The men and women who had worked in and owned this building shifted under his gaze. Joshua gave voice to what the others were thinking. “But Chaz died.”
Anton spit. “That’s more reason, not less.”
Joshua said, “Merrin ought to lead the decision. He was her husband.” Murmurs of agreement met his statement.
Merrin looked at the ground. “You know what they call this place?” She looked straight at Anton.
“Yah.” He didn’t flinch under her gaze. “Hell Cafe.” He spat again. “They are not all.”
“No,” Merrin said. “But there are people who are just as happy to eat our food as see us burn. The commune is a radical departure from their way of life.”
“So . . . what?” Anton held out his hands to her as if in supplication. “The police see a dead man, they maybe listen.”
Merrin said, “I’m torn, but I know what Chaz. . . .” She seemed to struggle with her husband’s name. It rolled out of her mouth with a hiccup. “He would have said, ‘Dig in’. He’d be pissed if we gave up now.” Tears ran down her cheeks.
“You want to rebuild,then?” Joshua asked.
Merrin nodded. “We have to.”
“Yah!” Anton leaped into the air and pumped one fist. The others gathered around Merrin, and then he came too. They joined hands in a circle around the young widow. Joshua started to sing. “I’m gonna lay down my burdens, down by the riverside.”
One by one, they raised their voices, even noisy off-key Anton. Together, they stood at the site of their own personal war, singing songs of peace and hope.
I gave SAM at http://frommywriteside.wordpress.comthis prompt: A woman finds three sacred objects
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.