Shadow Hawk | Teen Ink

Shadow Hawk

December 20, 2008
By Shawn McFadden, North Olmsted, OH

Deep in the depths of the darkest jungle sat a brave young warrior. The warrior stood crouched down with only his spear and his wits to protect him. He thought to himself how his whole life had lead up to this one decisive battle. The jungle that lay before him cast dark foreboding shadows that cover his foe in a murky layer of mystery. He knew not what his foe looked like or how he could overcome it. The warrior was named Shadow Hawk. The warrior crept through the lush shrubbery to try to get a better image of the foe that he would have to overcome.

Shadow Hawk sat beneath the tall trees with his best friend and comrade Wafiyyah. Wafiyyah was a small langur monkey with a black face and white fur. He sat atop Shadow Hawk’s shoulder glaring into the threatening woods that lie ahead. Wafiyyah jumped down and sniffed the ground to try and get a lead on the whereabouts of their target. Wafiyyah gestured towards Shadow Hawk, telling him that he would go ahead of Shadow Hawk and try to spot their target. Shadow Hawk agreed. Wafiyyah climbed up into the trees so he would not face detection.

The young warrior thought back to what he had learned from the Chief of his village during the course of his training. He wondered if all the training he had faced up to this point would have readied him for the path that lies ahead.

Screams of pain echoed through the small tribal village as three fully-grown men armed with spears assaulted a small boy. The boy was armed with only a small arrowhead. The entire village looked as the men attacked the boy. Blood ran down the boy’s face. He had cuts all over his entire body from where he had been jabbed by the spears. One man jabbed him again and created a deep cut on his lower thigh. One of the other men pushed him down and pulled up his spear with intent to strike the boy down with a killing blow. The boy then grabbed the man’s ankle and stabbed the arrowhead deep into his calf muscle. The man fell down on the ground. The boy then got up and was ready to face the remaining two men. The one who had stabbed him prior pulled his spear back and lunged it forward with great force. The boy sidestepped the spear and grabbed the staff of it with both hands. The man struggled to get his spear back from the arms of the boy. The boy struggled greatly. The boy then got closer to the man. The boy delivered a kick to the man’s stomach; disorienting him enough to he could pull the spear away.

Suddenly a deep voice yelled out, “Enough of this! The boy has proved his worth in combat.” It was the Chief of the village. “The boy is now a warrior of this village,” said the Chief.

