CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and TWENTY-TWO
Thursday afternoon — 3:01 p.m.
Lying in the middle of all of her friends, Maggie Scully opened her eyes. All of the kids had played hard all day, eaten lunch, and then played again. Everyone had been so lonely in their homes that they played a little too hard. When the crying and bickering started, they were put in the big Castle living room for a nap. When the door to the kitchen slid closed and closed off the dining room — something Maggie, in all three years of her life, had never seen done — the living room was became dark. Mr. Mike built a big fire in the fireplace and soon all of the kids were asleep.
The older kids had taken over the side sitting room off the living room. They were talking quietly or reading. Some kids that Maggie recognized from school had showed up about mid-day. They lived with Joey and Máire.
That’s what Maggie knew.
The boys were given rooms in people’s apartments. The one named “Hermes” was staying with Maggie and her parents in their apartment. Maggie didn’t know where his brother was staying.
Maggie thought about all of these things while she lay awake in a pool of sleeping kids. After a few more minutes, Maggie got up and looked around. It took her a moment to remember that her good friend and adventure partner, Jabari, wasn’t there. For a moment, Maggie felt sad that her friend was so sick. She touched the piece of cloth over her mouth and hoped that she didn’t get sick.
“Don’t go,” her good friend, Mack, said, from his position sleeping next to her.
He was wearing a Superman mask that glowed in the dark.
“I want to see my mommy,” Maggie whispered. “She probably needs me since daddy’s gone.”
Mack got up from where he was sleeping.
“I’ll go with you,” Mack said.
Maggie held up a finger to her covered lips and gestured to the couch where Ms. Valerie and Mr. Mike were sitting. Mack nodded.
The children started creeping across the living room. When they got to Chase and Beau, Maggie stopped.
Beau was crying.
Mack dropped down to a squat and touched the boy’s shoulder. The boy opened his blue eyes to look at them. His mask matched his eyes.
“Don’t be sad,” Mack said.
The worst thing imaginable to Maggie was to be friendless. She said something that she was sure would fix the boy’s sorrow.
“We’re your friends!” Maggie said.
The boy just shook his head and closed his eyes. Clearly, Maggie and Mack being his friend didn’t make the boy feel instantly better. Maggie looked at Mack. Mack touched the boy’s shoulder again.
Beau opened his eyes.
Mack gestured for Beau to come with them. The boy looked away for a moment but then he nodded. The boy was a little younger than Maggie, probably the age of those twin boys who lived upstairs. Mack took the boy’s hand and Maggie took the other.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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