Brave & Bold This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Exeter, NH

Prologue:

Sight & Sound.
Usually used to depict the never-ending scenes that fill life as we know it.
I mean, that's normal right?
You witness scenes through dialogue and action.
It's how stories are created,
characters are introduced,
and plots are advanced.
It's basic human nature.

But that's where you’ve already went wrong,
You have made an assumption that I'm human.
And I can assure you I’m no such thing.





*** Intellectual Thought***
Humans aren’t the only witnesses capable of depiction.

Take me for example, far from human indeed but I manage to withhold a story worth sharing. In need of sharing. But unlike humans, my interpretation of of life revolves around far more than just life the sights and sounds of certain scenes. To me, living, experiencing, is tasting the salt water tears when sadness strikes, the steaming hot, stomach churning ash when anger arises, and the marshmallow heaven bliss when happiness hypnotizes the soul. You see, I indulge experiences, in a similar way your breed comprehends encounters. The bittersweet escapades to me, are utterly, bitter… and sweet.

I assume at this point in the story you're desperately dying to know who you're listening to.


***CORRECTION***
What you're listening to.

Some facts about me:
I'm a place.
Not a person.
Not even a thing. Don't make me say that again. Incompetence is not in my nature. I hold little capacity for the humans unable to think outside their realm. (And when I say little, I mean no such amount.) So understand it now, open up and allow your mind to soak in the world's deepest, darkest secrets. Accept that I am the sole embodiment of an area, and in that area I capture everything down to the microscopic detail. I am what encompasses the barbed wire barricades of The Prentice Treatment Facility. And I can't say more than that. At Least not yet.


Chapter 1: A Delightful Treat
I believe it was the first time I laid eyes on her.
Ah yes,
It was precisely then that I regained a trivial amount of hope for the collapsed civilization that had been succumbed in wickedness not too long ago.
I recall I ever so carefully watched as she was brought inside of my surroundings.

***CORRECTION***
Thrown inside of my surroundings.

Head held high, dignity in tact,
As if oblivious to the torture and endless amount of pain she would soon endure.
But she was well aware.
Which made it all the more fascinating to watch.

As the gates took her freedom,
And the guards took her humanity,
The girl revealed not even a pinch of pain, or a mere minute of mercy,
To the men, the monsters,
That held her by the hair, and pointed pistols at her back.
And as I watched the girl, something odd occurred.
Giddiness curdled inside of me like milk on a hot summer's day, and I could suddenly taste a bold flavor growing by the second.
Why? It's simple really.
Because for the first time,
In a long time,
I knew, I was in for a treat.

I urge you, as you continue to venture through the story, page by page, word by word, to think of me not so much as a place, but rather as a set of eyes. A set of eyes in which not only watched the girl, but devoured her. Devoured the delicious courage and strength she embodied during her time. As short as it may have been.
Brave & Bold she was.





Chapter 2: A Silhouette of Sorrowness
The day Brave & Bold arrived, the sky was the first to react. The storm clouds hung loosely above the camp, casting a silhouette of sorrowness around me. The weather typically maintained a cool and consistent climate during that time. After all, it was mid June. But that day, out of all other days, water poured from the sky in massive heaps, and the winds topped 35 mile per hour.
As the sky continued to cry simultaneously along with the dancing of the wind, Brave & Bold along with one hundred and twenty two other were dragged off buses and thrown into long lines in which lives awaited their disastrous fate.
I know, I know.
You’re in the midst of confusion as you continuously contemplate the why factor in all of this. Why these one hundred and twenty three people were forced into my surroundings and why four hundred prisoners populated me even prior to their arrival. I’m warning you now, you may never truly find the answer in which you seek. I mean, technicalities and all, their belief is what brought them here, and no, not religious based. Their belief in a particular matter, an insignificant matter when it comes to the depth of this story.
You see, if I tell you the belief in which became so deeply controversial in the year 2076, I would be possibly providing you with a judgmental outlook on the story. But to understand this story, to take in all aspects, judging cannot be present. All you need to know is that everyone who entered this camp was asked a simple question, and their answer determined their fate. It's really as simple as that.

