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A journey near death
The biting, cold wind in the Alaskan night felt as if it were lashing into fifteen year old Sophie’s cheeks. She laid next to her brother, Luke, on the hard and uncomforting ice beneath them. Glistening, Sophie’s bright blue eyes searched the dark and uninviting sky above her, and her matted and frozen hair chilled her cold, white face. Her empty stomach growled.
It had been three days, and she could still see and hear everything. The frantic look in the pilot’s eyes, the loud boom the engines made, the way her stomach felt as they went down. After the impact, everything went black. When she awoke the next day she found that the pilot and the other few passengers hadn’t survived, and only she and her brother were left.
Dawn approached and all was quiet except for the crackling of branches under the weight of the snow. As she stared at her 12 year old brother she wondered, why had something so terrible happened to them? Being trapped like this, where the chances of being found were as thin as- she stopped in the middle of her thought. She heard something. She was sure of it.
“Luke,” Sophie whispered in a quiet, faded voice. She heard the sound again. A faint groan followed the snap of a brittle log. “Luke, wake up,” she repeated while shaking him. His breathing was incredibly shallow, and he wasn't responding. The intense moan of the creature sounded closer, louder, and more like the growl of something hungry. The trees behind her trembled as it approached.
Quickly, without thinking, Sophie lifted her brother into her arms and began to run. Not far behind her she could hear the sound of it running. As she shot a glance backwards, she could see a massive, brown figure charging straight at her. She quickened her pace, but she was getting tired from the extra weight her brother was putting on her.
After running for nearly half a mile, her energy was all but gone. Just as she was going to lay her brother down and leave him behind, she saw the slightest glimmer of a light. It wasn’t very bright, but it was steady, and it was there. With every ounce of strength she had left inside of her, she trudged forward, towards the light. As she neared, she could make out several igloos. There, in the middle of nowhere, was a small tribal village.
“Help! Please help!” Sophie yelled at the top of her lungs. The grizzly was getting closer. “Anyone! Please!” She was still about 300 yards away from the village when all of a sudden, she felt a massive force yank at her arm. Instinctively, Sophie screamed. She felt the heavy paws of the giant pin her down to the ground while it bared its sharp teeth at her. The last thing she heard was the hungry snarl of her fierce predator.
A searing pain in Sophie’s arm made her eyes shoot wide open all while the warmth of the fire tingled her skin. She tried to sit up, but couldn’t due to the tremendous amount of pain. Around her, two tribesmen were looking at her. Both had tan skin, and were dressed similarly. “Who are you? Where am I?” Sophie wearily asked them. They didn’t respond. Instead, they stared at her, and inspected every inch of her with their cold, penetrating eyes as if she were a strange creature of some sort.
“You stay, we be back,” one of the men finally replied. Sophie managed a weak mumble through the pain.
“Okay, but where’s my brother?” But the men had already left the igloo before she had even finished asking her question.
As soon as she was sure the men had gone, Sophie looked at her arm, where she felt most of her pain coming from, and that’s when she saw it. It was gone! Her entire arm was completely gone! All there was were some leaves covering her wound. She began to feel light headed and dizzy from the combination of what she had just seen and the pain that she felt. Without warning, everything went pitch black.
Sophie’s body looked lifeless on the small straw bed she was laying on. Her face looked even more pale than it had been a few minutes ago, her lips were blue, and her breathing was slow and shallow.
“Is she going to be okay?” young Luke’s voice was filled with concern.
“She very hurt,” replied one of the eskimo men. “We don’t know if she live. We give her best medicine we have.”
“Leaves covering her arm, or what’s left of it, isn’t going to help!” Luke cried out desperately. “She needs more than that.” Luke was lucky that even he had survived, but with only minor injuries from the bear and some food from the tribe’s people to cure his hunger, he was doing much better.
After the men had left, a stream of tears from Luke’s large, brown eyes began to run down his cheeks. She had saved him. Protected him from the bear and didn’t leave him behind, and now she was dying in the middle of Alaska from a bear attack. “Sophie please, wake up!” Luke’s voice cracked; gently, he brushed a loose hair out of Sophie’s face.
All the while, Sophie could hear Luke talking to her. She wanted to respond, but she couldn’t. Her eyelids felt glued to her face, and she had no energy to even move. She tried to say something, strained every muscle in her throat to say something, and finally she uttered out the three quietest, but most powerful words she could think of.
“Survive for me.”
Luke jumped from surprise, but he heard every word.
“No, Sophie,” he responded in a soft but firm voice. “I’m not going to let you die out here. I’m not going to survive for you. We are going to survive together."