Story Contest 2019 #1 - Highly Commended Stories »

Highly Commended Story - Through The Dark Of The World

“Through The Dark Of The World” by Danica Rave, Valiant Prep Homeschool, USA, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2019.

Danica is a 7th grade student who is an avid reader and has a tremendous imagination. She loves to read and write all types of stories. Her current reading and literary interest are zombies. She also loves to read Harry Potter, Greek mythology, and the Darkest Minds series. Danica wants to go off to college and become a highly acclaimed writer for Hollywood when she grows up. Her interests besides writing are dancing, acting, God, and just being with her family and friends.

Through The Dark Of The World

“Can anybody hear me? Help me! My sister is going crazy!” my voice cried. “We can hear you! Can you hear us?” The woman on the other line responded. “I can hear you! Please help! I live on 1326 Maple Ave, San Diego, California! Please come quick!” I said back.

“We have sent help! Stay on the line with me sweetie!” the woman said. “I will!” “What is your name sweetie? Are you home alone?” said the woman on the other line. “My name is Hailey Myers. I'm sixteen years old. The only other person with me is my eighteen-year-old sister.” I said calmly.

“OK, help should be arriving in about five minutes.” the woman said. “Thank you very much!” I said calmly. “I know what is happening, I have seen this in movies and shows. I know what to do! I know how to kill these zombies!” I said bravely.

“You are a very brave girl! I want you to stay away from your sister ok? Hide yourself and lock the doors!” the woman said. “I will I promise!” I said nervously. “Oh, they just kicked through the door! Can I come out?” I asked. “Yes, they will take you and bring you to me. Listen to them at all times. Ok?” the woman said. “Yes.” I replied.

I walked with the rescue team back to the helicopter. As we were taking off, I looked down at my neighborhood. I felt empty inside. I looked back at one of the men in a green and black suit that said his last name Conner. “Um... Excuse me Mr. Conner, where are we going?” I asked curiously.

“Well Ms. Myers we are going to a camp for the survivors. You know the lady you were talking to?” “Yes! What is her name?” I asked excitedly. “Well her name is Kate. She takes care of the kids that don’t have parents or anybody to watch after them in these terrible times.” Conner said sadly.

“Those poor kids! They don’t have anybody!” I said with a tear rolling down my face. “Also, Ms. Myers, you can call me Jake!” “Ok. And you can call me by my first name Hailey!” I said happily.

After about fifteen minutes of being inside the helicopter, I started to see the camp coming into my line of vision. "Whoa! This place is huge! Jake why is it so big? Is there that many humans still living?” “There are about fifty people here. So, it is not too many. We had way more than that, people have died, left, or went out to find other survivors and have never returned.” Jake replied heartbroken. “I-I'm sorry for the loss. How many were there before the fifty?” “Well Hailey there were around one-hundred people that included children.” Jake said looking down at the camp.

“Ok, get ready for landing! Landing in one minute. Hailey get buckled, it is going to be a bumpy ride.” a different guy in a black suit that said ‘Jackson’. “I will!” I replied with a smile. We landed in Camp Delta, it was beautiful! I fell in love with it the second I walked out of the helicopter! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to cry when I saw how many kids there were. I think Jake could see the joy in my eyes. He smiled and said, “How long has it been since you have seen kids your age?” “I honestly don’t know.” I said crying. I wasn’t crying like I was sad, I cried because I was happy! I saw a blonde-haired lady with green eyes and a huge smile across her face. She looked to be in her early twenties. “Hi, are you Kate?” I asked. “Yes, I'm guessing you are Hailey Myers.” Kate said smiling.

“Yes I am.” I said running to hug her. “Thank you so much! I am so thankful for how you saved my life and brought me to this amazing place! Thank you! Thank you!” I said my grip getting tighter. “Hi Hailey, Its Chris!” a voice said tapping my shoulder. I turned around curiously. “Hello, Chris!” I said with a smile. “Don't you remember me darlin’?” he said confused. My eyes lit up with joy! “C-Chris! Is that really you? I thought you turned!” I said crying and hugging him tight. “They found me before the virus spread through my body, they had to cut my hand off.” he said hugging me back. “I am so happy right now! My best friend is actually alive! I thought I lost you forever!” I said crying, my head on his shoulder.

“Ha-ha good one darlin’, you know I can survive through anything!” Chris said with a smile. “That's true you're like a superhuman or something!” I said while he wiped my tears. “Ok kids, we have some important things to do back in the office.” Kate said tying my hair up in a ponytail. “Ok” I said looking at her.

We walked for a few minutes until we finally got to the big white office. We walked inside and went into Kate’s office. “Ok kids, we need two new leaders for the camp.” Kate said looking back and forth between Chris and I. “D-Do you need us as camp leaders?” Chris said with his eyes wide and looking at Kate then me. “Yes, we have been watching Hailey with our cameras. She is a strong fighter and a born leader, same with you Chris. That’s why we need you!” Kate said smiling. I felt my face go pale.

