The Far Side of the War

April 24, 2018


Another day, another dawn.  It's been twenty-seven years since the war started.  The Bulgarians against the Canadian and Russians.  For seventeen years it was just the Russians against the Bulgarians.  That was until the Canadians got involved.  The Bulgarians knew that they couldn't take on the whole country of Russia so they started conquering the Eastern Part of Canada.  The Bulgarians will stop at nothing until Canada and Russia are both conquered.


Kinsley was hanging on the clothes line, when she was supposed to be doing the laundry. She was spacing off, thinking about a place where the war never existed. She was suddenly disturbed when the old butcherman came out charging at her vigorously with a knife in hand. He approached her saying, “ What are you doing you dumb varmint!” Kinsley looked at him with horror for she was mute. He glared at her with anger and suddenly back handed her. 


“What, you can't speak or are you dumber than I thought?” Kinsley laid on the ground, holding her crimson cheek, when suddenly she heard the noise of trees breaking and started to smell the sour smell of diesel. She looked toward the forest and what she saw had the hairs on her neck raising.  Coming out of the forest was a huge, grey, Bulgarian war machine with a country flag printed on the shoulder.  Followed were tanks, walkers, and more war cavalry.  Kinsley instantly forgot about her stinging cheek, and pulled herself off the frozen ground.  She grabbed her cloak, and took off toward the middle of the village.  She ran toward her small cottage, looking for her brother, Jonathan.  She knew he wouldn’t be there, because he was off fighting the war, but she checked anyway.  But what she found surprised her.  Right there standing in the kitchen, cooking was her brother.


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“Jonathon!” I signed. I raced to my brother, and enveloped him with a hug.


“Hey, Junebug, long time no see!” Junebug was a nickname Jonathan gave me even before I was born.  I wanted to keep him in a hug for all eternity but knew it wouldn't last.  A tree went flying through the living room.  I hid in terror under the dining room table and covered my ears.  I freaked out as I felt a hand envelope itself around my bicep.  I heard calming sound of my brother’s voice as he tried to tell me to calm down and that we had to go.  I looked out through what used to be the living room window and saw the looming shadows of the Bulgarian army. My brother started pulling me up the stairs, and threw a duffle bag at me. There was no communication, because I knew what we had to do. I rushed into my room, and started vigorously packing everything I needed. I started following Jonathon out the window, and remembered last minute that I couldn’t leave without Buddy, my stuffed bear, that belonged to my sister. I rushed back out the window following Jonathan, and as I jumped out the window, my foot got stuck in the gutter, and hit my head against the siding.

I was out cold.


I was dreaming of a meadow, but not just any meadow, the meadow my family had picnics in. I saw my brother fishing with my dad. I saw my mother picking flowers with my little sister. Then there was me, walking up the hill to my secret hideout in the tree. I was disturbed by the sound of my mother screaming “ KINSLEY!” I jumped out of the tree, but when I jumped, there was no ground. I was falling in pitch black, until I hit the floorboards of my little sisters room. I looked around, and what I saw horrified me. There was my little sister in her bed, with multiple stab wounds to the chest. I backed out of her room, and into my parents’ room. I turned around, and there he lay, my father, dead on the ground.  I started freaking out as I realized that I had the knife I my hand, that I stabbed my little sister, that I stabbed my father, that I murdered half my family.  I dropped the knife, covered my ears and screamed.


I woke up in a cold sweat and realized I wasn't hanging from the roof anymore.  I looked around and saw my brother tending to a fire. 


“How did I get here?” I signed while scooting closer to the fire. 


“I carried you.” Jonathan handed me a cooked rabbit leg, my favorite.


I took the leg gratefully and signed, “Where’s Mama?”


Jonathan’s eyes filled with sorrow. “Dead, killed by a walker.  I buried her next to Papa and Bea.  Tears filled my eyes as I thought back to the dream I had.  Jonathan pulled me off of the ground and started packing up our bags.


“We need to go,” he said “it’s not safe here.” He handed me my bag and we started off through the forest.


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It has been three days since I left home.  I couldn’t stay there, it was too close to the war, too close to death. My feet thundered through rough brush, and thorny twigs, as I was running through the forest. I knew my family wouldn’t find me, because most of them are dead. Well, except for my father. He is a war general, he only worries about himself. The instant I was born he hated me, all because I was deaf.  He thought I would be useless during the war.  He thought that a deaf son was too weak to lad an entire army.The only person who really cares about me is my best friend, Noel. She begged me not to go, said it wasn’t safe, she’s dead now.  She was blown up by a war machine. I was there when that happened.  That was the night I was planning my escape.  The sad thing is I could have saved her.  If only I could hear, then maybe, just maybe, she'd be here with me now.  I was startled out of my thoughts when I felt the ground vibrate, the vibration of footfalls.  The only good thing about being deaf is that your other senses are heightened.  I crouched down and stalked to the source of the noise.  I stopped dead in my tracks when I was what it was, it was a boy.  I pulled out my hunting knife and threw it at him, like a throwing star, thinking it was a Bulgarian scout.  I prowled closer to the boy, only to realize the huge mistake I had just made.  He was not Bulgarian, but in fact, Canadian.   I heard another set of footfalls behind me, and only had enough time to register a dull pain in the back of my head, that's when everything went black.


