June 4, 2009
By Elizabeth Witcher GOLD, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Witcher GOLD, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
17 articles 1 photo 1 comment

The sun streamed in through the rags Boy had found last week. Had he been awake he would have remembered fighting tooth and nail for those rags, but Boy was still sleeping. Lately, Boy had been feeling more and more tired, and the tickle in his throat had become more pronounced. Sometimes the tickle was so bad, he’d cough and cough for hours and he would not be able to find food for days. But, he usually recovered if he stayed in his box on the pile of rags he hoarded.

The dust was thrown about Boy’s box as the wind steadily grew. The strengthening wind catered to Boy the rancid smells from the outside, howling to be let in. Boy would have noticed this had he been awake, but he was still sleeping.
Boy didn’t know how old he was, no one knew that anymore. The ways of counting had been long forgotten anyway, so it really didn’t matter. Boy didn’t talk to anyone either, it was too difficult. Each gang of children had their own language, and the adults were just as hopeless. Boy was one of the drifters, he fought for what he needed and that was usually enough. Granted, there were times Boy wished he did not have to go and fight for food, like the days when he throat was too tickly, or the days when red stuff came out when he coughed, but Boy was used to that too. Having never belonged to a gang, Boy really did not know what he was missing. Today was going to be one of those days when Boy stayed home.

The noises from the fight outside were earth shattering, and Boy would have gone to see what was happening if he had been awake, but Boy was still sleeping. The neighboring gangs were fighting again. This time the fighting was closer to Boy’s box than he would have liked. Normally, Boy would have taken his box and moved it further down the pile of waste left by former generations, but Boy was still sleeping and did not notice the fighting. The pile Boy’s box was on would have been a treasure trove if he had had the strength to explore. Boy had picked this spot for his box because it was farthest away from the other people, adults and gangs alike. Under his box, Boy would have found an old jar with the scrapings of honey, but Boy was still sleeping.

An old piece of an electric stove was thrown into the air by one of the gangs. It missed the opposing gang and ricocheted off Boy’s box. Boy would have been scared and started to run, but Boy was still sleeping. The top flew off of Boy’s box, and into the enemy gang. Both of the gangs, upon this new object interrupting their fight, scrambled toward what they saw as a pile of rags. Boy should have scampered away when he heard the guttural calls of the gangs. Boy should have run, or prepared for a fight to defend the rags he worked so hard to garner. Boy should have done many things, but Boy was still sleeping.

The gangs ran to the pile of rags, and viciously started tearing the box, containing the sleeping boy. A primordial instinct overtook the gangs of children transforming them into animals. The sleeping body of Boy fell to the side. Once the box was shredded and fought for among the gangs they turned to Boy. A few rags clung to his still form. The gangs quickly stripped him of all he owned. Boy shuddered and tried to wake. He saw a form standing over his surprisingly cold body. A curious and calculating glance surveyed him. His body shuddered and he felt the red stuff come out of his lips. He tried to dab it away with the rag he clutched in his hand, but was too weak to move. The face watching him reached down to his hand, and took the cloth. Cautiously, moving the rag towards Boy’s face, a calculating expression inscribed itself on the figure. His head cocked to the side, the figure stopped and paused, his hand inches away from Boy’s face. Slowly, the figure brought the cloth nearer and nearer to Boy. But, hearing the call of his gang from down the hill, the figured dashed away, leaving the blood spattered body alone. Boy felt his eyes close and his chest shudder.

Boy should have been doing many things in order to survive the night, instead Boy was sleeping.

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