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The Memory Keeper (Lord of the Flies)

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The man was old, with sagging, wrinkled skin and scarce gray hair. He lived in a home in rural England, surrounded by tall trees that always seemed to be swaying in the wind. This was his family home. He had lived in England his entire life, apart from two months when he had been away.

He sat before a great fire, listening to the quiet crackling and watching the embers fly into the air and disappear before his eyes. He could almost see the sand and the palm trees in that fire. He added a bit of newspaper, noticing the date. November 19th, the day he was finally reunited with his mother to find that his father, a Naval officer, had been killed in battle. That was a low point in his life, and growing up without a father sure had been hard, but he got through it.

His family was coming over soon. His wife would be back from the market in a few minutes with the pork roast that they would eat, except for the old man. He would have beef. His wife, Emily, was the love of his life. They had been married for sixty-two years, and he had never doubted marrying her. He loved her dearly and always had, since the very first day he had met her.

The airport was a bright frenzy of people. Nobody seemed to be walking; the were all running. Where, the boy didn’t know. The Naval officer had told him to wait here at the boarding gate for his parents. He sat in a hard, uncomfortable chair that felt like Heaven to him and waited.

And waited.

Until finally, he saw a woman—tall and slender with dark hair and a beautiful face—it was his mother. He still recognized her, even though he had been gone for Lord knows how long.

“Son!” She shouted and sprinted towards the boy. She barely recognized him; his hair was long, his skin was dark, and he looked like he hadn’t had a bath in months—and he hadn’t.
She smothered him with hugs and kisses, and stepped back to look at him again, not willing to believe that this was actually him; that he was actually home at last.

That’s when the boy noticed the girl standing by his mother’s side. She was tall—much taller than him with long, gangly legs. She was pale with bright orange hair and looked strangely like someone else he knew, but unlike that person, she was beautiful. There was something about her that he’d never seen in any girl before.

“Baby, this is our neighbor. She moved in a few weeks ago. Emily Merridew.”


The doorbell rang.

The old man sat up and walked slowly but steadily to the front door. At the door were his daughter Sarah and her husband Ben. At their feet were their three young children: Harry, Carter, and Wendy.

“Grandfather!” They all hugged him. Oh, how he loved his grandchildren. They brought such life to his home when they visited. They reminded him of him when he was a littlun—ad-venturous, talkative, and loving.

“Hello, Father,” Sarah said to the old man, kissing his cheek. “Have you and Mother been well?”

The old man nodded. “Quite well, darling. It’s great to see you all.”


A while later, Emily was back with the groceries, and the old man’s son-in-law got started with the cooking. The smell of the meat rose and soon filled the whole house, bringing back many memories for the old man.

“Littluns, why don’t I tell you a story?” He said.

The littluns jumped up and down with excitement as the old man took a seat on the couch.

“There were once a group of boys…” he began to tell the story of the two months he was away from home, though the littluns thought he was making it all up on his own. He couldn’t quite tell the whole truth, as he didn’t want to scare the children. Instead of telling them of the gruesome deaths of his two dear friends, he told them of how they killed the pigs and roasted them over the fire they had created themselves. He told them of Piggy and Simon, his dear friends Piggy and Simon whom he missed to this very day. He told them a story that sounded much like an adventure than a tragedy.


“Merridew. Your surname is Merridew?” The boy asked, in shock.

“Yes, I believe you know my brother, Jack. Please tell me he’s alright. He was on the plane too. Please tell me that he is okay. He is just a boy, just a boy that shouldn’t have gone this soon,” She rambled on, “Please, is he okay, just tell me—”

“He’s fine,” The boy said bluntly. “Jack is fine.” The boy couldn’t help but think of how Emily had said “just a boy”. The Jack he had known was not “just a boy”. He was a savage. He had been from day one.

“Oh, thank you!” Emily embraced the boy. “Thank you so much. I’m going to go find my mother and father. They’ll be so happy. Where is he?”

The boy looked around and spotted Jack sitting in the corner. “There,” he pointed.

Emily rushed to Jack and hugged him for what seemed like forever. The boy didn’t want to look, as he didn’t understand why she was hugging him. He was a savage.


“Father, Uncle Jack is here.”

The old man got up and went to answer the door. Jack stood with a fruit basket, looking happy to see him.

“It’s nice to see you, Jack,” the old man smiled and gave Jack a quick hug.

After Emily and the man had announced they were getting married, the man thought Jack would protest, but much to his surprise, he didn’t. Jack said he was happy for the two and when Jack and the man found a minute alone later that night, Jack said to the man, “I was never a good leader. I’m terribly sorry for all I put you through. You were right all along.”

As much as the man wanted to laugh at what he said and ask him why it had taken him so long to realize that, he didn’t. He just smiled and nodded and said thank you, and they had been on a good path ever since.

“It’s nice to see you too. That pork roast smells jolly good, but you know me. I can’t eat that anymore. Not since…”

Jack didn’t have to finish. The old man knew exactly what he was about to say, and he felt the same way too.

The family had a good dinner. They talked and laughed and the littluns were beginning to get excited for Christmas, though it was more than a month away. They all ate their food and told Ben how great it tasted.

Except for the two old men, Ralph and Jack. They had beef instead.





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