Once her processing paper was finished, it was stamped with a seal of approval and filed neatly into a filing cabinet.

Brave & Bolds’ Processing Paper:

3 Things Wrong with Caroline's Paper:
They referred to her as an applicant, as if there was a choice in the matter. (There wasn't.)
They changed “Caroline” to the first letter of her name, and her current age. Creative? I think not.
They used the words; graciously, purity and respectfully in the document that took away all of their basic human rights.




Chapter 3: Thirty Seven Degree Glance
Once Caroline had signed away her rights as an American, she was brought inside a dark and dingy room, where she waited with no knowledge on what was to happen next. As she stood for hours, not allowed to sit on even the damp ground below, a simple glance was all it took for her. A slight turn of the head, (approximately 37 degrees clockwise if we're being exact here) to catch the eyes of the boy.

Some important facts about the boy:
He was not a prisoner, but in fact a soldier.
He was 19 years old, and fresh out of the military camp in which scorched their brains with violence.

When Brave & Bold turned those thirty seven degrees clockwise she met the eyes of the soldier. She immeditaley took in his deep, chocolate brown eyes, and ash colored hair pushed back against his scalp.
He was in a glaring state, as most soldiers managed to be in, however when his eyes fell upon the sparkling blue eyes of Caroline, his glare fell short. Only for a moment, a moment only taken in by Caroline and myself. A split second Caroline subconsciously tucked away inside of her jar of hope. Her jar of humanity.
Before going any further, you should know that these two individuals, both Caroline and the soldier, were meant to be enemies inside of me. That was they way it worked here. I mean, maybe in another life, a better life, they would be friends. Maybe even soul mates. But the power of love was nothing compared to me, compared to the belief that created me. Or at least that's what I always thought.


The Code of Honor the Soldiers lived by:
No personal communication with prisoners, and if caught, execution would be the only possibly way to heal the brain that had been sickened with the prisoners thoughts.
Show no mercy while on the clock.
Report anything and everything back to the commander after each shift.
Every soldier has to get seconds on the chicken nuggets before any soldier goes for their third.

When the final prisoners entered the room. They began to count, and as they counted, the hands of prisoners were tied behind their backs, and silence was commanded. The prisoners were taken, two by two out of the room. And when Carolines’ time came, the soldier made a subtle but fast attempt to grab both her and a young boy and lug them from outside of my room. As they walked, the soldier held onto Caroline with a tight grasp, causing her to let out a quiet whimper of pain. While most soldiers would take this as a sign of disrespect, the soldier loosened his grip and slowed his pace. Saying nothing, he took them down a long narrow hallway with a multitude of doors on opposite sides of one another. Once they arrived to the third door on the soldiers left, he came to a sudden halt, and as he did let go of the young young boy's grip, forcing him inside the tiny boxed space, and locking the door with a master key shortly after.
He then continued down the hallway with Caroline, turning at the end and continuing down another dark and cramped walkway. When they finally reached the cell that Caroline assumed to be hers, he carefully untied her arms and signaled for her to enter the boxed in room similar to the boys. When she reached the inside, he shut and locked the barricaded cell door.
And then, he spoke.
His voice, deep and enforcing, seeped through Caroline's ear drums and electrocuted her insides.
“This is your room for now. Don't speak, don't move, and don't try anything.”
The words paralyzed Brave & Bold as she listened to the soldier's voice, and she knew from there her best option was to nod and remain silent.

***CORRECTION***
Her only option now.

But I think thats exactly why she didnt.

