Waking from her dreams, feeling burned out and lethargic, Dana woke up. Looking at the draped pure white net from her ceiling, sprinkled among this laid fairy lights; that glistened like snowflakes. Her wavy auburn brown hair surrounded her small body, she sat up looking at her photo garland, all black and white polaroids; a collection of memories of her family and friends, Dana looked at her memories. The one where she met her little brother Rex for the first time at the hospital, she faintly smiled, another one; when she went to the theme park with her friends, she smiled even more, her head started to fill with the smell of the candy floss her friend had bought, the umpteenth can of pepsi that another friend had drunk that day, the feeling of your stomach falling into oblivion when you were on the rollercoasters, the bright colours blaring into your eyes and the twisting, winding turns of the roller coaster, that made her feel sick. Snapping out of her make believe world; Dana got up. Tidied her bed up by pulling the sheets back, adorning the bed with countless pillows, decorated with a intricate mandala pattern, a bed that you’d expect to see on a pretentious Tumblr blog...
Admiring her arranging skills, she finished perfecting the aesthetic of her bed and got ready, walking into her wardrobe, she looked at her ever growing pile of dirty clothes, that had either had tomato ketchup smeared on the collar, or paint flicked on her favourite grey skirt; because the re decoration of Rex’s bedroom was underway and Dana had been made painter/decorator of the room, as her parents were always at the hospital, watching over her grandmother. The paint was a grey blue colour that had been involved in a paint fight, that resulted in her grey skirt being caught in the crossfire of the paintbrushes.
She laughed at her fond memories of her and her family, Rex walking for the first time, Rex saying his first words, her going to school for the first time. The memories rolled from her mind. She grinned like an idiot and in that moment everything was perfect, school was awesome, friends were never arguing over each other. Perfect.
That night after school, Dana had finished painting a picturesque mural on Rex’s bedroom wall of an army of dinosaurs. Rex had loved it, with shades of the rainbow adorning his room.
After admiring her artwork, Dana changed into black leggings and a dark grey shirt, she then got into bed with the comforting feathery blankets the colour of pale sapphires draped over her legs, she then continued reading her favourite book. Imagining herself being the hero of that story; what she would do, what she would change. Maybe she would be the hero in her own story...
After turning off her bedside lamp, she closed her eyes. Relief hit her like a car going at maximum speed, she started thinking about the book. Starting to imagine, how will her favourite character survive? Dana wished she could escape into that world for a moment and tell them what would happen to them.
It felt like hours for Dana to finally start to sleep; but oddly it felt like minutes before she was woken again.
It was her dad.
His eyes were wide. With fear maybe? Dana thought her dad never got scared.
“Dana...” He was breathless "You’ve got to get up... Now”
“What? What time is it?” Dana whispered
“Does it matter? Pack a bag with clothes and any food you can find, nothing that needs to be cooked” he half yelled half whispered.
She nodded and threw the blanket off herself. Her dad left with a backpack and took Rex’s hand, he was leaning on the door frame before that. She didn't even question what he had said, ever question that could've been asked were flying around her brain, it didn't look like it but it was clear to say she was curious.
Dana rushed to her closet, grabbed a handful of shirts and flannel shirts to layer in case it got cold. She also packed several pairs of jeans and leggings, socks and she pushed her jett black Doc Martens on and laced them up tight. She pulled a dark red hoodie over her head and she pushed a wooly hat over her brown hair. She grabbed her favourite book that she’d read before her world changed. She got her torch she read with and a bottle of water that was filled to the brim.
She stomped down the stairs, she saw her dad and Rex sitting with her mother, Thea. There was another family too, she recognised the oldest son. Maybe he went to her school? Or maybe she’s seen him when she went rock climbing? If only she knew his name. There was another two children too. A girl and a boy, twins maybe?
There was no time for introductions to the other family. They all left the house that Dana had grew up in, Dana’s dad locked it and closed the gates that were between the brick walls that surrounded their house, it was dark. The midnight sky was inky, and in some ways serene. Dana heard groans and stumbling. The other man hurries everyone in a red truck. They all crammed into a extra large pickup truck that had been in Dana’s garage for months. There was limited space even though it was a large truck, there was a front with three seats, and there was the back where the majority of the people sat, there was padded seating that covered three of the sides of the trick apart from the entrance at the back. Dana was now sitting next to the other man that was obviously the dad of the other family. He saw her and smiled
“Hello Dana, I’m Joel, this is Poppy” gesturing to his wife, with his wedding ring glimmering in the dim light of torches. He continued “This is Seth, Eve and this is Alfie” putting his hand on the oldest son, she could see the beads of sweat adorning his small forehead, Dana now knew the name of this boy she recognised. She looked out of the window that was next to her. She wiped the condensation with her crimson red hoodie, the scintillation of the lamppost lights made her eyes blare and complain from the pain.
Then there was a thud.
Everyone’s eyes widened, their eyes wandered around like small toddlers learning to walk. Dana was the first to move. Then the boy, "No, both of you stay here will the kids" Joel said firmly. They both backed down, now sitting down Alfie was in his own little world. His head was leaning on his hand, it slipped and he hit his head on the truck window "Are you okay Alfie?" Dana said with a smile. "Yeah, I'm good, is everything okay out there?" He said rubbing his head, he was smiling too.
She didn’t know if anything was going to be okay, but for now she was safe and that’s all that matters...
But then gunshots filled the air.