Still Alive, Still Fighting

Jack is a teenager living in a small kingdom until his life gets fully turned around when he ends up having to fake his death to save his family. Having to change into a different person for survival, Jack must team up with a group of well-known thieves.

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1. Past Part 1

“Jack! Jack!” My eight-year-old little sister, Belle, yelled as she frantically ran from the house, making a crunching sound every time her feet hit the freshly fallen snow. “What’s wrong? Did the evil twin scare you again?” I asked. “Yes! It was Brian. Help!” Belle yelped as her identical twin ran out with his pretend sword. “Oh no! The evil pirate is back,” I joked wanting to join in with the kid’s imagination. “Save me, Jack!” Belle shouted and giggled once she realized we were only playing a game. “Aye, lads! Walk the plank!” Brian yelled with the best accent he could. They have very blond hair and brown eyes just like our mother. We ran around and took turns being the pirate. It was about an hour later when I realized mother was watching. “Hey, Mom! Like to join?” I asked. “No. Just wanted to make sure you knew that you were supposed to help Allen about ten minutes ago with the shop,” she said with annoyance. “Whoops! Sorry. I got to go! Maybe we can catch fireflies later?” I asked Belle and Brian. “Yes! Yes! Of course,” they shouted in unison. I almost missed my mom smirk. She really needed help with the little ones since the death of Lizy. I ran through our tiny but cozy estate towards the front where we proudly own the only bakery in Greybrook, also known as the Beggar’s Hollow. We live in the poorest town in the kingdom, but we are also the kindest. Greybrook is normally forgotten of course because all the king cares about is himself and his money. “Hey, speedy! Why are you so late?” Allen asked. I wanted to scold him for calling me that nickname, but I would be in even more trouble with him than I already am. “Well, I was hanging out with the twins, you know,” I said. He gave me an understanding nod since he knew how hard Lizy’s death was for them. “Allen, have you seen the news board yet today?” I asked. “Someone told me that we were getting an update on what is going on with the war,” I really wanted to know because our whole town thought it was dumb that the kingdom was going to even try to fight the creatures instead of reasoning with them. “Nope. Not yet. I will stay here and you can go take a look. Get home as fast as you can, though, ok speedy? It’s starting to get dark.” I ran out the door, making sure to shut it, and towards the town message board. My family calls me speedy cause I am one of the fastest in the town. When I was halfway there I noticed that I forgot to grab my jacket. On top of being the poorest town in the land, we are also the coldest. It is always as cold as winter here. Good thing I remembered shoes. It was a very pretty day for the middle of December though. The clouds that normally covered the sun, like a blanket, had disappeared and the sky was left a very light grayish-blue. I trudged on through the snow towards the message board. A bunch of boring old stuff was placed on the board. Christmas is in nine days, there were more sightings of the creatures, another child went missing, and here it is. “Due to a number of flares, the kingdom has decided that we will be going into war against the creatures that lurk in the forest. It will be required that fifteen of aged males must join the army from each town. We will do a drawing in three days picking one male from fifteen families. If you know you would like to volunteer if your family’s surname is picked then go to the town meeting center and write your name down. Thank you.” My stomach started to hurt and I’m sure my face turned as white as the snow at my feet as I stood there reading the note. My parents can’t lose another child, especially not Allen. They won’t take my dad, they want younger men. Allen is going to volunteer for our family so I don’t have to. My family needs Allen too for the money. I can’t have a real job until I’m eighteen and Allen is eighteen so that is where we get most of our money. My brain was hurting, my stomach hurt, and so I started sprinting, not towards my humble home, but towards the town center. I was going to volunteer, I had too.  

I opened the door to my house, still feeling sick to my stomach, and walked into the kitchen. “Dinner!” Mother yelled. Father came downstairs talking to Allen in a serious tone and the twins ran in, all muddy from the slowly melting snow, and washed their hands. All was normal until they looked at me. “Jack is home!” The twins chanted. “Are you ok? You seem pale,” mother asked looking worried. “I’m fine just upset,” I said which probably caused more worry because Jack Adam Parker was never not happy. “Is this about what was on the message board?” Asked Allen. All I could do is nod as I took my seat and looked down at my food. I explained everything to them and by the end, their faces were pale too. “And there are only fifteen boys to be picked? We have a chance of not being chosen,” Allen asked hopefully. “Yeah,” I answered quickly which made Allen suspicious. “And you are sure you told us everything? How will they pick a boy from the families chosen?” Father asked and Allen nodded. “Yup. Everything. Right. I guess it will be random,” I said remembering that I might have left out the part about volunteering for our family so Allen doesn’t go down to the center and take my name off the board. “Wanna go catch fireflies now?” I asked the twins trying to make a quick getaway from the surrounding eyes watching me. “Yes! Yes!” Belle yelled. “Race you!” Brian challenged. With that, we rushed outside to be kids.  

“Jack. Can you tell me the truth about what the board said?” Allen asked pleadingly as we walked into our shared room towards our own beds. The room was just big enough to fit two small beds, two desks, and a dresser to share. I have lived in this room ever since I was a baby and the only thing that has changed is the crib being switched to a bed and the slowly worsening holes in the roof. When I looked up from my thoughts I saw Allen angrily staring at me. “I did tell the truth. Nothing more to say,” I lied, which I’m not very good at. “Ok. Goodnight speedy,” he said. “Goodnight Allen,” I said before my drowsy eyes started to close and darkness came upon me.

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