A strong flavor pursed my lips as Caroline walked closer to the soldier, and as she did, placing her frail and frigid hands upon the rails of the cell that enclosed her from the world. That had managed to separate two human beings, for the sole reasoning that the two shared a different belief in one aspect of life. I eagerly watched as her fingers closed around the metal bars, looking up at the soldier, desperate for human contact. Desperate for his human contact. He stared coldly down at her, and yet I could sense his urge to embrace her, to free her, to save her. But his actions overpowered his heart, and it was as simple as that.
“What's your name?” Caroline asked without hesitation. I expected for her fear to slip out and submerge me in a stomach churning distaste, but Brave & Bold was not scared. At least, not of him.
The soldier silently stood there for a few moments, possibly in disbelief that this “creature had the nerve to act as his equal” or because the strength and power that flowed from her voice caught him of guard.
I chose to go with the second option.
He finally managed to muster up six words in response.
“Grayson, but its soldier to you.”
Caroline, looking almost amused with his response wasted no time to reply.
“I'm Caroline, but it's C17 to you.”
And as Grayson opened his mouth to reply to Brave & Bolds ironically intriguing comment, two soldiers began walking down their corridor, causing Grayson to retrace his focus off of the sparkling blue eclipse Caroline's eyes withheld and down to the concrete floor, as he walked back down the path that led them here.





Chapter 4: A Black & White Fleece-
That night, Grayson laid in bed surrounded by a bundle of warmth. The result of a heaping stack of blankets piled one on top of the other like fresh hot flapjacks. While he laid in comfortable bliss he couldn't help but picture Caroline laying on the damp, frigid ground protected by nothing but the bone chilling air that transpired around me each night. It was at that moment that the thoughts of the girl in a shivering panic overcame his declared oath to the Prentice Treatment Society. He sat upright, encircled around his very own cabin that had been presented to him his day of arrival. He clutched onto a black and white fleece blanket positioned on the top of his tremendous blanket pile and quietly made his way to The Hayward Prison Cells, where the girl had been put into earlier that day.

***CORRECTION***
Where he had put the girl into earlier that day.

Grayson knew the amount of soldiers on clock was at a minimum due to the few amount of prisoners being placed in that cell house so far. He knew he was capable of sneaking in without much of a chance at being seen.
When he arrived to her cell, he was alarmed to see Caroline sitting upright with her back pressed against the wall, eyes open and wide awake. She looked up at him, tensing up only until she caught sight of his face, and her body relaxed once more. Grayson wasted no time to slide the blanket in between the cell bars and dropped it onto the ground. Then his tired yet confident voice spoke softly to Caroline.
“You’re going to have to hide that.” Was all his pathetic pride allowed him to say.
“Thank you,” Caroline replied, looking at the blanket, then carrying her eyes up to meet his, dropping her gaze back to the floor as soon almost as soon as they meet his. She lacked a tone of voice in which showed much appreciation towards the soldier, and instead of asking why, she fell silent. Grayson stood tall, while the insides of him crumbled. He was undeniably captivated by her beauty, mesmerized by her bold presence and lovestruck in her essence entirely. But Brave & Bold, now wrapped tightly in a fleece insulator kept her gaze onto the wall opposite of her. Taking this is an indicator to leave the bold beauty, the soldier turned his back and began his departure the long and narrow hallway. Stopping suddenly, the boy turned his head back to face Caroline and hesitated only for a second to stutter out a string of words in which did Brave & Bold no good.
“I’m sorry Caroline.”

Chapter 5: A 2073 Civic Honda, and Death-
As Caroline sat unable to sleep, her thoughts uncontrollably drifted back to the past. Memories of the mornings she awoke to the scent of maple lingering throughout the house, and the aroma of bacon seeping through her walls resulted in her stomach letting out a ferocious rumble.
Her visions drifted back to the day of her sixteenth birthday, when her parents surprised her with a 2073 Honda Civic. She had jumped up and down so much so she was on the brink of nausea when she finally stopped to wrap her mother in a warm embrace.
She relived the times she drove through downtown in that car, the radio blasting the 2070s’ hit “Golden” as she recited every lyric at the top of her lungs.
She let out a distant laugh as she recalled the time her younger brother lost his tooth biting into a cob of corn at dinner. Caroline could almost taste the slicked with butter and topped with salt treat her dad brought home frequently in the summer time. He had been so excited for the tooth fairy to come that he completely spaced on taking it out of the cob before placing it under his pillow. What a laugh they had about that one.
Her heart grew warm as she pictured her older brother Jackson accepting his high school diploma, and announcing his acceptance into one of the most prestigious colleges in the country.
As some of the best moments of Brave Bold life clouded her brain, she envisioned the smiles of everyone she loved, one by one flickering through her eyes. Her friends, her family, her classmates.
But where the good memories flourished and brought a warm and cozy feeling to Caroline's heart, the bad ones always seemed to follow. Every time Caroline closed her eyes she was forced to relive it all over again. Her heart ached as she took in for the hundredth time on what she had lost.She pictured the night in which changed everything.

