A soldier, called Derek Ebony, is on his way to the front of a Great War, he gets lost in a forest and discovers a new land as well as some things about himself.
“Derek! Derek!” Some one was shaking my shoulder. I opened my eyes,
“Wha-?” I mumbled still half asleep.
“We’re movin’ out D! We gotta go!” Elijah went to the door of the small tent that we shared. I watched him, still half-asleep.
“Come ON!” He urged from the door. “We need to get going!” Elijah was hopping from foot to foot, his ID flopping around on its chain. The jangling of metal on metal woke me up a little more. I sat up slowly, reaching for my shirt. The worn out, camouflage button-down shirt that had been my pride and joy not so long ago. I pulled it on over my head, holding my ID out of the way. I paused for a second, and looked at it, the small metal tag; it had my name carved into the front, and a small computer chip on the back. The generals had a device that could read the chip and tell them all of your information. They were water proof, bullet proof and heat proof. Though I thought the heat thing was over doing it a bit.
“D! Come on! We’re going to be left behind!”
“Alright, I’m up!” I snapped. Elijah’s impatience was wearing on my nerves. I swung my legs off the small bed, right into my boots. Lacing them up, I kept an eye on Elijah. His brown hair was a complete mess, his eyes were anxious. He kept looking at me, then out the door, then back at me. His eyes were a stormy blue-gray, like the ocean during a storm. At least that’s what I thought the ocean would look like. I had never seen the ocean, or any body of water larger than a pond. I couldn’t imagine not seeing land. I had lived land-locked my entire life.
“Calm down E.” I said, in an effort to calm him down. I sat back on the bed to pack my gear. “You can go; you don’t have to wait for me.” He bolted out the door without a backwards glance. I looked out after him. It was pouring rain. Our division always picked the worst days to move on. Now fully awake, I stood and walked towards the opening of the tent. Dirt outside was turning into sludge, even where I stood my boots stuck in the ground, I grabbed my pack and went to follow Elijah. I paused, looking out after the group. I was the last one in the camp. They were headed east, towards who knows what. I certainly didn’t. I looked towards the west. There was a break in the clouds in that direction, where I could see a small slice of sky. I gazed at it; it was a small slice of peace in the otherwise chaos of the sky. I looked around; the others had disappeared into the storm. I would be hard pressed to find them. They had all left their tents standing, but that was the usual procedure. We had people who would pack everything onto carts that would set out after us.
I started jogging east, following the footprints. My boots stuck in the mud, making squelching sounds every time I took a step. I kept going, doggedly. The rain was soaking into my clothes and dripping down my neck. I hunched my shoulders as a raindrop ran its way down my spine. I looked up, drenching my face in the cold downpour. The sky above me was nearly black. The clouds were rolling; running into each other, lightening was formed in the collisions, charging the whole sky with electricity. Silently I cursed the generals. It was just like them to choose this kind of day for a long march. Stopping in my tracks I remembered the day that I signed up for this.
“Mom, I am going to sign up for this!” I had said, childishly to my mother, pointing at a poster for the Arran Fighting Force. According to the sign training was starting the next week, so I had to hurry up and sign on. I wanted to be a hero; I wanted to be honored for bravery, just like my father.
I looked west again. My patch of peace was gone, covered up by the black storm clouds. I started going again, my thoughts returned to that day.
“Idiot!” My older sister had berated me. “Do you know what happens in the fighters? People can get killed! And I heard that they make you march in all types of weather, except nice weather, and they…I had drowned out the rest of it, thinking of the glory and honor that I would get after coming home a hero from freeing our nation from the Marront Tyrants.
I kept jogging. I couldn’t see the others yet. The rain was starting to fall harder, if that was possible. The ground was disappearing under my feet. Honor seemed a far ways off. We hadn’t seen any fighting and I didn’t want to. I stumbled; my feet were sticking more firmly into the ground with every step. I tried going faster but the mud kept slowing me down. Lightning cracked across the sky. The thunder rolled soon after. I stopped walking, the rain was letting up, and I could see more than a few feet ahead of me. I couldn’t see the group. I had fallen too far behind.
I considered waiting for the carts to catch up to me and following them but I realized that they may have taken an easier route, and I might’ve gone the wrong way, I could be way off course. I couldn’t tell the whole area was mud. I looked down. There was some grass in the mud around my feet and stuck to my boots. I had been wandering around aimlessly in the rain. I was lost.
I looked for a landmark, anything that could tell me where I was. There were a few trees not far off. I headed for them, hoping to climb one and see where I was. Another streak of lightning flashed across the sky. I counted in my head one, tw- thunder rolled. The lighting was still very close, but getting farther. I guessed that it was safe enough to climb the trees. The rain had lightened to just a drizzle. I pushed my sopping hair out of my eyes, and wiped my face on my sleeve. Water dripped into my ears, cutting off my hearing, I shook my head vigorously to clear them.
I was under the trees now; spouts of water were dripping off of the leaves, landing on my already soaked jacket. As I passed the first few trees I saw that I was in a small wood. There were more trees than I originally thought. I leaned against one to rest for a while. Wandering around in the mud and rain had done no good for my health. I slid down the tree to sit on the damp ground. Leaning my head back, I looked through the branched of the tree. I could see a small patch of sky, no longer black, but grey. I closed my eyes.
I was running. I could hear my follower chasing close behind, trampling through the woods like a bear. I couldn’t look back to see how close it was for fear of running into a tree. My breath was ragged, going in and out of my body in wheezes and gasps. I tried to push my self to greater speed but my legs wouldn’t respond. The chaser was catching up, I could hear his breathing now, steady and calm, as if he was just out for a stroll. I was afraid. Something I would never admit out loud. Fear was something I usually avoided. I didn’t think I was afraid of anything. Until now, with this unseen chaser behind me and gaining, I was truly afraid.
There was an exposed tree root in front of me, I could see it well in advance. My mind screamed to avoid it, to jump, to lengthen my stride, but again, my legs wouldn’t respond. They kept running at the same pace and my foot caught in the root, I fell…
I jerked upright, blinking furiously. I still felt like I was falling, ready to fall flat on the ground to be caught by… by what? I couldn’t remember now. My eyes adjusted to the light in the trees.