Backwards Revolution

Submitted into Contest #45 in response to: Write a story about change.... view prompt

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They stood on the pile of rubble waving their flag, protesting. I began running, trying to get to my little sister. I was out in the open, in the middle of the chaos. People were running in every direction. Screams and shouting rose up continuously. There was fighting and shots firing in the air, from the protesters. It further stirred the commotion. My vision was only focused on my small sibling. She was huddled. Crying behind a broken piece of wall, she cupped her ears trying to block everything out. I was about two school buses away from her. People bumped into me nearly every foot. I fell once or twice, but scrambled quickly to my feet best I could. The swarm of people made it hard to get up. It seemed to push me further away. Then a shot hit a few feet in front of me. It was right where I would have been, had I not been pushed back by the numerous people. There were screams filled with such pain, that I had wished never to hear in my life, especially so close. I couldn’t help them right now. I had to get to my sister. Even with that in mind, the urge still bugged me and the guilt welled up, as I used the chance to get past the scattering crowd. It opened a small path. I rushed, using all the strength I could. My side ached. I wasn’t used to this much physical exercise. The air that filled my hungry lungs tasted of blood and smoke, mixed among other terrible things. It was disgusting.

My falling-apart sneakers barely protected my feet from the cracking asphalt and debris, mostly being shards of glass. I stopped in front of a tiny crouched figure. Bending down, I raised my voice above the noise, “Katy!” She looks up at me, which causes the tears to increase. Her hands reached out and grabbed my loose, dirty hoodie. I wrapped her in my arms. As a small attempt to calm her, I speak softly. “It’s going to be okay. It might be scary, but I’m here. Okay? I promise to get us out of here.” Then I replaced the tone with a more stern voice. “But, I need you to do what I tell you, at all times. Otherwise, the bad guys’ll find us. Katy? Do you understand?” I pick her up and she nods. Her little arms grab hold, and I look around for a safe refuge. I begin running towards deserted stacks of rubble. They form a sort of maze, but it’s the only option I have right now. 

Katy’s little fingers had a deathly grip. She won’t be willing to let go any time soon. I try to calm her in between quick breaths. “ I’m going to get you back home. And then we can watch your favorite show. We’ll close the curtains to make it like a movie theater and eat popcorn. Just like we used to.” My mind is somehow clear, but there’s a danger of this fuzziness from shock. It’s ebbing at the edge of my mind, trying to creep in. I push it out. I can freak out later. Katy only has me she can rely on right now. That’s my job as an older brother anyway. Somehow my mouth keeps going. “I won’t even fight you for the remote, anymore.” I think she might have chuckled a little, but the reality of things is still too much for her to process right now. She’s still taking it in. I change my focus fully to figuring out where we should go and where we are. 

It looks like the world turned upside down, and now I’m looking at the aftermath. Nothing is recognizable. It gets quieter the further we dive into the jumbled mess of a former city. It makes it easier for me to start calming down, but at the same time it gives off an uncomfortable feeling. Why are things so quiet? I don’t like it. Let’s use this to take a quick rest. Our pace slows down. We stop at a makeshift cave made from two parts of a brick wall. The space was small, but somehow we both fit. There was almost enough room for me to fully stretch my arm out. I peel Katy off my hoodie. I take it off and pull it over her head. All the running made it too hot. Besides, the hoodie might comfort her, just like when police hand out blankets to victims. As my breathing returned to normal, I peeked from our little shelter, observing our surroundings. 

There was no movement. Shouldn’t there at least be a person or two to be seen? Nothing. It was eerie. There were still faint screams from the area to our backs. Then out of nowhere, a couple people appeared, blocking the road in front of me. I quickly retreated back into our hiding spot. They were coming this way.  We were trapped. If we moved from the spot they would notice us. They’re coming this way. It’s only a matter of time until they find us. And we can’t go backwards toward the shooting. I took a quick peek to make sure they were enemies. What caught my eye was their assortment of guns in hand. There were about 5 of them. Definitely enemies. There was only one option left.

I lowered my head back behind the cement wall. I crouched down to Katy’s eye level. I take on a serious tone, hoping to gain her full attention. “Katy. No matter what. I want you to live. Even if I can’t keep up with you, it’s important that you run as far as you can. I’ll catch up eventually. OK? The only other thing I ask is that you don’t look back. Just trust me.” Her eyes are full of questions and fear. She seems to know that something’s off with what I’m saying. Yet, she can’t quite put her finger on what it is. 

There’s muffled talking from the people ahead. They were getting closer. Their speech was becoming more clear with each moment. We need to hurry. I pull Katy’s arm along with me. We quickly rotated to another side of the rubble that we had been hiding in. There were some bushes not too far off. I pointed to them and told Katy “Get to the bushes. If I’m not there in a minute, run as far as you can.” She looked unwilling to separate, but I was firm. 

I knew this was the only way she could make it out. The path to the bushes was exposed and in their range of sight, even if it was off to the side. I knew this, that’s why. I start running in the opposite direction, right in front of the group. I was the distraction. Once they noticed me, I heard them start to yell. They shout for me to stop. So, I do. I need to stall as long as possible, and getting shot in the middle of running isn’t going to do much. 

I was surrounded. I put my hands up to put them at ease, but I already realized. I wasn't going to make it out this time. I could feel it. A sickening feeling grew in my stomach. Why did things turn out this way? I didn’t want to accept this at all. No, at least Katy made it out. Wait! Did she? From the corner of my eye, something shifted in the distance. Katy’s head popped up from behind a small bush. I won’t live through this, so I might as well make the best use of whatever seconds were left. All I could do was smile at her, even though my eyes filled with tears. It was all I could manage to comfort her one last time. Then my mouth began spouting off anything it could think of to buy more time. It was a useless skill that had surprisingly come in handy. It was also a sound cover. Just in case her movements or the bushes triggered any noise. If only someone would save her, since I couldn’t. I failed. I couldn’t keep my promise. Someone. Please. If anyone can hear me, this is my last wish. Let her live. At that moment, they all raised their guns toward me. It was over. And the last thing I saw was my little sister, before I closed my eyes and mouthed the word ‘go’. The darkness that met me was unsettling, but it was the only thing that stayed. As my eyes never opened to see anything else.

June 13, 2020 03:57

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