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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: Battle Plan
By Leah Nichols


Captain James peered through the slats in the fort’s wall. He could see the enemy gathered in the field below not one hundred yards from his location, blocking his only route of escape. Smug and confident, they shared food and drink among their ranks.
“We’ve got to get a hold of General Simon,” James stated emphatically as he turned to face his men.
Private William looked up quizzically, pausing from his task of counting weapons. “Why?”
“Why?” James exclaimed. “Because our enemy has trapped us here, of course. We need reinforcements.”
“But can’t we fight them off? We have plenty of weapons,” the young private said.
Captain James smiled at the naivety of youth. “But we’re gravely outnumbered, and worse – the enemy keeps growing. They’re inviting all of their allies to join them, and since they know they can win, they’re not even attacking us. They’ll starve us out before they even have to fight.”
“What are we going to do?” Corporal Matthew asked. He sat in the corner of the room, chewing a toothpick.
James sat back and pondered a course of action. General Simon and his men encamped on the other side of the river, beyond his line of sight from the fort, but close enough to reach if one could make it past the enemy’s ranks. “I can write a letter, but I’ll need someone brave enough to deliver it. I need to stay here in case the enemy attacks.”
“I’ll take it, Jimmy,” Private William volunteered.
“That’s Captain James to you, Private,” James asserted.
“Sorry. Captain James.” Red-faced, William turned back to the weapons.
Captain James examined the box which served as his desk. He found several scraps of paper and selected the largest piece for his letter. Carefully he penned his request.
Genrul Simon,
As u now, we fase a ruthless enimy whu wil stop at nuthing to take our riteful ground. The fort is bloked in, an the enimy is selabrating on the feeld below. We hav limated wepons, and fuwer men. Plees cum to ar ade. Attak at 2 PM. We wil be redy.
Captin James

“Alright, Private,” he said as he folded the note. “Now, you need to slip past the enemy, and don’t let them notice you. This is very important; are you sure you can do it?”
The private leaped up from his spot. “Oh yes, Jim – Captain James, I can do it.”
“Okay.” He handed the young man the letter. “And be quiet.”
“Quiet. Yeah.” Private William took the letter and quietly opened the door, tiptoeing out without a sound.
James turned back to the slats in the fort. He watched as the private stepped near the field. Silently he prayed, Please, let him remember to be quiet.
He breathed a sigh of relief as William dropped to all fours, approaching the enemy camp. The young man crawled undetected past the enemy lines, but just before he reached the end, someone spotted him.
Captain James watched in horror as the enemy ringleader stopped the private on the edge of the camp. He strained to hear the conversation.
“Billy, what are you doing crawling on the ground?”
“I’m delivering a top secret letter.”

“To whom?”
“Simon.” Private William surrendered the note, oblivious to the consequences.
Captain James groaned in agony. Corporal Matthew spoke up from the corner. “What?”
“The kid is totally giving us away. I knew I couldn’t trust him.” James sank onto the floor. “It’s over. We’ll be defeated for sure.”
“Hey, at least we still have weapons. We can take them if they come over here.”
A shout came from below. “Jimmy, what’s all this about attacking the enemy?”
He stood and leaned out the window of the fort walls. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jocelyn.”
The tall brunette glared at him, one hand on her hip, another clutching the wrinkled letter. “Attack at 2 PM? Wow, you really need to improve your spelling.”
Matthew hissed from behind him. “Attack her now – she’s defenseless.” He gave James a handful of pinecones.
James looked at the pinecones, and then looked down at the pretty girl below the tree fort. The element of surprise had been ruined. No, some other day would suffice.
“Forget about it,” he called to her. “You can go back to your tea party. We’re just playing our own games here.”
She rolled her eyes and then walked back toward her friends.
Captain James turned back to his men, Private William having rejoined them. “Okay guys, new plan….”

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This article has been read 1103 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Barbara Lynn Culler10/30/10
I knew something was up when the note had such poor spelling, and the entire scene reminded of the old TV show F-Troop. (Before your time, I think)

Ah, the simple play of kids!
Catrina Bradley 10/30/10
I knew something was afoot from the names you chose for your soldiers - I was thinking it was going to be Biblical, except I couldn't think of a William in the New Testament. :) What an original, creative idea! I enjoyed every minute.
Rachel Phelps10/30/10
Such fun! I was thrown at first, but caught on when more characters with only first names were introduced. Unique take on this topic, so it's a winner in my book!
T. F. Chezum10/30/10
Very fun read. I didn't suspect the what was happening until William got captured. I enjoyed this.
Colin Nielsen10/30/10
Very cute. Reads true. Children at play are just a joy to watch. Sometimes people miss this simple pleasure because of busy lives. I took this entry as a reminder to sometimes take the time to watch them.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/31/10
This was a delight to read. This is one of my favorite genres and I devour YA and tween stories as readily as suspense and mystery. You had a combination of my two favorite genres here. Very enjoyable read!
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/31/10
Great story...I had to read it a second time to check out all your foreshadowing. I really enjoyed "watching" the kids at play.
AnneRene' Capp10/31/10
Definitely an LOL and "I" definitely remember F Troop! This would have fit the show perfectly. This was refreshing in cauzing the reader to reminisce about childhood war games and the like. Enjoyed the unique approach.
Nancy Sullivan 10/31/10
Your hints were so subtle, but I did catch on before the cover was blown. That made it even more fun. Great job!
Sarah Heywood11/01/10
Oh, so good! I have to admit - I didn't know what was going on until the very end. I assumed that the Captain was just poorly educated. As a mom of 4 fort-playing, military-wanna-be sons, I thoroughly enjoyed this! Great writing!
Marita Thelander 11/04/10
Great job, Leah. This unfolded at just the right pace. Although I anticipated a barrage of pine cones to pelt the girl. Congratulations on your EC!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations on your EC! Way to go :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations on your EC! Way to go :)
Beth LaBuff 11/04/10
:) What fun! What creativity! Congrats, Leah!
william price11/04/10
Leah can write!!!!!!! Great job and congrats on EC.
God bless.
Charla Diehl 11/11/10
When Capt. James was called Jimmy I thought this must be kids at play. Very real, lots of fun and you truly entertained me. So glad that this was recognized for the talented content.