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The War's End
It was always dark and stormy in Duskus. Rain poured from the sky at an unbelievable rate and lightning flashed rhythmically, lighting up the world for the merest instant before plunging back into the darkness of night.
Olive Colt sat on her sofa, staring at the rain as it fell from the heavens and trickled gently down her window. It was just Olive and her little brother, James. Her parents had gone away, and they would never return. She knew that. The war was far too fierce, even for them.
James stood before her, consumed by his overlarge snowflake pajamas. “When will they return?” He pouted.
“They will return in due time. It is our goal now to stay hidden until the war ends. Remember the rules that I told you, James. Mommy and Daddy would want you to remember the rules.”
“Yes.” James declared. “Don’t turn on the lights. Don’t move the curtains. Don’t go outside. And never—ever—use the internet.” He said, a broad smile appearing on his lean face.
Olive sighed, collecting the innocent four year old in her arms. He didn’t deserve this—the corrupt government, the deaths, the country’s strict rules, the summoning. But she would fight to keep him hidden until the end. She would never break one of the rules or turn on her sleek, dusty computer.
If anyone did, they would be summoned.
And then, suddenly, as if wishes and fears only came true when they were wicked, there was a banging at the door. No one moved. James turned to Olive, scanning her tenants in his mind. Olive stared as the knob turned slowly, heart beating wildly in her throat.
“James, hide. Don’t make noise.” She said, positioning herself in the cold, quiet closet that had sat undisturbed for months. She burrowed herself behind the moth-eaten clothes and was scared. Where had James hidden? Had he hidden? Who could possibly be knocking at her door in this weather?
She heard a click, the lock on the house door releasing, and a light creaking sound as the door itself swung open. She made no move. She held her breath. She waited for that dreaded moment when the closet would open, when she would be found.
“Olivia?” A soft voice called out from her room. “It’s me. You need to come out.”
She didn’t dare move as she scourged her memory, searching for a voice, the voice of a friend. She was almost sure. It had to be him. It could be no one else.
Slowly, she opened the closet door and stepped out. It was him, looking as rustic and wind-blown as ever, soaking wet with the downpour. This man had done more than she could have ever done. He had protected her parents and family in the war and brought James and herself to this place, this temporary safe-haven.
“Olivia, it is good news.” He said, sitting down as if exhausted. He sighed and then continued. “An army has arisen, an army of the people. We will have this crooked monarchy removed by this month. Not another soul will be summoned.”
Olivia’s heart dropped. “We will be…” She could taste the word, imagine the word, and feel it rolling off her tongue. “We will be…free.” She said, and she knew that it was true.
Together, they stood, found James, who had been hiding behind the room screen, and set out to find their new lives—as free people of Duskus.