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Grade
8

I leap down into the dark, musty underground room. I walk over to the back left corner and I flip the switch. The room is flooded with light. I hear the soft hum from the bulky generator right under the light switch, my room has walls made of bricks and flooring made of tiles, in the winter I cover the floor with a worn-out, scratchy rug. Next to the generator is a small bedside table with a small cup full of purified water, my notebook, and a sweatshirt. In the back right corner is my small bed, covered in several fuzzy blankets and boots next to my bed. To the right of the door is a small stove with a coat rack holding my new rain jacket and winter coat, along with a light sweater and to the left is a dresser containing my clothes. I pull of my muddy shoes and set them on the mat in front of the door. Taking off my jacket, I turn on the stove, heating up the room. When the murders started many families and many people hid underground or in the wilderness, away from the cities. When my family was still alive they always told me to stay away from people “Trust no one” my mom would say. My dad always said to be careful, and if I needed to, to fight. At the young age of 10 I learned many ways to defend myself, my whole family learned self-defense, even my 6 year old brother started to learn. We were living a good life, compared to many people at least, but it all changed in October 3 years ago. I walk over to my bed and I lay down. October 3rd, 3 years ago, we had been in hiding for many years before that. Being underground and not really having any sense of time, we lost track of the years. We drew a calendar on our only chalkboard and we marked every day. Keeping track of months helped us know when we could go above ground. On April 14th every year we could go up to the surface for the whole day. The reason for only going up on April 14th is because that is when the first murder was, the people who have survived the various attacks usually check their crops. Several surviving families modify their crops to grow in only a few hours. The groups responsible for the murders all go down to the river and stay there for the day. I learned on October 3rd 3 years ago that the groups don’t always go to the river for the whole day. We had been getting ready to go outside, our specially made sunscreen made by my dad, not being in the sun for a year makes your skin sensitive, and my dad was a scientist until went underground. My younger brother, Charlie, had turned 10 several days before, thought he was old enough to go outside by himself. I wasn’t even allowed out by myself at 14 years old. He ran outside and looked around. “Charlie!” my mom yelled at him. She bounded up the stairs to bring him back in and lecture him about being responsible, she looked around her and froze. I saw her at the top of the stairs with a look of fear on her face. She closed the door, but I could hear everything. “Hey! Grab them!” a deep voice shouted. I heard a loud, bloodcurdling scream come from my mom, and gunshots. I fell back on the ground, stunned. My dad was in another room changing, when we still had a back room, He came out and saw me on the ground. He ran up the stairs and threw the door open. The men had disappeared, but they did not take my mom or Charlie. I saw my mom in the doorway at the top of the stairs, laying down, dead. My brother behind her with bullets in his little back. I black out and next thing I know, my mom and brother are buried outside and my dad never acted the same again. He just seemed to stop functioning. He cooked for me and marked the days, but he never talked about that day. 2 months later he just died. Being a 14 year old kid, Burying him next to the rest of my family was the hardest thing to do in my life. I risked everything to bury him, I remember it. Sneaking up the stairs in the middle of the night, and digging. Tossing him in and filling the pit, I remember the fear of being caught and ending up like my mother. That was the night when my childhood ended. I fed myself, took care of myself, protected myself, and entertained myself. I am now 17 years old, and I am all alone. I am sitting on my bed staring off into space, all alone. I dig through the pockets of my jeans to find an old charm that my grandmother gave to me on my birthday many years before we went underground. Engraved on the blue front says ‘Emily’. I am Emily, I am alone. I fall back onto my bed and I sleep. I wake up and I walk over to my dresser. I pull out gray trousers and a navy blue shirt, I pull on my worn down boots and I walk up the stairs to the surface. I push open the heavy metal and the small, cramped room goes white for a moment. The sky is so blue and the grass so green. I almost forget the day, April 15th. The time has passed to sit up on the grass and bathe in the sun. I still go up every day now. I risk being caught every day, if I want to survive, I must go up almost every day. My underground safe haven is in a field. The field has about 2 miles of grass and weeds around it, nothing to special to draw attention. Almost every day I walk 2 miles to the edge of the field to pick plants out of my small garden. The garden is 3 yards by 3 yards and its filled with potatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli, lettuce, and sometimes my strawberries. You may look at the garden and wonder how it can keep me fed every day, throughout the winter. I