“Did you.... did you know that my sister was going” I said trying to fight back tears. “I-uh” Kate said. “You monster you killed my sister! I know you did!” I screamed. Chris was trying to hold me and comfort me. I was too angry. “She lied. She lied.” I kept repeating to myself in my head. “Trust me I had nothing to do with your sisters' death! I swear! It was a zombie that was just walking around! Believe me! I can show you the footage!” Kate said crying. “We would like to see the footage Kate. Right, Hailey?” Chris said calmly. “Yeah, whatever.” I mumbled under my breath.

We watched the tape. Kate wasn’t lying. I felt horrible for blaming her, I don’t even know her that well and I don’t want her to hate me. I finally was ready to apologize. “Uh... I... um...I'm sorry Kate, I shouldn’t have blamed you! You are a good person, you saved my life. I really am sorry!” I said crying. “Hey, hey it's okay Hailey you’re just sad, it was a big impact on you I bet!” Kate said hugging Chris and I. “Let's go tell the camp who our new leaders are!” Kate said putting a flower crown on my head then one on Chris’s. She tied my hair into a bun and put flowers in it. I felt like a princess.

“You kids ready?” Kate asked with a very proud smile. We both smiled and said “Yes.” we walked onto a platform that was in the middle of the camp for everyone to hear and see. “Hello Camp Delta! We have chosen our two new leaders. They are young but strong! And in the apocalypse kids need to grow up fast! Meet your new leaders, Chris and Hailey!” Kate announced in a loud voice! “Take a bow and a gun kids!” Kate told us.

We did as we were told. The whole camp clapped and cheered for us! But I felt a pain in my stomach. It felt like I wanted to cry. The feeling was emptiness and heartbreak. I just shrugged it off. I put on a smile for Chris and Kate.

It's been nine days since arrival. I am happy here; I live in a cabin with Kate and Chris. I go on supply runs with Chris and a few other people. Everybody is nice here! I love it! I am happy. I still feel depressed. I still miss my family. Today we are going on a supply run. I am getting ready to go, I'm so grateful for my life other than the troubles. “Hailey are you ready to go?” Chris asked with a frown. “Yes, let me just tie up my hair!” I replied. About ten minutes later we were in the jeep and Kate was driving. I was sitting in the passenger's seat when I noticed a little girl sitting alone crying, she wasn’t any older than four. “Kate! There is a little girl sitting on the street! Pull over now!” I yelled. “Ok don’t yell! I don’t want to get into an accident!” Kate yelled back. She pulled the car over.

I ran out of the car to the little girl. “Hey! Are you okay?” I asked calmly. She looked at me very confused looking. “My mommy left me.” she replied wiping her eyes on my shirt. “Oh my! I'm so sorry! What's your name?” I said with a smile. “I am Lizzie. I am three.” She said almost crying again. “Well Lizzie, my name is Hailey! Would you like to come with me and my friends? We have a home and I was thinking you could us!” I said with a smile. “S-Sure.” Lizzie said nervously. We walked back to the Jeep.

“Hi! I’m Chris.” “I’m Kate!” they both said with a smile. Lizzie returned the smile back to them. “Ok, where to now team?” Kate asked. “Let's head home.” Chris said looking back at me. “Ok.” Kate said turning the car around. We got back home within one hour. It was dark when we were pulling up. As we were pulling up, the whole camp was running with zombies. I felt my heart drop, I wanted to be sick. It was only two hours since we left and our home was gone. Gone forever.

Chris and I jumped out of the car, Chris got the weapons. He handed me my crossbow and a gun. “Hailey!” Chris yelled. “What?” I yelled back. Before he could answer he shot the zombie behind me. He smiled and then ran off. I looked back and I saw the terror running through Lizzie’s eyes. She was too little to understand what was going on, but too smart to know something was wrong.

I started shooting the zombies. Kate was shooting them from the car. I turned around and saw something I could never stop seeing in my mind. I saw Jake, but he was a zombie. Jake, Jake Conner, the guy who saved my life, the guy that was my first friend in this cruel world. He was gone, gone forever. I felt tears rush down my face as I took the safety off. Chris saw me hesitating, and he ran over, smiled and then shot him. He fell to the ground hard. I picked up his body and put it on my lap.

I couldn’t stop hugging him. All I could think about was I would never see him again. “He saved me and I couldn’t save him!” I cried. “Hey, Hailey it's not your fault. Somebody let the virus in.” Chris said with a sad smile and tears. I felt a small hand go on my shoulder. I looked back and I saw Lizzie’s face was bright red with a huge smile. I smiled back. “Ok, team I think it's time to go.” Kate said taking Jake out of my lap. “NO! Don’t take him, please!” I cried. “Hey, it's fine darlin’ he is in a better place, I promise and hope to die.” Chris said squeezing my shoulder. I turned around and got up. I walked to the car slowly, I felt really sick. I cried so hard, as I buckled Lizzie in her seat. “Hailey? Are you ok?” Lizzie said concerned, but with a small smile. “Yes, Lizzie I'm ok. I promise.” I said tickling her side. She laughed and smiled, I felt good seeing her smile.