***NOTICE***
What you’re about to read is not heartfelt, or humane for that matter.
Its morbidly horrific.
But it's the truth.
And you must know the truth of the past, to understand the choices formulated in the future.

It was around twelve at night when they came.
The house and its inhabitants remained in a deep sleep, until the noise of barking became alarming with danger.
A pain stabbed at Caroline's chest as she was reminded of her dog Lexi and her constant cast of protection.
She was the first to go.
It took only one person, one bullet, one shot to end the life of her beloved friend.
When the shot rang out, and the barking immediately ceased, each sleep was broken with a fluster of fear. Troops stormed throughout the house, breaking down any door necessary in order to reach their targets. When they reached the array of bedrooms, they commanded all family members to kneel with their hands held high in the air. As the father made a fast, but not fast enough attempt to seize an officer's unsecured gun from his belt loop, he was shot dead in front of them all.
Four bullets fired, four seconds taken, four family members left to watch the massive heaps of blood surround them in pools.
From there chaos broke loose, and screaming and crying clogged Caroline's ears.
Her oldest brother was taken first. Then her mother, followed by her younger brother, and then, herself. Caroline hadn't seen her family since.
Remembering was hard, but it was what kept her alive. The memories served as her only sense of humanity.

Chapter 6: A Hunger For Freedom-
After being transferred from bus to bus, Caroline had been brought to Prentice, her final stop. Prentice is for the intelligent, and the ones with hopes of saving in order to use their knowledge as a beneficial factor in their newly made society.
For the next months to come Brave & Bold continued to get up each morning, sit in a grueling two hour lecture on why she was an ignorant fool, and work in the cafeteria morning, lunch and dinner. Because of her age, and intellectual intelligence, Brave & Bold was put to many tasks, preparing the food, sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, serving the soldiers each meal, gardening and harvesting, and so forth. And if Brave and Bold did not complete her tasks on time, or to the proper thoroughness, she was beaten. Brutality showed no mercy towards the youth, or the woman. The prisoners received one meal each day, making up entirely of the leftovers from the soldiers meals. If the soldiers weren't very hungry that day, the prisoners were in luck. But if the soldiers chose to devour it all, which was typically the case, the prisoners would go to bed hungrier then they woke up.

***IMPORTANT NOTE***
DO NOT pity Brave & Bold. She was nothing if not lucky.

You must be utterly confused after reading that I assume. Here I am, telling you not to pity a girl who watched her father be brutally murdered, and who had no choice but to witness her only family being dragged helplessly from her, knowing a cruel death was in their futures. A girl whose rights were taken away from her at the age of seventeen, all because she believed in something Americans were supposed to be provided with a right to. As sad and horrible as all of that may be, Caroline died in a way no other prisoners life was ended. Spoiler alert: Caroline died a hero, and more importantly she died knowing that she was loved. That right there is why she was lucky.

Chapter 7: Slowly but Surely-
Throughout the grueling months, Caroline's relationship with the soldier managed to only grow. Slowly, but most definitely the two fell into a mad love, a forbidden love hidden. A love that formulated purely on the twos eye contact and nights spent whispering back and forth between the cell bars. Grayson had deliberately signed up for night shifts at her cell house with the hopes of learning something new about Caroline each and every night.
Although Caroline loved the soldier, she still held onto resentment. She still couldn't quite understand the reasoning to his presence here, but his human contact kept her going, and at moments when they managed to be alone, she often had to hold herself back from asking him, why, with the fear of losing him altogether. The spare food she would receive and endless conversations that occurred continued for months, growing into something deeper each day.

