When Darcel was a child, they played hide and seek, but not the way their friends did. Their parents would have the children hide while doing chores, playing, really just doing anything on the farm. When their parents came around, they were to hide and keep hidden until they could come out again without being detected. But only when their parents were there, dressed in the seeking uniforms. And even with hiding, they had to finish their chores, run their errands. Even if they had to hide for hours, everything still had to be done.
Darcel had been caught, more than once, because they wanted to finish something more than they wanted to remain hidden. It was a balancing of punishments, and it was only when the punishment for being found was worse than that of unfinished chores that they took the hiding seriously.
When someone from the government had come around, when they’d been told they had to attend school in the building between the farms, that was when Darcel learned how the other children played hide and seek. They also learned that they and their siblings were much, much better at it than their friends, and were therefore required to seek instead of hide after their first week at the school. But they were better at that as well, however, having helped each other learn how to hide, and after six months in the school, all their friends and classmates had improved. They all knew what made a good hiding place, where all the usual ones were in the school building and playground.
So when the sun went out and the ships came, the children in their class hid. They hid, and they survived. Darcel and their siblings hid in the school for three weeks, convincing their classmates to do the same. When they finally emerged, when they went home, they found their parents and their classmates’ parents holed up on their farm. Most of them, at least.
The ships hadn’t just come to the school. They had descended upon buildings all around the world, taking the people, until there were only small groups left. Pockets, hidden in the farmhouse, putting to use the skills Darcel’s parents had instilled in them, and which they had taught their classmates in turn.
The adults had come to the farm because their parents had a reputation for being able to take care of themselves. “Crazy survivalists” was the phrase Darcel had heard the people say when they came to tell their parents the children had to go to school. Darcel didn’t know what that meant, but it was well known enough for the other parents to seek them out, to be there when the children finally made their way home and brought their friends with them.
Their farm was prepared for this. It was only once they saw the way their parents adapted the buildings to house more people that Darcel realized it. Just as they realized hide and seek had been preparation, intentional preparation. Somehow, their parents knew this was coming.