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Struggling to Survive

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Struggling to Survive

By Sadie Malmberg

 

Chapter 1

 

Victoria watched the propellers start to turn. They gathered speed and spun faster and faster until eventually they reached their full speed. Then the airplane drifted down the runway and it too, gathered speed. Soon the airplane lifted off entirely and flew faster than a racecar could drive. The runway got smaller and smaller and the ground got farther and farther away from them. In all of a few minutes, all the farmers’ fields turned to checkerboard squares. A robotic voice came on the microphones indicating all passengers may now take off their seat belts. Victoria unbuckled hers. Occasionally she felt the airplane bounce up and down on pockets of wind throughout the ride.

Suddenly, a jerk came from the back of her seat. Then another…and another. The jerks kept coming. When she looked behind her to see what it was, the result was a little boy she estimated was about eight years old with an extremely guilty look on his face. Victoria assumed it was him who was kicking her seat. She glared at him her meanest glare.

Victoria checked her watch. It had been a little over an hour since they had lifted off. She sat back and calculated the time it would take for them to get to their cousin’s house. It would be about two and a half hours now. Victoria grew impatient. She rolled up the window blind and looked outside. All that could be seen was nothing but vibrant blue.

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When she looked down, at first, she saw nothing but blinding light. Then as her eyes adjusted, she drew in her breath at the sight. What she saw was magnificent. Below them were the Rocky Mountains – magnificent, almost majestic ice-capped mountains, with absolutely no sign of vegetation on them. Circling the tall peaks were hawks and bald eagles. Oh, how she longed to live there, free as one of those eagles.

To her surprise, Victoria saw the mountainside speeding toward them. She could tell something was had gone terribly wrong and her stomach dropped. As they gathered speed, she felt like her insides were left behind in the sky and a million moths and butterflies were fluttering uncomfortably around in her stomach. Her heart was beating so fast it felt like it would break her ribs.

A few seconds later, there was a huge, earsplitting crash and Victoria was jerked forwards. The impact was unbearable but she was thankful it lasted only for a split second. Once she came back to her wits, Victoria was surprised there was not a sound from any of the other passengers. Then, as she turned to look, she saw why. It was a horrible and gruesome sight. Victoria’s heart jerked and then sank. All of the right half of the airplane was crumpled flat. All the people who were sitting on the right side were dead under the wreckage. She was thankful, none of the five siblings were on the right side. Only a couple other people had survived. A small wisp of smoke trailing from underneath a door caught her attention. Victoria unbuckled her seatbelt and in a panic, she rushed to get out of the airplane. The smoke was filling the whole airplane now and she could hardly see anything at all.

“Where’s Robin?” Elizabeth asked looking around.

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“Coming!” Robin rushed to join them. Victoria noticed he was limping. The right leg of his blue-jeans was stained red with blood. Together they stumbled through the smoke-filled airplane. The smoke stung their nostrils and filled their lungs. Victoria nearly suffocated. They groped around through the airplane trying to find a door. Once they had found one, Elizabeth and William both managed to pry it open. The airplane had crashed so that it was tilted and the door that they were exiting from was on the highest part. Victoria looked down. The jump to the ground looked deadly.

“I’ll go first,” said Elizabeth. Once Elizabeth had found the courage to jump and was finally down, she signaled for Robin to come next. The rest came down one by one.

Once Elizabeth made sure they were all down, she shrieked:

“Run!” Victoria shouted and powered her legs as fast as she could after Elizabeth down the slope. She hadn’t taken a few steps before the plane burst into flames. The fear gave her an extra burst of energy and she ran nearly twice as fast as she had been running before. Victoria dared looked back. She hadn’t realized he was far ahead of the others.

“Come on!” she called. “What are you waiting for?”

“Wait!” William called. “We have to wait for Robin.” Victoria scanned around the forest looking for Robin. He was nowhere in sight.

