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 A change in policy (open to everyone)
Matthew Crake
 Posted: Sep 25 2015, 11:49 AM
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Matthew had worried that he might be overstepping by making this appeal at what was really Wei and Chris's event. Luckily they seemed both amenable to the idea. He waited until everyone had a chance to socialize, to mingle… to eat! All were also things he enjoyed, and he could only conclude the townspeople present were in high spirits also. He wanted to be seen as a member of the town now and had dressed normally: some, maybe most knew he was the priest, but he was not here in that capacity.

He stood and tried for everyone's attention. "Good afternoon," he began. "Good afternoon, everyone. It's wonderful to see you all here. Some of you I know. The rest I hope to get to know! Most of you know what the world out there is like, which makes a community like this one and the wonderful people in it all the more exceptional. It's that exceptionalness I am addressing now.

"A policy was enacted over the winter which was not wholly effective. When the snowstorm hit, the younger citizens of Crow Station were brought to the school to assist in looking after the smaller children. The idea is sound. Its application proved less so. Unfortunately not only did our young people not volunteer for this, they were not informed until the moment arrived.

"My friends, I know we can do better by all of our neighbors. Wrenching anyone from their home can be traumatizing. Denying someone a sense of security is not only wrong, it's harmful. And unwilling, upset assistants do no one any good. This policy places undue stress on both willing and unwilling personnel. Not only this, it has yet to be the policy of this town that we behave this way, with no regard to the rights or needs of those around us. That is why I am calling for a volunteer roster to be formed. If you are willing to help care for children in emergency situations, please see me at any time. Any objections or suggestions are welcome also. Thank you for your patience."

That had likely been more than enough. Matthew knew there was a chance he had just upset the militia by openly criticizing their behavior, but he also saw this as a responsibility of citizens. Besides, at times, no volunteers would have been better. Clare was great for conversation but had seemed at best uncomfortable with childcare. Nellie spent most of the time trying to hide from everyone. They were not babysitters just because they were young.
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Liang Matsuno
 Posted: Nov 16 2015, 04:44 AM
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Written by Lizja
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Now where did Kevin run off to?

She'd seen him this morning. In fact, they'd come here together. But after that, they'd separated, right around the time the food was served. There was probably a joke there, but Liang wasn't going to be the one to make it.

Maybe later.

Thinking objectively, she was surprised that she hadn't spotted him. This wasn't that big a place. Though, there were a fairly healthy number of people who'd gathered around to talk and catch up and eat. To forget, even if it was only for a short time. Liang supposed she couldn't begrudge them of that. If given the choice, wouldn't she like to forget, too? Honestly, she wasn't sure how she'd answer that question.

But that didn't matter for right now. She was here for the same reason as everyone else, really. To eat, and drink, and socialize, and forget. Kevin was probably off doing the same thing. It didn't matter that she hadn't seen him in a few hours. He was a big boy, and he could absolutely take care of himself. But Liang just worried about him sometimes. The same way she worried about everyone else that lived here. The same way that she worried about herself, if she was being completely honest.

Shaking her head, she decided to push those thoughts right out of her head for now. There would be plenty of time for that later. Instead, she focused on the glass of tea she was drinking. Sh'ed long since eaten as much as she dared to, and now she was sort of lingering off to the edge of the crowd. Every once in a while, someone would wander past and she would reach out to them, mostly to say hello or ask how they were doing. But she didn't want to be a pest, so she tried not to keep them for much longer than that.

When Matthew spoke up, it pulled her out of her own thoughts. Liang made sure to pay close attention to what he was saying. For the most part, she tried to listen to everything the adults had to say. Perhaps it was just part of the way she'd been raised, or perhaps it was the situation in general. But honestly, she felt like the older generation tended to have more of a handle on things. Her opinion probably wasn't a popular one, but there it was.

She had, in fact, been enlisted as part of the childcare detail. For the most part, she hadn't had much of an issue with it. The younger kids had generally seemed to like her well enough, and she'd loved spending time with them. Never having younger siblings herself, it had been a unique opportunity, and she honestly hoped that she'd get another chance in the future. Even still, Matthew seemed less than pleased with the way things had gone.

Once he'd finished speaking, Liang nodded. Without waiting to see if anyone else was going to come forth and volunteer, she proceeded to make her way over. It occurred to her, at this point, that she'd never really spoken to the man in the past. But that was alright. He was asking for volunteers, and Liang was more than willing to volunteer her time and effort to look after the little ones whenever it was needed.

"Hi!" she greeted a little too enthusiastically. "I'd like to volunteer."
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Nov 21 2015, 04:32 AM
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Matthew had not expected volunteers at the meeting. He had hoped, if he was being truly honest--he had hoped a few people would step forward and say that they would be willing to assist--but he had not expected. Still, on that hope, he had been prepared.

"Wonderful!" Genuinely meant. Matthew needed a moment to recall. It had been a long while now since that snowstorm and he had not spoken to the girl since--or, that he could remember, then--but in a moment he had it. "Liang, wasn't it?"

In the hope of volunteers, he had a notebook prepared, columns neatly drawn and labeled. "Would you mind filling this out? It'll help us keep track of volunteers like you." It was a roster and nothing more, a list of emergency childcare assistants with names, ages, addresses--basic information on who could help and where to find them. Besides Matthew's careful script labeling everything, she would be the first to write on that page.
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Liang Matsuno
 Posted: Nov 24 2015, 03:51 PM
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Written by Lizja
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"Geronimo!"
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Whether or not he'd been expecting volunteers this time, she had no idea. What Li did know was that she was going to step up, yet again, and make it known that she was ready and willing to look after the little ones if she was needed.

