Monday, August 22, 2011

Theme of the Week

I am so sorry I am late! Lizzie is off somewhere and I totally forgot that I was supposed to post!
Well, here are the TOTW stories.

By Renee' Vouvier
In a tiny, secluded village near Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1775, there lived a young girl, Abigail, and her family. Abigail had just turned thirteen. She loved her little sister, Gracie, and her mother and father. The little log house, in which she lived, sat beside a river. Abigail loved her home. Her father was a farmer and minuteman. She knew that the British and families, like hers, would probably fight against each other. King George was attempting to take away all of the colonists' rights. Abigail's father and other minutemen were smuggling ammunition into their homes anytime they could. Then they would be ready if the hostile British attacked. Abigail slowly stirred the pot of rabbit stew. Beside her, her mother plopped spoonfuls of gooey dough onto the bottom of a pan. Soon the biscuits and the stew would be ready.

“Mother, would you like me to turn some butter?” Abigail asked.

“Yes, Abby. The cream is in the cellar.” Her mother answered. Compliantly, Abigail set the spoon down and proceeded to fetch some cream. Once she had some cream, she set to churning the butter. Before long, a bit of butter was turned. She salted it. Just then Abigail's father entered the house. He bent down and swooped Gracie off of the floor. Little Gracie giggled. She loved it when her father held her. Abigail scooped the butter into a dish. Quickly she walked over and stirred the bubbly, brown-broth stew. She took out four blue and white speckled, tin bowls. After ladling stew into each of the bowls, she carried them to the oak table. Her mother was bringing the crispy, beige biscuits to the table. Abigail hurried to fetch the tin cups, and her mother filled them with creamy milk. Abigail finished her stew and biscuit Then, she grabbed Gracie's little hand and helped her up the ladder to the loft as their mother called to them, “Goodnight girls.”

“Sleep tight, Abby and Gracie,” their father told them.

“Goodnight,” Abigail and Gracie replied together. When they reached their room, Abigail helped Gracie, who was tired, change into her nightgown. Then she changed into hers, too. She crawled into bed with Gracie. Gracie was fast asleep, but Abigail lay awake.

After a while, Abigail heard her parents go to bed. Soon, she drifted off to sleep. Not long after she fell asleep, a series of five loud knocks on the door awakened her. At first she thought maybe it was just her imagination. But then, she heard Paul Revere's zealous voice ring out, “Hurry, the Regulars are coming out!” Not a second later, she heard her father, now awake, slamming the window shut and loading his rifle. She could barely hear her mother's trembling voice whisper, “Be careful.” Then he was gone, out into the chilly night to encounter the unknown. Tiredly, Gracie woke up. Abigail reassured her that everything was okay, and Gracie quickly fell asleep. But once again, Abigail couldn't sleep. She was exhausted. After what seemed like hours, Abigail crept down the six-rungs of the ladder. She paused by her parent's bedroom, listening for her mother's even, heavy breathing, but her mother was not asleep. Quickly she tiptoed across the ice-cold floor towards the door. Then the floor creaked. Sure that her mother heard her, she carefully flung the door open, walked onto the dewy grass, and shut the door. Without a pause, she ran. In the hazy moonlight, she could see her father's footprints in the mud. She followed them. Silently she came upon a woodsy area, which was only a few yards long. She knew the place well. Often in the summer she picked berries there. But soon, she was out of the woods and into a more open field. She walked a little more until she reached a place where she could see the minutemen. Abigail hid behind a bush. She viewed about 700 solemn minutemen ready to defend their rights. She shivered because it was cold, and she was scared. Abigail heard Captain John Parker's order to the minutemen, “Do not fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!” She saw the British, sometimes called Red Coats, approach a couple minutes later. The burly British officer barked to the minutemen, “Disperse, ye rebels!”

No one moved. Seconds passed, but still no one moved. Suddenly a shot rang out. More shots were fired, and the British were compelled to moved on to Concord. Terrified, Abigail saw some men she knew dead. She knew she only had a minute to flee. She carefully advanced through the woods. And when she got to the clearing, she quickened her pace. But soon she had to slow down because she was nearing her house. Not wasting a second, she tiptoed inside to the ladder. She climbed up to her room unnoticed as the sun began to rise. It was morning. She began to realize that she had just witnessed the beginning of a war for freedom. No one knows who shot the first shot, but the whole world took note of it. Therefore, it has been called, “The Shot Heard 'Round the World.”
By Hannah
Having just finished shopping, she did not notice his approach until he was nearly upon her. Then, dropping her purse, she forgot everything in a mad run. Anything to get away from him. He had destroyed her life in the past, and only came to do it again. How could she have let him get so close to her?

“Jessica!” his voice rang out in the darkness, and she shuddered. For a moment she tried to plug her ears, but then she stumbled and had to use her hands for balance.

“Jessica,” he repeated, his voice terrifyingly close behind her, “You know it’s no use. I always win.”

“No, no,” she sobbed, knowing somehow that he was wrong, that there was something she could do.

“You will give yourself to me like you have every other time.” His head was a mere meter away from hers. “Why don’t you stop fighting and just give in to the inevitable? This doesn’t have to be so painful.”

Gasping for breath, she stopped running and bent over double. His hand touched her back and she flinched, but didn’t answer.

“Remember how good it feels?” his voice was soothing, calming, like his hand which was rubbing her back. It all felt familiar somehow.

“Derek?” she gasped, looking up at him.

His kind brown eyes smiled reassuringly into hers, and he held her hand warmly. “Didn’t I tell you,” he murmured tenderly, “that I would return?”

“But,” she answered confusedly, “wasn’t that a bad thing?”

He smiled and began to draw her closer to himself.

