Things had settled down at the farm and most of the damage from the quake had been repaired. The families as well as the new members were beginning to rebuild society, now less focused on strictly survival as for the time being their basic needs were being met.
Matt stood in the garden, taking a break watching his daughter. She was lost in some fairy tale she was living inside her imagination, not a care about the men and women toiling in the dirt next to her. The bedtime stories her mother had read to her always filler her with excitement and transported her to a world where magic and mystique surrounded everything, where anything was possible. Sometimes Kate did not fall asleep for hours, too excited thinking about the story and how wonderful it was.
Matt smiled to himself watching her, before he returned to his duties. Still lost in her make-believe world, until something odd brought her back to reality. She looked toward the sky with an almost blank stare, looking past the clouds squinting her eyes, watching. A smile of complete joy came across her face. It had been a long time since it had snowed. Just like in the stories and faded memories. Jumping up from her seat on the ground she ran past the workers to Matt almost too excited to spit out what she had to say.
“Dad look it’s snowing, look dad.” Matt was deep in thought, his mind on his work and nothing else. It took a second to snap out of his trance to hear his daughter’s voice. Looking slightly up from his task, seemingly in a daze.
“Daddy look it’s snowing.” Matt looked up confused, wondering what his daughter was talking about, and sure enough it was. Something began to register in his head, that can’t be right. Matt though long and hard for a second and knew it was still summer and any snow should be a long ways off. With a furrowed brow watched the flakes hit the ground. Once it hit the ground he knew what is was, his heart sank. It hit the ground and disintegrated, leaving its residue spread over the tilled dirt. It was began to fall harder, starting to fill the air grabbing attention of everyone else now.
The falling substance was making it difficult to see, and the air was getting thick and making it hard to breathe. Everyone in the field started to make their way indoors worried as to what was going on. Matt looked at his daughter trying to be as calm and relaxed as possible.
“That is not snow sweet heart.”
“Aww, What is it?”
“It’s ash sweetheart.” A blank look came over here face as this new word did not register. Matt grabbed his daughter and left the field with the others. His mind was on his daughter and the other kids. He was not concerned with himself but thinking of the children and what, if any future they had left. He was fighting back tears now as the reality of this new situation crushed his sould.
“When you get older I will tell you all about the ash and where it comes from.” His eyes began to water knowing the extent of what was to come. He gave his daughter a big hug and kiss as the ash began collecting in her hair and smearing on her clothes leaving behind faint carbon residue. With a heavy heart and chocking back his quivering voice.
“Yep one day when you are old many many years from now, I will tell you all about ash.” She smiled accepting the answer, and seemed to return almost instantly to her fairytale world. He did not have the hear to tell her the truth.
The ash began to fall harder.