From Granite To Granted

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Prior to a society of interconnected people in constant association with one-another, individuals and their families were dispersed throughout the globe and expected to survive in isolation. They were extremely vulnerable to the dangers that encompassed them, whether they were nature itself or another group of organisms taking part in the fight for survival. For example, those residing in the vast and deserted countryside were easily taken advantage of or even killed by others seeking resources. Moreover, those who made themselves comfortable even remotely close to the shoreline were completely unaware if a hurricane was heading straight for them while they were at rest. Because of the harsh conditions man had to face when relying on nobody but himself, he established the city, a grouping of several different families in households, in order to prevent as much hostility and wrongdoing as possible. Although a brilliant idea, sin and corruption had not ceased and still managed to flourish throughout the mass of people. Fortunately, those committing these crimes were often caught and placed in captivity for a certain period of time dependent on their actions. Here, lawbreakers were contained in enclosed cells while they were periodically given food and water. As unpleasant as that sounds, things managed to worsen when President Fullman was elected and proposed his idea to society. In Fullman’s congratulatory speech, he stated, “MY fellow Americans... My life was once engorged with those who could not provide me with the favors and righteousness I provided them. I was, for the most part, let down and grieved over it for years. Rather than reacting to the situation negatively and overwhelming my surrounding citizens with pessimism, I remained positive and saw it as a lesson to be learned; those who refuse to benefit others should, without consideration, not be benefitted. An eye for an eye if you may…”

That’s when everything changed for Shepherd. With a family of two sons and a housewife, Shepherd felt as though he was obligated, as the man of the family, to provide them with everything they could imagine. Because they hadn’t seen much, everything they could imagine was simply a quality meal. In order to present them with this, Shepherd needed money. Because he lived in a poverty-enriched neighborhood, drugs were the easiest way to get your hands on it. Because time was of the essence, he sold them without hesitation. After a few months of successfully dispensing drugs, he acquired just enough money to keep his family healthy for no more or less than six months. However, his money-making was put to a halt because he was eventually arrested for theft in a local market after he momentarily became greedy and attempted to steal a slab of meat. Rather than being placed in jail, he was faced with another predicament. You see, the country was in the midst of an economic crisis and could no longer afford to keep criminals captive due to their food and utilities expense. Furthermore, Fullman felt as though convicts did not deserve the privilege of being a part of society, for it was meant to unite and bring good to humanity. So, he proposed the APP, or American Privilege Plan, to the country in an attempt to teach us why we shouldn’t take what we have for granted. In doing so, all criminals and convicts, no matter how they broke the law or for what reason, were to be placed in what was once the state of California and fight amongst each other to be granted back their American freedoms. So, Shepherd and the rest of his country’s fellow criminals were stripped of their clothing and given a few tools, including an axe, in order to get them started. Within a few hours, they were on their own.
Here he was, in a cave off the coast of the Pacific, brainstorming ideas as to how he would capture his first meal. Although he was thirsty as well, water was abundance throughout the land. Shepherd, being rather intelligent for a convict, knew that in a matter of time, a fellow criminal would be enlightened with the idea that a cave would make perfect shelter. In knowing so, he began to dig a hole until it was approximately 10 feet deep and 3 feet wide. Once he finished, he collected leaves to camouflage his booby-trap. Shepherd, again contradicting what one would expect out of the average criminal, was indeed a patient man. After what seemingly felt like thirty minutes but was in fact two hours, Shepherd heard footsteps with sounds that were gradually increasing. In recompense, he peeked out of his cave to find an approaching six foot man. After he came close enough for distinction, Shepherd could see that it was the same man he had once shared a cell with, previous to the election of President Fullman. His memory began to stir and he recalled how rude and inconsiderate this man was towards him. He was pleased, for now he would feel no remorse for the actions that were about to take place. The man approached the entrance of Shepherd’s cave and, without intending to, avoided his trap. Shepherd then realized that he would have to take matters into his own hands. Within a few seconds, he bolted at the man standing six foot and his momentum caused him to collapse in the hole. For a moment, it seemed as though he failed in his attempt to capture the man, but he was thankfully mistaken. As Shepherd observed the man from above, he could identify him instantly and began to plead and offer his assistance, but Shepherd knew better than to comply. Instead, he proclaimed, “We are wild animals now. It is survival of the fittest.” Afterwards, he picked up one heavy boulder after another and simply dropped them down, letting gravity takeover from there. Shepherd did not need his eyes to assure his former cellmate’s death because the sound effects were enough.