All children in the village are not given a name until the age of twelve. These children must complete a specialized right of passage ceremony before they can be brought into adulthood. For boys, they must prove their worth in battle. The Chief gives them a task to complete and if they cannot complete it, they are banished from the village forever. If they do complete it though, the Chief finally gives them a warrior name that is related to their special talents in battle.
Later that night the entire village gathered around to hear the presentation of the young boy’s name. The fire burned bright with an intensity of a thousand summer days. The boy waited patiently in his hut. He was wearing ceremonial face paint and a painted animal skin. For the longest time, the boy had been relatively invisible in grand scope of the village. Most small children get respect from their elders equal to that of their parent’s achievements. The boy was unfortunately not blessed with strong parents. His father was killed during a battle with a rival tribe. The village was a very war focused tribe. His tribe has always thought of themselves as blessed by the gods. If a warrior dies in battle they are seen as not truly being loyal to the gods. Even though the boy’s father had always been a decent warrior, he was never one of the best. The village never really put their trust into his services fully. When he finally met his fate in battle, the family was looked at with great dishonor.
The same goes for the boy’s mother. Women’s place in the tribe revolved mainly around childbirth. This task was seen to be just as honorable as protecting the tribe in war. If a woman died while giving birth, the child would be seen as having disloyalty to the gods. The boy’s mother was very sickly and did not have the strength to survive the childbirth process. When the boy’s mother met an untimely death, this hurt the boy’s image. He was left alone and had no one to care for him.
A kind old Shaman found the baby boy and took care of him. Her name was Haki. She was a benevolent woman who helped all of the tribe get their medicine. Everyone was shocked when she decided to take care of the baby. Everyone called her a cultivator of darkness. Many called for the execution of both Haki and the baby. The Chief was against the killing of people within their tribe. This is why he allowed Haki and the baby to live.
Many years passed and Haki cared for the boy as if he was her own child. She disregarded what others said about him. Haki was just glad he had a home. One year on around the time of the new moon, Haki decided to give the boy an essential tool for a young warrior to have.
“Boy, I think you are finally old enough for a guide animal. All great warriors need one and it is your birthday after all,” Haki explained cheerfully.
“Haki, you were always were so kind to me. You were the only one in my life who never doubted my ability, even though the whole village thinks I am unfit to be part of this village,” The boy said.
“I believe that every human being should be judged by their own actions, not the actions of their parents. Now since it you are old enough, I got you a langur monkey,” said Haki.
Haki then went into the back of her hut and came back with a small wooden cage made from branches. Inside was a small langur monkey. She opens up the cage and the monkey ran out and climbed up on to the boy’s shoulder.
“He is wonderful! I will call him Wafiyyah. He will be my loyal friend,” The boy said with great excitement.
Years passed and the boy trained hard for the day that he would finally be given a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the village. He practiced mostly by killing wild animals. He would often go into the forest and track wild warthogs. When he was older, he would even go after larger beasts like tigers. We would always have his close and loyal friend Wafiyyah with him.
Finally the day was here. He stepped outside of his tent and into the scrutinizing eyes of the villagers. He had passed his right of passage and had become a man. All the villagers congratulated him on his achievement. He then walked up to the Chief. His heart pounded. He would finally be seen as a man in the eyes of the village. The Chief gazed upon the boy with a serious look. The whole village was completely silent as they listened to the Chief start the ceremony.
“This boy was born into a world of adversity and hatred. This boy has come from parents who have defiled the gods and all their blessings. But out of the ashes of his parent’s failures, he has risen up to take life on with all his might. He has trained hard for the day in which we would finally see him for who he is. He was waiting for the day in which we would see him as an equal. That day has finally come. Step forward, boy!”
The boy stepped forward and kneeled in front of the Chief. The Chief smiled and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“From this day forward, you will be known as Shadow Hawk. You came out of the shadows of adversity and attack swiftly like the noble hawk in the wind. You soar above the trees of defeat and claim the victory you deserve.”
Shadow Hawk looked up at the Chief with a proud smile on his face. But with the Chief’s next words, Shadow Hawk’s expression soon changed to a serious one.
“Since you want to truly be one of our greatest warriors, I must give you a great quest. You will not know when this quest will come and you must always be ready for it. Do you accept?”
Shadow Hawk nodded, “Yes, I humbly accept your quest. I must clear the prior sins of my parents. They were very dishonorable people and I wish to overcome this. I want to prove to the gods that I am better than they,” Shadow Hawk said with a great passion.
