30 Years Later

By Katie Z., 8th Grade

October 2015

The boy with the bright ginger hair held tightly to his father’s hand as they made their way towards St. Golding Academy.

“Are you nervous?” the father asked his son.

“Why would I be nervous? I ain’t afraid of going to school.” He looked away from his father and toward the campus. His stride fell in-sync along with his dad’s.  Suddenly, his father stopped. The boy looked up. A blond man and his son stood stoically in front of them. No one said a word.

“Jack.”

Startled, the father pulled his hand away from his son’s.

“Ralph.”

A silence settled between the two men. Unwillingly, Ralph offered his hand.

“What are you doing here?”

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m dropping my kid off for school.” The young boys looked at each other uneasily. Did something happen between their dads?

“Ah, yes. We probably should go, son.” Ralph grabbed his son’s hand and started up the steps when the ginger boy interrupted.  

“Wait. What happened between you two?”

Jack frowned at his son. “Nothing son. Just some history.” He started leading the boy toward the double doors, but the boy wouldn’t budge. He crossed his arms and sat on the ground.

“I ain’t going anywhere until you tell me they story. So unless you want me to late on my first day of middle school…. You better keep talking.” Both men glared at the boy and then themselves. Ralph cleared his throat, “Well, to start off, you and your dad were and are very similar and alike.” The boy looked unimpressed. “And it was during the world war and us kids got stranded on an island with no adults…”

“No adults? Sounds like the best day ever!” exclaimed both boys. Jack and Ralph shared a knowing glance.

“Not exactly. Let’s say that we all had different views. I took full responsibility in order to establish rules to save our lives.. Except Jack here…”

“Okay.. How about we discuss this later since school is starting,” Jack nervously stammered.

“Are you kidding me? This is getting interesting! No adults and a whole island to yourselves? Sign me up!”

Color drained from Ralph’s face. His body trembled from the unintentional provocation. Suddenly he was back on the island, and the old feelings of shame and horror infected him. Memories, long buried beneath the years of suppression, found their way to the surface once more. He watched as, once again, each boy lost himself fighting on the island. He watched as he and the others murdered Simon, as Piggy fell from the cliff, and as the island was engulfed in flames.

“Mister.. Mister..”

Ralph glanced at the red-haired boy with wide eyes. He coughed out, “Sorry… Um.. We have to go.” He grabbed his son’s hand and walked quickly past the two large doors, leaving Jack and his son standing on the stairs.

“Did I do something wrong?”  The boy glanced innocently at his dad, patiently waiting for an answer.

“Um… No. It’s not your fault. There’s just something wrong with him.”

“Then why don’t you tell me the entire story?” Jack turned away.

“Because.. Things were different back then. I’ll tell you the story later.” He started toward the doors.

“But.. Dad! Just tell me like the jist of it!”

“Island, the fat one, weird one, and a beastie,” Jack stuttered, silently shuddering as the hurricane of memories slowly made their way into his repressed den of reclusion.

 

After the school day ended, the red-haired boy and his father stepped into the familiar scent of home. “Dad, can you tell me the entire story now?”

The dad looked tiredly at the boy and silently walked into the living room to sleep all of the memories away.

Well if you don’t tell me, I’ll have to find out by myself, the boy thought. He cautiously tip-toed up the stairs to the attic.

The old, dusty room reeked of old papers and spider webs. Chests of old newspapers and books covered up most of the room. The boy noticed a small chest labeled “PRIVATE”. Intrigued, he opened the chest.

Sticks and rocks were piled neatly in the box, along with a shard of what looked to be like a shell and newspaper articles. The boy gingerly picked up a dusty, old article and began reading. “Boys Survive On Island. Two Killed” As he searched the article, the door creaked open. His father stood at the door, his red freckles prominent on his pale face. The boy looked up and began to read a passage from the article. “On August 23rd, 1943, a plane went down on an unknown island in the Atlantic Ocean. 30 British boys were stranded alone with no food or water. They managed to survive the month with only…..”

Jack suddenly crossed the room with several great strides and tore the paper from the boy’s hand. He ripped the paper into bits. His voice low and threatening, he said, “What makes you think that you can look through my things?” The boy stood from his crouched position.

“What makes you think you can tell me not to?”

As the father looked down at his son, he saw the spitting image of his twelve year-old self. Sure, the boy wore slacks and a blue vest, but he may as well have been carrying a spear, face covered in blue and red paint. Once again, he smelled the salty ocean breeze and remembered the humid night when they danced to the sound of Simon’s cries. He also saw the bloody mess that was left of Piggy before he was swept off to sea. Hands trembling, he looked down at his son and for the first time felt shame. He crouched down to the boy’s level and took his hands. “Sometimes people do horrible things for power. They mock, intimidate, and slaughter those weaker than they. I don’t want that for you. Let’s go outside and enjoy our lives, away from the terrors that people so often bring upon one another.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *