Chapter 1

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A six-year-old boy was holding the hands of his five-year-old sister. Their father abandoned them when they were still babies which left them in the care of their mother, Olivia.

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Their mother cared for them the best she could. The siblings could see her working day and night without rest.

They would even wonder if their mother ever slept. They were young and their innocence shrouded everything as if all were normal to have.

They were incomplete but the family of three was happy. Until a year ago, their life made a complete change.

Their mother came home, sick from work and became bedridden. She was so weak that she could not even stand on her own.

Thus, this made the older child to go beg on the streets. His sister wanted to come with him but the brother would not allow her.

He was the man of the family now. He would shoulder everything for his beloved mother and sister. They were all that he had left.

“Take care, brother! Don’t worry. I will stay here with mom. Promise!” the sister said to the brother.

“I trust you, Uwyn. Remember to feed mom on time, okay? I will be back before nightfall.” The brother reminded his sister.

“You can count on me, brother!” Uwyn assured his brother.

“Maru…” a weak voice called from the room. They live in a shabby hut that has only one room. They tried to fix it the best they could.

Now that their mother was sick, she needs to be protected the most from the elements. It was hard especially when it rains.

Their roof leaks and even their thin walls could not completely defend against the wind. There was one time when their roof caved in, drenching them all in rain.

They could not move their mother and so they could only cover themselves in blankets while waiting for the rain to stop.

The three lived a tough life. It was what was given to them and so they had to wade through its challenge no matter what. For themselves and their loved ones.

“I’m here, mom.” Maru went inside the hut to answer his mother’s call.

“Sorry, my child. Mom is sick and not able to provide for you and your sister. If only I still have my strength, you would have never gone to beg in the streets.” Olivia said to her son. Her voice was weak same as her body.

“I can do this, mom. I’m big now. You don’t have to worry about me.” Maru said smiling to his mother. The brave front he was showing was very convincing.

“Just please take care of yourself, okay? And avoid the bullies. If you got into a fight with them, don’t fight back. They will only hurt you more if you do that. Just run away from them. Promise me, Maru.” Olivia said to her son.

“I know, mom. I promise.” Maru answered his mother.

“Good.” Olivia muttered as she closed her eyes. Her strength was sapped from that short talk with her son.

“Bye, mom.” Maru whispered and kissed his sick mother’s forehead.

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