After the world governments through the world into chaos, surviving the madness was nearly an impossible struggle. Death was everywhere. Attempting to survive alone was practically a death sentence. The smart ones quickly joined a tribe or a gang and made alliances.
Madie never considered the children living in Bear Country a gang, although by definition a gang is exactly what they were. Madie considered everyone living in the school her extended family. A loud, annoying and sometimes dysfunctional extended family.
It was easy to distinguish one local group from another. Your clothing, your hair and your tattoos let everyone know your affiliation. The Red Hyenas wore black and sported red Mohawks. The Central Bobcats wore gray and kept their heads shaved. The Blue Monarchs wore black mini-skirts and walked around with giant blue wings in their hair. Nearly everyone that lived in the school displayed a bear tattoo of their own choosing. The tattoo gave everyone a feeling of pride and unity. Madie sported a bear tattoo on her left shoulder.
In the beginning, the pavilion was a blank space with a couple of tables and a few chairs. As the years passed, the area evolved into a sacred chapel, a place of inspiration. The children covered the walls and pylons with pictures, banners and posters of bears. It wasn’t unusual to find someone sitting alone in the center of the pavilion praying or meditating by candle light. As Madie waited for her friends to arrive, she walked around the perimeter admiring the decorations. One newly placed poster in particular caught her attention. She stopped to stare at its uniqueness and beauty.
Madie greeted everyone with “Good afternoon”. It didn’t take long for the vacant pavilion to fill with people. The empty chairs filled first. By the time, everyone had arrived there wasn’t a vacant seat left. Late stragglers sat on the floor.
Madie jumped on her milk crate and gave a loud whistle to quiet everyone down. The room dropped to a dead silence.
“Thanks for coming,” she said with a smile. “Is everyone ready to elect a Sheriff for Bear Country? “