I wrote this story for a school assignment. And I’m kind of proud of it even though I cut out so much of it so it wouldn’t exceed the word limit. It was still more than a hundred words above the word limit when I turned it in though. I think. Anyway, here it is.
It’s been 1 month since Alluria won the war against us. And 15 days since they found me in an underground bunker and took me prisoner. It’s dark, damp and cold in here. I’m dirty, weak and hungry. I’m slowly going crazy. My calculations of how long it’s been since everything, are probably wrong. I have no real sense of day and night here.
“You coward! You hid underground while your people fought for your country! You didn’t deserve to be Queen!” I can hear my step-mother’s voice yelling in my head. For once, I agree with her. And with everybody else in my mind, screaming obscenities at me. Insulting me. Joking about me. “‘Ganymede the Destroyer’. That’s what we should call her.” “You’re the reason our country, our beloved Dracmere is dead! You’re a traitor!” The voices in my head are terrible company.
I hear footsteps and the jangle of keys. I see a burly figure opening my cell door. I hope with all my heart that they’re getting me out of here. I’m not disappointed. They put me in a large, significantly brighter room with no ugly iron bars. And I’m not alone.
There are around 15 people staring at me. I walk in and the guard locks the door behind me. I notice they’re Dracians. They’re my people. Or rather, ‘were’ my people. Suddenly, I’m afraid they’ll recognize me.
“Hi. I’m Vince. What’s your name?” He holds out his hand for me to shake. He smiles at me. He has ink black hair, prominent cheekbones and a warm smile. I grin before taking his hand. They don’t recognize me. I probably don’t look like me. With my dirt-caked skin, my ugly, knotted brown curls covering half my face and my overall disheveled appearance, I’m not ‘Queen Ganymede’. I’m relieved.
“I’m Raine.”, I say quickly, surprising myself by speaking normally after being alone for so long. Raine was my mother’s name. It was the first name I thought of. Probably because I spent the last few days wondering whether I’d caused her death. She’d died of an unknown illness. There is no way I could have caused it. It’s strange what happens to a person when he’s left alone with his own thoughts.
I take a quick look at everyone. They’re all scruffy and thin and wide-eyed. I’m the same as them now.
Vince starts to introduce everyone to me. I only manage to register a few names and faces. He sits me down on the floor next to him. Redheaded Rudy (that’s what they call him), a buff man in his mid thirties with red hair, starts to speak, disparaging the image of ‘Queen Ganymede’. And I don’t know whether to laugh with relief because he doesn’t know I’m right there or attempt to defend myself. I smile awkwardly and listen.
They say I betrayed Dracmere. I didn’t. What I did was let myself be hidden and safe from the events of the war until it was over. I suppose being a coward isn’t that much better than being a traitor. But my intention was to not get hurt myself. I didn’t intend to let Dracmere get destroyed. I believe my motivations make me slightly better than a traitor. What’s left of Dracmere doesn’t believe it. They hope I’m dead. That makes me wish I actually was.
A woman named Alexis starts to speak. “They’re offering us a choice. Embrace their language and culture or stay here until they decide what to do with us.” “Well, I’d like to get out of here and live my life. And if moving to Alluria and becoming one of them is how to do it, I’m all for it.”, Rudy says.
“This is all my fault.”, I mutter and Vince catches it. I cover my mouth immediately. Vince leans towards me and whispers. “I know who you are. I believe you’re not a traitor. But if you wanna make amends for what you did, now is your chance. Convince them not to give up.” I realize he’s right.
I stand up and clear my throat. “Listen,” I say. They look up at me. I’m a stranger to them right now, but for the first time, it’s better than being their Queen. They have more of a reason to trust me.
“We can’t give in to their threats.” Vince smiles reassuringly. I go on. “We lost the war. We lost friends, family. They took away our country. But we can choose whether or not to let them take away our identity. If we take their offer, become one of them, they win. So we need to hold on to what is ours. Our language, our culture.” I feel my words making a difference. There’s a murmur of agreement among them. Vince stands up. I feel a strange sense of admiration for these people. Except it’s not strange. I may barely know them, but I can tell they are some of the bravest people in Dracmere.
“Those of you that still want to take their offer, go ahead. The rest of us need to take control of our lives again. When those guards come back, we need to be ready.” He holds out a hand to me. I grab it. The others hold hands too. Rudy stands aside, hesitant to join the rest. Vince holds out his other arm. “We need you, Rudy.”
The energy in the room is suddenly different. 15 pairs of eyes are focused on Redheaded Rudy. He shares a look with Vince. I know nothing of their relationship, but that look tells me enough. They had gone into the Allurian war together, watching each other’s backs, following each other into hell. And they are going to do it again. I understand their bond because I had had a similar bond with someone. Someone I’d lost. I know from that look that Rudy is going to join us.
They guards don’t take long to appear, bringing our meals. They seem unnerved by the rebellious energy of the little group of people holding hands and taking a stand against the Allurians. One of the guards draws his sword.
In that moment, Rudy squeezes Vince’s palm and says, “Dracmere’s not dead yet.” He lunges at the guards and everyone follows suit. The Allurians had underestimated this little group. We’re more powerful than anyone would’ve thought. So no, Dracmere’s not dead yet.