Did that make her seem like an oddball? Maybe. But that was alright. She'd been the only child for nearly her entire life, and her short stint as a mentor of sorts had opened her eyes to a new world. In fact, she'd discovered that she quite enjoyed spending time with younger people. It was hard to explain, and if not for the current state of the world she might not have really discovered this part of herself. Either way, she supposed it didn't matter.

It was pointless to try and imagine how things might have been different, under different circumstances.

He'd seemed genuinely pleased when she stepped forward to volunteer, and that made Li happy as well. She hadn't been expecting him to remember her name. There were a great many things to worry about, and remembering someone's name when one didn't spend any time with them would just be remarkable.

Li couldn't have hid the surprise on her face if she'd tried.

"It was!" she announced, happily. "But Li works, too."

A quick glance down at the notebook later, and she was nodding. At first, she'd had a bit of trouble getting the hang of English, but Li liked to think that she'd made a fair amount of progress. At the very least, she'd learned enough to fill out a simple form! This was going to be a piece of cake.

"Right," she mused, before taking the notebook and proceeding to fill it out carefully. She wrote rather quickly, her handwriting a bit on the messy-but-still-basically-legible side.
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Nov 25 2015, 04:20 AM
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"Thank you," Matthew said when Liang--Li--had finished filling in the form. He was not exactly drowning in volunteers, which gave him time to chat with the girl a bit. "What is it you do when you're not a conscripted childcare assistant?" he wondered.

The role of young people in the new world really did fascinate him. This was, after all, their world, and they would be the ones to shape the future of it.
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Liang Matsuno
 Posted: Dec 2 2015, 11:05 PM
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Written by Lizja
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"Geronimo!"
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"You're welcome," she replied. If nothing else, she still had her manners. Even in a world such as this one, good manners were important. Or at least, that was what she was going to tell herself.

Even as she'd been filling out the form, Liang had noticed the distinct lack of any sort of volunteers. Why weren't people more willing to volunteer their time for this? Didn't they realize that the children were the future? Alright, so, she supposed that most people had a lot of other things on their mind. Lining up to become babysitters was probably not high on a lot of priority lists just now. But even still, it was something that needed to be done.

While she wasn't entirely sure what conscripted even meant, she figured it was safe to assume that he was asking what she liked to do for fun. Or what she did in her free time. That sounded about right.

"Oh, I help Kevin out if he needs it," she explained. "I also like to knit. It relaxes me." Not to mention that it reminded her of her mother.
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Dec 3 2015, 12:37 AM
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"Oh, how lovely." Matthew wondered if he ought to introduce her to Nellie, who was also a knitter. No, direct interpersonal might not be the best approach. Or a knitting group. That would be great. Could be great.

He knew some people around Crow Station, but had certainly not met everyone. "And who is Kevin?" he asked, since Kevin was on the list of people Matthew had yet to meet.

Not that he kept such a list.
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Liang Matsuno
 Posted: Dec 4 2015, 12:39 AM
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Written by Lizja
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"Kevin is my-..." at that point, she trailed off for a moment. Chewing her lower lip, Liang debated on how to explain. After a bit of deliberation, she nodded decisively. "He's my guardian," she finished simply. In the end, it wasn't an outright lie, nor was it the complete truth. He wasn't her parent, but he'd been responsible for her since the world had gone to hell in a hand basket. Just as she'd taken it upon herself to make sure that he kept eating and sleeping.

"Kevin Walker? Maybe you've seen him around?" It was more of a rhetorical question than anything. She was sure that Kevin had been out and about, keeping himself busy by seeing what he could do to lend a helping hand. That was just the sort of person that he was. "If I can find him, I'll introduce you!" This man seemed nice enough, and she was sure that her guardian would like him.

"Anyway, my mama is the one that taught me to knit. It's really the only thing I have now to remind me of her. I haven't seen her in years. I hope they're doing okay..."
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Dec 4 2015, 01:01 AM
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Obviously Matthew wouldn't have known if he had seen Kevin around--since if he didn't know the man, he wouldn't automatically associate the name with the appearance. So he didn't comment on that. He did comment on the offered introduction--"That would be very nice." He did like to meet new people.

Well, usually. Some people, ever since what happened... but Li seemed like she would know if someone was a bad person.

"How did you come to be here?" he asked. It was a gentle, curious question. He wasn't judging or trying to pry. But she had mentioned it and he thought perhaps she did so because she wanted to talk about her mama.
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Liang Matsuno
 Posted: Dec 4 2015, 03:42 PM
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Written by Lizja
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"Kevin is great!" she announced. And she figured it would do him good to speak to someone who wasn't a teenage girl, not that she was going to come right out and say that. While she was usually good at guessing one's age after spending a bit of time with them, she simply couldn't do so with Matthew. Then again, the world ending had sort of aged everyone well before their time.

Once again, she found herself wondering how her parents were faring. Was her mother alright? The woman had always had a problem with stress. Li could only imagine what this sort of thing was doing to her. Calling was no longer an option. Though she still had her cell phone, it was pretty much a music player at this point. The handful of apps she had wouldn't even work without a wifi signal, and those were few and far between. Come to think of it, she hadn't even bothered with any of them in the longest time.

"It was an exchange program," Li told him. "Mama didn't want me to go at first. She was worried something would happen. But I told her it would be fine. That I'd see them again in a couple of years." It occurred to her that he might have just been meaning to ask how they'd come to Crow Station, but it was too late to take back the previous explanation.

"Kevin and Linda were in Seattle. I traded places with their son for a while. It was supposed to be for school. To help me get into university." That had been the plan. And then she'd return home after a couple of years, and things would go back to normal.

Instead, the world had ended.

"Linda got sick. She didn't... she couldn't come with us." For some reason, Li couldn't bring herself to say the words. It wasn't her story to tell, but she felt like she owed the man some kind of explanation after he'd been kind to her.
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