Think Fast, or Else…
My town is isolated from all the others, and there’s a large iron gate that closes us off after dark. It lets no one in and no one out, under any circumstance. After 11 o’clock PM, the police scan the border and arrest anyone who is out past that time. I didn’t know why they do this, so I asked my father, and he said he didn’t know - it’s just the way it’s always been.
It was a damp day, late in April, and mist had dawned upon us. It was still light out, but I could barely see, due to all the fog. That night, I was sitting on my blue couch, accompanied by my best friend, Earl - we had nothing to do. Earl was my only friend besides my sister. One thing we enjoyed doing together was exploring, but by now we had seen the whole town, inside and out. We were just complaining to each other that there was nothing to do, until all of a sudden, I saw the light bulb flick on above his head.
He said, “We should go out of town. The gate will close at 11 PM, but we’ll be back half an hour before that. We’re old enough now and we can fight for ourselves.”
“But how are we going to get out? The security will stop us and send us back,” I replied. “And we don’t even know what’s out there! There could be dinosaurs…”
“Dinosaurs are extinct, dummy.” Earl rebutted. “Who cares what’s out there. We explore to find new things.”
So, I gave in and I didn’t take a second glance. I wanted to do what Earl did because he was my only friend and I didn’t want to lose that. He took me to the gate and told me that we could go wherever I wanted, for there were no officers on duty yet. I said, “Let’s go straight” and he conceded.
We wandered for a bit as the sun began to set. Earl found a few cool rocks, but nothing too interesting. Then I saw a little ditch on the side of a road, with a big enough tunnel to fit through. I yelled for Earl to come see, but he didn’t respond. I popped my head out of the ditch, and he was nowhere to be found. I ran out in a hurry trying to find him. I yelled his name, but still no response. I slowly became anxious because time was running out before we had to be back to town, and Earl was still missing.
“Earl. Earl, where are you? EARL!!!” I started to panic. Earl was nowhere in sight. I checked my watch, and it read: 10:44 PM. Where was he? I needed to get back, but I couldn’t leave him alone, for he would get arrested. He wouldn’t be able to last in prison alone.
I made the decision to go back to the gate and wait just outside of it. I thought he might be waiting for me there. I waited a little longer. I looked at my watch once more: 10:56 PM. This isn’t good. Where could he have gone? I couldn’t yell anymore because my throat was in pain, and I was too tired.
I heard the border patrol cars arriving on site. I knew Earl was going to show up. He had to. I mean, doesn’t he know what time it is? Out in the distance I made out a tiny figure of a boy. I immediately ran towards the figure, not realizing that he was limping and in agony. I just ran. I knew that it was 10:59 and I could’ve saved myself. But I didn’t. I had to be with him. I’m typically self-centered, but I guess the safety of my friend was more important than my well being. I ran up to the dark, limping figure of Earl. I didn’t say a word, I just put his arm over my shoulder and ran as fast as I could with him.
We got back to the gate right as the border patrol started their search. They questioned us about why we were outside of the gate. Earl replied, “We were exploring. I fell and hurt my leg and I didn’t know where my friend was.”
The policeman walked back to his car to fill out some paperwork. When he looked down to find a pen, I nudged Earl and tilted my head at the open gate and he knew what I was thinking. I put him on my back and ran as fast as I could. We were safe. The officer had no idea where we were. We hurried through the secret path that we had discovered years ago. It lead straight to Earl’s basement. We were home, safe and sound.
Think Fast or Else...
Think Fast, or Else…