“Robin!” She called. No reply. “Robin!” Her heart beat even faster and her eyes went blurry with fear. The few people that survived had already run off now. She had to strain to keep her legs from running into the forest. It was like trying to run in a dream except the exact opposite. In dreams, when Victoria tried to run, it felt like she was trying to run through a bog. Here, it was the exact opposite. In this instance, it felt like there was

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a huge magnetic force pulling her feet into the forest.

What Victoria saw next was more frightening and astonishing then she could handle. Elizabeth made an extremely daring move and ran strait into the fire. She knew it was extremely foolish, but it was the only way she could find Robin. She dropped down onto her hands and knees and covered her mouth and nose with her shirt to filter out the smoke. The heat was unbearable and the fire singed her clothes but still she kept on.

“Robin!…Robin!” She called repeatedly. No reply. Each moment that suggested doubt, her stomach fell one centimeter lower inside of her. Elizabeth kept searching. Sudden movement among the burning shrubs caught her eye. It was Robin huddled in a ball half unconscious. Elizabeth crawled over and dragged Robin through the fire. This was harder than she thought. Now, crawling useless because the fire was growing just about as fast as Elizabeth was could crawl. As soon the others spotted her and Robin, they ran to help them out. Once they were safe and away from the fire, Elizabeth breathlessly dropped to the ground and rolled around to smother her smoldering clothes. The fire was growing dangerously close.

Elizabeth picked Robin up and hauled him onto her shoulders. “Run!” she called again and they all stumbled through the trees.

 

Chapter 2

They had been jogging for a few hours now and everyone thought they would collapse any moment, but they had to keep going because of the fire. Everyone was covered in dirt and sweat. Victoria glanced behind her. The fire was growing faster than

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they were running. Something caught her toe and she fell with a thump to the ground. A root had tripped her. With a throbbing foot she heaved herself off the ground and continued running to catch up with the others. For a couple seconds, Victoria thought she heard a rushing or roaring sound. Before she knew exactly what it was, Margaret jumped with a splash into something clear and moving. It was a river. Victoria gratefully leaped in. The coolness of the river refreshed her. It felt like she could stay there forever. The fire grew closer and closer to the river but she didn’t care. It couldn’t get her. Soon the water itself grew hot.

“How do we get to the other side?” asked Margaret. Victoria estimated it was about ten meters or so across to the other side of the river. The currant was too fast to swim, and there was no boat or anything. If they stayed on the side that they were on, they would be turned into meatballs in no time. Victoria glanced behind her. The fire was already growing dangerously close. It would only be a couple moments until the fire would reach the edge. Another run instinct exploded inside her and she had to strain to keep herself from running wildly in a random direction.

Elizabeth looked around probably thinking the exact same thing that Victoria was thinking. “Good question. The only thing we can do to at all besides getting roasted alive is to swim across and risk it.”

Victoria was expecting that answer. It was the only thing they could do. But how were they going to swim across this roaring river which could easily sweep them down and under and drown, let alone Robin unable to swim?

 

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“I’ll go on the on the downstream side so nobody gets swept away by the current. We’ll aim for that tree slightly upstream. When I say go, swim like crazy… one, two, three, go!” Victoria pushed off the shore with all her might and swam as hard as she could. When they got to the middle, Margaret bumped into her and Victoria got dragged under. In a panic she climbed back to the surface and gasped for air and continued swimming like a madman. Her arms and legs were aching. With her feet she reached for the bottom that wasn’t there. Once they had passed the strongest part of the current, Victoria slowed down and let herself be drifted slightly downstream. Finally she just managed to reach the shore and she dropped down on the sandy riverbank breathlessly, her muscles aching.

After they had recovered, they got up and continued up the steep bank and away from the river about a minute or so just to get away from the heat of the fire. Elizabeth set Robin down at the base of a tree. He was breathing and his heart was pumping though he was still not awake. He’ll probably wake up pretty soon, she unsuccessfully tried to reassure herself.

The sun was dipping down behind the mountains and they had gone without lunch or supper, but everybody was too tired to care. They all collapsed down on the pokey shrubs and immediately fell asleep.

