by Eric, Age 14 , Grade 8
It was the winter of 1955, where it was a normal day like any other. It was a very rough and hard time. We tried to get through, but we did. Most of us didn’t really work, and by that I mean most of the children except for me and my friend. I was 14 and older than him, which he was 13. My name is Henry and my friend is Noah. We both had to work outside in the cold while the others stayed in near the fire and sleeping in.
“We’ve been working all day. When are we going to finish?” said Noah.
“Until all the work is done, but don’t worry, this is the last thing we have to do,” I said.
“I’ll be back. I just have to get more wood and were done.” As I walked along someone stopped me.
“Sorry but you can’t go any further than this,” he replied.
“Why not? There's nothing around here, I always go here and nothing has happened.”
“I can’t tell you here, but if you're interested and curious to know, come meet me in that cabin over there, but just don’t go any further than this alright?” he said.
“Yeah yeah sure,” I said.
He left after and as soon he got in a distance where he couldn’t see me, I walked away and went further into the woods. I wasn’t really sure why he didn't want me coming because I didn’t see anything anywhere. I kept going further and went so far that I couldn't see the village anymore, but I thought to myself, I knew where I was going. Later on, I found signs that had a language that I have never seen before and markings on trees that have seemed to have been made with a sword or a knife of some sort. As well as most of the broken old woody signs had the same thing that looked liked a red circle with a big black X in the middle. It had a description which said,
“No one crosses past this line or..”
“Huh the rest of the sentence was either marked or maybe scratched off?” I thought to myself.
I ignored it and didn’t think it was that important, so I got most of the firewood and just left. I went back home with no problems and went to sleep for what seemed that I would never wake up.
The next day I walked towards the cabin that the man directed me to. I went inside and saw only a couple people. I saw the man who stopped me and went over to him.
“Oh, you finally came. I've been waiting for you, but then knew that you weren't gonna come.”
“Well, I was and I'm here now so, about me not crossing, what were you gonna tell me again?”
“I needed to talk to you about what's further on in the woods, and since you are old enough, I think you should know, but know this, that no other kid knows this or who they are.”
“That would be the Raiders, and they’re also known as the X Frontier.”
“Yes, and their symbol looks like a big red X inside of a black circle.” I thought to myself alone that I’ve seen the marking before.
“So what do these X people do?” I said
“They raid villages and steal everything they can get there hands onto, but that's not all they burn. They destroy the village after and kill mostly everyone. We have only encountered them twice and not returned ever since,” he responded.
“Oh so that is why you didn’t let me pass, but why, what will I do?” I said.
“If they find you or know you are at their base, they could think of you as a spy or even trying to loot them which would causes them to get mad and come back for revenge once again. So, it's best if you stay out of there way.”
“Okay I understand, but why don’t you tell the other younger kids?”
“Well, I could tell that friend of yours, Noah.”
“Nah, I’ll tell him it and let him know what's up, but thanks for telling me,” I said.
I walked out and the snow got a bit higher. As I walked through the crunchy, bright, white snow that fell down very calmly, as if it was falling on a pillow. It sounded faint like echoes in the deep night sky. It was very quiet out and sounded as if there's was no sound. I went out and knew the snowy winter became harder. It pounded against the metal rusty door. I didn’t do anything, but went to bed.
The next day was mostly all the same. I finished working and saw that this new girl moved with her family. They said she was about my age. I frantically walked away so I wouldn’t embarrass myself but I did. When I walked away, I fell and face planted onto the snow. Luckily, she didn’t see. I went back inside and didn’t do much.
“Well, hello Henry. Have you finished your chores?” my mother said.
“Yes I have, and there's nothing for me to do,” I said.
“Well, you can go play with that Noah kid,” she replied.
“Yeah, maybe I’ll go see what he’s up to,” I said.
“Hey, while you're out there, can you go get more firewood?”
“Yeah, ok sure.”
I walked over to his cabin to see him and knocked on the door.
“Oh hey, what are you doing here?” Noah said.
“There was nothing for me to do, so I wondered if you wanted to come with me to get some firewood.” I replied.
