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The Great Swordfighter, Part 1
My name- well, perhaps it is best that you do not know my name just yet. All that you need to know is that am the greatest swordfighter since Lancelot. This is the story of me
It all began about last Wednesday, the day the world ended. You can imagine the confusion- people running up the street screaming their heads off as the world as they know it is collapsing around them. No-one knew what to do. No-one ever told us what to do, we were all too busy with weight-loss diets and playing Angry Squirrels on our mePhones! The strong tried with all their might to fight it, to protect the innocent. The weak huddled in corners, sobbing. And then there was me. I pulled my hoodie over my head, slunk into the shadows, and watched the battle. No-one came looking for me.
I know about survival. I was born deaf, and my mother, who wanted nothing to do with me, dropped me off at that crummy excuse for an orphanage. I didn’t like it there. It was hard for me to make friends, and the kids there decided I was strange. I can’t hear them, of course, but I know that the they talk about me behind my back. I hate it. I hate feeling disabled, feeling like I’ll never be of any use for anyone. So I’ve done all that I can to rebel. I’ve refused point-blank to go to the schools for the deaf that they’ve offered me, preferring to make frustrated public-school teachers put up with me. I have also rejected hearing aids, private counselors, and any other “special favors” that they’ve offered me. This may be called stubborn, I know, but then I am stubborn. This may be called excessively proud, but then I am that also. And one more thing. I am very smart, which is my last weapon against other kids. They think that because I don’t know what they’re saying, I would get lower grades than them, and then when I do, it frustrates them enormously. I delight in their frustration.
So why wasn’t I out there with the heroes, our last hope, sworn to save the innocent and help the needy? Certainly not because I was cowardly. I am no coward. I would consider it the thrill of a lifetime to be blasted into a thousand pieces. Maybe because I’m still so ashamed of who I am, afraid that someone will look at me and say “Hey, what’s that little girl doing out there, fighting? She can’t hear! She’ll be killed! Someone get her out of here!” And then, I don’t want to have to see someone die again. Not up close.
Maybe I’m just weak, though I tell myself that I’m cooking up some great battle plan back here in the dark alleyway(though all that I’ve managed to conjure up is an image of myself flying through the air with my mousy brown hair on fire). I shudder and force the thought from my mind. I know that the fighting will probably last all night, so I do the best I can to make myself comfortable. I curl up on the softest garbage bag I can find, trying not to think about what might be in there or the fact that it smells like the younger kids’ bathroom back at the orphanage. I look up to see the explosions of the battle gracing the night sky. If I had no idea what was going on, I might think that they were fireworks. Come to think of it, today is the Fourth of July. Strange.
I can see a thin and flickering bit of light at the end of the alleyway, and strange silhouettes weave their way, jumping and ducking in a strange kind of dance, through it. Every once in awhile I’ll see someone staggering past, a dark red liquid dripping from a slash down their jeans. I will shudder and and close my eyes tightly, tough I will only continue to see their gaping wound, and I’ll wrench my eyes open.
No luck going to sleep on a night like tonight, so I do what, in my own opinion, I do best: think. I lately have been wondering quite a lot about my father. Who was he? Why did he leave? Was it partially his fault that I was left in that dump? If it was, then he’s got quite his share of explaining to do- though, to be fair to him, it’ll be pretty hard to explain with my fist bouncing up and down on his nose. I smile as I picture this, but then feel stricken with myself as I wonder whether it could have been entirely my mother’s fault- and my father’s out there somewhere, looking for me.
This is how my thoughts usually go when I’m thinking about dad. Whether he was good, whether he was bad, whether he was guilty, whether my mom was. Sometimes I can visualise him as a kind businessman with wavy blond hair and piercing blue eyes, other times he has a shaved head, piercings, tattoos, and muscles. Whoever he is, where ever he is, guilty or not, I hope to find him- someday.
I’m halfway to sleep when I feel something soft and warm and wet feeling its way around my face. I look up to see a small dalmatian, hardly more than a puppy, with his snout inches from my nose.
“Oh, go away!” I shout to him “I’m too upset to be bothered by you!” In response he bites down on a corner of my jeans and tugs.
“What? I don’t have any food, see? Go!” He tugs harder, whining slightly. I remember that Dalmatians have been used to lead firefighters to people in burning buildings, what if-? By now I’m standing up, brushing myself off, and looking in the direction that the dog is pulling me towards. At first I don’t see anything, but, as my eyes adjust to the light, I see two tiny little eyes, reflecting the explosions just outside the alleyway. I approach slowly, and see a little blond girl, huddled up on a garbage bag, just like I was, shivering, her tears rolling down her face and splatting on the shiny plastic.
“Hello?” I say uncertainly- I’ve never been very good around little kids, “Are- are you alright?” She gives a squeal of terror and turns away from me, and in that instant I can see the back of her head, her hair matted and blood dying her blond hair scarlet, due to a long gash across her head.
“Hey, no- it’s okay, I don’t want to hurt you. Where are your parents?” Her eyes dart from me to her dalmatian and back again, then says in a voice so quiet I have to strain to hear, “Gone. Gone fighting. Mommy said that she would be right back, but I don’t think she will.”