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Grade
8

There’s nothing left in the world but chaos. Nothing but war and poverty.
The world is without laws. There is no leader and no government to keep peace between people. Such things are merely theoretical, unknown to most people. A group formed in the midst of all the fighting. They called themselves the Akatsuki, meaning the dawn of a new age. They worked quietly in the background, never drawing too much attention to themselves. They came together for one reason, to establish a government.
My name is Rin. I am one of the four original members of the Akatsuki. After nearly 5 years of working to build a government from scratch, we’re finally nearing the end. The four of us, me, Noah, Logan, and Karen have known each other since childhood and we share similar mindsets. We each also have our own strength that contributes greatly to the group. My specialty is my vast knowledge of medicine. Logan is a tactician and our leader. Noah has brute strength. Karen is our dog. Well not a dog but she is our tracker. It’s her job to alert us if there’s any potential threats nearby or if we need to find someone. She also keeps a sharp eye on the time. For example, I had just been in the middle of cleaning my tools when Karen burst into the room.
“Hurry up and pack your stuff, we need to get moving,” She barked.
With that, she swiftly walked out the door. I grabbed my bag, and continued after her. As I neared the door, the first thing I heard was Karen and Noah lost in another on of their arguments.
"God you are such an idiot!" Karen yelled.
“No you're the idiot you flat-chested moron!” Noah retorted to who knows what they were talking about. If eyes could shoot lasers, Noah would be smoking from the sheer intensity of Karen’s glare that she gave him.
“Let’s get going,” Logan suddenly said.
I blinked in surprise at the lack of his usual cold tone and short one worded phrases. Although he was considered the leader of our group, Logan was a man of few words. He rarely said more than a “ok” each day. I swung my bag over my shoulder and followed the rest of the group to the car. We drove down the road, the only sound was the crunching of gravel as the car drove past the endless fields of grass.
“Are we there yet?” Noah whined, “I’m starving, and I need to stretch my legs.”
“Shut up or you’ll get a knuckle sandwich for lunch, that ought to fill you up.” Karen growled.
“Yeah right, like you’re strong enough to hurt me,” Noah retorted. The two quickly spiraled into another one of their pointless arguments.
I sighed and rummaged through my bag, only to come up with a half empty box of crackers.
“Here,” I said, handing the food to Noah.
“Awesome!” He exclaimed, forgetting all about his argument with Karen, “Thanks, Rin!”
I smiled at his overly enthusiastic response and continued looking back out the window. The endless stretches of lush green hills rolled past as we sped along the road. I smiled at the blissful silence that engulfed the car, especially after the constant bickering between Karen and Noah. Before long, I closed my eyes and let myself drift to sleep.
“Hurry, we’re almost there!” He cried. “Just a little bit farther.”
I was running through a dark alley outside, pulled along by my brother. My bare feet stung from the sharp shrapnel that dug into them with each step. I lost my balance and fell flat on my face. I was lifted into the air and carried forward. I risked a glance backwards, and caught the gleam of a gun from afar. We were nearing the gate, the cold air biting into my bare arms as I clung to my brother’s shirt. I heard them close in on us, and with a click, everything went black. We were so close.
I was roused from my dream when a hand shook my shoulder roughly.
“We’re here,” Logan said, his face a blank mask, emotionless.
I opened the door and leaped down, which was a mistake. My knees buckled as my body tried to adjust to the sudden shift in movement, and the ground came rushing up. I braced myself for the sudden impact, but it never came. I was caught by Logan, who had moved with agility that I could barely follow with my eyes. My face grew bright red as I realized what had happened. “Curse my clumsiness,” I thought.
“Are you okay?” He asked affectionately, the usual hard edge in his voice disappearing. “You shouldn’t have been in such a hurry.”
“Yeah, you should be more careful Rin,” Noah said worriedly, jogging over to help me stand.
“She’s fine,” Karen grumbled, “She’s perfectly capable of patching herself up if she got injured.”
