Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: North (05/05/16)
- TITLE: Pointing Home
By Francy Judge
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“I’m coming home soon. This is my last mission…promise.” They pressed their hands together and hugged. “This compass will always point you home. Your mom gave it to me before my first flight.”
Liam held the little compass up to see where the needle pointed. The compass was a tarnished gold, as if covered in fingerprints. He’d ask his mom how he could shine it up later. He held it to his ear as his father laughed. The compass reminded him of a watch, but it was silent and didn’t tick. It smelled like the metal tools in their garage. The needle did point toward their home. Their house was on the north shore of Long Island. If he went any farther north, he’d have to swim.
He forced a smile and waved as his dad’s taxi pulled out of the driveway. “I love you.” His words vanished. As he opened the front door, the chimes jingled. He slammed the door and searched for his baseball bat in the closet, went back out, and whacked at the chimes like it was a piñata. He hit three times before it smashed to the ground. Liam expected his mom to send him to his room, but she wrapped her arms around him.
“It’s okay. I hate those chimes too. Come on, buddy…let’s go inside. You can do your homework while I make dinner.”
The next day, Liam wore his compass to school. He stared at it all day long, feeling the engraved back, reading it over and over. “A compass to lead you where your heart wants to go.” After school, he held it and followed the needle, directing him home. Every day, for a month he wore his compass, even in the bath and under his pillow while he slept. He wore it until the day Zack and his friends followed him, teasing him about his necklace.
“Nice necklace. Do you wear high heels too?”
“Why don’t you talk? What’s wrong with you? And why do you stare at that chain all day?”
“It must be worth a lot. I think I’ll borrow it from you.”
Liam held his compass high, wishing the needle to point upward and lift him to the sky, where his heart wanted to go. That would amaze everyone. But as Liam lifted his arms, Zack punched him in the stomach. Liam grunted and fell to the ground.
“I’ll take that.” Zach lifted the chain over Liam’s slumped head and ran. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
The next day at school, Liam watched Zack fiddle with the compass and stuff it in his pocket. He imagined different ways he could get it back, but without talking or fighting, getting it seemed impossible.
After school, he waited, hidden by the side of the building. He followed Zack from a distance and could see him trying to use his compass. Something didn’t make sense. They should have been going the opposite way, north toward his house. Liam figured he must be trying to go someplace else.
They walked a mile before Zach and his friend suddenly stopped in front of the police station. Zach looked up at the tall police officer. “May I help you? Can I see the chain you’re holding?”
He took it off and gave it to the cop. “This looks exactly like the compass my buddy has who went off to serve our country. Any reason you should have it?”
“Uhhh…no sir…I mean his son gave it to me.”
Liam ran over to him. “Here you go. I think you want to keep your dad’s compass. It was special to him.”
Zach ran away, but his friend Matt stayed. “I’m sorry he punched you and took your compass.”
Liam smiled. “You want to play baseball at my house?”
“Thanks, officer.” Liam placed the chain back on his neck.
“That’s my job. Make sure you say hi to your dad. I hear he’s coming home next week.”
“I will!” He held the compass in front of Matt. It pointed home.
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