 

Chapter 3

Victoria was the first one to wake. She was expecting to wake up in her bedroom with the ceiling with a squashed mosquito and a couple brown footprints above her…but

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she wasn’t in her bedroom. Instead she was looking up at a light grayish-blue ceiling with shiny bright points distributed across it. Wha…?Where am I? as she went through the previous day in her mind, she finally remembered she was back in that light green forest and across the stream and the forest fire and lost in the middle of nowhere. The shiny points on the navy blue ceiling were the stars in the night sky. There were at least twice if not, three times the amount of stars than at home. The beauty was breathtaking. To keep herself entertained, she found and named all the constellations she knew about. In all of about two minutes she had spotted a couple shooting stars.

Right now it was still pretty dark. She estimated it was around three or four in the morning. Victoria sat up. A few meters to her right, the ground sloped down sharply leading to the river. Past the river the fire had died down slightly but it was still burning, casting an orangish-reddish glow on the river. Some of the trees were bare now without any needles on them. Victoria lay back down and waited for sleep to swallow her…but it never came. She shifted onto her back and gazed up at the stars. A hundred thoughts raced through her head. When will we get back home…how? Which direction is north? Do Mom and Dad know our plane crashed? If so, what are they doing right now? Are they trying to find us? If not, how will they find out our plane crashed?… she never remembered what she thought of after that.

 

Chapter 4

Robin woke to nothing but wilderness. He found himself in a sub-alpine forest with absolutely no sign of humans. His stomach dropped to the floor…ground. He sat up

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in panic looking around him.

“What? Where am I? Where are Mom and Dad?” He scanned around the uninhabited forest. He was completely lost. His stomach clenched and turned up-side-down and his eyes watered. In a panic he leaped to his feet and dashed through the trees to find just any sign of humans – just anything – even a footprint. He dashed through the trees looking for anything that could get him home. Suddenly, a heavy weight slammed down on him and he fell face down into the ground. The weight drove out all the air out of his lungs. He struggled to get back up, but the weight kept him down.

“Get off! Help!” He shrieked. He realized just a second later that his exclamation was completely useless. He was left struggling under the heavy weight.

“Robin! Robin! It’s just me! It’s Elizabeth! It’s OK!” A voice said. It seemed to be coming from the voluminous galumph that was sitting on top of him. “Robin! Calm down!” As he recognized the voice, he eventually stopped struggling. The heavy weight slowly lifted off. He got up sore all over and completely breathless. The thing that had jumped on top of him indeed, was Elizabeth. He was disgusted that he was such a fool and randomly ran just anywhere, – that wouldn’t help anything, plus that he could be so easily knocked down by his sister.

“Where are the rest?” he asked.

“They’re still back there where we woke up. C’mon,” Elizabeth urged. He stiffly walked back with his sister. Robin realized just now that his stomach was growling about thrice a minute. His stomach felt as if it was digesting itself. The five of them sat on the ground doing nothing except for thinking about how hungry they were and how hopeless

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they were. Robin’s famishment had gotten unbearable now. It felt as though he was going to die of starvation any moment. The only way he could ease the pain in his stomach was by lying down on his side and curling up in a ball.

 

He must have fallen asleep by now because he woke up to find the sun getting low in sky. Now it felt as though he didn’t have any stomach at all. He looked up. all the others were still awake. Suddenly Victoria started crawling to the right. Robin realized that the thing she was crawling toward was pathetic little patch of dandelions. She motioned to come over. The five of them filled their fists and faces full of the little yellow flowers. The flowers tasted horrible but Robin was too hungry to care. He loved the feeling as the vegetable filled his stomach. Normally Robin hated all kinds of vegetables, and if he was not starving and was made to eat this, he would have nearly puked. Right now, he was just too hungry to care. The whole patch was torn up by the roots and completely demolished in no time. After that, they all felt a little bit better…though not much.

That night, William watched the sun slowly crawl down toward a distant mountain. Slowly, very slowly, one millimeter at a time, the sun just barely touched the mountain, and the snowy peak glistened brightly in the sun’s rays. The loud call of a chickadee jerked William out of his trance. He noticed everything sounded eerily silent. He twisted around, looking for the others. Nobody was in sight. What? Where did everyone go? Uncontrollable panic rose in his stomach. If he could control it, he wouldn’t be nervous at all. “Beth? Vicky? Margie? Bob?” He called, his throat tight and his voice

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shaking.

“Yeah?” Elizabeth’s voice replied from what seemed like nowhere. Relief flooded through his body. William relaxed. He had been as stiff as rebar ever since he realized they were gone.

“Where are you?” He called back.

“Didn’t we tell you?” He realized that Elizabeth’s voice came from the direction of the river.

“No,” William slid down the slope to meet his siblings.

“Ah, man,” Elizabeth sighed. “You must be an extremely ignorant oaf if you couldn’t here us saying were down at the river from like…a meter away from you. It’s okay, there’s nothing to worry about,” Elizabeth said as if she was comforting a five year old in the middle of a thunder storm. William was so mad for being treated like a baby he couldn’t think of what to say. Somehow, he had to get revenge. With no obvious sign, he sprang from where he was and literally landed on top of Elizabeth. The two of them started rolling over each other around and around. All at once they toppled over into the river. The water was nipping cold and had probably just melted from a glacier at the top of the mountain. The cold of the water was enough to break up the fight. Both of them crawled out of the river dripping and chilled to the bone. They each threw a hateful glance at each other.

“What do we do now?” Elizabeth groaned. “This was my only change of clothes, and it’s nearly night!”

“I guess you’ll have to sleep without clothes at all until they dry, If you hadn’t

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pissed each other off, you wouldn’t be this cold and wet. And anyway, there’s no way we can get back home when everybody’s wasting their time fighting each other,” commented Victoria.

“You really think we’ll survive?” asked William.

“Do you want to?” Victoria asked.

“Duh, of course.”

“Then why did you say ‘you really think we’ll survive’?”

“Okay, whatever! This isn’t the most important thing right now!”

 

That night, both Elizabeth and William slept in their underwear and their clothes were hanging on nearby branches of trees. Once they had gone to bed, Victoria couldn’t help felling sorry for them both. She felt horrible and was chilled to the bone already with no sleeping bag or anything, let alone Elizabeth and William having to sleep with hardly any clothes.

 

Chapter 4

Victoria opened her eyes to a navy blue sky. It was already starting to lighten up now. Her clothes were soggy from the dew. She hugged her arms for warmth. Victoria glanced at Elizabeth and William again. If she were one of them, she wouldn’t be surprised if she had turned to blocks of ice by now. She rolled onto her other side and closed her eyes, shivering. After what seemed like forever, she finally dosed off.

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William opened his eyes and sat up. Nobody else was awake so far so he just sat there thinking about random things. It seemed like forever before the others awoke. Finally the others woke up. Not long after, everybody was up and picking at whatever rare edible vegetation there was.

“So how to we get home?” Asked Margaret.

“Yeah, we have no idea which way home is,” asked Robin.

“We should find the airplane again. That’s the most obvious and closest place to go if we want to find a way home; and ruins of it are still probably there. Once we find it, we can probably find something that’ll help us,” said Elizabeth.

“Yeah, so when we were running from the forest fire, we crossed the river. So we were coming this way – so we should go that way,” William joined in.

Before they started backtracking, they all stopped to take a long drink from the river. The water probably wasn’t the cleanest, but at least it was better than nothing.

Hours of trudging through the trees and shrubs had gone past, and there was still no sign of humans. Their knees and hips were sore and they all felt as though their feet were going to fall off any moment. Victoria wished the whole thing hadn’t happened. The sun had gone down and they had hardly eaten anything since the previous morning. After they had taken a short rest and started tromping through the forest again, Robin suddenly stopped.

“Wait! Did ye hear that?” He said.

“No,” said Victoria her heart pounding with excitement.

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“I a rustle over there.” Victoria’s heart leapt. It was probably a person who could take them home.

“C’mon!” Called Robin excitedly and dashed over to where the sound was. The rest started following but stopped short when there was a shrill shriek of fear and Robin bounded back panting.

“What?” asked Elizabeth.

“Watch out! It’s a cougar!” said Robin. Victoria’s heart leapt into her throat. A split second later, an enormous yellowish cat that looked like a female lion bounded out from in between the trees. Victoria’s stomach turned inside out and she turned on her heel to run. This was the first time in her life that she had ever encountered a cougar. Before she had taken four steps, a high-pitched screech from behind her halfway deafened her. When she looked back, William was pinned down underneath the cougar’s front paws. Before she even knew what was going on, she saw the cougar bend down and clamp it’s jaws around William’s neck. Victoria winced as she heard an ear-splitting crunch and William’s body went limp. Mad with rage, Victoria broke a burnt branch from a tree and rammed it into the cougar. The surprised animal jumped and turned growling toward her.

“Oh, I don’t care if you don’t get any supper tonight!” she said out loud. “It serves you right!” Robin jumped and landed squarely on top of the cougar’s shoulders. The weight was just enough to unbalance it and topple it to the ground. The cougar was furious now. Victoria could just imagine it thinking, What’s such a biggie about my supper? It’s mine, not yours! Presently, Victoria saw Newton’s third law of motion come to life except in a whole new concept. “For every action there is an equal and opposite

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reaction.” The action was Robin knocking the cougar to the ground; and the equal and opposite reaction was the cougar springing like a jumping spider into Robin, driving the breath out of him, and pinning him to the ground. With Robin pinned under its forepaws, the cougar opened its jaws for another kill.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Victoria said. A burst of a mix of fury and courage exploded inside her. She was not going to let yet another one of her siblings get turned into cat food. She bounded forward and jammed her finger in the cougar’s eyeball. Victoria gagged and nearly puked at the warm, squishy, feeling. She yanked her finger out again and gagged as the eyeball jumped right out of the socket. A stream of blood and loosened flesh trickled from its former eye. She must have gotten as far as its brain because immediately it calmed down and started looking around wildly with one eye as if it didn’t know what to do. After a few minutes of randomly looking around, it trotted off in a random direction and disappeared through the trees. Let’s hop he never comes back again, Victoria thought.

Immediately she remembered her dead brother and she glanced over at him. Immediately tears came to her eyes. She dropped to her knees beside William and sobbed harder than she had ever before in her life. Her other siblings joined in. This was the worst thing that could ever happen to her.

In the morning, The four of them dug a shallow hole in the ground around him and buried him. They collected a handful of small pebbles and arranged them in a cross pattern and wrote “RIP” in the dirt. Once they had completed this task, they set continued on their journey. Victoria sadly said goodbye to William’s grave.

 

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Chapter 5

“Are you sure this is the way? If we were on the right course, we should have arrived there long before now,” Margaret fretted.

“Nobody is,” replied Elizabeth. “Bob, you’re the best climber around here, can you climb a tree to see if there is anything around here?” Robin looked proud to be called the best climber out of the five of them. With his nose high in the air, he started to climb the nearest tree. Before he got a couple meters up the tree, down came an avalanche of bark, and twigs and Robin found himself on his bum on the base of the tree. Victoria and Margaret couldn’t help giggling. Robin stomped off angrily to find a better tree. This time, the climb was successful. Robin managed to climb to the top. The tree that Robin was climbing seemed to be the tallest one in the forest – at least as far as she could see. Robin could probably see almost everything from there.

“Do you see anything from up there?” shouted Elizabeth.

“What do you think? Of course I see everything from here! Do you think I’m blind or something?”

Ugh! Just get to the point! Victoria inwardly whined.

“Garrrr! Dang it Robin! I meant any kind of sign of humans.”

