photo credit: earl35 from morquefile.com
The Last Day
I stood a part of the crowd as we watched the balloons power into flight, with the knowledge that the last fair the world would ever see ignited that moment with the announcement that the invaders had won. I clutched my little brother’s hand while beside me my mother and father tried to smile. It would happen now. Something that had only been dreamed about in prophecies or doomsday warnings.
“Come forward and state your number,” the man who looked like a hobbit said.
The band of people constricted and then broke loose as the police arrived.
I held tight to Lux. My lip quivered as my father took his turn and waved to us before he was siphoned off into another group. Mother read her identity bar next. I wanted to shout how unfair this all was, but kept my attention on the deputy ahead. His grim face told my fate should I run. I swallowed and flexed my fingers around Lux even tighter.
“Your brother’s I.D.?” the hobbit said to me with a nod to himself at my brother’s four-year-age.
“6214,” I said in a monotone voice.
“Ship to Lincoln,” the man told the deputy.
He stepped forward to separate us.
I tried to hold on but a nightstick came down on my right shoulder.
“N-o. Please.” I searched for my parents but found them gone. “He’s all I have left.”
“There are no exceptions to your destinations, miss,” the hobbit said. “Get on with it,” he told the deputy.
Again, the weapon came down.
I dug my heels in and refused to let go.
“Get her off.”
The day flashed dark and I lost consciousness. When I came to, it was to find myself in one of the steel pens cattle used to be held in. Someone squeezed my shoulder. I looked up to see Matthew, up until this year, my secret junior high crush.
“Elsbeth, wake up,” he said. “We’ll be there soon.”
“Where?” My head clouded with fog.
He swallowed. “The detention camps.” With a lean forward, he whispered, “A bunch of us are going to try and make a break for it. Want to come?”
I moved my lips over one another. “My brother?”
He hung his head. “They took Lux away with the other children. To fatten up. Our only hope in rescuing any of them is to get out of this cage.” Tears haunted his gaze. “My little sister, Maggie, was bound for Lincoln too.”
The groan of the truck halted our conversation. Murmurs came back through the prisoners.
“It’s time,” Matthew said.
I nodded as strength flooded my being.
When they opened the gate, everyone rushed forward. I kicked, punched, and bit with the best of them and found an open space within the madness. Someone grabbed my arm. Matthew. He gestured for me to follow and I did. We sprinted across the yard as the guards at the camp tried to contain their new population. Matthew lent me a hand in climbing the fence. When we were out and a safe distance away, we looked around at others who’d managed to escape as well. There remained one adult among us. The rest of us were high-schoolers, ranging from thirteen to eighteen. Twelve of us in all.
“Wh-ere do we go? What do we do?” one girl asked.
Matthew took the lead. “We go where we’re needed. Do what we have to. To be reunited with our families. To make things difficult for the enemy. First things first, let’s find some cover then we’ll gather food, fuel, weapons. This is going to be a long fight.” He lifted his chin and his hand found mine. “But it’s our fight.”
I nodded. “The government might have let too many in. And these terrorists took advantage of that, our welcome. Now, it’s time to show them that we were a nation born in blood and we’ll fight on till the end. And we will recover our families, our homes, and our freedom.”
Somewhere I imagined, an eagle cried.