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Pen Your Pride

The Crossing

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Originally Published May 19, 2009 by Timm Holmes for Collective Inkwells's Fiction Contest

She never imagined that crossing the street could mean so much.

Harry and Wendel stood on either side of Stephanie, the shields in their hands nearly as tall as they were. The shields had once been car doors. Their eyes darted from the open windows of broken burned out buildings to the piles of rubble scattered throughout the streets, anywhere one of Dragon's Flames might be hiding. They couldn't risk a confrontation with Stephanie in the condition she was.

Dragon was an older boy, almost nineteen by some accounts, and was the self-proclaimed leader of The Flames. Dragon was Asian, muscular and a vicious fighter. No one knew his real name, but they all knew to fear him.

Stephanie caressed her round belly that extended outward. She was unsure of what was going to happen and exactly how it worked but knew there was a new person growing inside of her frail thirteen year old body.

Harry began to cough and she turned to look at him. Unlike the other Smiths, Harry was her real brother from before. They had survived together. Harry wasn't the oldest or the strongest boy on the island, but certainly one of the smartest. She thought about all he'd done for her and the others and couldn't imagine never being able to see him again. The other Smiths affectionately called him Turtle because of the glasses he wore. He was her younger brother by a year or so, but she looked to him for guidance as did the rest of the family.

Harry had managed to collect a number of books from throughout the ruined city and he had read as many of them as he could. When someone had a problem or if they got sick, Harry usually knew what to do. So when Stephanie started vomiting each morning about four months ago, it was Harry that revealed to her that she was pregnant.

After the bombs had all been dropped and the last of the bullets fired, you couldn't see anything but fire and smoke on every horizon.
The big green statue to the North was charred and broken. Looking south, burning boats and ships littered the wide expanse of blue.

They had all looked for a way off the island, but the
bridges had all been destroyed. Swimming seemed an unlikely success. Many had tried and failed to get to what had once been Brooklyn. A shorter swim existed on the western side of the island but no one wanted to go that direction. All day and night nothing but screaming came from over there since the fighting had stopped. They must have gone crazy to the West.

Dragon and The Flames had made their home to the North somewhere.

So the Smiths settled to the South East, taking refuge in some of the less disturbed suburban homes. Everything had been looted, nothing was left unscathed. But with a little work under the guidance of their former leader Desmond, The Smiths were able to carve out a decent existence.

Desmond had been the last adult to live on the island and when he finally succumbed to the sickness like the others, the family he had built needed a new father. Harry was well liked, knowledgeable and had been close with Desmond. He was the natural choice to lead the family. Even though he did not want the responsibility, he wasn't given a choice. It was unanimous.
Harry became the head of the Smith family.

Dealing with the threat of Dragon and his Flames was enough of a daily concern, but they also had to contend with the Scavengers that would come across the water from time to time.

They were adults and they would come take anything they thought might be useful. The problem was as far anyone on the island was concerned it all belonged to them. They'd been left abandoned here, so anything that was on the island was theirs. No one could be allowed to just come and take their property.

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