The Gift from God

My head hit something hard and I was awoken abruptly. “ Would you like something to drink?” a flight attendant asked in a dulcet voice. Her bouncy red curls sat upon her head looking like a little bird’s nest. I peered over to my dad who was still sound asleep unshaken by anything. My father and I were on our way to Peru. It was a tradition for us to go to a cool place every year right before school started. He is an archeologist and has shared his passion for exploring. “Excuse me.” The flight attendant broke my chain of thought and I realized I still hadn’t answered her question. “ Nah,” I replied and turned my head towards the screen on the back of the chair in front of me. With the simple touch of a button, it sprung to life and my choices were displayed. After scanning movie titles for a while, I decided on a cover that consisted of some sort of alien and a guy getting blown up. Content with my selection I pressed play.

My eves stayed fixated on the monkey’s head as I scanned her facial expressions. She screamed in agony, but I wasn’t leaving. This was a rare opportunity, and I was not going to miss one bit. A tiny head started to appear from below the monkey’s stomach, and then the rest followed. I watched, making sure not to miss a blood stained detail as the monkey took the animal into its arms and cradled it. I had never seen such resemblance from a monkey to a human. After a long, hard, day of hunting, my favorite thing to do was escape it all. My hands reddened a little more, and the sting of the pricks on my skin bled but it was worth it. On top of this tree, I always felt like the king of the world. No one could see me but I could see everything. My friends playing in the valley were specks among the billowing grass. By the light of the sun, I realized it was probably getting late. I started to descend the great Cecropia branch by branch, excited to share my finding with my mother.

The credits rolled down the screen and I pressed the power button. The lady with the curls was coming around again and this time my stomach was growling. I ordered a pretzel and sunk back down into my seat. Impatiently I pressed the button that opened the table that was attached to my seat. All that was left to do was wait. I needed something to take my mind off my hunger. Taking out my DSI, I decided it was time to so something productive with my extra time. It was about time I beat my high score on Mario Monkey Dash. I took out my pen and pressed start.

My shoulder burned from the strap attached to my bow and arrow. In ritual all of my people watched, as father presented me with a man’s size bow and arrow. I could barely keep up with the group. I watched my step as we eased deeper into the forest. For me it was the easiest to stay silent. I was the youngest in the group and usually sent to the front to find beasts with my keen eye. Of course today it was especially hard because of the mountain called a bow and arrow, upon my shoulder. Because of this pace knew it was going to be a long time until dinner.

After a long time of walking through an endless maze of green, your eyes become very adept at spotting anything else but the flash of black came so suddenly, I thought I might be hallucinating. But after staring at the same tree for several minutes, you realize that a leaf is a bug, or in my case, there is a monkey sitting up there on the highest branch mocking you. Slowly, not to disturb the animal that could possibly be my only hope of making it back to my house before dark, I took out an arrow and fit it in my bow. Judging by how small it looked, I knew the monkey could be hundreds of feet away but there was no harm in trying. Closing one eye as my grandfather then father had taught me to do in training, I made sure my arrow was lined up with my prey. Then I let go. The silence could only mean one thing, I had met the prey.

Boom Boom! Three more monkey heads fell off. Zap. My laser beam took off three tails. My highest score was almost reached. Bang! I let out a scream of joy as I released my final bomb. Now it was time to save Princess Peach.

Biting into my pretzel I knew my dad was right. Food always tastes better when you’re hungry. The crispy outer layer gave way to a warm inside and my mouth watered for more. A beep sounded and the seatbelt sign flashed on. Landing. My favorite part. The sensation of going downwards hundreds of miles per hour. I focused intently on the descent. I could already feel my ears popping and waited in anticipation. Most people dreaded landing but I knew that it just meant I was closer to starting my adventure with my dad.

I received many congratulations and words of praise as we headed back to our tents. I could not wait to see the look on my mom’s face when I told her we were having meat for dinner. I started to pick up my pace. The sooner I got home the better. Looking down, I started sprinting. Although my weapon still hung on my shoulder, I felt as light as the birds soaring overhead. Suddenly my head struck another. Me feet came out from beneath me in surprise. Before I could realize what was happening, I was on the forest floor. Slowly I regained my strength and I lifted my head. The group had stopped. They were all peering up into the sky. Their mouths wide open. I looked up too. My eyes opened wider than an owl and I was paralyzed to the forest floor. Coming towards us was a giant beast. Its wingspan was huge and it was like nothing I had never seen before. It seemed to be letting out smoke as it moved and it was as white as a sea bass. Simultaneously arrows were placed in bows and a battle cry was let out. This was war.

Something struck the plane. I heard a faint sound coming from outside. I had been staring out the window as we landed watching what looked like a dollhouse from up here get bigger and bigger as we descended. I looked as hard as I could but I couldn’t find the cause of the noise. Then, a few seconds later, a swoosh of brown and red and I heard it again. The third time, I finally caught sight of the source. They looked like little spears from the movie I had watched. They were hitting the plane and then falling to the ground. Now more people were noticing. Flight attendants were walking around with earphones to block out the noise and there was a message on the loudspeaker warning everyone to stay calm. My palms got sweaty I realized my body was shaking. If only the weather hadn’t had to be so bad. Earlier the plane had switched roots and I guess they had never tried this way before. The message did nothing. There was chaos on the plane.