“Sure I’ll come.”
We left and started for the forest. As we were walking, I explained to him what the “X frontier” was.
He later responded, “So these people have come before and why that man stopped you?”
“Yeah, and I hope not to see them,” I said.
We went on farther and just talked, but later on we heard what seemed to be a group of men scouting. We hid behind the bushes because we obviously didn’t know who it was. We looked closely and saw who it was. We were both shocked and struck with fear what we saw who it was. It was men with jackets that had that familiar X symbol, and we knew who they were.
Noah, being scared said, “What do we do? If they find us, who knows what they’ll do?”
I pointed to a big hole under a bush. “We could hide there until they leave.”
“Are you sure?” he said.
“Yes trust me,” I said.
We slowly and quietly went over to the rock and hid in the hole over the rock. Luckily, they were making such a ruckus, they couldn't hear over a thing we did.
“What do you think they're doing?” I questioned.
“Stealing?” he replied.
It became quiet for a couple of minutes, and we tried to escape, but while we tried to move we accidentally broke some sticks. That made a loud crunch sound that echoed everywhere. We stopped moving and 2 people turned around.
“Who’s there?” the first man shouted. He soon said, “Go see who it is.”
The second man came over to our spot and stood right by the rock. We stood very still and calm. He walked right in front of us and we attempted to hide in the snow, it surprisingly worked. He later then walked back and told the rest of the group.
“It’s nothing, probably a squirrel or some animal,” he replied in a very deep and rough voice.
“There's no way he missed us; he has to have known were here” sacredly and quietly,” replied Noah.
“Don't say stuff like that. Just be glad we haven't been caught yet,” I quietly said.
We went on further and slowly got away step by step. Once we had the chance, we ran as far as we could, and as we were running someone commanded us to shout .
We ran as fast as we would like as if we were running for our life and which we actually were. We didn’t know what to do, but we had a plan that we hoped that worked.
“We have to make it back,” I said.
“Yeah, but only one of us can to let the others know and that's gonna be you,” he replied.
“Hey, where are you going?” I shouted.
“I'm gonna go cause a distraction while you go get help!” he said.
“No, that's a bad idea you're gonna get killed!” I angrily shouted.
He didn’t seem to care, but he looked very brave when he left. I was scared because I don’t know what they might do to him, but judging from what they wear, they might make him feel a pain that he will never forget or possibly worse.
I kept running and never looked back. I didn’t cry or anything, but I was really worried. I soon realized that i made it back. I was out of breath that it felt like I wasn’t even breathing. I went to get water first because I knew I couldn’t continue without it, then I went to go get help. I quickly thought to myself who would try to help. I was panicking and rushing that I didn’t know who to go to first. I took a minute to calm down and thought to myself who would do something about it. I felt dumb and then realized that I should have gone to his parents in the first place. I quickly ran towards his house and knocked on the rusty door. His mother had come out and asked what has happened.
“I need your help or his dad because I don’t know what to do,” I quickly and swiftly said.
“Calm down, and whose dad do you need?” she replied.
“Henry's dad,” I said.
“Why do you need his dad?” she confusingly said.
“I can explain later, but there's no time right now,” I exclaimed.
“Alright, I’ll go get him,” she said.
I waited outside for a couple minutes, or what seemed like hours, and then came out.
“Yes, hello. What do you need?” he said.
“Look, I need your help or what you can about...something,” I replied.
“And what is that something?” he said.
“It's..It's...your son,” I murmured.
“What has happened to him,” he concerningly said.
“Well he has been taken by this group of people and I’m not sure what to do, but I’ll explain later. Just come help me with this,” I responded.
He confusingly agreed to help me and came to the woods to help me get Noah back. Once we arrived to the spot we were at last time, there was no one in sight and no markings or trails or just anything in general.
“Is this a joke or some kind of a prank because you wasted enough of my time,” he angrily said.
“NO it's not, they probably have left or something or are just hiding,” I stuttered.
I convinced him to look around but we found nothing. He soon tried to leave because we were apparently wasting time. I tried to look for something fast to convince him to stay again.
