The wind blew open the leather flap. Heather jumped to her feet and secured the flying strings to a nail. “Continue reading Shelly.”
“The peoples of the oohesah, were…”
“That’s U.S.A., “ Heather carefully pronounced each letter. “Shelly, try reading it again.” Heather held up an old book and pointed to a colored map on one of the pages.
“What’s U.S.A. Miss Ruiz?”
“Oh, it was a great industrial country, with a very proud and wealthy civilization.”
Hands shot up around the crude hut made into a rustic schoolroom. “Miss Ruiz, Miss Ruiz.” The anxious voice of Patti Williams rose above the others. “Can we visit ooh, es, a?”
“I’m afraid not Patti, it was an ancient country, but many years before I was born the whole nation died.” Heather chose her words carefully so as to not confuse the little ones gathered round. Died is harsh, but they understand the word .
Patti moved closer to the instructor. “How did a whole country die?”
“The elders say that it was disease, war, and changes in the land – volcanoes and earthquakes. She looked at her small group for recognition. All eyes were trained on her as she spoke. “My grandfather told me that there was a lot of war, which left the people exposed, then some diseases spread through the land, and almost the same time the volcanoes and earthquakes shook the earth, and finally the sky was dark, even here where we are. Year’s later a group of people met and simply declared what used to be called the U.S.A. off limits – too dangerous for travel.
Shelly closed his book. “Then how’d we get here?”
Heather laughed I wonder where this lesson is going? “World business could not compete, most other countries simply failed and there were great migrations of populations, more wars, more sickness. Most of the people of the world died too, no more babies, like you, except for a handful on this island. And, as far as I know, this village and a few others may be all that is left.”
Patti waved her hand. “So, when the Ooh, es, A, died, then all the other nations died too?”
“Sort of. Mostly, the other countries simply went broke – which means they had no money, and lawlessness and wars broke out”
“Are there still wars?” Shelly had a worried look on his face.
“I don’t think so, I think that people just got tired of killing other people, but it was too late.” Heather reached behind Shelly and picked up a leather bound book, the pages were torn and tattered. “I’ve been reading this book my grandfather gave me, let me share this with you.”
Patti arched her back to try to see the pages. “What is it Miss Ruiz.”
“This is a book of Faith; my grandfather said that some of the people in the U.S.A. and other countries had a great faith in loving God. “
“Do we have a loving God too?” Patti’s eyes glistened.
Heather didn’t know all the parents of the children, so she hesitated to speak more about the book. She had been sent to the little school hut to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. “Yes, Patti, but we will talk about this later.”
School let out and Heather watched her small group of children parade out the door. When they were gone she pulled a long table away from the wall exposing her mat on the floor. The hut was her compensation for teaching. She settled onto her mat and picked up the dusty black book. She had read about fifteen minutes when a voice interrupted her.
“Miss Ruiz, Miss Ruiz.”
Heather rose and pulled back her door flap. Standing outside was Patti and her mother.
“May we come in?” the older woman asked.
“Would you tell me and my daughter more about the loving God?”
Heather was stunned. “Uh, yes, okay, come on in.”
No sooner had Heather spoken but a group of other parents and children crowded into Heather’s hut to hear the words of God. She related stories from the book well into the night.
As the people were leaving Shelly drew letters on an old board and placed it at the doorway. Heather glanced at the sign, it read: “New U.S.A. Home of a loving God.”
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