After a few nights of cannibalistic eating, Shepherd was one step closer to freedom. However, he knew Fate would not let him off easily, so he patiently waited within his cave for another clueless criminal to come close. In doing so, he daydreamed about his family and how thankful he would be to see their faces again. His lollygagging was discontinued when a man startled him. Shepherd, being in the darkened area of the cave, was aware of the fat man’s presence before he was aware of Shepherd’s. Because the man was so outrageously large and Shepherd wished to see another day, he quickly deserted the cave and was forced to seek protection once more. Shepherd was momentarily uncomfortable and could feel the other criminals within his radius, hear them, in fact. He avoided this eeriness and walked north. After what seemingly felt like thirty minutes to Shepherd but was in fact several hours, he approached a waterfall, as beautiful as can be. He sat in admiration. Every trifling drop of water could be heard and life thrived due to its being. After a few seconds of this, his instinct kicked in, repeating, “Where there is water, there is food.” Other than the coconut trees, he saw what it was his conscious was referring to. There was a group of convicts just a few steps north of his position, all of whom were drinking from the waterfall. Shepherd casually stepped back and simply observed them. He quickly noticed that they were a mischievous bunch and they shouldn’t be tampered with. After observing them, Shepherd was readying himself to venture off, but they did something so sudden and abrupt, he had to stay. Half of the group turned on the other! Three of the convicts began exerting punch after punch into the other three mercilessly. It was an unfortunate and sorrowful event, similar to watching one lion kill another. In the defending group’s attempt to stay alive, they picked up what was closest to them on the ground and used it as a weapon. Because it was so immediate, Shepherd could not take everything in other than its aftermath. Five men lay on the ground unconscious while one man, beaten and bruised, escaped. Shepherd knew what this meant. He was a lucky man.
Shepherd collected the men’s clothing they had crafted themselves as well as a few of their dismantled body parts for tonight’s dinner. The thought occurred to him that he should take the axe that the individuals failed to use against each other, but he preferred traveling light. Because Shepherd needed somewhere safe to rest, he hesitantly walked in the direction of cave because it was getting dark, and he knew of no other location. He knew coming there was a bad idea, but he did so anyways. Shepherd, holding his axe in one hand and a sharp dagger he made out of two-inch thorns in the other, walked inside. As he did this, he could not help but to envision his family inside his head. It was awfully distracting for Shepherd. He was an excellent criminal with an inability to focus at times, which is probably what prevented him from successfully stealing the slab of meat. Shepherd knew this and in an instant came back to reality and put his guard up. Soon after he entered the cave, rocks began to fumble in the far right corner. He quickly faced that direction and soon remembered his use of trickery. He, without thought, dropped and hit the ground, for he could feel the presence of something, or someone, behind him. He figured ducking was the work of God because a fat man, the same fat man he was avoiding earlier, flew past his head. Shepherd then realized what was going on; he was being hunted. The fat man made the mistake of jumping and was trying to recoup himself, but before he could do so, Shepherd pounced with his axe barely coming above his head and on his victim’s shin. As unfortunate as it was, the man was immobile. Because Shepherd was victor in such a short period of time, he could not help but chuckle. He regained his composure and asked the man a few questions.
“What made you think that would work?” Shepherd asked dominantly
The fat man responded with,”I didn’t. Fool.”
Shepherd’s eyes grew wide as he began to turn around but was taken of his feet by the force of someone’s body colliding with his. Shepherd, landing on his shoulder blade, had a throbbing pain that prevented him from taking action.
The man that Shepherd had witnessed escape from five other hostiles was before him. He gave off a particular vibe that instantly intimidated Shepherd. His face was, as anyone could tell, damaged from past experiences and the majority of his body was covered in tattoos.
“What made you think you could come into our cave?”
“Well, if you really must know, I was in search of someone to assist me in eating my catch of the day.”
“I see. I should end your life right now and serve you to the fat man and myself, but you could be of use to me,” said the tattooed man.
The man offered his hand and Shepherd took it to get back on his feet. He was caught off-guard with this and knew what he must do to the clueless man. With the fat man still on the ground, Shepherd took out of his pocket the dagger he made for himself and pierced the tattooed man’s neck, several times. Shepherd felt guilty, but then again he wanted to see his family once more and could trust no one. So, he killed the only threat there was. The fat man then knew what was coming, so he tried to escape. Shepherd turned his head and almost enjoyed the sight, for he knew he was once again the victor. He approached the cripple without haste and ended his life as quickly as possible with his axe. Shepherd stood tall. He wanted to scream and release his energy, but he did not want to attract convicts. So, he sat down and thought. Shepherd thought about everything. He was skeptical as to why he was killing people, why the three men he killed had to die the way they did, why he and his family were faced with their struggles. He meditated and wanted nothing more than to be gone from where he was. He knew he had a few days left, so he focused on protecting himself. Shepherd had more than enough food and was not worried about others. He was more than well-equipped to fend off any threats. So there he sat.
A few days had passed and Shepherd could hear the helicopter in route to him. A few thousand convicts were placed on this island, and only ten of them waited for their ride. It was a sad thought, to know that a majority of them were either dead or probably wishing they were. But, Shepherd knew that they had played the same game he did, and lost.
When Shepherd returned, his family was eagerly waiting for his arrival. The moment shepherd laid eyes on his family, he exploded with excitement. They came running to him as he did them. They were hugging intensely for what felt like thirty minutes to Shepherd, but was in fact several hours. When they all calmed down, Shepherd told them the story of his survival. Of course, they were in awe, for they had not expected him to face these predicaments based on President Fullman’s brief explanation. Before Shepherd knew it, he was in search of a real job and enjoyed whatever situation he was put in. He could not help but smile wide to every pedestrian he came across and he suddenly felt thankful to be in the presence of others. It was almost as if his life was given the meaning it lacked previous to his prosecution. When his job interviewer asked him, “What is it that makes you special from everyone else?” Shepherd responded with, “Nothing. Nothing at all. We are all humans and deserve to be treated like one. I guess you could say I’m someone special because I’ve realized this fact of life, while a majority of others fail too. It’s a shame, but I plan on preaching this to rest of the world and doing so through your company. I can promise a positive impact if you hire me. I know actions speak louder than words do, so let me show you what I have to offer.”
Shepherd was, without delay, granted the job and gradually increased in his position. He came to be the business manager after a few years of hard work and could now provide the quality meal his family had dreamed of.





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