“Mom! Come quick. Something is wrong with Hope.”
Serenity continues to fold the countless freshly laundered clothing. “Fable, before you continue, think about if this is going to be tattling or not.”
“It’s not. Hope fell down and is shaking on the ground,” Fable tells his mother with tears of worry in his eyes.
“Where is she?” His mother drops the tiny t-shirt she was about to fold and turns to follow her son.
“Follow me. She is in the backyard,” He motions with authority for his mother to follow him, “She isn’t talking to us at all.”
“What’s going on?” Blue asks, alerted by his mother and brother rushing through the living room out to the garden.
“Stay inside Blue,” his mother commands.
“Something’s wrong with Hope,” Fable yells over his shoulder. He leads his mother into the backyard and points. “There, by the swings. Joy is with her.”
Joy looks up in relief at her mother. “She is okay. I have been talking to her.”
“Thank you Joy,” Serenity says as she bends down over her convulsing Hope.
“She is not okay. Look, she is spitting up. Hope is never sick,” Blue cries from behind his mother. “I don’t like it when Hope is sick”
“It’s okay, Blue. We will just make her comfortable on her side. Hope will be back with us soon,” Serenity says to comfort her sad child as she helps another. “I told you to stay inside Blue. There’s no need for you here.” She turns to Fable. “How long has she been like this?”
Fable thinks for a moment before saying, “I don’t know, a little while.”
“Not long at all,” Joy interrupts.
“How long is a little while?” Serenity asks her children. “Has it been as long as it takes you to brush your teeth? Did you come and get me the moment Hope fell?”
“Not exactly,” Fable admits, eyes turning to the patchy grass. “We watched for a little while when she was shaking on the ground. We didn’t know we needed to help Hope at first. We thought Hope was just being funny.”
“Hope can be really funny sometimes.” Joy adds.
“How long then?” Serenity asks with more urgency. “As long as it takes you to eat a snack maybe, or longer?”
Merry looks to Fable to answer. He thinks, taking in this brief moment when all eyes are on him. “As long as it takes to kill a bad guy,” he delivers with confidence.
Serenity stands to go back inside. “What bad guys, Fable?”
“If Joy and I were superheroes and we killed a bad guy, that’s how long...” Fable is cut off by his mother.
“I need to call an ambulance,” Serenity says as she leaves the children in the garden. “Stay here with Hope.” She heads inside to get her phone and all but collides with Harmony, who is carrying a very grieved Blue.
“What’s going on?” Harmony asks. “Blue is beside himself he’s so upset.”
“Something has happened to our Hope,” Serenity tells her oldest child. “I need to call for the ambulance. Will you go into the garden with the smaller ones and stay with Hope?”
Harmony finds the rest of her younger siblings surrounding Hope by the swing set. “How is she?” Harmony asks.
Fable eagerly tells the tale. “Hope fell. She fell, fell on the ground, and started shaking. We didn’t know Hope needed help, not then anyway.”
“Now we know,” Joy adds, “now we know we need to help Hope. So she will be okay now.”
“Then Hope got sick.” Fable continues. “She was spitting up so mom made her comfortable on her side and went to call an ambulance.”
“I don’t like when Hope is sick.” Blue cries, “Hope is never sick.”
Fable persists with the story, “She was shaking on the ground for a little while before we knew we needed to help her. It was about as long as it would take Joy and me to fight bad guys if we were superheroes.”
Harmony takes them all in her with eyes. Blue with his giant tears, Fable with his story, and Joy glued to Hope’s side. She holds Blue close to her chest and tells him, “It’s all right Blue. It’s okay to be sad about Hope. That just means that you love Hope.” She looks at Fable and Joy. “You two have been superheroes today. You have saved Hope.”
Fable and Joy swell with pride. “What do you mean?” Fable asks.
“Fable, you told Mom that Hope needed help. Now she has called the ambulance. The ambulance will come and bring Hope back. It will be here soon, you will see.” Harmony turns her attention to Joy, “Joy, you have not left Hope’s side for even a moment. You have lovingly watched over her.”
Serenity comes back outside and looks at Harmony soothing the other children in the garden. “They will be here soon.” She joins the group of children surrounding Hope. “Everything will be okay, Hope will be back with us soon.”
Serenity, Harmony, Joy, Fable, and Blue all sit quietly together watching Hope until a siren announces the arrival of an ambulance. They all look to Fable who is quick to assume the responsibility of leading the paramedics to Hope.
“There she is. That’s hope laying on mom’s lap.” Fable tells the paramedics.
Harmony guides the other children back. “Make some room for them now kids. Give them a clear path to Hope.”
The older of the two paramedics bends over Hope, who is still quivering with her head in her mother’s lap. “Hope. Can you hear me, Hope?”
Hope doesn’t respond.
He looks at Serenity. “Are you her mother?”
“Has anything like this ever happened to Hope before?”
“Yes, Hope has a history of leaving us like this, she always comes back to us though.”
“I see.” He looks to his partner, “IV.”
The partner opens up the bag of supplies without further instructions.
Blue hides his tears in Harmony’s shoulder, “I want Hope to come back.” He sobs.
“They will bring Hope back, watch, I have seen them do it before. You will see.” Harmony says.
“Look!” Fable shouts, “Hope is still. She is finally still.”
“Hope, can you hear us?” The paramedic asks.
Hope nods slowly.
“Hope said yes.” Fable says excitedly, “she is okay!”
“Hope is back.” Joy cheers.
“Hope, my darling Hope, you're here with me, your mother.”
“We will need to take her to the hospital,” the paramedic says to Serenity. “Only one person can ride with us in the ambulance.”
Serenity nods, “I will go.”
“Where are they taking Hope?” Blue wails.
“They aren’t taking Hope for good, she will be back soon.” Serenity tells him. “Harmony, watch over Blue, Joy and Fable.”
Harmony locks eyes with Serenity.
“Hope will need all of us to care for her when she gets back.” Harmony tells her younger siblings.
“I will sing her favorite song,” says Joy.
“I will read her favorite book to her,” says Fable.
“I will stay by Hope, so she doesn’t get sad,” says Blue.
“We will be back soon. Don’t worry children,” Serenity says as she follows the paramedics and Hope to the ambulance.