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Grade
9

The flashlight illuminated the rain puddles between the piles of old junk. The junk was useless, left here to wither and die, forgotten to the rest of the world. The raindrops thundered against the sheets of metal like a thousand stallions charging. The scattered rays of the flashlight contrasted with the deafening darkness. As the opposing forces of light and dark saw each other on the battlefield, the stallions charged even harder, leaving trails of dust and vaporized matter behind them. The armies crashed, forming a fiery train wreck, perpetually spiralling in a symphony of screams and flames. It was as if the unstoppable force clashed with the unmovable object, with the rhythmic clang of steel growing ever louder. Marching bands mightily smashed their cymbals together, a wave of sound rising up to drench their enemies and inspire their allies. The panicked footsteps of fearful soldiers grew louder, as the battle turned, the tide too much to bear.

 

The sickening crunch of metal hinted of the footsteps of one of those fearful soldiers, and his hunter behind him. Hot on his trail, the predator ran after his prey, seeking luscious rewards for his exertions. “Stop,” croaked out the hunter, swinging side to side as he inhaled and exhaled, “Stop, there is no way… to escape… from here, thief!” His flashlight shook violently, as if it had a mind of its own. Heaving with his forceful efforts, the hunter slowed, the anxiety of possible defeat taking its toll on his soul. The weight was far too much of a burden for him and his paltry spirit. “I see… you are weakening… not long now.” whispered the hunter, with his feelings fatigued from over-exertion.

 

The dark rain covered the slippery metal with a slick coating, hard to see. The pair’s hurried footsteps dislodged long pieces of metal that had not seen the living for a quite a long while. Their feet drilled past the corroded metal, crumbling away like sand. Coils of wire snaked away from the unusual movement, cautious of this new foe. They stood up with dual fangs, long and brown, glimmering in the occasional beam of light. Some of the kings sparked, their car batteries ridding themselves of their final burden, forming two solitary eyes in the darkness.

 

The rain swallowed the land. The piles of junk formed islands as the torrent thickened. The water formed a transparent skin, shimmering and shifting every second. The pair’s movements were sluggish, trying to charge through wave upon wave of rising water. Soon the hunted fell, the final barrier bounced him back like a ragdoll. “Wait,” yelled the fallen one in despair “It’s a rusty conductor! It has been rotting a long time in this cursed rain! It is worthless to the rest of the world!” The water distorted the words, making the sophisticated yell a shrill scream of a recently banished banshee, ready to seek vengeance.

 

“Worthless or not, you still stole it, coward! You’re trespassing on private property! Why are you even here?” snapped the hunter, feeling the rejuvenating rush of victory wash over him, as if being baptised for the first time. His weary wounds seemed to magically disappear, out of sight, out of mind, in this dark night of pouring rain.

 

“I am here to retrieve a conductor, for one of my inventions.” the prey cheerfully chirped, as if the last few minutes never happened, perhaps hoping his tone would soothe the furious man.

 

The hunter firmly responded, knowing he was in full control of this situation, “You should know these lands are lawless. Nobody protects you here. Now tell me why I shouldn’t just… deal with you, here and now, and spare all the boring legalities of court.” The hunter  threateningly brandished his flashlight. It flickered whenever he hit it against his calloused palm. “What’s your name, Dead Meat?” demanded the predator. He felt more powerful with every passing second, enjoying this rare moment of social dictatorship.

 

“Fermish,” answered the prey, “What’s yours?”

 

“Garlil,” the hunter murmured, “ I mean, uhh, Bill, yeah, that’s my name. I mean, uhh, I, err, you don’t need to know that, you dirty thief!” The question caught him off guard. It unearthed a particularly painful memory from his childhood, as his words stumbled like a town drunk. The only memories he had were of bad apples, rotten to the core, and a few greasy worms to add to the flavor.

 

Clearly, this man is absorbed in his thoughts,Fermish thought, perhaps I may still have a window of opportunity to escape when he is distracted again. Fermish now responded, “Hey, just trying to be friendly. Say, don’t you have a nice cozy fire somewhere far away from all this rain, and away from this decent human being?” Fermish had a game plan set in his mind. He made a hail mary, he just had to follow through.

 

“Yeah, I mean, no.“ let slip Garlil, a helpless feeling starting to itch at his brain, playfully nibbling at the fringes of his mind. Little did he know that his mind was sowing a powerful seed, splitting his attention between his home, memories, and this intruder. “Just wait here for a minute, okay?” said Garlil, sweating profusely, the flashlight nearly falling out of his wet hands.

 

Fermish knew this type of look, he had seen it before. The squinted eyes, furrowed eyebrows, the creased corners of the mouth. Yes, he had seen it all before. There is a skeleton of thoughts inside all of us, just waiting to burst out. Today was his time. Fermish thought ominously.  First it would infect the brain, sending dark thoughts to cloud your mind and ensnare it, slowly crushing the breath out of it, starving it of its lifeline: the rest of the body. Then the corruption would spread further, riding along the fearful pulses of the heart. The terrified body would respond with unnatural tremors straight from a horror movie to shake the taint out. The unbridled chaos and complete anarchy still spread like wildfire, while the priest looked on in terror, unable to avert his eyes. No amount of holy water would stop those demonic wild cats from clawing at your helpless soul, as if it was a scratching post made of the only the most luxurious and expensive material.

 

“Do you want help?” inquired Fermish, “ Do you need assistance? Who are your parents? What were you doing at 8:03 pm on the night of February 13th, 1999? Do you feel anything that may be… uncomfortable?” The constant questioning was taking its toll; Garlil’s emotions mixed and bubbled like a witch’s cauldron. His mind was full to the brim, it overflew with forbidden hexes and dark curses of eldritch horrors from ages long ago.

 

“Uh… n-no... m-m-maybe.” timidly stammered Garlil, barely able to formulate words, his mind a jumble of thoughts. His slanted view on life formed a knotted ladder, latched onto a cliff. The knots were being untied by the mischievous wind, and the strands of thread were breaking under his body weight. He was desperately attempting to cling on the few strings of life he had on this earth. Little did he know that his actions only put more stress on those very same strings, pulling him deeper into the rabbit hole. While Garlil was busy trying to pull himself out, Fermish was given an opportunity to escape. He gladly used his “get out of jail free” card, now relishing the thoughts of the pointless things he could use a conductor for as he ran away from this junkyard of metal objects from eras of the past, present, and future.

 

The battle was nearing its end.  Once cowardly soldiers began to harden and return to the fight. The reins of war changed hands, the fickle beast now tired and predictable. The tide was turning, the pouring rains washing the fatigue and exhaustion from the soldiers. Their solid stone faces began to crack, revealing colorful faces of loving fathers and proud warriors. The arms of the opposing marching bands began to tire, the once glorious sound turning into a warped record, screeching like serrated blades on steel shields. The iron tides of war swept over the enemy, and the world had no more need of such atrocities. The gloomy endless rains evaporated and the sun shone once more. However, as quickly as it appeared, it set in a wave of rising red. The revealing light shone on the excavated horrors of previous conflicts, and the people demanded righteous vengeance for their murdered comrades. They traded their honorable causes in for pure, blind fury on anyone that neared them. The permanent rains washed away the cursed metallic evidence beneath eternal darkness, building up the battlegrounds of the future.

State
MI
Zip Code
48108