“Can you believe it!?!” Barth exclaimed, collapsing upon Gary’s couch. “Real beds! Can you BELIEVE IT?!?”
“That’s not as impressive at all as all this marvelous food!” Jack countered, digging through Gary’s refrigerator. After all of the time spent away from civilization, the orphans were still in awe at all the essential necessities that we take for granted.
After a long copter ride across the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean that stretched between what used to be Pilgrim Isle and the continent of North America, we had landed at a large, army base on the East Coast. Then, after hours of interrogation by the general and his aids to find out the purpose of the Mayflower Orphanage and of the Dark Ones, we were released and sent on a plane to Gary’s apartment back in California, where we would discuss our future lives.
On the plane trip I had had lots to think about, and to worry. Like before, when I told the officers of how the Dark Ones had taken my family up to the dark side of the moon to transform them into part of an army of mindlessly-obeying slaves who would eventually take over the world under the leadership of the Vulture; all I had gotten back was a few sympathetic smiles and blank promises that they would do everything in their power to get my loved ones back.
In other words, they had said that obviously something had messed up my mind and, even though the disappearance of my family was mysterious and trivial, it was nothing to worry about, since the United States government was on the case and doing all that was in their power, which, in this case, was nothing. Like I said, there was lots to think about on the plane trip.
But now the plane trip was over and there was nothing for me to do but wait. Wait until the Company had gotten over their initial excitement and descended into the bottomless pit of gloom into which I had preceded. Wait until we heard back from the authorities the most recent news on the disappearances. Wait until a decision was made concerning our immediate future. Basically, nothing to do but Wait, until somebody actually did something that would help our present situation.
I remember slouching on Gary’s sofa for hours, regularly getting more and more frustrated at how the Company still seemed to be giddy over the smallest things, such as flowery napkins under the silverware on the kitchen table. As hours passed however, I found it steadily harder to find things to mentally complain about. After all, Gary’s cozy (though a bit inadequately small) apartment contained shelter, food, and friends, everything a body could want. And yet, this inability to find good grounds upon which to grumble simply made me more grouchy. I seemed determined to have a pessimistic attitude no matter what.
Gary and the others hardly noticed this, however; and it was with a cheery face that the Security Guard beckoned me over to the dinner table for supper. The food looked delicious, and I was about ready do dive headfirst into my portion, so hungry was I, when Jacques made an equally wonderful and horrible statement. “Let’s all take turns saying grace in one big prayer to thank God for watching over us all the time in the Orphanage!” he suggested. The others thought it a capital idea, and were soon bowed over their platters, respectfully listening to Gary’s contribution, as he had gone first.
This may have appeared a good suggestion to the others, who had snacked often within the hours spent in the apartment, but to me, it was absolute agony. I had not eaten since the skimpy snack on the plane, and that was nearly nearly 18 hours ago. I was about to jump up on my chair and proclaim the injustice of it all, when Jacques nudged me and whispered “Christopher! It’s your turn!”
I began the prayer by grinding out a gravely thanks for the meal. I continued with the same rough demeanor, settled on informing the others how dreadful was the starvation they had sentenced me to. But as the moments ticked by, I felt a peaceful warmth spread over me, softening my words and turning them into expressions of heart-felt gratitude straight from my soul. I knew without a doubt that this was the work of my creator, his way of smoothing out the jagged lump lodged in my heart. And by the end of the prayer, I was my old, smiling self again, ready to laugh and rejoice with the best of them.
At the end of the meal, the time when everyone pushes back their chairs and pats their expanded stomachs, Gary announced that it was time to discuss our future. “My phone here is at your disposal if you have anyone to call,” he declared, flipping out his android and placing it on the table. Otherwise, we’ll get in touch with the government and investigate your extensive family trees. I’ll be in the office if anyone needs me!”
At first, everyone seemed stumped. Everyone mentally rewound back before the Isle, the Castle, the Dark Ones, all the way back to their lives before captivity. Their parents and immediate family, of course, were discarded, since it was common knowledge that all the orphan’s folks had been whisked away for whatever Dark purpose the Vulture had in store for them (pun intended). No, it was to the less closely related relatives into whose hands we must submit ourselves.
Within half an hour, basically everyone in the room had remembered and phoned an uncle, or aunt, or fourteenth cousin ten times removed on their mother’s side who would be perfectly delighted to support them until further news from the government was received. But when my turn at the phone finally came, I was filled with a nervousness I had seldom felt before; since my relatives were, sadly, the ghastliest and most unfriendly-to-children people I had ever met. But suddenly, I got an idea, and, a determined look in my eye, I dialed a number and made a quick phone call.
Smiling, I put the phone down, the conversation a complete success. Turning around, I saw the entire Company, including Bill, staring at me with inquisitive looks. Even Gary poked his head out of his office to hear what would happen next. “Well,” Barth ventured, voicing the entire congregation’s question. “what did they say? Where are you going to go?”
Knowing that this would be a difficult moment for everyone, especially myself, I took a deep breath and readied myself for the announcement to come. “You’ve all been very kind to me; you Barth and your Company befriending me at the Castle, and you Gary rescuing us at the last minute and taking us here. But now, I must say goodbye. I cannot abide this state of inactivity anymore. I must locate my family, and make some action to secure their rescue soon, or I am afraid I will go mad. Therefore, I will not be staying with any of my relatives who will only restrict me further. I will go out in the world, and will not rest until the Vulture, and all those who might threaten the safety of my family, have been vanquished.
And with that, I, Christopher Rodriguez, the Chosen One of the Company, the destroyer of Dark Ones, walked steadfastly out of the doorway to fulfill my destiny, closing the door after.
Christopher Rodriguez is a 12-year-old Classical Conversations student and an illustrator for Animals in Time: American History Volume 3. He is currently writing another book with his brother and pursuing a future in theoretical physics and quantum mechanics. To learn more about Christopher visit letslearnkids.com