While I was quickly searching, I found blood and pieces of tattered cloths.The blood glistened in the sun and the cloth brushed against the wind. I called Noah's dad to come over and hs did. He came and examined the blood and cloth and had a shocked face when he knew who it had belonged to. He looked like as if he were stabbed right in the heart. He looked at me and the clothes a couple of times and tried to tell me whose this was. I was of course confused and a little terrified. Soon, he told me that it was Noah's clothes. I was sort of shocked, but mostly scared and a tiny bit concerned, concerned because we knew who the cloth belonged to, but we didn’t know where the blood came from. We were walking back thinking of what to do next. As we were walking, I looked at Noah's dad and he gave me a look. It wasn’t a normal look, but was very distinct one, a type of look that would get revenge and start a war, a war that would last for years.
We were walking back to Noah's house looking for a strategy of some kind to get Noah back. There was only one option on the table so far. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but he said it was the only way.
“What will we do now? There's no plan to go with,” I said.
“There is a plan,” he replied.
“And what do you suppose that plan is, to get Noah out of a land full of vicious killers?” I sarcastically said.
“Look, the plan I have is too violent for you, it doesn't require you or have anything to do with you,” he said.
“I can help. I know where the people are. I've seen where they're headed,” I said.
“I said no. You can’t help, it’s too dangerous for a kid like you, and I can’t risk it because then they would end up taking you as well,” he replied.
At the moment, I knew that no matter what he said, I would still go and help because I knew that this was all my fault, but my problem was that I didn’t have a plan as well which would resolve me showing up and being face to face with death. I, of course didn’t look forward to it, so I tried to to think of one quick.
“I’m gonna go get some people to come with me to get my son back and get rid of those kidnappers once and for all,” he angrily said while pulling out a gun.
I was pretty scared because he only had half the plan, and didn’t really have that much time to think through it. Who knows what he's gonna do? My only hope is that it would turn out good and not a disaster or else who knows what could happen? What I imagined what would happen is a war as I thought before. I don’t want to imagine or think of stuff like that because what I feared the most was how it would end and how it looks after it has.
Later on that night on the same day, I went about and did normal things I usually do. Then, I later saw Noah's dad returning with some people from other places and some from here convincing them to help him, and he succeeded because they all knew who he was talking about and agreed to get rid of them as well. They all seem to have guns, torches, swords, machetes or axes. I was obviously very concerned and afraid because THAT was half of the plan; gathering people for the invasion, but now I don’t have a clue what they are going to do next.
Then, he yelled and everyone came out of their houses.
“Attention everyone, tonight will be a night of war. I will get rid of those thieves they call themselves the “X “ frontier, but not for long as I will put an end to their lives!” he shouted. Everyone whispered to one another and seemed very scared.
It was late at night and without hesitation I saw that group of people heading towards the X Frontier. I felt hopeless that I just sat back doing nothing. I looked up at the big bright white moon that shined its light against my body. I thought to myself I had to be brave and have lots of courage if I want to rescue my friend. I saw the group of people leaving and heading towards the X Frontier, and I soon followed them in their shadows, hoping they would not spot me. Of course I wouldn't go unarmed, so I grabbed the closest weapon, which was a hammer. This was all I could find at the time. Following them, I never would have expected and see what was at end of the road or knowing what lies ahead. I knew one thing would to come to my mind once we have reached there, and it would be a disaster with a horrifying ending.
I kept up with them not losing their sight for I would end up lost and never find a way back. I dashed through the snow carefully and cautiously, using the moon’s light as a flashlight to guide me through the way. I acted very stealthy and became very quiet as if I was the shadow. I looked over and see how the group of people were doing. It seems like they all seem exhausted and seen that they would stay in one place to camp. They all helped set up a camp and I watched as they discussed about a more clear plan.
“What are we gonna do when we get there?” A man said with a scratchy voice.
“We break in, rescue my son, and kill everyone for their actions and consequences,” Noah’s dad said.
“What good would that do? We are all gonna get killed,” the man said.
“Not if we come up with a plan,” Noah’s dad replied.
