7 years earlier
“Those evil robbers! I’ll kill them with my bare hands!” Theo yelled. He grabbed a pillow and began pummeling it. “Should I go in?” Julia whispered to Ms. Brown, the social worker. Ms. Brown gravely shook her head. “No. Let him express his feelings. If he gets it all out, then it’s less likely that he’ll suffer from mental health issues and anger problems when he gets older. If you go in, he just might turn his anger on you.”
Julia pushed the door open a crack and observed the little boy. “You will not get away with this!” The boy threw the pillow across the room, then ran to it and stomped on it. Theo tore the pillow open and emptied the feathers all over the room, then laughed hysterically. “That’s what I’ll do to you, evil robbers!” His laughter turned to sobs as he slumped to the floor. “Why did you have to die, Dad? Mom, I miss you!” He lay face down and kicked against the floor.
Julia hurried away and sat in the living room. She couldn’t bear to witness Theo’s sorrow, but not be able to comfort him. Her husband took her hand and gently squeezed it. “Thanks.” She whispered. He nodded. Taking a deep breath, she smiled bravely and said “I guess I’ll start preparing dinner.” The hours ticked by slowly. Finally, Ms. Brown suggested, “Why don’t you see how they’re doing?”
Julia jumped up and hurried back upstairs. She peeked into the twins’ room, sighed, and went back to her husband and Ms. Brown. “Any change?” Ms. Brown asked, looking worried. “Theo is sleeping now. The dear boy must be so exhausted after crying all day. I can’t imagine how traumatizing it must have been to watch his parents being murdered.” Julia paused and blinked back tears. “And Tara?” Ms. Brown asked. “I’m really worried about her. Ever since you brought them early in the morning, she hasn’t moved, spoken, or eaten. I know you said that we should give them some time alone to de-stress, but please, I’m begging you, let me go and comfort Tara. She needs to know that she isn’t alone.” There was a deafening silence. Ms. Brown finally nodded. “Thank you,” Julia said emotionally.
She tiptoed into the bedroom. She glanced lovingly at Theo, who was splayed on the floor. While sleeping, he looked so peaceful. Julia brushed some feathers out of his hair and covered him with a blanket. She stood up and walked towards Tara, who was lying on the bed and gazing unseeingly at the ceiling. “Oh, Tara. I’m so sorry.” Julia sat on the bed and gathered Tara into her arms. The little girl struggled weakly and then gave up. Julia held her tighter and buried her face in Tara’s hair. “I don’t know why this happened, but I do know one thing. God loves you, and he will never leave you, not even in your darkest hour.” Tara suddenly relaxed. Her shoulders shook with soundless sobs. “He’s right here with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Julia repeated with confidence as she stroked Tara’s hair.
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