After losing her uncle, Jade finds herself trapped by many challenges - letting go of her past is the most difficult, even through climbing ravines, dodging cannibals, and running for those who would seek to use her. Jade has living in the wild in her blood - but is the wild really what she thought it was?..

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1. Moving On

     The sun seems through my window, and I shift uncomfortably on the sleeping bag's rough cloth. It was a rough night. No, it was a rough week. Rubbing my eyes, I dress myself in some of my regular clothes; a forest green t-shirt, a pair of ripped jeans, a brown leather hunting jacket, with buttons and fastens covering the sleeves and sides, a pair of tight boots that are made of the same material as my jacket, and to top it off with the cold weather, a simple crochet hat and scarf.

     After I have pulled the scarf tight around my neck, I walk over sleepily to my backpack, and pull out a peach. In a few days the peach will have gone bad, so might as well eat it now with a slice of bread. It's too bad I'll have to eat it plain, but I don't have a microwave, or butter in the small hut with me. In fact, there's no sort of electricity around here, in the wild.

     After I've eaten, I decide to go outside, maybe gather some food, go hunting, gather wood, anything of the sort. Maybe I could go to the lake later this evening. Then I remember how dangerous it's getting around here. There's not a chance I won't run into my hunters if I go anywhere far from here. I need to leave. Now.

     I jog over to the grave of Uncle Barlin, one of my closest relatives. He taught me everything I need to know about surviving. A tear slips down my cheek and the cold salty taste makes me shiver. He's gone. I think to myself. He's gone and he's left me in this god-forsaken spit of land. How could leave me like this? Even though I manage to keep my emotions inside, another tear slips down my cheek, again, slipping into the corner of my mouth. I place my hand on the grave of my father's brother.  He was pretty good at surviving here. That is, until... never mind. I'm not thinking about that. I need to focus on finding a new hideout. This one is too open, and the cannibals (yes, cannibals) will be raiding this place soon. But I need something to remember my uncle by. I run back to the house and grab my pack. I'm going to need a couple things.

     My Uncle died a few weeks ago, and I've been staying here ever since. Barlin was speared right in the stomach, and my father helped me drive them off. After that, he was gone. My father, I mean. One moment he was there, fighting the cannibals right alongside me and then the next, well, there was no sign of him.

     Since I've been here a while I've had enough time to make a gravestone and grave for Barlin and bury him. I had a small ceremony and everything. I know I'm going to have to find a way to keep the cannibals from getting to my uncle, which probably means burning the grave, but at least I got to pay him my respects. Oh, by the way, my name is Jade. Jade Maher. I've been trying to escape the cannibals and save my family for a while now. As if on cue, I can hear some screaming up near the river about twenty miles from here.  

     I'd better hurry before noon, after that, it gets darker because of the weather around here - that's when they like to hunt most of the time. In the dark. I don't light any fires at night, not even during the day. Even lighting a fire in broad daylight is dangerous, because light doesn't make them any less ruthless - I mean, they're not Zombies or anything. Although right now, I think I'd rather like the company of a zombie rather than a whole hunting party of cannibals.

     I run back to Barlin's grave, the backpack in my arms. Once I set the bag down, I reach in and search for some matches, maybe some wood, and Barlin's knife. When I'm done digging through the pack, I only have the knife and matches, so before I forget, I start hacking away at the gravestone. No, I don't have anger issues, but like I said, I need to take a piece of Barlin with me, wherever I go.

     Once I'm done hacking, I hold a triangle shaped piece of stone in my hand. It's sharp, so I'd better keep it in my backpack. I toss it over, and It lands on the side of an extra shirt. Oh how I wish I had a gun right now. I have long since seen a rifle, let alone any type of gun-like weaponry, so I'm hoping I can survive the journey I plan on taking tomorrow.

     Now that I've gotten that done, I get up from my crouch and start running towards the woods, which isn't too far behind the small hut that Barlin, my father and I used to share. I quickly run over to the nearest tree  and strip it bare of bark to about a foot up on one side. After I'm finished with that, I run back and take the matches out of my jeans pocket, along with the knife. I will never let them have him. Not as long as I'm here, with this wood and matches. The cannibals are getting closer, I can hear their hunting chants growing louder, their footsteps practically causing an earthquake beneath me. I quickly pick up the bark and dig a hole with a few chunks of it. I don't have any oil, but this will have to do. Once I hit the coffin I use Barlin's knife to cut a hole into it, and I can see Uncle Barlin's shirt, Next, I shove as much bark in the hole as possible and then take out the matches.

     The cannibals are only forty yards away now. My fingers fumble to light the match, but the shaking motion of my fear stops me. I look back. Thirty yards away. Quick! I think. Light it! I fumble to light the match some more. Twenty yards. Quick you fool, quick! More fumbling. I can feel my heart thumping inside my chest. Ten yards. Steady yourself, stop shaking, there!

     I light the match at last, the cannibals less than two yards away. Quickly I drop the match on the wood and pick up my still open bag. There is no time to see if the wood lit, I t should have enough time to burn before the cannibals can open it. Hopefully they can't get to him. I t was the best I could do, but now, I have to run.

     The cannibals are starting to form their regular hunting circle, trying to close me in and then - well, eat me I guess. Gruesome thought, but I guess that's what cannibals are all about. I run. Running, running, running, running, my feet pounding on the ground, backpack hitting my back with a thud with every step. I now realize that dodging cannibals is not quite as easy, but I guess I should have figured that out when Barlin got speared in the stomach. Yeah, I know, ouch. But I guess that's the only escape out of this world - death.

     Oh, and trust me. I've thought about if before. It would be so easy, dying. But then my life wouldn't have a purpose. So I guess that cancels out killing myself. Incoming! I think as I see a cannibal running behind me, along with several behind it, in the middle of the circle. I glance back again, all to see the frightening image of one of their freakishly long spears plant itself in my pack. I turn back around so I can focus on running, less on looking at the cannibals trying to kill me. I reach my hand on my backpack and take out the spear.

     To my unfortunately bad luck, as to say, my mother's locket makes its appearance for the first time in weeks. but instead of staying in my pack like a good memory of my family does, the beautiful opening jewel falls out. To my dismay, the locket is in reach, but at the cost of my life. I know the locket isn't worth my life, but how will I remember my mother and brother's faces? I guess the only way to do that is to find them. To save them. So I don't stop. I don't linger. I only run faster.

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