‘What colour are Elves, daddy?’
The TV news programme showed the latest atrocities.
I turned away, wiped a hand across my face, and looked at her crayons. She was holding a green one.
‘Red, white, and blue,’ I said. ‘Like mummy.’
‘I like this.’
She picked out a yellow one, and filled in the picture.
They were calling it World War Three.
‘I don’t think Elves have yellow eyes,’ I said. ‘How about grey?’
‘Silly, Daddy. Mummy said my Elves are happy.’
Another suicide attack by the robot warriors from North Korea.
‘Daddy … when is mummy coming back?’
An estimated four hundred dead.
How could I answer that? Mummy was on the USS Brave New World. Shipping attacks by the enemy had decimated the fleet. Hers was our last bastion. My cell phone rang. I listened to the words I’d been dreading, rejected the condolences. I’d fallen into the abyss.
I held onto Laura, and gave her a hug. ‘Colour Mummy black,’ I said.
‘Why Daddy? Why…?'