Victoria clenched her fists while Robin scanned the mountain. Please say yes, please say yes!

“No, all I see is a completely burnt black mountain and nothing after that except for more mountains. But I can still see the stream,” Robin shouted back. Victoria felt like

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her guts had fallen out of her. From that height, it would be basically impossible to miss any single detail. If he could see the stream, than he would have spotted the airplane long before. Victoria tried to reassure herself that Robin couldn’t see very well in the twilight and in the morning light he would be able to see it. But deep down inside, she knew all hope was lost. Robin half climbed, half slid down the tree.

“Let’s stay here for the night,” Suggested Victoria to get her mind off her doubts.

The four lay down on the burnt ground. Everyone immediately fell asleep.

Victoria woke with a start. A hawk was screeching loudly above them. The others woke at pretty much the same time.

“Robin, why don’t you climb up the tree again since it’s easier to see now?” Elizabeth suggested.

“Do you think I wouldn’t have thought of that by now?” Robin said. Elizabeth ignored him. It would cause a greater commotion to say anything by now. She knew from experience. Robin climbed the tree again. This clime seemed to take forever. This was their last hope. If he couldn’t see any signs of humans anywhere, they were truly done for. Victoria was surprised at how much she relied on Robin. Most of the time, Robin was the least trustworthy and responsible out of all of them. But here she found herself pretty much relying on him for her life. When he finally got to the top, he said:

“Ugh, I still don’t see anything,” Victoria wanted to dig a hole into the middle of the earth and stay there until the end of the world. Robin jumped down again.

“Are you positive you didn’t notice anything?” Margaret asked doubtfully.

“Do you think I’d lie?” said Robin rudely.

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“You always do,” Margaret commented quietly.

“Shut it,” Elizabeth said. Victoria didn’t blame Margaret. She found herself wanting to go up and see for herself. Robin wasn’t quite the person you’d want to have when you’d be trying to survive in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no signs of humans around.

“So what do we do?” asked Robin. “Just hope that for some amazing coincidence a random person comes and takes us home? There’s really nothing we can do now.” A long silence followed.

Finally Margaret asked:

“Do any airplanes or helicopters fly around here?”

“Sure,” said Victoria.

“We could try signaling,”

“Okay, we could try,” said Elizabeth. She didn’t seem to be so certain of that idea. Victoria thought it was great. “Margaret, what do you have in your pockets? We’ll need everything we can get.”

Margaret searched her cargo pants. “I’ve got…some dental floss…an elastic band…an eraser…oh, a small box of black licorice…a handkerchief…a needle and some thread…and what’s this? A lighter! This might be valuable…what else?…a pencil sharpener…a small mirror…a flashlight.” To start of they rationed the box of licorice: three pieces a day for each person. Then they took what could come in handy for signaling.

“Robin, you take the handkerchief and signal SOS with it.” Elizabeth ordered.

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“Why should I?” Robin asked.

“Do you want to survive or not? Or should we just leave you here to starve?” Elizabeth asked. Robin didn’t know what to say. That was partly good because it silenced their argument. After a couple minutes of pouting, he picked up the handkerchief.

“How do you signal SOS?” he asked reluctantly.

“You do three short dots, three long dashes, and three short dots again. And then you keep repeating that pattern,” said Margaret.

Elizabeth continued. “Margaret, you can go collect some rocks and spell out large SOS with them. It should be big enough to see from the height of an airplane. When you’re collecting the rocks, just remember to stay in sight of the rest of us.”

“Roger that.” Margaret said.

“Victoria, you can try and get the mirror to reflect sunlight. I’ll make three fires in a triangle. When an airplane or helicopter flies by, everyone start shouting and jumping around and signaling as wildly as you can” Said Elizabeth. Margaret and Victoria went off to find rocks and Elizabeth started attempting to make fires. She had to be careful not to let it spread because all the wood was dry from the previous forest fire. The dry wood could easily catch fire again and start another forest fire. It took a couple hours to start a fire without practice, but she eventually got three fires formed into a triangle.