“Ok, ready everybody?” Kate asked. “Yes.” We all answered. Kate started the car. We drove for hours until we found a rest stop. We stayed there for the night so Kate could sleep. Lizzie started fussing, we had nothing. So, I decided to go outside and look in the vending machine for candy for her. All I found was M&M’s and a Skittles, I gave her the M&M’s so she wouldn’t choke on the skittles. Chris and I shared the Skittles and left some for Kate. It was time for Kate to wake up, so she walked outside and went to the bathroom. We heard a scream right as Kate walked in the bathroom.

I jumped up, grabbed my crossbow and whispered something to Chris. He nodded. I ran outside then I saw Kate, she was lying on the floor crying with a bite in her arm. “Hailey! Watch out there is a zombie in here. It's in the stall. Kill it, then take Chris and Lizzie and GO!” she said shivering. I did as she told. Right before I left, I shot Kate with my crossbow and kissed her forehead. She was the closest thing to a mom. I knew I had a big responsibility; I had to keep Chris and Lizzie safe. I cried as I walked to the car and got in the driver's seat. “Hey! Where’s Kate?” Chris said with terror in his eyes. “Hailey! Answer me! What happened!” He cried shaking my chair. “She is gone... she was bit! I'm sorry.” I cried as I turned the ignition. “No,no,no,no,NO! This isn't true tell me it isn't true!” Chris said crying. “I’m sorry! Please be quiet Lizzie is sleeping I don’t want to deal with a crying baby.” I said turning the car around.

The second we got on the road Lizzie started crying. I was so frustrated at that moment I almost yelled at her. The second I almost yelled, Chris went over to her and hugged her. She fell back to sleep within forty-five minutes. The sight of her sleeping made Chris sigh. “Hailey?” Chris said with a tired voice. “Yes?” I answered back. “Do you want me to drive for a while?” Chris asked with a smile. “No, it's ok. Just relax and take care of Lizzie, we will stop soon.” I said with a smile. “Can I at least sit with you?” he asked tiredly. “If you want.” I said pulling the Jelly Bean bag open.

He climbed up to the front and we talked for hours. I finally found a gas station and decided to switch seats. I fell asleep the minute I put my seatbelt on. When I woke up later that day, I found a note lying on the dashboard, it read, “Morning Hailey! Lizzie and I went out to get some food. Be back soon!” I smiled. As I was brushing my hair with my hands, I saw Chris and Lizzie walking towards the car. Lizzie was laughing and Chris was making funny faces at her.

Chris saw me at the back of the van smiling at them. They came running towards the van like they were racing. I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. The door went flying open. Lizzie was out of breath; I helped her inside and gave her some water. “You’re finally awake!” Chris laughed. “How long was I out?” I asked. “Maybe a day. I watched Lizzie the whole time, that girl is a hand full!” He laughed.

“Hey! That’s not nice!” Lizzie said scrunching her nose. “You know it's true!” Chris laughed. “Ok team! Let's hit the road!” I said making my way to the front seat. “Wait, before we go, Lizzie and I have something to show you!” They both smiled at each other. “What are you guys up to now?” I said smiling. I felt Chris blind fold my eyes. We walked out of the van. I kept bumping into things. “Ouch!” I said hitting my face on the tree. “We are almost there.” Chris said laughing. We finally got there. “Ok, take the blind fold off.” Chris said with a joy in his voice. I took it off and the first thing I saw, I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was beautiful. “Ta-da!” they both said laughing. “Oh my gosh! That is amazing guys!” I said with a tear coming down. I felt so warm inside. The things I saw were... White flowers tied with ribbons onto trees, the grass was a beautiful, bright, and green, there were flowers in the grass, and a little blanket lying on the grass with delicious looking food!

“This is for you, Hailey! You have worked so hard to keep us safe, so we decided to repay you with this picnic in the woods!” Chris said hugging Lizzie and I. I cried, I don’t know how hard I cried, but I cried! “Thanks, you two!” I said joyfully. We ran to the blanket, sat down and ate the delicious food they had found. It may not have been much, but they made it special. The meal consisted of Pop-tarts, strawberries, apples, doughnuts, and water with lemon to finish it all off. They were very proud of their creation. I felt all my sadness and sorrows wash away seeing them smiling and rolling in the grass. I felt tears rolling down my face. I felt like there wasn’t a zombie apocalypse, no killing, no death. It felt like a normal summer day.

It has now been three years; the CDC has found an actual cure. I am now nineteen years old, as is Chris. Lizzie is now six years old. We live together in a small house with two rooms in Los Angeles. We like it there. I made Lizzie a cute little room with what we could find in the stores. Chris worked in the police department; I stayed at home and took Lizzie to and from school every day. Things were back to normal. I love our little family, I couldn’t have asked for a better life.

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.
– Thomas Carlyle

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