A Tale Best Untold

July 22, 2016
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“Run, run for cover,” I shouted at Julie, my younger sister. The alarm bell started pealing, warning the citizens of Merry Bell of the terrifying Vikings. I stared in horror, transfixed as the Viking raiders ran toward our village with swords and axes raised over their heads. Without warning, they burned down houses and cruelly killed innocent villagers one by one while shouting cries of victory. I struggled desperately to get to Julie, who screamed loudly, as a giant burly man with bulging muscles ran toward her with a sharp knife. I quickly held Julie back tightly as my father bravely fought the Viking that tried to attack her. Before long, my father was on the ground. “Run, Chris and Julie, the Northern Star will guide you.” For a few seconds, a look of puzzlement crossed the Viking’s face. It was enough time for us to escape and run away! Overnight, the small, beautiful, and peaceful village of Merry Bell had become a burning sea of fire. Without looking back, our adventure began.
As we ran, I could not forget my father’s last words, the blood of hundreds of villagers that had spilled, and the mystery of how the Vikings managed to go into the village through the sturdy wall. The sun started rising, steadily sending the first faint, golden rays of sunlight to Earth. After a while, I decided we should stop and rest in the forest where there was little chance of being seen by the raiders. During all the chaos of last night, I hadn’t had time to think about what happened. As the events of last night started flowing back, tears rolled down my face. I would never see my father again, be able to hug him, or listen to his soothing voice tell fairy tales every night. No one would be there to catch me when I fall. I huddled close to Julie, who was trembling from the cold and fear. “Everything will be fine, don’t worry,” I reassured Julie. I tried to sound calm although my heart was beating like a thousand drums. The Northern Star seemed oddly familiar, I had heard that somewhere before. I remembered the conversation I had with my father last week. My father had predicted that the Vikings would attack us someday. They had been invading villages nearby for years, never defeated. My father had whispered, “If something bad happens to our village, go north, follow the Northern Star. There is a military camp 15km away. You will find help there.”
We rested during the day and walked north at night, tired, starving, and thirsty. We had probably walked silently for four hours in the forest, but it seemed like days. The forest was full of frightening noises: the rattling of snakes and the breaking of branches as we accidentally stepped on them. After a while, Julie panted, “I feel dizzy” and then, all of a sudden, she fainted. In my worry and anxiety to preserve my own life, I had forgotten that Julie suffered just as much as I did, maybe more. I had overlooked the fact that she was only an innocent nine-year-old girl, who wasn’t used to starving and had never heard about terrifying people like the Vikings. I heaved my limp sister up, carried her on my back, and started walking again. Her weight slowed me down considerably as I agonizingly put one foot in front of the other. I squinted and saw the military camp far away in the horizon. “Finally, I am almost there,” I encouraged myself. The last thing I remembered was that my vision was dimmed, I felt light-headed and grabbed a nearby branch, and then, everything suddenly turned black.
I woke up in a comfortable bed. Several kind-looking faces were eyeing me curiously. As soon as I saw Julie running toward me and embracing me in a big bear hug, I breathed a sigh of relief and my memories started coming back. I was informed that the soldiers found Julie and me lying on the ground on their nightly patrol and brought us back to their military camp. I had been asleep for hours before I woke up. How could that be possible! It seemed like only a few seconds! I quickly told the soldiers about what happened to us since the Viking raiders attacked our village and asked for their help. About one hundred soldiers volunteered to go on the mission, all of whom had family members killed by the brutal Vikings. With deep hatred for the raiders and determination to get revenge for my father, Julie and I followed the group of soldiers back to Merry Bell.
Merry Bell was like a horror movie. Along the way, Julie had fallen asleep, unconscious to everything around her. I carefully put her in a hollow tree. From behind an enormous tree, I had a good view of the bloody fighting going on at the center of the village. I was mesmerized by the professional and determined soldiers who quickly overpowered the Vikings by slashing their swords at the Vikings’ throats with amazing skills and easily blocking the blow of the Vikings’ axes. The piercing sound of swords clashing, the clamor of orders being issued, and the shrieks of hundreds of exhausted Vikings who quickly fell down, dead and defeated, could be heard everywhere. The worn-out villagers tied to trees were rescued and several others with badly bruised eyes and torn clothes came out from their hiding place to cheer and yell encouragement. I picked carefully through the dead bodies and the rubble that used to be the villagers’ houses. I stiffened when I saw the wooden house built by my father thirty years ago destroyed beyond recognition. A few Vikings hurried away from the fighting scene in panic. “Let’s escape through the hole in the wall, the one we went through to attack Merry Bell!” I paled; Julie and I were the only ones who knew about the hole in the wall. We had found it one day while playing. How could the Vikings know about it? “Shhh, the hole the red-haired girl showed us,” whispered one bald Viking. This confirmed my guess! My father, Julie, and I were the only ones in the village with red hair. I couldn’t listen anymore, thoughts swirled around in my head.
I was so conflicted. I couldn’t believe my own ears. My innocent sister was indirectly responsible for my father’s and hundreds of other people’s deaths without knowing it. Under normal circumstances, the sensible thing a loyal Merry Bell citizen would do was to announce to everyone Julie’s crime. However, I couldn’t just turn her in to the village’s chief. Everyone would call her a traitor and probably burned her at the stake, regardless that she was only nine years old. After all, Julie did not know what she was doing. Those deceitful Vikings had probably disguised themselves and given Julie a candy in exchange for information about Merry Bell. Julie, a talkative girl, had probably fallen in their trap and told them everything. What should I do? Should I choose duty over love or the other way around? What would my father do in this situation? He wouldn’t want to see Julie die unfairly for something she accidentally did. As much as I wanted to get revenge for my father, I could not bring myself to do it. I had lost everything: my house, my parents. Julie was the only family I had left. I faced the prospect of losing Julie as well.
This terrible Viking raid changed my life forever. Although the soldiers drove the last Vikings out of Merry Bell and the village was rebuilt, my life would never return to normality. It took almost everything I had away from me. However, as I looked back at the experience, I also realized that I had grown up a lot; I had become a strong young man who had overcome danger and loss. In the end, I chose love. Perhaps, this is one of those tales that best remain untold. Sometimes, the truth can break your heart. Let me bear the burden of this secret alone.

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Daksteel said...
Aug. 9, 2016 at 5:33 pm
ok I was kind of upset at this one till I read the side coment lol bc I am a Viking and have done ALOT of reaserch and they were NOT like that at all the only killed if they were attacked first not for no gods forsaken reason.We have honor. Also we didn't realy start the pillaging stuff till well after we came to america. So ya..... that was my thought on this and I don't comment often but this kind of got on my nerves.
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