It was a sickness, her shrieking laughter reminded him. She couldn’t seem to help herself. Too many friends of hers were gone to their bloody ends. Too many deaths she had borne witness to.
Somehow, this gentle soul had survived her forced (child soldier serving). Yet, not unscathed was she. No, here was a girl completely transformed. Her parents had not been able to recognize her/identify her at first.
This was understandable, of course. After all, it had been five years! Yet, here he was, sitting with them as they explained their plans of giving young Katie, who only responded to Ehl now, up as a ward of the crown.
Harry had not fully understood why Katie or Ehl had never been admitted to a mental institution. He personally felt that it would have done her a world of good. Yet, the parents had insisted on keeping her with them.
And now here they were threatening/willing to sue if they had to, to get their precious daughter out of their lives for good.
The girl was seated on a chair nearby. Her body curled in on itself. Her eyes gazing, unseeing before her. Her face frozen in a sick smile, as she tittered away. The girl was frozen in the past. He had tried to explain to the parents sadly that their young girl had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from her time with Kinsmen Landing.
The parents had been insistent at the time that their love and kindness would win out over Katie’s demons. Now, they sat, cold looks on their faces as their daughter, their only child, sat frozen in the past. The waking nightmares she lived in, appearing to have no effect on them.
Perhaps they had never been the perfect, upstanding parents Harry had taken them for. Katie was a girl seemingly lost to time. As beautiful as she was at the fresh age of fourteen years old.
Would she ever live again? Harry cursed himself, unable to tear his gaze away from the specter of the child before him. He had failed her. Failed all of them. And what was his recompense? A badge of honor and a potential honor from the Queen, herself!
And, what of the children? These walking, dead things they’d become? He assumed they had all become like her. How could they not? They were children no more. Coming home to not just lost childhoods and innocence but to new unheard of responsibilities because of their sad traumatic experiences.
The media had dubbed them the lost children of their generation. Harry shook his head, sadly. Yes, the children had been ‘saved’. Yet, in this case, sometimes he wondered in the deepest corners of his mind, if they would be better off dead.
“Even god cannot save you now.”