I rolled my eyes at Karen. She had an obvious thing for Logan and considered him her property. Even though he didn’t show the slightest interest in her, that didn’t deter her the least. I slung my fallen bag over my shoulder, and took in the surroundings. It was nearly 8 o’clock, and the sun was just starting to sink beneath the horizon. I pulled out a tent, and nearly toppled over when the car suddenly started to drive backwards.
“Hey! I’m still back here you know,” I yelled, knocking on the window.
“Sorry, my bad,” Karen said sweetly, her words dripping with venom. “I didn’t see you.”
I rolled my eyes at her childish antics. She did everything she could to make me absolutely miserable. I hefted the tent over my shoulder, and walked towards the others to start putting up my tent.
Logan cleared his throat to get our attention,
“Tomorrow's a big day,” he said, his deep voice filling the silence, “We need to be ready first thing in the morning if we want to end this.” With that, he walked away and into his own tent, but not before looking back and making sure that I was okay.
I sighed, remembering the huge task at hand for tomorrow. It was our last try to convince the remaining group of people to join us in creating a government. If we failed, it would all end there.
After we ate dinner and put out the fire, I crawled into my tent and layed down. “Would we be able to pull this off or would we need to fight?” I thought. “Would I be able to take care of the injured or would my skill not be enough?” I shook my head and tried to wipe the thoughts from my mind. Getting no sleep wouldn’t help me anymore than worrying would. I closed my eyes and let my mind drift off into my memories.
It was cold. So cold. I felt the blindfold wrapped around my eyes, preventing me from opening them. My arms were tied together and I couldn’t shake the grogginess from my mind. The last thing I remembered was being dragged away from my brother and a sharp pain stabbing into my neck. The door opened. The sound of thudding footsteps filled the room as the door was shut with thud.
“You see your precious little sister?” a gruff voice said, “As long as you cooperate, nothing will happen to her. I would hate to see her with a broken arm, or maybe two broken legs,” he mused.
“Let her go,” a voice rasped. “She doesn’t know anything about it.”
I recognized the voice. It was my brother.
“Lucas whats happening?” I whispered, my voice hoarse.
“Looky here she’s awake,” the voice drawled. “This way, she can feel the full extent of what I’ll do to her if you don’t cooperate.”
I heard the sound of shuffling feet. The kidnapper was looking for something. Footsteps thudded against the floor, coming closer and closer. I felt a burning sensation against my cheek, and felt something wet drip down my face. My blood.
“Stop! Please don’t hurt her,” Lucas begged.
The burning stopped. “Will you cooperate?” the voice asked.
Before he could respond, the door burst open and I felt myself thrown back, my head cracking against the wall. I felt myself slip away, just as a pair of strong hands wrapped around me and pulled me to safety.
I woke up covered in a thin layer of sweat from the vivid dream. I pulled on a jacket and pushed through the tent flap. The sun was just starting to rise above the horizon, its faint light glinting off of the dew drops on the grass. It seemed that no one else was up yet, so I sat down on the log, and looked up at the sky. How would today play out?
I jumped when a voice suddenly called out, “Watcha lookin at?”
“Goddamnit Noah, don’t sneak up on me like that,” I growled at the blond.
“Sorry Rin, didn’t mean to,” he said with a mischievous smile.
I heard the sound of a zipper and turned around to see Karen crawling out of her tent. Well there goes the peace and quiet.
“Well looks like everyones finally up,” Noah said cheerfully. “Let’s get this show on the road!”
“Wait where’s Logan?” Karen asked, looking around worriedly.
“Relax Karen, he just went ahead to check out a few things,” Noah sighed.
“When are we supposed to go?” I asked, anxious to get a move on.
“Right now,” Logan said, emerging from the trees.
We followed him through the thick forest, until we reached a cabin in the middle of nowhere.
“Is this the place?” Karen asked, her face twisted in a look of disgust. “It looks a cabin where kidnappers hide their victims.”
“Stop being such a baby,” I groaned, rolling my eyes.
“It’s just… so gross,” Karen whined.
“Stop arguing and hurry up Karen,” Noah yelled. Then in a much nicer tone, he called, “C’mon Rin it’s almost time.”
