A huge tree, decorated with gaudy ornaments and lights stood in the center of camp. What on earth was it? Jacques had never seen anything like it.
“It’s our Christmas tree. You gotta see it when it’s snowing and with the lights on.” Bob spoke up. His little black eyes were gleaming with excitement and anticipation.
“Christmas?” It was Jacques’ turn to laugh. “Give me a break. Surely you don’t believe in something so pagan. That was proved wrong so long ago it’s pathetic”
“Was it?” Spotted Eagle shook his head. “Who says?”
“It’s one of the first things we learn!” Jacques couldn’t believe this. “It says so in our text-books.”
“Okay. Text books gotta be right inside?” Spotted Eagle put his hand on little Bob’s shoulders. Bob looked devastated. Jacques felt anger invade now. It was so wrong encouraging little children and so cruel to teach such primitive beliefs. Those that Knew said so.
“Don’t worry, little Bob. We don’t believe text books are right all the time. You know that old Crazy Dog don’t believe in Christ neither. It’s the same thing. We just let him be don’t we?”
“You have people who don’t believe text books? How on earth can you exist? You don’t all believe the same thing. That is the best way to chaos and disruption. You have to all be the same to discover peace and contentment.”
Spotted Eagle just shrugged, “Yeah, sometimes not believing the same does cause fights. But not here in our community. Come let’s get supplies and let’s get going before the snows start falling.”
Jacques was eager to get started, hoping they wouldn’t talk about Christmas on the trip. He really got a weird feeling inside when he thought about Christmas. Christmas was never spoken inside. But there were rumors of hidden caves, beneath the cities. The rumors were…. He blocked out his thoughts. Why did some have such difficulty believing what was right and what was wrong?
When he saw the supplies he forgot all about Christmas. My how he wished he could go back. But he knew, he would have to be put to sleep if he did so. Oddly, he did not want to be put back to sleep. People were supposed to be happy – going back into the ground to nurture the soil. He was ashamed of his cowardly thoughts. He was a risk to everyone, having been outside. They couldn’t risk the good of all – for one person. And he understood that. He couldn’t go back. His exposure meant even fumigating wouldn’t help.
“What am I going to eat?” Jacques was slowly resigning himself to the fact he would die of starvation soon anyway.
To be continued….