Once Margaret had finished and the SOS form was big enough, they all sat down and waited for an airplane to fly by.

 

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Chapter 6

It seemed to take forever for an airplane to fly by. The fire starting had taken long enough and they were tempted to give up. The kids just sat there doing nothing waiting, waiting, and waiting some more. The silence and waiting was almost too overwhelming for Victoria. She had to force back tears. Why did the airplane crash in the first place? Why did they even book a trip to their grandparents’ house? Why was she even she live at all? Why was the world created in the first place? Come on, airplane! Just come and fly by!

She took a shaky deep breath told herself that it was no use being so pessimistic. That wasn’t going to gain anything. Finally, the overwhelming part turned into boredom so she offered to play a game of tick-tack-toe with Margaret.

When that too got boring, they asked Victoria to tell one of her short stories. Victoria had composed a countless amount of short stories so she could easily rattle one off in no time. They always asked her to tell one of her short stories whenever they all were extremely bored.

She began an amazing story, and all the characters seemed to come to life.

When she finished, Robin said:

“That’s a totally pathetic story.”

“Oh, yeah, why don’t you try and make up a story yourself?” Victoria contradicted.

 

 

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“Wait! What’s that noise?” said Margaret. Everyone listened. In the distance, they all heard a small rumbling sound that sounded like an airplane. Victoria’s heart jumped and butterflies fluttered in her stomach.

“Everyone start signaling!” called Elizabeth. Robin started waving the handkerchief wildly and Victoria fuddled with the mirror. The rest began jumping and screaming at the top of their lungs. Victoria watched the airplane using her imaginary telekinesis to make come down. She watched it slowly fly by without reducing height. Come on! You have to! She screamed inside her head. She watched in dismay as it slowly dipped behind the horizon. Her legs felt like rubber and she fell on her bum onto the hard ground.

“Wow, Margaret, you’re such a genius,” said Robin.

“Robin, this was the first time we ever tried signaling. You can’t expect immediate results on the first try.” Margaret pointed out. “Scientific studies have shown that people who are usually more pessimistic than others generally live for a shorter time.”

“Let’s keep the fire burning in case another airplane flies by,” Elizabeth said, the sun was getting low in the sky yet again, and everyone shared out their ration of licorice. After a good deal of chatting, they flossed their teeth with the dental floss Margaret found in the pocket of her pants. Before they went to sleep for the night, they negotiated and came up with a plan that they would each stay awake for one hour by Margaret’s watch to listen and watch for more airplanes or helicopters and keep the fires burning and under control. If they saw or heard an airplane or helicopter, they would wake the others and

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everyone would all start signaling. They would all take turns from the oldest to youngest. Victoria wished she was on watch first so she would be able to fall asleep faster afterward and not have the intensity of waiting for signs of humans. But she didn’t volunteer because she was worried that if she explained why, they would laugh at her. She curled up beside her siblings and tried to fall asleep.

But she couldn’t. She lay awake on her back and looked up at the sky. She kept herself from boredom by trying to find constellations and shooting stars. Victoria shifted to her side and thought about her horseback riding lessons. She could not live without riding horses and she thought about it day and night.

Chapter 7

“Victoria, Wake up,” Elizabeth jiggled her awake. “It’s your turn.” Victoria realized she must have dosed off. She got up bleary eyed and groggy.

“Here’s the watch,” whispered Elizabeth and lay down where Victoria was sleeping. A chilly breeze blew toward her and chilled her through to the bone. She ventured over to a nearby log that had fallen from the forest-fire and sat down. She checked the time. Okay, I’ll go until quarter past twelve.

  • * *

Finally, the minute hand touched the number three about one hour later. She got up stiffly and started jiggling Margaret.

“Hey Margie, Wake up, It’s your turn!” she whispered hoarsely. Margaret hauled herself up and Victoria handed her the watch. Victoria lay down and immediately fell

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asleep.

