Coward

January 24, 2011
I was running now. My breath was coming in painful gasps. My whole body throbbed and it was a pain I could not escape. Pain of mind. Pain of body. I was running in a forest, only the moon as my light. I was trying to escape my past.


I fell asleep near dawn in the hallow of a tree. My mind and body yearned to rest. I only needed it. I could only hope I was safe. As soon as my mind closed, my memories awoken. All those that were once locked away.



Fire. I remember fire. Our house in the dead of the night was being burned. Pain. The pain was so great, intense. The house was in flames with my brother and father still inside, burning alive. I only just managed to escape with my life. I was injured and terrified. I couldn't’t sit there and listen to their screams. I was nothing, but a coward. So, cowardly I ran.


Nothing, but a coward. I woke with gasp, cold sweat clung to me. My body trembled. Not a dream, a memory. Am I nothing, but a coward? I stood up, decided not to stay there the day. I wondered the woods, hunger knowing in my stomach.


I found a river with fresh water and fish. Remembering what my father taught me, I hunted for a small meal. Starving, I devoured my meal within minutes, raw. Even as I walked, I bit down sobs arising. I wanted to cry for my loses and their pain.


The day turned to night and I continued to wonder. I felt rugged, wild. My once black jeans were now ripped, stained and smoldered from the fire. My red skull shirt was ripped and smoldered as well. My dyed black hair was full of twigs and leaves, mattered with mud and blood. My appearance cried coward.


As the night wore on, I found a way out of the forest. I was too tired to follow it that night, tired and hungry again. I collapsed, nestling myself against a tree. My body trembled from the cold as my mind opened up to my memories.


The fire burned through the trees and house. I stood outside, tears running down my face. No help would come. They won’t know. Fear ran through me, causing me to panic. I wanted to help, but I found no way to. I was useless. The screams filled me, my sobs jointed their course. I could not help my family. As I turned to run, my eyes were stuck on the fire. I saw a boy, hardly of twelve to my seventeen jump from the window. My brother. He escaped, he could be alive. I vaguely remember my name being called as I ran, crying. Coward.


I woke up, shivering. Slowly I sat up, not sure if my body could cooperate. Once I could sit up, I placed my head in my hands. There’s chance, my brother is alive. I have to go see. I can’t pass this chance up. So I started to run the other way, my eyes lingering on the exit of the forest I may never find again.


My mind opened up, showing me memories as I ran. My body pulsed heavily as I ran again. I stumbled and fell down hills, over roots. Tears ran down my face as my mind followed memories of my brother. My mind was focused on my past rather than my path. My body followed the path, trembling of anticipation.


I covered twice as many distance by the next morning, pushing on through the night. I collapsed by the riverbed, curled up. I awoke up once the moon rose, the light casting on my face. I drank only the water from the river, the cold taste waking me up.


I continued to push myself, my mind opening up to the path. My body trembled and I found myself leaning against a tree, gasping. I felt weak, ill now. The memories were too real now. I could smell smoke and I could feel heat. Too real to be my mind.


I slipped to my knees, trying to control my gasping. When I thought I had some control over myself I managed to stand up. I leaned against the tree, watching the run rise. My heart was beating in my chest, realizing it was over a week since the fire. That ruined my life.


Biting a sob back, I stood up. I started to run now, towards the smell of smoke. Running through the thick trees, the branches casting themselves in my face. As I ran, my feet stumbled over roots. I found of my home, the smell burning in me with memories.


The house was in a smoldering flame. Every possession I ever owned burning to nothing, but ashes. My memories would not open up, tightly locked away. Tears streamed down my face as my eyes darted side to side. My body wouldn’t stop trembling as I took stumbling steps toward the house.


I dared not touch anything, fear to find both bodies. I forced myself to control my sobs and gasping. I needed to listen. At first I heard only the faintest scratch of wind, crackle of the fire. Then…the softest whimper and sob unlike my own. The sob of fear.


Slowly I moved towards the sound. My mind returned to my brother, yearning and hoping it was him. The sound came from a collapsed area, the pieces on top of each other. They used to be stairs and the railing, glass embedded in them. The sobs were reduced to whimpers. Still of fear.


“Child,” I whispered in the cracks. I began to remove the pieces, ignoring my hands being burned and the glass cutting them. Several pieces fell away as I worked to free whoever was in there. The remained pieces fell and inside, covered with soot and cuts laid my brother.





Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

amalie said...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm
loved ur discriptive style and the way the story flowed! it's exactly the type of piece i'm trying to write...i really liked the ending- it wasn't expected at makes me want to know more
 
Karma_Crow This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 4, 2011 at 11:05 am
 Thank you. My mother read it and she was like, "This is the most missed up story you have ever wrote!" I showed her more missed up stories though. ^^
 
Macx14 said...
Jan. 27, 2011 at 6:48 am
This is a great example of what is known to be bleak and beautiful. You should definitely embrace this style of writing because it sounds like published author material. Keep writing!:)
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback