Hey, if you read all of this (or even a lot of it) Would you mind leaving a critique. I want to know the good and bad things about what I write. My mom is not the most helpful in telling me what I can do better...
Katie ducked, covering her head as cement rained down from the building arched above her. Shots resounded through the early morning air. They came from behind her, that much was sure, but from where exactly could not be determined. Fog hid everything farther than the curb about five feet away. The street blurred before her, light hitting its surface through the colloid. When the dust stopped falling, the crunch of gravel underfoot began.
Here, history repeated itself. Years before the Liberators had invaded this town to kill Christians. This time, they chased only one Christian, her. If they found her, she was dead, or worse. Christians could not enter any of the deserted and destroyed towns such as this one, the fear being that they would set up underground settlements, hidden by the rubble in order to practice their harmful beliefs. Problem was, the towns had once been their homes.
Katie leaned her head against the wall. She should not have been there. She should have stayed away just as she had been for the past fifteen years, why had she needed to return now? Nathan had been right, she was just asking for trouble. Thinking that she knew better and could take care of herself, she had told him to mind his own business. How was she supposed to know that for once, her little brother had been right?
A window shattered nearby and she jumped. Glass showered down on the ground, just barely missing her. Whimpering, Katie pushed away from the wall and away from the Liberators. The street would lead her out to the forest if she could make it. She just had to keep from alerting the soldiers as to where she was. The crunch of glass under her boots made her cringe. How much farther?
Her heart beat rapidly, panic trying to take hold and make her do something she would regret. Breathe deep, she reminded herself, breathe deep and pray. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil. The corner of a house crashed to the ground and she picked up her pace. I shall fear no evil for you are with me. I shall fear no evil for-. Having forgotten to watch where she was going, Katie tripped on a rock in her path. She landed on her hands and knees with a shriek.
“Hey! I heard something over there!” a voice shouted behind her. Other voices added their own shouts of triumph.
Katie groaned, shoving back to her feet. It was her own stupid fault that they were even chasing her in the first place. If she simply had waited to enter the town until the fog had cleared she would have seen them before they saw her and left. Instead she had walked right into the center of town as if she owned the place. God certainly must have been looking out for her because that was where the soldiers had set up their targets to begin their practice. She was still alive, but had quickly become their new target.
If she could have resisted the urge to come see her old home she would have been fine. Then again, if she had done just about anything else differently, she would have been fine.
She could not be caught. She could not give the Liberators even one more victory. Not with the memory of the last time she had been there playing through her head. Heart pounding, breath coming in deep gasps, the memories just kept surfacing. Seemingly of one accord, her feet and her mind began to travel paths long forgotten.
The sun began to rise in both the past and the present, its rays warming Katie’s face. Grass tickled her feet as she knelt to pluck a blade. The small green leaf flittered in her fingers, the perfect weapon to use against Nathan. Quickly, she stuck it in his ear and then yanked it back. Barely noticing, Nathan swatted at his head and then returned to his pile of sticks, fully engrossed in turning it into a house. Or what he thought looked like a house. Katie sighed. Three year olds were no fun.
The front door banged and Katie dropped the piece of grass. Mom ran out of the house with Dad close behind her. The expressions on their faces worried her. Mom was crying and Dad looked like he was about to. Why were they so upset? She hadn’t hurt Nathan, he hadn’t even looked at her when she stuck the leaf in his ear. She stood to her feet. “Mommy?”
Mom sobbed and picked Katie up, pulling her close. Katie wrapped her arms around Mom’s neck and patted her on the back.
Dad came up behind Mom, bending so that he could look Katie in the eye, “Sweetie, you’re going to need to take care of your brother for a while, okay?” He reached out and took one of her hands in his.
Katie strove to keep from scrunching up her face. She hated watching Nathan. Almost every time she did, she had to change him and make sure that he didn’t eat anything he wasn’t supposed to. He was disgusting. “Why?”
“Because you do. Now don’t question me anymore,” he took Katie from her mom, for once not lecturing her any more than that, “I love you, you know,” he whispered into her hair. Tears fell on her forehead as he tightened his grip.
“I love you too, Daddy,” Katie said, snuggling close. She didn’t know what else to do, Dad never cried. Mom soon returned to the hug when Dad didn’t let go, bringing Nathan with her. After awhile both of Katie’s parents leaned back to look at her face. It felt weird for her parents to look at her like that. They had never done it before and she didn’t know what to think of it now.
“Katie,” Mom said, “Your dad and I are leaving for awhile, and while we’re gone, we need you to hide with your brother down in the cellar,” her voice became commanding, the tone she used when Katie wouldn’t go to bed, “Do not leave. When you are able to come out, either your father and I or one of the neighbors will come and get you.”
“But, Mommy, the cellar is wet,” Katie complained. Immediately, she wished she that hadn’t.
“No buts,” Dad said, setting her back on the ground. “You will do as you are told. Or-,” he cleared his throat, struggling with what to say, “Or bad things will happen.”
What bad things? Katie began to cry in response to her parents tears. She nodded her head, “Yes, Daddy.”
“Come on,” Mom said, picking up Nathan. She walked to the back of their house where the cellar was and Dad made sure that Katie followed.
At the cellar, Dad lifted the door up against the house. Then he climbed in and stood at the bottom, arms outstretched to Katie. She put her foot on the ladder’s top rung and reached for him. Slowly, he lowered her to the ground and then turned for her brother. Nathan had begun to cry by this time and he clung to Dad, shaking his head when Dad tried to let him down. “Nathan, let go,” Dad commanded. Nathan didn’t listen and Katie ended up having to pry his fingers away from Dad’s shirt.
Nathan stomped his feet and screamed in protest. He only stopped when Dad began to climb back up the ladder and he realized that Dad wasn’t going to comeback for him no matter how loud he screamed.
Outside once more, Dad waved bye to them while Mom blew a kiss. Then they closed the door and Katie heard them putting a chain around the handles.
Go to the next post....