Here is another story for you.
12 year old Andy Morrison desperately flung himself through tangles of vines and dead blackberries. It was a warm, pleasant night but he didn’t notice. Andy’s legs were panging and throbbing from the weight at which he threw his body at the immense maze of silhouetted bare branches. It was as if he couldn’t feel the thorns tearing viciously through the thin sack he wore, not to mention his blood-soaked, battered limbs.
I’m desperate, you see. The message I carry is the most valuable thing I’ve ever experienced. The entire world depends on it. That’s why I’m ready to risk my life for it. This world is drawing to a ghastly close, a dreadful end, a world of desolation and blood. Pain and fear are as close to us as the clothes we wear. I mean it.
Sir Almond gave me this critical message. If it doesn’t get through to Gran before midnight, we’re dead meat.
Being the year 3164 you would suppose loyal citizens like myself would be more civilized – we’re not. It’s each man for himself now. Quite frankly I don’t care if I live or die. All I care for is that I’m free. And air – not stale, sweaty air but fresh, healthy air – is blowing in my face. If I remember rightly, the air was a bit cleaner and faster moving when I was a toddler, but how can I be sure?
Leaves and disintegrating undergrowth tickle my bare feet. This is probably the last lot of leaves Earth will ever produce. At least it’s not ice, my overwhelmed brain picks a stupid comment.
SOMETHING’S FOLLOWING ME!!!
I sense it in my nerves. A sharp yet soft crack confirms my sense. Panic wells up inside me and my once tired legs jump to life.
I have no idea how long I ran for – blundering through dense, dry forest. It may have been miles. It seemed like a lifetime before my limp legs collapsed beneath me and I sunk into a deep yet frustrated sleep.
Waking up, I gasped for breath and longed for a sip of water to cure my parched lips and heaving body. I am disorientated and lost, but that is the least of my troubles.
Crackling footsteps retreat into the tall, dense forest. I spring to my feet. I haven’t lost them yet! I croak, “who’s there” and prepare to make a dash for it. But before I can go anywhere a small figure emerges with things that look like tree branches on his head. I’m rooted to the spot, my blood freezes.
The person (now I can see he is small boy holding the greenest branches he could find above his head) is slowly walking towards me. I realise that he is pleading for peace and relax. “I’m Peter,” He explained “From Sir Almond, to help you… ANDY!” Peter rushes forward as I crumple in an exhausted heap.
The brussel sprouts
When Peter finally managed to revive me, he was holding my metal drink bottle to my lips. God bless him! The cool water soothed my parched throat. Peter had been searching through my luggage. As soon as I was alert again, we got right to the point and searched for the right track to my Grans’. Thanks to a messy, overly obvious trail of goose droppings dotted with seeds, this wasn’t very hard.
My Gran is famous for her roasted goose and goose pie. No wonder! Everyone who eats them is starving. The geese eat any food that Gran can’t get rid of- a recycling service for her food canteen. Looks like we’re gonna need some of Grans’ goose real bad when- if- we get there on time. We take up the trail with great enthusiasm and continue our treck.
I lean on Peter for support and because I’m half asleep. I’m now drained of adrenaline and every step is a great effort. I’m concentratinJoel 2.9g on battling open my eyelids, rather than the ground we’re walking on. “Watch out!” Peter warns me as I stumble on a piece of split ground. Gritting my teeth, I fight my way on, only to find myself being lowered to a sitting position by a very perky Peter. He must have a belly full of caffeine. “You’re too tired to keep going. I slept all day. Give me the message and I’ll have it to your Grans’ and back before you can click your fingers, Andy.”
“Leave it at her place though, don’t bring it back.” I tease. “And guard it with your life.” I mumble, rummaging inside my sack, fingering the sweaty pouch that holds the precious leather note inside. I hand it to Peter. “Take good care of her,” I warned. And with that he was off, trotting after the goose dropping trail that he was tracking by the worn-out light of the moon.
What an ugly brussel sprout plant… The moonlight only just illuminates it. I blink twice at it and nod back to sleep.
The fluctuating pain from my wounds pulled me in and out of subconsciousness for the remainder of the night. The sack did not insulate me very much, and the temperature dropped overnight. I was hoping and praying for Peter to deliver the message.
I rehearsed in my split dreams what the message was supposed to say. Something about all troops must retreat and find shelter. Something about God will fight for us now. I remembered snippets of what my Father had read us during the hard stay at the refugee camp in Bangladesh. About King Gog and his military coming, and many falling on the mountains of Israel. Ezekiel 39 That soldiers would even invade houses. Joel 2.9 I hoped Peter would not lose the leather note. I shivered in the night air and faded into another dream about a huge roast dinner. Like Granny cooked for us in the past.
I agonised over the army getting the note from Gran’s. Before it was too late. I felt a panging in my side from all the running and squeezed my sack for comfort. I didn’t know how I was going to retreat. Running from Peter had taken its toll on me. I drifted into another dream, this time I was flying. High above a tall building.
My arms begin to warm up. All of me is caressed with early morning sun. I study my hand and then shield my face.
“Andrew!” -It’s Gran. “Hop on here,” she invites. “We’ve no time to lose.” Gran is offering me a seat on her trailer, with food in holders there too. “Wow, Gran!” I beam. “All for me?” “No, I bought your little friend here too. You have to share breakfast with him.” I spy Peter rolled up in a blanket in the corner.