“Derek,” she struggled for him to release her, “I don’t understand.”

“Do you understand this?” he asked, and kissed her.

At the touch of his lips a warm feeling flowed through Jessica’s body. Why had she been doubting him? Of course Derek was the real hero, and she had been thinking nonsense before. She stepped close to him, relishing the feeling of his strong arms holding her close. He kissed her again and swooped her into his arms. How good it felt to just rest there and not fight anymore.

“That’s right, darling,” he murmured, caressing her face. Vaguely, she realized that she could not move her legs or arms, but she didn’t care. All she wanted was to keep looking into his wonderful face looking into hers. Somewhere a voice seemed to be calling to her, chiding her, but she pushed it away and snuggled closer.

“I love you, Jessica.” He laid her down on a bit of grass. “I love you, Jessica.” He pulled a knife from his belt. “I love you, Jessica.” His voice was all around her, beating her, tormenting her with its mocking tones as he raised the knife to drive it into her heart.

“No.” The voice rang out, quiet but firm.

The monster she had called Derek looked up and his face grew white with fear and hatred. “She gave herself to me.”

“I have bought her.” Jessica could not see him, but his voice sounded familiar, like a song long forgotten.

“She returned to me!”

Tears filled Jessica’s eyes as she realized this was true.

“She is mine.”

“I. will. have her!” The knife began to descend.


“Jessica, wake up,” a voice cut into her dream. “The plane has landed and your boyfriend called to say that he is waiting.”

Bleary with sleep, Jessica grabbed her purse and stumbled out of the plane towards the baggage claim.

The young man waiting there turned and greeted her affectionately. Smoothing back her hair with his hand, he laughed, “Why, Jessica, aren’t you even going to say hi?”

“Sorry.” She smiled and gave herself a brisk shake. “I guess I’m still sleepy from the trip.” Raising on her toes, she kissed his cheek. “Hello, Derek.”

I remember laying there on the dusty earth, squinting into the Afghanistan sun, drawing in a shallow, ragged breath and thinking, I am going to die. At twenty-two years old, in an arid, dry land halfway across the globe from my family, I am going to die. It's not fair.

It is ironic, though, that when I was in absolute agony, fighting to stay conscious as my life was slipping away, that I was thinking of fair. Fair? In war? In the chaos of battle? And yet my mind was so clear through the pain that I cried out to God, Why can't this be fair? I didn't deserve to die. Yet, neither did the terrified old man who had taken blind aim at me as I had crouched behind his hut. He had a reason to shoot at me in defense. I was probably killing his family or his friends as I shot at the mass of opposition around the corner of the hut.

I grunted as I balled my fist into the gushing wound in my side. My radio was crackling static intermittently a few feet away from where my head was, but I didn't have the strength to reach for it. I could still here the hiccup of the machine guns over the hill, taste the grit between my teeth and on my tongue, feel the pain mixed with adrenaline course through my body. Yet my vision was blurring. The edges of the sky were growing dimmer, darker. Suddenly, the ground shook and a soldier I didn't know was running over to me and then bending down and undoing the straps on my helmet.

“Hang on there. Stay with me. Come on, you can do it. Keep breathing for me.” The man was yelling at me, forcing me to stay focused on the effort of breathing. The sky was growing darker and darker like a tunnel narrowing rapidly before me. The man was still shouting, but his voice was distant, like the annoying hum of a mosquito. I sucked in the dusty air, feeling weaker every second and just wanting to give in to the gaping, black hole that reached out for me.

But then I heard maniacal laughter floating to me from somewhere below me. Someone was laughing at my pain. Someone who was glad I was dying. No, no. I thought. No, I don't want to die. How dare someone laugh when I am dying? I struggled, pulling myself through the murky blackness of my brain. I saw the face of the soldier. His face was so close to mine. He was yelling at me, shouting something. I knew it was important, but I couldn't get at what he was saying. Then the world went totally black and I lost myself to the darkness.

I don't remember what happened after that. I don't remember anything for three whole days. When I did wake up, I was lying in a makeshift hospital. White sheets covered several beds with maimed and bruised soldiers in some form of repair occupying each one. I wondered, Do I look like that, too? There were sharp pains in my gut and my head was sore. I felt peaceful, safe, yet there were nurses and a doctor running back and forth, shouting to each other as they struggled to keep their charges alive. Yet I watched with curious eyes, keeping mute and still. I watched a soldier cough up a lot of blood. He struggled to breathe. Then he died. Just laid there and died. That could have been you, a voice whispered to me in my head.

I stayed like that for a while, just laying and thinking of the dead soldier on a bed just ten feet away, and finally a nurse turned to me. He said that I would get better, and that I would be sent home. But all I could think was, It isn't fair. I will live but the next man might not. I will go home, but the rest of my unit must stay. God, why can't it be fair?

-Petra Waterstraat


  1. Thanks for letting me enter, girls!

    I enjoyed reading Renee's story about that famous shot. It reminded me a little of the Little House books.

    Petra, you're quite the prolific writer!
    22? How old. :P I love the part where the other soldier is trying to save your MC's life--that rang true. As my brother has talked to me a lot about his tour of duty in Afghanistan, I found myself reading your story with a critical eye. :) It passed muster. :D

  2. Thanks! I'm only 15, but I love writing and I've been doing it as long as I can remember. Your comment was very encouraging!!

    I loved the suspense in your story. You should write for the blog more often!

  3. I was referring to the age of your MC--twenty-two seems old to me for a soldier, though it's actually not. :P

    Do you read a lot? Of different genres and styles?

    I'm very glad to be encouraging! :D

    Thanks for telling me what you liked about my story. I'd like to write more often but ... we'll see. :)