It was spring time in Georgia. The air smelled fresh, and the grass was vibrant and crisp. The flowers were blossoming and fragrant. Everything felt brand new and alive. Rejuvenated.
Spring was Carol's favorite season, and apparently Jasper's too.
"Watch me mama!", Jasper yelled as he chased after a butterfly that was trying it's best to get away. Every time he attempted to catch it, it would flutter away to the next flower.
Carol, sitting on a blanket that she had spread out on the grass, laughed and said, "I'm watching!"
He continued to do this for a few more minutes before finally realizing that he was never going to catch it, and gave up. He ran over to where she sat, diving in to her arms, toppling them both over.
"Easy little man. You're getting too big for mama to hold!" she said with a laugh. She raised them back up, settling him between her legs, his back against her chest. She sighed as she wrapped her arms around his little body, rubbing her face against his silky hair.
At five years old, Jasper was a very precocious child. Always curious and always asking questions about the world and his surroundings. He brought an unbelievable amount of joy in to their lives. She never thought she'd ever get the chance to be a mother again.
He twisted his head to look up at her, "What was she like, mama?" he asked, smiling up at her with a squint in his eye. Dixon blood is strong in this one, she thought with a smile.
"Who, baby?" she asked as she smoothed his hair down with her hands.
He turned back around and glanced up at the sky, "My sister...Sophia. What was she like?"
Even though he had heard Carol talk about Sophia a thousand times before, he never got tired of hearing about her.
Carol wrapped her arms back around him and rocked him a little,
"Well, she was wonderful, and she was my little girl. She was very beautiful....kind and sweet," she told him, tears welling up in her eyes.
"She would have loved you, Jas...so much. She always wanted a little brother." she said as she looked up at the sky and smiled. She had made peace with Sophia's death long ago, Daryl and Jasper, helping to fill that ache.
"What happened ta her?" he asked while playing with Carol's hands.
Even though most of the younger kids at the prison, Jasper included, had never been beyond the prison gates, they knew about the walkers. They could see them pressing against the gates at times. They had been told of the dangers that awaited them outside of the prison, and with the way the world was now, not telling them wasn't an option. All of the children, at an early age, had been trained to protect themselves. Not doing so, would have been foolish and dangerous.
"Well, long before we found the prison, we came upon Grandpa Hershel's farm..." Carol stopped, remembering that day with sadness.
"She got separated from us...we lost her in the woods..." she broke off as he interrupted...
"Did Daddy go after her? I bet he found her!," he said to her excitedly.