“Yes, but what is the plan!” he yelled.
“The plan is we sneak in their, rescue my son, and get revenge on everyone!” he shouted.
I was scared and confused not knowing what was going on. I had to stay strong because who knows what's gonna happen or what will happen to me. I didn’t want to think stuff like that so I just waited for the group to get ready and leave. They were rested and left the campsite. I, on the other hand, fell asleep without notice and woke up without realizing. I looked all around looking for the group.
“Where did they go?” I whispered to myself.
I was relieved as I found a footprint trail. I was desperate I went and followed it not knowing who had made them. I knew I was going to regret this by the time I got to the end. I wasn’t really being smart by running and making lots of noise, desperately looking for someone, but instead I should have been more cautious. Until now, it seemed like I was approaching the end. I soon started to realize because the footprint trail became fresher, and I mean the footprints started to look more newly made.
I could soon start to see the end of the trail and cautiously approached. I hid under a bush and carefully looked up to see who was present. I scanned the area and saw someone standing from afar. He was facing his backs toward me not knowing who it was. He turned around and
I saw…….one of the people from the group? I was sort of concerned and confused for I wondered why he was standing there by himself. I watched and observed carefully to see what he would do so I stood hidden. It was pretty quiet but all I could hear was the wind blowing briskly along my face. Then I started to notice something from him, It seems he was talking to someone. I looked around and saw someone pointing something at him. It looked like a gun? I got a little closer to “over hear” what they're talking about.
“So where ya headed?” The man said curiously in an accent.
“Why should I tell you?” The survivor replied.
“Because I can blast you with this here gun,” the man said.
Huh? He probably got caught too?
“Then do it, and we’ll see where that will get you,” the survivor said with a smirk look.
“Well, just not yet until you tell me where you're going,” he replied.
“I’m never going to tell you,” the survivor said.
With a flash he shot him without hesitation. My heart dropped as hard as it could as he laid there on the ground quietly crying in pain. It was a horrible seen to watch, like I was living in a horror movie.
I quietly and quickly ran not looking back for that would get me in the same spot as that poor man. I didn’t know the man, but cried a little feeling really bad for what had happened to him. I dashed through the snow and got stuck at some points, but I didn’t care. I forced myself to get through. I needed to stay alive to complete my task which was getting my friend back.
“Where am I going? What will I do now? What AM I going to do now?” I said to myself. I was scared and lost. I wandered around for a couple of minutes hopelessly hoping I would find something or someone.
“Where am i going? I don’t have any idea where I am, the best for now is to look around for anything at least,” I said to myself. I went running around here and there everything looking the same as the last. It was like a never ending maze. I was just running in circles.
Time has passed by; maybe a couple of hours or so. I layed in the snow and just thought. “Maybe if I launch something far in a direction then someone could hear me and pos-”
“Hey, Open up! Or were gonna do this the hard way!”
“Shouting? Someone must be over there, and they might be good right? Well it's worth a shot as long as I get out of these woods,” I said. I clumsily ran toward the shouting as it wasn’t that far. I arrived to the scene where I found the group again! I was so thankful, but I wondered what they were doing. Wait, oh no, they’re trying to break in?! What do I do? There's no place to run or do anything. They shouted once more but there was no reply. To be safe, I reached in my pocket and pulled out the hammer I had been carrying around, and so I just watched as the group broke down and busted the old, wooden, broken, splintered gate. They all ran in and rage broke right through the silence, screaming and yelling were echoed around the small village. I saw everyone fighting, everyone just like a war and I didn’t know what to do. I realized that I had to go find Noah and so that's what I did.
I ran throughout everything and went inside this little house where I saw what seemed to be many innocent people. I looked around for him and saw a cell where he had been locked up.
“Hey what are you doing here?” he said.
“Oh you know just taking a strol,l” I sarcastically said.
“C’mon nows not the time to be stupid like you always are,” he angrily said.
“Do you want me to get you out or not?” I said.
“Yes, please get me out of here!” he shouted.
“Ok, but how do i do that, and it’s just not you I'm gonna rescue. I’m going to help the other as well,” I responded.