Chapter 8: The Aroma of Fall-
I guess Caroline should be thankful for her strenuous job in the cafeteria. After all, it was there that she received the opportunity to be branded a hero. To truly live up the Brave and Bold name.
It was a calm day in September, the leaves fell from trees and died as they did, submerging the ground with the dullness of color. Caroline was in the process of harvesting the crops that had burst, the crops that were given to all the soldiers and upper class civilians that populated the death camp. She found this time of year to be the most relaxing. The smell of autumn and the color surrounding her managed to almost block out the barricaded barriers and the armed soldiers nearby. The chills that surfaced didn't seem to bother Caroline, but it forced the soldiers hostile egos to stay closer to indoors. Which so happened to be a major plus for Caroline.
The vibrant pumpkins sat alongside the surviving harvest of squash, continuously piling onto one another until the crops reached the brim of the basket. Realizing this, Caroline made her way to the shed. A squeaky and unsecured box that just so happened to have a few strokes of green paint carelessly thrown on. The shed was off limits, but Caroline was sometimes granted the ability to momentarily go in to retrieve the items needed to garden, while other times was beaten for it. It all really depended. But today, the soldiers opted to stay warm and positioned in areas far more central to the camp, leaving Caroline, almost unwatched.
When she reached the insides of the shed, the combination of dirt and dust burned inside of me as she began her search for a bucket of some sort. She moved her hands rhythmically along the slanted shelves with screws on the verge of entanglement. Her eyes peered to the bottom of the rows, were a metal bucket was in clear view. She then bended down to retrieve the object, her knees in contact with the uneven floorboards and her eyes focused upon the basket. As she clutched onto the bucket and brought it out to her she accidently hit the wall in front of her. It was then she noticed the small peep hole carved into the shed through what she assumed to be the result of harsh winter seasons. She let her body fall to the ground and shifted her right eye into the tiny peep hole.
At that moment, her right eye was exposed to the freedom she craved so deeply. That I alongside her craved so deeply. The lush array of green trees only a few feet from where she layed, and a lengthy dirt road leading to somewhere unknown, yet, somewhere unknown managed to still beat where she lay in every plausible scenario. Caroline could picture herself running into the woods and out of sight. Out of misery. The shed was apparently thought to serve as a fence, for the unsturdy house dipped in between both barricades.

***IMPORTANT MESSAGE***
I think I envied Caroline for having the choice to leave, to free herself, where I would forever be cast to a life of misery in which I watched death after death after death.

It was at that moment that the freedom she craved so deeply took charge. Caroline worked her fingertips into the loose nails on the horizontal panels until three rusty screws lay beside her and the bottom panel came out with ease. Caroline knew her chances of surviving were dim. But they still stood as chances. But Caroline had a better idea. She slid the panel back on and put the screws back in place. And retreated with the bucket that had started it all.


Chapter 9: A master Plan-
She waited a week and three days to pull off her plan perfectly. It was the coldest of days that fall, and the harvest was bountiful. Many prisoners worked with the tending to the crops while others raked and so forth, and the majority of the soldiers remained inside devouring their breakfast feasts, where the rest stationed toward the general center of the camp, where prisoners unloaded trucks and were undergoing the process of building houses.
One by one, Caroline whispered through many ears’ of prisoners with the directions in which they needed to follow. And when eight people had squeezed themselves free, and Caroline had resealed the boards and returned to her work, the soldiers took them back to their cells to await their next tasks. News suddenly spread of the loss of eight prisoners, and the night revolved around many distinct yells from soldiers as they searched through every inch of the camp, and then decided that a successful attempt at an escape had occurred right under their noses. This angered them, and Caroline knew her next attempt would have to be her last, and because of it, it had to be epic.
This time Caroline hoped to get out with the rest, but knew in heart she would have to be the last. Security had strengthened and soldier population had increased, so Caroline's hope remained to be a rather small number of escapees.
As the day grew on, Caroline was surprised to see the execution of her plan go unnoticed. The techniques shifted and ideas formulated that in the end turned her hopes of fifteen escapees turning into thirty two. Caroline had managed to free forty people's lives, all above her own.

