Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Appointment (02/09/12)
- TITLE: I Remember
By Ruth Neilson
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I wish I could say that I don't remember it. But that would be a lie.
My sister and I would sit huddled under the stairs listening to the battle rage. Sonic blasts would regularly shake the house and pieces of dry wall and spackling would rain down on us. Our home was frequently searched for any Federal government sympathizers. Finally, the war moved to close too home. The house next door was struck by a cutquaker, leaving the building and the people inside charred rubble.
That was the final straw for Mom. She packed up our bags and we headed out, following other refugees from The Community. Dad stayed behind to keep his church alive.
We were packed up and set out to a small town in California as refugees. We tried to make it to The Community, but we were stopped and sent to a People Republic Refugee Camp. "For your own safety," is what they claimed, as they lied through their teeth. We were held as captives and isolated from anything related to The Community and the remnants of the Federal government.
But, the war still touched us. News from the outside filtered in, sanitized and cut apart based purely on what the leaders thought was good for us to hear. Letters and emails soon became the best way to find out what really was going on. It was only a few months into our captivity that we found out that another cutquaker struck our old neighborhood, this time my family's house. For weeks we had no clue if Dad had survived or not.
Finally, there was an email from him. He hadn’t been home with the 'quaker hit but everything in our house was a loss. He had gone underground because the PR started arresting active members of The Community. He was worried because we were in the camp and warned us to keep our heads down and noses clean. Do nothing to draw the PR's attention; our focus our safety. Months passed and we were finally released. We headed back home.
Back into the war zone, we were determined to get home before the PR found dad and the remaining people of his church. We pushed hard and arrived in a matter of days. The trip was hard because of the damage done by both remnants of the Federal government and the PR, but we pushed on. Fear was high because we didn't know what we were walking into. The destruction was beyond our imaginations. Familiar landmarks was altered or destroyed. Nothing was going to be the same again.
We made our way through the destroyed landscape, until we found a way to my dad's church. The building itself was damaged but not destroyed. Looters and squatters had taken their toll on the building but, it was still standing. Dad met us outside of the building and in that moment we were a family again.
He had changed though. He was starting to sport a full beard and his hair had grown long. He was no longer nicely dressed...he used to wear bright colors and Liberty used to describe him as a firework-bright and flashy...always on the move. But now, his clothes were muted and earthy. Brown linen pants that tucked into his boots and a baggy camouflaged shirt. Even though he was holding still, his eyes were constantly on the move. He was on edge. But Dad wasn't completely there.
Somehow he changed, and it wasn't for the best. There were no reunion hugs or greetings that we were expecting. Instead, Dad hurriedly ushered us into the church's cellar. Even there, he was still on edge. Dad started talking about changing our clothing, and to stop trying to blend in with the PR. Instead we should be who we are—proud members of The Community. But even then it wasn't safe.
For the last year and a half, my family and I have been living here, in a Community sponsored apartment complex. And now, I wonder if this is supposed to be my appointed lot in life--to be a member of a rough group who believes something that I doubt even as I write this.
Who am I? My name is Ayden, I am fifteen years old, and I am a survivor of the 200 Day War.
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