanliness show after 3 days of walking in ash. "Dada" She asks again Nio continues to shake his head

"It's just me and you Bri, just me and you" Nio said cradling his only family member "Forever and ever" Brianna snuggles up in Nio's shirt and starts to drift off to sleep now finally feeling safe. Nio holding onto his only family member left unties his wash cloth holding it an inch above Brianna's face. Walking back into Brianna's room Nio kicks around in the ash again, he knows it's useless, that he's not going to find anything, it helps him forget. Nio notices a larger lump of ash and walks over to in kicking it. As he kicks the small lump he notices a small amount of pink that is visible. Bending over to pick up the lump Nio notices that its Brianna's toy bunny she received for her birthday from grandma. Who is also dead. Dusting off the bunny and using the washcloth to wipe it off he hands it to sleeping Brianna who is curled up against Nio's chest her breathing deep and strong. Nio walks away from the house, his house, his home, his life, he can never go back to, things will never be the same, he and his sister are orphans, forever.

Nio is startled by the sudden loud noise coming from ahead. Everything has been dead silent for the last few days except for the soft fall of the ash. Looking up Nio see's a white object emerging from the clearing black sky.

"Every survivor please make yourself noticeable, we have come to help, we are from the red cross, please make yourself noticeable" the loud speaker message continues to repeat as a white helicopter with a red cross on it lands on what used to be the grass field at the school. Brianna awakened by the loud noise of the helicopter begins to cry.

"Shh…" Nio whispers to her in the soothing voice Dad always used "It's alright, I'm here, its okay" He starts walking to the helicopter where the rest of his classmates and teacher are gathering.

"Nio!" Taylor Field shouts through her washcloth "You're alive, and so is Brianna, how did she make it, I was sure-"

"Cellar" Nio interrupts before she can say the D-word. "Mom and Dad hid her in the Cellar"

"Oh well isn't that just great" She says joyfully brushing Brianna's blond hair out of her eyes.

"Excuse me sir, may I please ask that you board the helicopter along with your sister, you to miss" Says a man in a protective suit pointing to Nio and Taylor.

"Yes sir" Nio and Taylor respond simultaneously following the man into the white helicopter, the only white thing they've seen in three days.

On the helicopter Hannah is sobbing her eyes out; Jacob has fainted and is being checked by several men. Alana is crying but her twin sister Kara is not on the helicopter. One of the men walks over to Nio and says.

"Can I see the baby?" Nio holds Brianna close and shakes his head no. "Please" the man asks again

"Can I come with her" Nio asks

"Yes now come on we can do a check on you at the same time" He says his voice calm and understanding. Nio stands up holding Brianna close to him. The man leads Nio toward the back of the helicopter where another man with a hospital mask holds a stethoscope to Brianna's chest then does the same to Nio. After that he takes Brianna's temperature and nods with satisfaction after the small white device beeps, after looking at the electronic numbers he says.

"She's fine" And disposes of the thermometer and grabs another and repeats the same steps with Nio. "You and your sister may go back to your seats" he continues after cataloging Nio and Brianna's names and condition. Nio walked back to his seat and sank into the soft leather. For the first time in three days he felt safe.