The beast was immortal. No matter how many times we shot an arrow at it, it just bounced back towards us leaving no mark. Now it was getting closer and closer. Many from the group had gone to gather more men and warn the women. We only had a few arrows left. The best fighter from the tribe was called upon. We all watched as he strode with confidence to the animal, his muscles in his arms flexing. Everyone got out of his way as he moved. His hands moved swiftly, inserting an arrow into his bow. He took his time aiming and then finally released.

An announcement was made over the loudspeaker that we would be landing momentarily. My dad’s lap was warm and I rested my head on his shoulder. His reassuring words always made me feel safe. Music blasted from my IPod touch into my ears. It was all going to be ok.

The beast had been shot and wounded, if not killed, and it began to fall from the sky. I watched until it was a tiny dot in the dark of the night. I had been ordered to go back to tell the women and children all was well. The elders went in search of the giant gift from the sun god. Now I sat in the river bathing myself in its pure water. The day’s events flashed through my mind. I wondered where that magical beast had gone. The adventures it had had. I could not help but wish I were the beast soaring over the sea. I took one more dunk under the water. When looking at the water from the outside, it looked beautiful and at peace, but when submerged inside it was dark and cold. I stood up and hurried back into my tent where tonight we would feast on meat, a celebration of my small kill and the death of the monster from the sky.

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Heat steamed and clouded up the shower doors. The soothing water dripped down my back onto the tile flooring. My head was spinning in excitement from today’s activities. My dad and I were going on a hike in the Amazon Rain Forest and I definitely needed something to take my mind off the plane ride. We got our boots on and set out.

Because I had so much success last time the hunting group had decided to bring me along again. We were going in search of the beast from the sky. The elders had had no success last night. While setting out, I decided I would not let myself go home without something exciting to bring back. I would earn my large bow after all.

Tramping through the rain forest, I felt like I was someone on The Last Survivor. My dad led and I was his sidekick. There was no trail and that’s what I loved about it. One of my favorite parts was listening to all the different jungle noises. They were so different from the taxi honking and subway rumblings of New York City. My dad and I would play a game where we would see who could identify the different sounds of the animals. I heard a parrot, a monkey call, and then footsteps. My dad didn’t seem to notice, but the footsteps were getting closer. They were coming from the left side. My dad was deep in thought and deep in thought and didn’t notice as I wandered off towards the bushes in search of the source of the noise.

Now I was terrified. The number one rule was to never leave the group. Now I was alone. I had my bow but only one arrow. We were running short because of yesterday. For all I knew, the footsteps coming from behind the bush over there could be a life-threatening beast. Of course, it could also be dinner. I remembered the promise I had made to myself and approached slowly. I pulled back one of the heavy leaves.

I moved one of the leaves out of the way. My hair stood on end, and I let out a small gasp. There, in front of me, stood a small boy. He had long black hair and wore nothing but a little dress. He was barefoot and almost looked like one of the Native Americans we had studied in school. He looked scared and confused.

What was this standing before me? It was like me but totally different. Although it was my height, it was pale and was covered with weird garments. Long fabric covered its legs and more was placed on his chest. On the top half of its body, little round things formed a line. Where his feet should be, tall flimsy material came up and covered some of its legs too. Its hair was the same color of sunlight and so short it stopped before its ears. It was like nothing I had ever seen before yet totally familiar. I decided it was no harm when it started to laugh.

I don’t know why I started to laugh but soon he had joined in and we were both laughing. My father turned around giving me a weird look but I didn’t care. I gestured for him to come towards me and he did. I decided he would be my little secret.

Before I could think, I had followed it. I knew it was stupid but what else did I have left to do. I made a quick decision that it was a boy just like me. It had to be.

I had to take a picture. I slipped out my IPod, which I had secretly brought along with me just in case I got bored. Now I knew I definitely was not going to get bored.

Now the boy was acting really strange. He took out some sort of square object, and in seconds, it lit up. It was magical. He touched another button, and the front of the box changed. He must have seen my interest because he started to show off. He pressed a button and it changed again. When he touched it a certain way, animals and other objects would move within the rectangle. Then he pressed the bottom, and it made a weird noise. Now on it was a picture of me, like the reflection in the sea. I felt like I was going to faint. How did this boy have this power yet I had nothing? He must be a god.

Every time I pressed a different app, the boy gasped in awe. Had he never seen an IPod before? Actually, if he lived here, had he seen any technology before? I thought of how cool that would be to have no distractions, no school, and all of the time in the world to do whatever you liked. As I thought about it more, it made me jealous. He got to spend all of his time out here while I only got a week.

Suddenly all I wanted was to go and leave all of this behind. I wanted to go where this boy came from and get one of those cool rectangular boxes. I had grown up with nothing to do but hunt and learn the ways of my tribe. I wanted the magic of the boy as badly as I ever wanted anything although I knew it impossible. The boy and I both had a face and legs except he probably got to live in the land of gods while I sprinted through rain forests, scavenging for food for my family. Looking deep into his eyes I saw no differences compared to mine. What made him worthy of a life of luxury but not me. Jealousy pulsed through my veins.

Suddenly the boy looked straight into my eyes. I had no option but to do the same. What I saw was pure happiness. I realized technology was not the source of happiness. This boy was fine without it and so were our ancestors. He got to live in the this peaceful place while in a couple of days I had to return to a place where looking out into the streets everyone had their heads down staring at technology. I felt envious to this boy and had to turn my eyes down to the ground.

Emma Gray
Age 12, Grade 7
Trinity School
Gold Key

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