 

Chapter 8

“Everyone! Wake up!” Victoria woke with a start. Robin was yelling at the top of his lungs. Victoria could see the horizon in the east already start to light up. She immediately knew what was going on. She could hear a small airplane in the distance. Just to help out, she crashed strait into the others who were still asleep.

“C’mon you big lump! Wake up!” she yelled into Margaret’s ear. C’mon, time is ticking!

“Get yourselves signaling! Now!” called Elizabeth who was already awake. Robin and jumped to his supplies and everyone started signaling and shrieking at the top of their lungs and running jumping around. Margaret accidentally tripped over a root. Victoria couldn’t believe her eyes. The bright orange airplane that was flying over head was slowly descending.

“Put out the fire! They’ve noticed us!” Elizabeth ordered.

“But how? We don’t have any water!” said Victoria. The atmosphere was intense as the airplane flied by. Victoria couldn’t believe this was happening.

“Throw dirt over it!” Victoria started throwing dirt over the fires and the others joined in. Once they had extinguished it and they were sure it was not going to start again, they tore through the woods tripping over roots and logs, and twisting their ankles on rocks. Just as they thought they couldn’t take a step further and would collapse at any moment, they came to a small clearing, out of breath and filthy from head to toe. The

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plane was rolling to a stop at the edge of the clearing.

A woman stepped out of the driver’s seat and looked surprised to see four completely filthy and nearly fainting children. “So I suppose I should fly you home? Is it far from here?”

“No, Elizabeth answered. We live in Vancouver.”

“Okay, I have time.” Said the stranger. “Though it is actually pretty far from here. We’re quite close to Alberta and the Northwest territories. It’ll take us an hour and a half at the most to fly there. I’ll have to take you to the Boundary Bay airport. I’m allowed to land there. Will you be okay taking the bus into Vancouver?”

“Yes. Thank you so much!” said Elizabeth

“Okay, hop in.”

“Oh, thank you so much again!” Victoria said. They all climbed in. Elizabeth climbed into the passenger seat and Victoria, Robin, and Margaret managed to squeeze into the backseats. They had never flown in a private airplane before. This ride was much more bumpy and bouncy because this was a lighter airplane. On the way home, the woman asked questions about how they got lost, how they survived through the winter, and Elizabeth told the whole story of survival.

About an hour after, they landed at the Boundary Bay airport. The four thanked her immensely and got out. The woman gave them some money to pay for the bus. It was about ten in the morning by now. They walked to the nearest bus station and rode home. From that they just barely managed to pay for the busses. It was felt weird going strait from the middle of nowhereville to the center of the big bustling city. Everyone was

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extremely self-conscious to the point of embarrassment because of their filthiness. Despite that, Victoria was more than excited to get home and meet Mom and Dad again. They finally got off the bus. Thankfully, the bus stop was only a couple blocks down from where they lived.

“We’re home!” Margaret exclaimed. Victoria thought back to when the airplane crashed and they were running from the fire. It seemed like ages ago. They walked up the steps to the house and got the spare key from its hiding place from among the house numbers. Elizabeth unlocked the door and the five walked in. Their parents were out at the current moment because the house was empty.

“Oh, boy, I can’t wait for Mom and Dad to come home. Just imagine their happiness that we survived” commented Victoria.

For the next few hours, the four of them chugged down huge glasses of water, stuffing their stomachs with food, taking showers, and sleeping on the couch. At about four o’clock, their parents drove down the drive way and walked into the door. The four eagerly came to meet them. You can just imagine their joy to be back home. Only a couple seconds later, Mom asked,

“But…where’s William?”


Struggling to Survive

Five children are going an a trip to visit their relatives on the other side of the country. It seems like a totally normal one before their aeroplane unexpectedly crashes into the mountain side. The five are forced to battle the treacherous obstacles of the wilderness while waiting to be rescued.

  • Author: Sadie Malmberg
  • Published: 2015-09-07 04:40:08
  • Words: 6549
Struggling to Survive Struggling to Survive