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I dropped the rock and rushed to my brother’s side.  I gently pressed on the wound and my brother growled in agony.  


“We need to move you.” I signed to him.  He nodded his head with gritted teeth.  I threw his arm around my shoulders and hauled him over to a tree in the shade. 


I unzipped my duffel bag and pulled out our first aid kit and unraveled the medical tape.  I started wrapping his torso when I noticed that he was losing blood fast.  I rushed to the river to get some yarrow.  After some searching i found some by the bank.  I pick a few leaves off of the plant, washed them off in the river and gently placed them in the pocket of my cloak.  I sprinted back to my brother but found nothing, not even the strange boy.   I looked around only to be hit in the back of the head by a gun.  I rolled over and looked at my attacker, I stared in horror at my attacker, the Bulgarian General, Valentin Andri.  Then I blacked out.


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I woke up to a splitting headache.  I rubbed my head and tried sitting up but then I got lightheaded.  I laid back down until I realized that I wasn't lying on the damp ground anymore.  I was lying on the cold stone floor of a Bulgarian fortress.  This was the last place I wanted to be.  I tried to sit up again, this time slowly and looked around behind me.  I looked around, the cell was just like any cell, three stone walls, a stone floor, and a steel gate.  I looked at the farthest wall and there I saw the Canadian boy I mistook for a Bulgarian scout and his sister, maybe?  She was tending to her brother, I felt guilty because he wouldn't be injured if it weren't for me.  She caught me staring and glared right at me, if looks could kill, I’d be six feet under by now.  She was pretty though, with her blonde shoulder length hair, blue eyes, and triple pierced ears.  I decided to make myself useful and try and help her out. 


“I’m prosti, I thought he was a Bulgarian razvedchik.”  She didn't respond, she just looked confused, until I realized that she was mute by the way she tried speaking but nothing was coming out.  Luckily I knew sign language.  I tried again this time she signed back.


“It’s fine, just as long as he survives, we’ll be able to esca-” She stopped suddenly and a frightened look crossed her face.  I thought she was looking at me but then I realized she was looking behind me.  I turned around as fast as I could and saw the one and only, Valentin Andri.  The strange thing was was that he had a key, the key to our cell.  He opened our cell and walked to the back o the cell toward the girl’s brother.  She rushed to her brother and stood in front of him in a fighting stance.  He shouldered past her and lifted up her brother with ease.  He turned around and studied us. 


“Let’s go, we don't have much time.”  We stared at him in awe.  Valentin Andri, a Bulgarian war general, the most respected position you could have, helping two Canadians and a Russian. 


He started walking out of the cell, “You coming?”  I pulled myself off of the floor and helped the girl off the floor and followed Valentin.  We turned a corner and we instantly fell into a secret passage.


“I’m one of the very few who know about these passages, so we'll be fine.” Valentin dropped down and closed the entrance. 


“If we take this path all the way down, well end up in Western Canada.”  It felt like a dream, we we were almost home. 


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It's felt been hours since we started our trip.  My brother seemed to be holding up pretty well.  The silence was so thick, you could cut it with the dullest butter knife.  I decided to break the silence, well at least try to. 
“Let’s say our name and tell our deepest darkest secret.” I signed.


“I’ll go next.” The Russian boy volunteered.  We all gave him the spot light.


“My imya is Nikita Durov, and my glubochansky darkest secret is...I have a crush on the girl.  His face turned a bright crimson color.  I blushed along with him. 


“I'll go next.”  Valentin announced.


“My name is Valentin Andri, and my deepest darkest secret is that I’m gay and that I work for the Canadian army.” Valentin looked at the wall. 


“I’ll...go next.” my brother grimaced in a pained voice.


“M-my name is Jonathan Dean and my deepest….darkest secret is that I’m not Canadian, I’m actually...American.”


“I guess I’ll go next, I signed, “My name is Kinsley Dean. My darkest secret is that I killed my younger sister and my dad.” They all stared at me confused so i continued.  It was the middle of the night, I was having a nightmare, one where the Bulgarians were attacking my family.  I rushed down to the kitchen and grabbed a knife.  I first went to my sister’s room and stabbed the intruder.  I next rushed to my parents’ room where Papa was fighting with a Bulgarian.  I stabbed the Bulgarian right in the stomach.  Through tears I saw the Bulgarians start to fade away and saw what I had done.  I still haven't forgiven myself for what I did.”


The room went silent.  The tunnel started curving upward.  Towards the top was light, not just any light, beautiful Canadian sunlight.  When we reached the mouth of the tunnel cheers and whistles.  Nikita and I linked hands.  We had made it, another day, another dawn, on the far side of the war.
 






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