“I can tell by the look in your eyes that you are telling the truth. I shall give you your quest. Deep in the history of this village, there is a legend of a boy coming from dishonorable upbringing. He will prove his worth and become a man. You clearly fit this legendary description better than any man in the history of this tribe. You are destined to protect the village from an unforeseen evil. This evil will come in the form of a terrible beast. The beast’s form in not mentioned in the legend. All that is mentioned is that it will have the power to kill unlike any animal we know today. It is not told when exactly the beast will come. It will alert us of its presence by its roar. Its roar is a terrible sound that is said to have the power to make a small child deaf. It is a sound louder than the falling of the tallest tree. When you hear such a sound, you will know it is your time to fight.”
“Thank you, Chief. I will not let you down,” Shadow Hawk promised.
Years passed as Shadow Hawk fought many battles and trained hard for the day in which he would have to finally complete in quest. He had grown much stronger, much faster and a lot more cunning. He had fought and defeated every single kind of beast that lives in the forest. He has conquered Cheetahs, Gorillas, and even Lions. He was physically and mentally ready. One faithful day, he heard a sound so loud he felt his eardrums were going to split. It was finally time for his quest. He was ready. He took one deep breath. He grabbed his spear and ran out the door. Wafiyyah of course followed right behind him.
Shadow Hawk watched as his best friend ran ahead of him. The thoughts of his past lingered in his mind. He took comfort in the fact that Wafiyyah was so loyal and was willing to put himself into the face of such a terrible danger for his master. Shadow Hawk started to move forward towards his pray. He knew the beast was too far away to get a good picture of what it looked like. Shadow Hawk looked up into the trees to see if he could see Wafiyyah. The little ape was nowhere to be seen. Shadow Hawk figured the only thing left to do was move onward. He started to move stealthfully through the dense jungle. He clutched his spear tight as he walked onward.
Suddenly he heard the creature’s roar again. It sounded like a deep boom. This caught Shadow Hawk’s attention. He moved faster towards his pray. He was ready to fight the creature head on without hold back any of his strength. He also worried about Wafiyyah’s safety. All of a sudden he saw Wafiyyah running away from something. He was being chased. They were similar to the hyenas that Shadow Hawk had fought in the savannah. They let out several vicious barks and snarls. Wafiyyah ran but he seemed slower than usual. Shadow Hawk then noticed large teeth marks across Wafiyyah’s chest. Thick red blood was gushing from the wounds. Shadow Hawk ran towards Wafiyyah but he was too far away. Shadow Hawk couldn’t reach him in time. Wafiyyah ran but the beasts were much faster. The beasts finally caught up with Wafiyyah and Shadow Hawk had to watch, as his best friend was ripped apart by the monsters.
Shadow Hawk finally reached the beasts. He was in complete rage. One beast noticed Shadow Hawk and leapt on to him, ripping at the warrior with his razor sharp teeth. Shadow Hawk called out Wafiyyah’s name. The monster finished and left Wafiyyah’s mangled body lying on the ground. It approached as blood seeped down its powerful jaws. Shadow Hawk fought off one of the beasts and had just enough time to jab the beast in the torso with his spear. He then pushed the beast down with his foot and jabbed the spear right into his skull. This took care of one of the beasts. The other beast jumped at him with great power. Shadow Hawk took one precise jab with his spear and killed the remaining beast. Shadow Hawk had completed his quest.
He walked over to his friend’s mutilated corpse. Tears rolled down his eyes. He held Wafiyyah’s body in his arms. Shadow Hawk had finally become a man in the eyes of his village. He became a man, but at the cost of his best friend’s life.
Then suddenly, he heard the same roar from before. He heard it but only much louder. It echoed through the great jungle. It pierced his eardrums. Then Shadow Hawk felt a great pain in his chest. He looked down and there was a round hole with blood oozing out of it. It felt as if he was impaled by something. All his strength left his body. His knees weakened and he fell to the ground. He then saw some tall figure approaching. It was a man. It was a man unlike himself. The man had pale skin and wore garments unlike any he had ever seen in his life. The man spoke in a language that he did not understand. The man carried a long strange-looking machine. Shadow Hawk had never seen anything like it before. The man walked over to the beasts that Shadow Hawk had killed.
“My poor dogs,” the man said with a saddened look in his eyes. “You damn savages. Don’t worry, shall get you back for this.”
The man called out. His voice echoed through the forest. Shadow Hawk looked in amazement as more pale men came out from the forest ventured onward towards his village. Shadow Hawk was confused. Why he was destined to such a fate? Shadow Hawk closed his eyes and welcomed death. He had failed his village and the gods. The white men found their way to the village. The beastly roars foretold in the prophecy echoed throughout the jungle. Screams of the village pierced the ears of anyone that was there to hear them. The white men captured Shadow Hawk’s village one person at a time. They slaughtered ones who were seen as too weak. They then loaded the remaining villagers on to a ship. This was the last that was heard of Shadow Hawk and his great tribe.

The author's comments:
I am a freshman in college. I had always done pretty well in english so I thought I might be able to do decent as a writer. I always liked stories that had shocking endings. This is what inspired me to write "Shadow Hawk." I wanted to write a story that builds up and then ends in a way people didn't expect. Controversial stories like this always stood out to me. They keep people talking about your work.

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