A Dark, Deserted Night

June 1, 2008
By Kristin Brig, Knoxville, TN

Silence scoured the small seaside town. Waves splashed upon the shore despondently, but the wind in the high hills roared terribly. It was time for night, and complete darkness was already sweeping the land and sea. The buildings in the town and surrounding area were empty. The occupants had obviously taken nothing upon their leaving, for the shops were stocked with all different assortments of clothes, toys, and food, as well as much more. But no one was manning these places; no one defended their rightful ownership of the town. All was forbidding darkness and emptiness. And it would have stayed that way except for a lone figure making its way through the single street of the lonely town.

It was a young girl dressed in shabby clothing. Her dress, once pale pink as an opening rose, now lay on her in rips and shreds of cloth, and the brown buckled shoes on her feet had been dirtied to the point of trash. Her rumpled hair lay in an absolute mess across her head; knots were forming at the ends where braids and bonnets had once held it all together. Dirt washed across her face in a blend of skin and uncleanliness. In fact, the girl seemed so altogether grubby that none would touch her if she had entered a thriving town. As it was, she was alone amidst the ghosts of the place.

But however filthy she may have appeared, the girl’s apple green eyes shone with sadness and a determination to live. She was certainly alive, and her mind knew it all too well. She glanced up to the darkening sky. A yell suddenly ripped from her throat in anguish. It said nothing, but the intensity of feeling locked in it told everything. The girl had lost an immense amount, and she was ready to give up. But she knew that she could not, that she must live to keep her family and the town alive in one person. Walking up to an empty building, the girl stood in the doorway and watched the clouds flit across the half moon. She slumped to the ground, knowing that nothing would be the same again. Her thoughts ran circles around all of the recent events that had taken place.

Once lively and wondrous, Baytown had been the jewel of the Atlantic. Glorious ships sailing from its harbor carried goods from farther away than the people could have dreamed: fragrant spices from East Asia, wild fruit from the West Indies, and glinting golden jewelry from southern Africa. The place had been an absolute asset to the country of Britain, and the citizens knew it. They used the riches gained from trades near and far to embroider their town. The sidewalks were changed from their weather-beaten state to freshly placed wood with a brand new protective color that shone in the sun. Creativity in art sparked amongst the buildings, and each turned into a different color. Never before had the town been in such glory.

A ship one day brought in a new load of tea from India and its island neighbors. But with it came not only goods; a sailor had stepped off of the platform only to fall flat on his face in shivers and screams of agony. The people had watched as the writhing body had been taken to the nearest inn. The doctor who paid a visit had only shaken his head and told the dying sailor that he could not prescribe any medicine, for the illness was not known among the population of Baytown. Soon after, the sailor died to leave the entire island ridden in disease.

People had begun to fall to their knees in anguish out on the streets, shivering and screaming in pain. Death came to all the men, women, and children who lived in the area. No one had survived save the girl in the doorway that night. Closing her eyes, she remembered her mother, her father, her brother and sister dying on the hills surrounding their home, which was high above the town. She must survive without them now. It was an inevitable fate.

The girl fell into a deep sleep, falling away from her memories and entering a new, remote life on the isolated island.

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