“There's probably a key somewhere around here; maybe you could look for it.” He mentioned.
“Yeah, but we don’t have the time to be looking for it right now, someone could come find me and put me in the same spot that you are in right now.” he explained.
“Well then?” he said.
“I’ll just smash the lock until it breaks,” I pointed out.
“Okay, but you might wanna hurry before anyone comes in,” he worryingly said. I smashed and banged the lock as hard as I could until it broke into pieces. He banged and forced the cage to open and swung out in an instant. I felt bad for the others leaving them so I decided to help them as well. I went one by one smashing open their locks and releasing them, while getting them out all I could hear outside were people screaming and yelling to one another.
“Thank you,” a stranger said and ran out the place.
“Many thanks to you kind sir,” the second stranger said.
“My gratitude,” the 3rd stranger softly said.
Other men have thanked me and left the place in a rush. Then, Noah and I followed. We ran out the place only to see people fighting. We didn’t want to get involved with any conflict so I avoided each fight, until we saw Noah's dad fighting someone with an axe. As much as I didn’t want to, I had to help him. I snuck behind the man he was fighting and BASHED him on the head knocking him out with an instant.
“Thank you,” Noah's dad said.
“It was one way or another,” I replied.
He looked at me for a second and ran off. We followed him, but we weren't sure where we or he was going. We looked around and saw a lot of people laying on the ground, dead or alive I’m not sure but I don’t wanna find out.
While we were running someone got right in front of us and knew we were making an attempt to escape.
“Where ya going?” the man said.
“Nowhere,” I said.
“Don’t think I don’t know where you going alright?” he said.
I looked at him very closely and examined him. Wait, it's the guy who shot that poor man! I remained calm and tried to keep it a nice smooth conversation so me and Noah don’t get harmed, but then he hit me in the head with a flash knocking me out.
“Ugh my head, where am I?” I said while rubbing my head. I must have been brought here after being hit, at least that's what I know for now. I got up and looked around for an exit or someway to escape. I looked in my pockets hoping I would find something useful but with no luck there was nothing to be found. Why was this happening? Is this a dream or a nightmare? I took a look around where I was. I was inside what looked like a jail cell inside a small house. Someone soon came in and said-
“Well, well, well, what do we have here? You finally decided to wake up”
“What are you talking about?” I said.
“Oh yes, where are my manners,” he said in a jokeful voice.
“What? Manners?” I confusingly said.
“Let me explain who I am, I am the 4th person to in charge in this place,” he stated.
“And? So? Get to your point, and what does this have to do with me?” I responded.
“This has to do with everything,” he said.
“Like what?” I said.
“Oh? You do not know?” he said.
“Know what?” I angrily said.
This guy keeps on hinting to many things and is really -starting to get on my nerves.
“Do you remember a man you hit?” he said.
“A man? I don’t remember hitting a ma-.... Wait I do, I remember hitting someone!” I said in a surprised and confused voice.
“Yes and that man was the person who is in charge of this place. You have nearly killed him if you have not hit him any harder!” He shouted.
“Well, I'm sorry I didn’t know, it was an accident,” I tried to say.
“Well in that case apology not accepted,” he denied.
“Please you have to let me go,” I said in a sad voice.
“No, and remember when I said I was the 4th in charge?”
“Yeah, and so what?”
“The other 3 wanted to get rid of you…..for good”
“What!? No I don’t wanna die!” I shouted.
“But we won’t let you. You're gonna let yourself will. You will be sent outside to freeze. Now.”
He unlocked me and took me outside where everyone watched. There were only a few people left? I wondered what happened to the others. I was tossed out and left there. I was confused on having a type of end like this? But I didn't know of this really happened. The only thing to do now is try to find a way to head back.
Hours passed with me wandering around. I somehow actually found the village. I looked through all the houses and every single one was empty. There was no one else in sight. I was the only one left? I stopped and fell on the ground, blinked a couple of times and by the time I knew it I was awake. I finally woke from the nightmare I have been sleeping in, but the real question is, what is a dream?