By: Grace P.
I was running as hard as I could; I could hear my newly won money jingling around in my pocket. Those thugs were right behind me, but getting farther and farther away with every stride I took. I never said I was an amazing poker player, but then again I never said I wasn’t. I guess older boys just didn’t take kindly to losing to a fifteen year old girl.
I was running so hard that I didn’t really pay attention to where I was going, so I didn’t really notice the old wooden bridge as I ran across it, or the trees everywhere as I ran farther and farther in to the woods. Then there was fog everywhere and I didn’t know where to go. Suddenly something grabbed me from behind and pulled me behind a tree. I’m a goner now for sure, I thought; but then the person with their hand over my mouth and arm around my waist said something and not what I expected.
“Be quiet. Don’t move. I’m not going to hurt you,” said the voice.
That’s about when the thugs showed up. Even though they would be high school seniors come fall, they weren’t very smart. They wandered here and there but after about twenty minutes or so they gave up and walked away angrily, on account of the fact that their money was still in my pocket.
After another few minutes the hands on me grew slack, and the voice gave a quiet sigh. I turned around to see who this voice which had saved me belonged to. It was a boy. He had messy brown hair and a sweaty, beautiful face. Not like what the popular boys at my school looked like, his was more classic beauty. He was wearing nothing but a pair black low top Converse and shorts which showed off his muscular body with a pair of gloves hanging out of the short’s pocket. He was looking straight at me with amazing golden brown eyes.
“Thank… you, for...ugh… saving me,” was all I managed to stutter out. I had never really been interested in boys before. I’d mostly been into scamming them out of the money. But something about this boy was different, the way he didn’t say anything and just stared into my eyes, it was different. Then suddenly the silence was broken with his soft, calming voice.
“You’re welcome. Are you alright?” he asked me.
“Yeah, I’m…ahhh,” I gasped for air, and that’s when the pain set in. I looked down at my left calf; blood was everywhere. The last thing I saw before I passed out was his face.
“You’ll be ok,” he said to me. And then I realized I didn’t even know this beautiful stranger’s name, and then everything went black.
When I woke up everything was fuzzy for a while. I had to blink and think hard to remember what had happened. I had passed out, and this strange guy had carried me here. But where was here? I got out of the bed I was in, and stepped on the cold, wood floor of a cabin bedroom. The bedroom was rather big and I noticed notebooks on the floor. When I stood up I found out that my left leg was heavily bandaged and I was wearing an oversized flannel shirt. Then I walked over to the notebooks and looked inside hoping to find out more about the stranger in the woods with the hypnotizing eyes. They were full of beautiful poetry and music. I could imagine the music in my head. The songs written in the notebook were amazing ballads. Then I put the notebook down and limped to the door of the room, and cracked it open slightly. Then suddenly a giant dog bust through the cracked door and leapt on top of me knocking me to the ground. It seemed happy to see me even though I’d never seen it before and it was licking my face. Quickly a young girl, probably about 18, ran in and pulled the giant bloodhound off of me. She was beautiful too. I could automatically tell she was related to the boy who saved me.
“Hi. Oh you’re finally awake. I’m so glad you’re walking,” she said as she scooted the dog out of the room and shut the door. “Sorry about Sarge, he still thinks he’s little puppy. Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Oh I’m Anna by the way,” she said with a smile.
“I’m Nysa…but you can call me Sam…” I’d always hated my first name. I mean really, Nysa? Sam was just a nickname id given myself when I was younger, to escape the humiliation of my name. “So umm, where am I?”
“You’re in the same woods that you passed out in. This is our house, my whole family lives here, but right now it’s just me, Tyler and Sarge. My parents go on a trip together every summer,” she said.
Tyler, that must be the boy from the woods. Anna must have seen the confusion on my face because she said, “Tyler is my twin brother. He saw those guys chasing you in the woods while he was out chopping wood. When you fainted he carried you back here and I got you out of your bloody shorts and into one of my brother’s old shirts. Then he came and cleaned up your leg; he’s very good at that kind of stuff. I would have given you my room but Tyler insisted that you get his, and he would sleep on the couch. He seems very fond of you,” she said.
Then Anna led me out into the living room and gave me a pair of her shorts, we were about the same size, so I fit in them perfectly. Anna and I talked for awhile while Sarge sat in my lap, cutting off the circulation to my legs. Turns out I had cut my calf open on some old, rusty barbed wire while I was running through the woods, and that’s were Tyler was right then. He had gone out to find it and get rid of it so no one else would get hurt with it.
After about fifteen minutes of girl talk, Tyler came in. He looked hot and tired from being out in the summer sun all day.
“You’re up,” he said with a sigh of relief. “How are you feeling?”
“Much better, thank you for everything.”
