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Noel sat alone in the living room with an old magazine in front of him. He had started reading it a few minutes ago, but he couldn’t focus. He and the rest of his family had been able to speak to their father on the radio earlier that day.
It had been a quick conversation. He and his siblings and nephew were ushered out of the room as the adults talked about something else, but he had stayed close to the door to eavesdrop.
They had a plan to retake DC. The soldiers hiding in the city were able to get recon information on the locations of the weapons and the other troops. It seemed that the Brotherhood had taken over the Pentagon as well. So, most of the really powerful weapons were also under the terrorist group’s control.
Even to Noel’s ears, the plan sounded like a good one. There was just one problem: His dad needed a way to get back into the country. Noel didn’t know where he was, but it certainly wasn’t in America.
If only he were older, then he wouldn’t be in a remote cabin hiding. He would be out there helping his dad. He felt so helpless, stuck in the mountains. He couldn’t even help his family out.
Every night he heard Cheyenne crying. He wanted to go to her and comfort her, but he didn’t know how. He didn’t know what he could possibly say to make her feel better. How could she feel better? Her husband had just been murdered. Her son, his nephew, would grow up without a father.
What could he say to her? So, every night, he lay in bed hearing her sobs from the next room. Every night he listened to his mother and Jordan talking to his sister in hushed tones.
Yesterday, he had asked Jordan if he could go outside for a walk. The cabin had a spectacular garden he wanted to explore. He felt claustrophobic being stuck inside the house all the time.
He had been thrilled when she said yes, but was disappointed when one of the security people accompanied him. He had wanted to be alone. The man had kept his distance, so Noel still got some sort of alone time.
He had sat in the swing he found hanging from one of the trees. He pretended that his family was just on vacation and that nothing was wrong. He pretended that he hadn’t seen the dormitories in his school blow up as they were driving away.
He wished he’d had the pictures saved in his phone printed out. He would give anything to have an actual photo album. He wanted to see all the photos he had of his entire family. He didn’t even have a picture of his dad with him.
When he had gone back inside the house, he found Brice grinning like an idiot. He was reading a magazine, and he said he’d texted Santa Claus for their presents. Noel had made fun of his younger brother. Both of them were too old to believe in Santa Claus, plus whoever heard of texting Santa?
He looked down at the magazine he held and grimaced. It was the same magazine that Brice was reading yesterday. Wouldn’t it be cool if he could fold the pages into an airplane and it magically turned into a real one? With an irritated look at the useless magazine, he quickly stood up, causing it to fall on the floor.
He berated himself for losing patience. His father always told him that impatience was something that held one back. He leaned down to pick it up, and his eyes widened when he saw the page the magazine had opened to. Well, magic came in different forms, after all.