use almost all of my crop every day, so I have to make sure to keep seeds that fall of the plants. Before my mom and brother were killed, my dad worked every day to modify plants so we didn’t have to go up and risk anything, he made plants that would grow seeds on the stems. The seeds were edible of course and were a great source of protein actually. Sometimes to treat ourselves we would scrape off the seeds and eat them, they tasted like heaven after all the days of vegetables and fruits. Next to the garden is a small apple tree, Usually the apples are no good, with bugs and the occasional worm. Every year I gather all the apples I can find and scrape al the seeds, I crush the seeds and spread it over the apples. That is what I eat over the summer and the fall, during the winter is a totally different story. I go up to the surface every day to hunt squirrels and rabbits. I have one crop that survives the winter, cry-berries. Cry-berries are called cry-berries because they grow in the winter, but when you take them in and they heat up they seem to cry out freezing water. Cry-berries taste really bad, but they keep me from getting sick after all the red meats and no vegetables for several months. I haven’t had any sugar since I went underground and I have forgotten what it tastes like, the closest thing I have had to sugar was honey, 4 years ago. I snap out of my trance and I start my 2 mile walk through the high grass. After one mile, the sky starts to look gray and cloudy.  I quicken my pace and I see the garden in the distance. I start to run through the grass, trying to jump over the random holes and spikey plants. I get to the garden and start to stuff my bag with various vegetables. I feel a drop of water on the tip of my nose and I start to panic. If I don’t get back in time, I will be stuck out in the open field all day. Another drop, now on my arm. I fill my basket and quickly grab a healthy looking apple. I start sprinting through the field. Another drop, on my forehead. I hear a loud howl, on top of the gangs, the wolves come out when it rains. They groups gather water, and the wolves go out to hunt, the rain covering the sounds of them running through the forest. I see the shiny metal door. I run faster. I hear gunshots. When I get to the door I throw down the basket and I pull open the door. I jump down the small flight of stairs with the basket slung over my shoulder. The trapdoor slams shut, the wind pushing the door easily. I put down the basket at the stairs and I wipe my forehead with my arm. For a moment everything goes black. I fall to my knees and it feels like I am not in control of myself anymore. I think that this is never going to end and I scream. I scream and scream, my throat feels raw and bloody, but I scream at the top of my lungs. I claw at my eyes and my ears, but I have no sense of what is happening. I almost lose hope of ever being the same again and it is just over. It started and now it’s over. What was that? I look down at my feet. I don’t remember taking my shoes off, but my shoes are next to me, shredded to pieces. I look at my pants, they are torn at the seams where my ankles are, and my t-shirt seems to have stretched a little. I make my way to my bed, feeling like I am about to collapse at any moment. I fall back on my bed and I black out again feeling panicked. I am on the ground now on my hands and knees, my palms flat on the floor. The floor feels so hot, I feel the heat radiating off it. I can’t feel it through my hands, but I just know the floor is burning. I touch my face to the floor and my vision turns from black to white. My head rockets up and I fly back and hit my head on the edge of the bedframe. I lose consciousness. My eyes burst open and the first thing I look at are my hands. I pull them up to eye level and I see a big red line running from my palm to my elbow, I check the other arm, there is a long red line going from my pinkie finger to my forearm. I shakily get up on my feet and walk over to a small mirror. I see the same green eyes and auburn hair that I always see, but now I notice a small red star right under my eye, next to my nose. I look closer and it is the same shade red as the lines on my arms. My thoughts are interrupted by a loud rumble, my stomach. If I have been asleep all day, then I have not eaten in two days. I turn around and I see the basket of vegetables. I walk over and pick up a carrot, I put it on the counter and I turn to the basket to grab another when I smell it. Steamed vegetables, or to be more specific, steamed carrot. I spin around to see the carrot I was just holding steaming and looking soggy, but cooked. I pick up another carrot, but this time instead of placing it on the table, I open my hand, so my palm faces up. I stare down at the carrot and I see it start to steam, the carrot gets hotter and hotter the longer I hold it. Then I put it down on the table. I look down at my hands and the hand that was just holding the carrot was red, or the red line was glowing, my hand itself looked normal. “There is a reason for this”. I am just really hungry, I try to convince myself. I grab a celery stalk. Again it starts to steam. Enough! I stuff the whole celery stalk in my mouth and for a second it just tastes like a normal piece of celery, but it is starting to taste like it was cooked. Before I know it my mouth seems like it is on fire. I spit out the celery on the counter and gasp for cool air.

 

State
NE
Zip Code
68135