“Of course, it’s really no problem,” he said as he stared deep into my eyes. “So, umm, that barbed wire’s gone now.”
“Yeah,” I said, as I seemed to be hypnotized.
“Well sorry to disturb yall’s deep conversation, but Tyler you’re getting sweat all over the floor. Would you please go take a shower?” asked Anna.
“Oh yeah, sure,” he said as he walked toward the bathroom.
Then it was just Anna and me again.
“So you’ve been asleep all day. It’s starting to get dark. Do you need to get home?” asked Anna.
This was the first time I’d thought about home all day. Dad had left when I was born, and mom had never gotten over it. She tried to be a good mom and care taker but alcohol was just too powerful and had gotten the best of her. She would never know I’d be gone.
“No I don’t really have anywhere to go,” I finally said.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
“Yeah…my mom really doesn’t…mind where I am…”
“O, I’m so sorry,” she said pulling me into an embrace.
“It’s ok, you get use to it.”
“Well, then we can have a sleep over tonight,” said Anna with a smile.
“Is she staying the night?” asked Tyler as he walked out of the bathroom still half wet and wrapped in a towel.
“Yep, isn’t it nice? And Sarge really seems to like her,” said Anna. And almost as on cue Sarge licked my face.
“I’ll take the couch so you can have your room back,” I said.
“No, you’re the guest. Please take my room,” he said almost offended.
“Oh alright,” I agreed.
So Anna and I stayed up pretty late talking and for the most part Tyler just laid on the couch listening, but when we started to talk about war, he chimed in.
“I’m gonna go to war one day,” he said.
“Why? Do you enjoy fighting?” I asked him.
“No, I’m really not big on fighting without a cause, but I can’t stand the thought of other men out there protecting people and me here at home on my butt. I don’t want to go to war, but there will be one sometime in my lifetime, and I’ll go.”
“Wow, I’ve never thought about it like that,” I said.
“Tyler’s very good at thinking of things from different angles,” Anna said. “And anyway, you don’t know for a fact that there will be a war in your lifetime.”
“I know people, and there will be,” was the last thing he said for the night.
Then it was just me and Anna talking, while Tyler laid on the couch silently thinking and listening.
I don’t remember falling asleep, but I do remember Tyler carrying me to his room and putting me down in his bed with extra care and then shutting the door leaving me to sleep.
I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night to the sound of someone walking out the door. My curiosity got the best of me so I hopped out of bed and quietly followed the footsteps. When I got out into the moonlight I saw that it was Tyler that I was following. I made sure to be quiet as I followed him through the woods to a clearing on top of a hill. He went and sat down.
“I know you’re there Sam. You aren’t very good at sneaking,” he said.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bother you or anything; I just let my curiosity get the best of me. I’ll go back the cabin if you…”
“No it’s ok. I’d like some company; usually it’s just me up here. It’s a good place to come and think, you know?”
“Yeah,” I said as I sat down beside him in the grass.
We didn’t talk for awhile, just sat and looked at the stars. It started to get cold, and I started to shiver a little.
“Are you cold?” he asked.
“Yeah, a little bit. Aren’t you?”
“Nah, I never get cold,” he said as he pulled me in close to keep me warm. “You know the minute I saw u running through the woods I thought u were the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
And then he looked into my eyes and I felt like the world didn’t matter anymore. Everything just seemed to fade away.
That summer I crossed the bridge everyday to go see Tyler and Anna. We all grew closer; we did everything together. We three were the best of friends, but there was always something special between us. Once school started I went to my school and Tyler and Anna went to theirs. I met their parents and they turned into the parents I had never had. Things went on like that for a year, and then Tyler and Anna went off to college. Anna got in on an academic scholarship and Tyler entered the music program. Things were lonely but I still stayed at their cabin when they were gone. I thought about the first day I met Tyler and Anna often.
When I graduated my mom didn’t have the money to send me to college, so I got a job and got my own apartment. Finally Tyler and Anna graduated. They came home and it was just like old times and then one night when Tyler and I were on our hilltop together he looked at me and asked me to marry him. We had a quiet wedding, and of course Anna was my maid of honor. That was the happiest day of my life, but even then I couldn't help thinking back to the day Tyler had saved me.
And I can’t help thinking of it now, at his funeral. We had had an amazing life together, but his had ended too soon. He went with honor; fighting in the war he had thrown himself in front of a bomb to save his entire camp. He had always been a good man, always one to save someone in need. His life was short lived, but it had been full of love. Now I live in the house over the bridge, even though the bridge has become weary and old and has started to break. I will still visit our hilltop every night and look at the stars, because I know he would want it that way. He was my guardian angel, my prince charming come to save me from my life of street poker and my poor drunken mother.