...but the bullet never reaches Tara.
Aingeal Maclay is lying on the floor, as if asleep. She is on her side, one arm under her head, the other across her stomach. The only difference is her white shirt is now stained red.
Seeing this, the gunman runs off. One of the hostages runs to the phone behind the counter, and quickly dials 911.
"Mama? Mama, it's okay now," Tara is gently shaking her mother's shoulder in attempt to wake her up. "The bad man runned away. Please wake up, Mama." A tear slides down the young girl's cheek. She runs a hand over her motherís shirt. "Why is your shirt red? Your shirt is red, Mama. You never liked red." Little Tara is now holding her mother's lifeless hand between both of her tiny hands, as she closes her eyes. She opens her eyes again, with a new, grown-up gaze. "It's okay, Mama. Sleep. You'll need your rest," Tara lifts her mother's hand up to her tiny lips and lays a gentle kiss upon it, "All the little kids in heaven need you. The Goddess needs you to be with her. I love you, Mama."
Tara lies down in front of her mother and wraps Aingeal's arms around her tiny stomach, lying there until a brunette officer comes and carries her away. The little blonde doesnít stop saying "I Love You Mama. I'm sorry" until halfway to the police station, where she finally breaks down crying in the officer's arms.
At the police station, the brunette officer walks in carrying a sobbing Tara, wrapped in a blanket. The officer is holding Tara close, running her fingers through the little girl's hair, "It's okay, sweetheart. Shh..." The officer sits down and sets Tara across her lap.
Tara has her arms around the officer's neck, her face buried in the crook of her neck.
At the front desk a redheaded, scared looking, young man approaches holding the hand of a five year old, redheaded girl. The girl is dirty and in worn out clothes and an old, oversized baseball cap.
"Why don't you go sit down for a while? Look." He points to the crying Tara. "Why don't you go see what's wrong? She awfully looks like she could use a good friend like you."
The young redhead looks over to where her father is pointing and then looks back at her father, confused. She doesnít understand why her Papa is so sad or why they are at a police station. Her Papa gave her his old baseball cap to wear. She loves wearing his cap. Eventually though, the little redhead walks over to the sobbing little blonde.
The fiery-haired girl sits on the bench, right next to the police officer holding the blonde.
"What's a matter?"
"She's very sad, sweetie."
"She just lost her mama."
"Oh." The young redhead looks down with a saddened expression. She remembers all too well when she lost her mom. Her mom was in the hospital a long time. After her mom died, her and her dad lived in buildings with a lot of other people. She couldn't remember, but she thinks that they were called shelters. They didn't have any money, so food was very limited, but her papa always seemed to get some food for her, even going without eating at times. "Can I give her a hug?"
The officer smiles down at the thoughtful redhead. "I'll tell you what, if Tara says it's okay, could you watch over her for me? I need to go do some yucky paper work, and I would feel much better if you would take care of her."
"Okay." The young redhead was eager to make a new friend.
"Hey Tara? Would you mind if my friend..." She turns to the young red-head and whispers," what's your name sweetheart?"
"Beautiful." Turning back to Tara, she continues. "Would you mind if my friend, Willow, stayed with you for a little while?"
"C-could s-she hold m-me?"
Before the police officer can answer, Willow nods, "I can hold you. I promise to be a good friend. That is if you wanna be my friend. I don't have many friends. I don't know many people. You don't have to be my friend if you don't wanna. I was just excited that maybe you might like me and we could be friends. I'm Willow," Willow takes in a deep breath, since she used up most of her previously stored oxygen.
Tara can't help but smile a little bit. The girl was silly. "I'm Tara," she says quietly, "Um, I wanna be your friend." Tara lays her head down on the redhead's lap.
Willow begins to run her fingers through Tara's hair, "I'm five. How old are you? Do you go to school? I wish I could go to school."
"I'm five too. And I go to Lakewood Elementary."
Willow keeps running her hand through the little blonde's hair, before she starts to get sleepy and she lies down next to Tara. They cuddle up to each other; both are emotionally exhausted, and fall asleep.