I quickly jogged over to the front of the cabin where Noah and Logan were already waiting.
“Do we go in?” I asked.
“Not yet,” Logan replied in a cool voice. The door suddenly creaked open, revealing a dimly lit table with six people I have never seen before.
“Now we go in,” Logan said.
We sat on the remaining four seats left at the table. I scanned the faces of the strangers sitting around me, engraving each one into my mind. When I looked across, I started into a pair of cold black eyes. I felt a chill race down my spine as those emotionless eyes seemed to stare into my soul.
“Alright let’s get started,” a pudgy middle aged man announced. “What reason will you give us that will convince our group to help you?”
“As you surely know, the world is filled with hate and violence. The only sure way to remedy that is to create a sort of system that will give the order and peace that our world desperately needs.” Logan stated. “We are trying to create that, and this system is made up of a group of people called a government.” He then reached into his bag to pull out a thick booklet of information, our information that took three years to collect and another two years to put together. “Here is the schematics that we have drawn out for the govern―”
He was cut off when a deafening blast exploded from under us. All ten people in the cabin were flung to the sides as the cabin fell apart from the sheer force of the bomb. I landed on my back and looked up just in time to see part of the roof hurtling towards me. I closed my eyes and brace for the impact, but it never came. I opened them to see Logan’s face looking down on me. He had pulled me aside just in time before I was squashed by the wood.
“Thanks,” I manage, sitting down as I try to process what was all happening. I came to one conclusion.
“Logan, we have a traitor among us.”
“I know,” he said grimly. “I have a hunch that there’s actually two.
I looked up at him in surprise, “Two?”
Just then, a figure hurtled towards us. It was Noah.
“Noah you’re okay!” I exclaimed, relieved to see him uninjured. He only started at me, his eyes lacking that usual sparkle. “Noah, are you okay?” I asked, starting to walk towards him. I was stopped when a hand pulled me back. “Logan I need to make sure he’s okay.” I said, annoyed that he didn’t seem to care about Noah’s wellbeing.
“No. He is the traitor,” Logan said coldly, never taking his eyes off Noah.
I looked at Noah in confusion, only to see a smirk slide onto his face.
“How long have you known?” he asked, eyes glinting with malicious glee.
“Since you’ve been mysteriously slipping out in the dead of night,” Logan replied coolly.
Another figure suddenly emerged from the wreckage. He lifted his head and I stared into those same merciless eyes from earlier in the cabin.
“Noah this is taking awhile,” he called out in a singsong voice. “I already took care of that redhead girl from your group and I haven’t found anyone else.”
“Thank god Karen was driving me crazy. That was really helpful Owen,” Noah said. “Just gotta take care of these two now.” He advanced, slowly closing the distance between us when something caught my eye behind him. Suddenly, almost too fast for me to catch, a silver streak flew behind Noah and landed straight into Owen’s neck.
“What the―” he fell to his knees and his hands clawed at his neck, trying to locate the weapon. He sank to his knees, movements getting sluggish and fell to the ground.
“Who’s there?” Noah yelled, turning around.
Logan smirked, “It’s about time Ian. I see that poison has been developing nicely.”
“...Ian,” I mumbled to myself. “Ian!” I called out, trying to locate the person as I recognised the name.
One person emerged from the direction the weapon had flew from. Ian Uballe. Noah’s eyes widened in shock at the sight of the famous assassin. He slowly started backing away.
“Don’t worry you two, you’ll have your chance to join Karen,” he said. With that, he dashed into the forest. Ian walked over and surveyed the damage.
“I’ll go look for survivors, you guys stay here,” he ordered and promptly walked away.
I stared after him and turned back to Logan. “Logan…” I began but he turned to face me.
“Rin, it’s up to us to finish building the government,” he stated solemnly. With a slight smile, he extended his hand towards me, “Let’s rebuild the world... together.”
I looked at him, and slowly smiled. Reaching up, I grabbed his hand, “Let’s do this.”

State
MI
Zip Code
48103