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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2. Present Part 1

Three Years Later

“Stop in the name of the king!” One of the huntsmen clamored at me. Running through the dark, dangerous forests got easier and easier as the long, lonely years went on. This on the run life I have is great and all, very exciting, but sometimes I ask myself why I don’t go back to my grieving family. Of course, I know the answer to that, I can’t go back, but I would love to play just one more game with Belle and Brian, have one last meal with father and mother, and help Allen with the bakery once more. I have always been against thievery, but it’s the only thing I got since everyone in the kingdom thinks I’m dead. I never steal money, though, other than gambling from time to time. I steal things I need like food and weapons, things that the rich can easily replace. It may have been a little stupid of me to think I could get away with stealing from the Summerville people since they are the richest and most cared about town but I’m going to get away with it, as I almost always have so far. I normally stick to the Wakefield and Wellspring towns, never the Greybrook town where I grew up. They don’t have much either so it just isn’t right. Anyway, back to how I got in this mess, I was running low on food and arrows and my dagger was dull so I stopped at the only food market and weapon market I could find, which unfortunately landed in Summerville. I stole a few loafs of bread and a brick of cheese, nothing anyone would notice, and then realized that the swords and daggers were guarded so I put my food and my newly stolen arrows into my bag and slowly started to shift over towards them. When I got close enough and I was out of the guard’s eyesight, I switched my dagger out for a new one and quickly took off towards the forest. I guess some of the guards noticed me because yeah, they are following me. “I want retribution for my shop!” The shopkeeper yelled at the guards as they chased me down. The branches were getting in my way, so I was getting cut as I ran, but I was still at least five minutes in front of the hunters. That’s until I tripped over the root of a large willow tree and went tumbling down a large hill. My ankle was throbbing in pain, but I didn’t have time for checking it, so I ended up standing, against my foot’s complaints, and started hobble-running towards a large tree that looked like it would be easy to climb. Once I got to the top and hid behind the leaves I noticed a sticky, red liquid coming from my ankle. I quickly tore off my worn sock and checked my injuries. I quietly thanked the lord that I didn’t eat any food before because it would not be good now. I took out the last of my bandages, wrapped it around my ankle, and then put my sock inside the tree so no one could find it. I like to go barefoot most of the time anyways, so who needs socks? I looked down from the tree and was relieved to find no trace of my blood leading up the tree because that would be bad. “He went this way!” A guard yelled as he kept running straight, completely oblivious to the ditch I landed in. I was in the clear. I decide to get some rest before I kept going. As I laid there in the tree, obscured from the guards and hunters, I thought about my mom, Belle, Brian, Allen, and even my dad, even after what he did. I wonder how their life was like right now. What were they doing without me there? I decided that I would do my weekly check on them tomorrow after my ankle and I get to rest. So I shut my eyes and fell into a deep sleep.

CRACK! I jolted awake at the sound of footsteps coming closer and closer to my hiding spot. It sounded like only one man and a horse, but I wasn’t sure. Of course, I had just thought that I was free. The hunters, guards, and even the people are precluding my chances of survival. That and me being at the bottom of the hierarchy. I peeked over the tree and there in front of me was a burly looking man with dirty, but still in better shape than mine, clothes. He looked like he could be one of the town’s people which means, obviously, he wants the reward on my head. I quieted down my breathing and stayed as still as I could for twenty minutes or so as the ragged man ate what I could only guess was dinner, seeing the time of day. His stallion was resting next to him. Is there any chance I could get that from him? I wondered thinking of all the possibilities for me succeeding, but in the end, I decided it could end up getting me fettered up in a prison. Stalking this man was getting tiring, so before I knew it I was falling back to sleep again.

I woke up, normally, this time, to see that it was the morning to what looked like a beautiful, cloudy day, perfect for my travels. I took one more look at my ankle, happy to see the progress in its healing, and then remembered that the man could still be there. When I looked down he was sleeping, along with his stallion, fortunately. I slid down the tree and looked in the man’s bag, but then I decided against it because if this man was poor too, I would never be able to live with the guilt. I started to walk towards the cooler areas of the forest, towards Greybrook, so I could see my family’s life once more. I just wish I could tell them because none of them seem happy anymore. I didn’t want to cause unhappiness for them, but I had to protect them.

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