***QUICK THOUGHT***
I originally imagined this to be because of her love for the soldier, but soon understood that their best chance at love was for her to get out, and one day meet again, as equals. And Caroline did too, but at each time she began to fit her way through the boards, she thought of another prisoner in the camp who she had watched be beaten, or another one who helped and covered for her in the kitchen, and she found herself whispering in their ears, setting them free.
Its truly beautiful, isn't it? The love and courage some people contain. The love and courage that Caroline contained.

But as Caroline was at the grasp of freedom, finally, she was shot, and dead within seconds. Gone, just like that.



An end to Brave & Bold.


Chapter 10: A Tray Full of News
Grayson picked up his tray filled with steamed broccoli and potato salad and peered behind the cafeteria counter. Searching for Caroline in the most discreet way possible. The clock plastered above read 12:05, and confusion mesmerized Grayson as he had so carefully memorized her working hours down to the very last specific detail. He knew she would leave her work in the fields for her work in the kitchen at no later than twelve.
He glanced at the sinks, where two prisoners scrubbed furiously at gunks of peanut butter stuck to the plates and thoroughly washed at the rotting vegetable soup infesting the bowls insides. Neither prisoner resembled the fragile yet fierce aura that Caroline exuded.
He shifted his gaze to the food preparation tables, where carrots were undergoing the process of being diced and thrown into a large metal pot. Grayson grew impatient as the long blonde hair he seeked was nowhere in sight.
“Where is C-17” he asked.
I could sense his insides freezing over, his mind shutting down.
Order was key. Routine was locked. And death was frequent.
“Where is C-17” he demanded once more.
I watched, with the eagerness of a five year old boy as the sounds of an ice cream truck rang in the distance.
A prisoner placing green beans unto his plate looked up at him, with words ready to fall out of her mouth.
“You didn't hear sir, she was caught sneaking others out of the camp.”
She was caught.
Grayson grew pale.
His heart forgot to beat.
And his mind turned to a blank white canvas.
“Where did they bring her.” A voice crack choked its way past his throat and managed to stun the both of them.
“They didn't take her anywhere sir.”
And rather than taste a flood of salty tears, or an explosion of lava burn my lips, I tasted something else.
Something worse.
I tasted death.


Chapter 11: A New Perspective
The soldier's feet pounded on the ground below him as he mustered up every ounce of strength inside of him to be at Brave & Bolds side.
But when he reached her, all sense of time stopped, and Caroline's body lying in a pool of her own blood was all he could see.
And it hit him. The pain, the loss, the grief.
And the soldier finally understood. And he wept at the knowledge.

He then held her, wrapping his arms tightly around the weak body she had inhabited, clutching the tangled and frail blonde hair attached to the pale and lifeless face.
Once full of life.
With an eager sense of passion,
A burning sense of devotion,
And overwhelming amount of honor.
Once strong, and blissfully beautiful,
With long blonde hair that curled at the tips,
And bright blue eyes.
Once Brave & Bold,
Fighting for what she believed in.
Now gone.
No longer seeing.
No longer breathing.
No longer existing.
Just gone.
Gone because she chose to save others over herself, and when the soldier realized this,
It became clear about what he had to do.
He had to save others, because he couldn't save her.
He spoke softly, the tears that had fallen down his cheeks uncontrollably had settled and his voice trembled only a little.
“I didn't understand it at first, I had been brainwashed to the point of my character being shattered and replaced with just another heartless soldier. But you came in here Caroline, and you showed me the way out. You reminded me of who I once was. And I promise you, I will save everyone in this damn prison to honor you, and I'll spend the rest of my life trying to make up for the person I became. I love you Caroline, forever and always.”
It was at that moment that he rested her body back on the dirt ground right outside the broken down shed, now bolted and tightly sealed.
Caroline was smart with that, but he would just have to be smarter.
A bold flavor fulfilled my insides as I watched the final scene.

Brave & Bold she was.
Brave & Bold he will soon be.






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