September 24, 2008
By Jackson McNeil, Jonesboro, AR

Once upon a time there was a kid. Let’s say this kid’s name was…Byron Mcduffy. Byron was an only child and his parents treated him like gold. He had good grades, was an overall good kid, but he wanted some freedom for once. His parents always put pressure on him to do well in school and to follow the rules and Byron wanted a change. One hot summer day, Byron decided to pack up a knapsack with a couple of candy bars, his piggy bank, and his Swiss army knife complete with a knife and spoon he had gotten from Uncle Charles when he turned ten. He was going to run away. He left the house without telling his mom and already he felt quite rebellious. He started on his way and even though this hike was only right out of his backyard it felt like the Trail of Tears on his small frame. He kept walking until he found a tunnel with an opening about 5 feet across. It seemed like the perfect spot so he decided to explore the tunnel. His first observation was the smell and his second was that it was pitch black. He disregarded these signs and felt his way around for a couple of minutes until he came to what he thought was the end of the tunnel. He was about to turn around when he saw the faintest light coming out of the bottom of the wall. He looked closely at the wall and noticed it had a small door in it with a tiny doorknob about the size of a quarter on the side. He didn’t know what to think so he knocked on the door and whispered “Is anybody there?” There was no reply, so he started back down the tunnel. He was about fifteen feet away from the door when he heard the door open with a soft creek. He whipped around to see a small filthy face peeking around the door. The face belonged to a kid about his age, he was sure, but he was still terrified that he was actually seeing a human face in this tunnel. The kid motioned him in the door with his scrawny little finger and for some reason Byron couldn’t explain, he subconsciously got on his hands and knees and crawled inside. What he saw next amazed him and gave him goose bumps. It was a bunch of filthy kids wearing the same knapsacks on their backs. They all looked at him and he smiled because he knew right then that this was his new home.

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