Chapter One ~ Why it's Crap
I smiled down at the page of my twelve-year-old journal. My third day in the camp with the army. I missed my mom at the time. I still do, but things are easier now, sort of. I’ve accepted that she’s passed on. I’ve been handling things now. I’ve grown up. But I still kick myself for not being able to face the other ones my age.
They always make fun of me, and I always take my secret routes to wherever I’m heading. I’ve been doing this since I was fifteen. Why was I such a cause for attraction? Or for ridicule? Why was I hated? Why was I pushed around? Why were they so mean to me?
And why was I so scared of them?
Because they are scary. All of them are boys. Big boys for that matter. I am a cause for attraction because I am the General’s daughter. I am sixteen. I am the only girl their age in the whole camp. And according to all of my friends, most over twenty, I am pretty. And all of the boys are begging for a fight with my best and over protective friend, Danny.
He’s gotten me out of a lot of bad situations. He’s twenty years old. Three and a half years older than me. I need him, and his advice. Also, I hate to admit it, but I am in love with him. I don’t want to be. But I am. And there isn’t a damned thing I can do about it. I put away the journal.
I crept out of the tent. I took my secret route, but unluckily it didn’t help this time. I caught a glimpse of Shaun. He was laughing about something with the other boys. I immediately turned back toward the tent. I didn’t even hear him. His arm came out of nowhere, and grabbed my wrist. He jerked me around to face him. I could smell whiskey on his breath.
It was dark. It was late. Most were sleeping. I started hyperventilating. I panicked. I already knew where this was going. It was the same thing every time. The other seven were already surrounding me. I felt the tears start coming. Shaun pulled me to him.
"Danny’s gone to fight. He won’t be back for a few days. You’re father went with him, and all of your friends." He said matter-of-factly. I sobbed. He let go of my wrist and wrapped both of his arms around me. He rocked me side to side gently, and stroked my hair.
"Don’t cry, it will be over before you know it." He promised. I’m not a very good fighter. I don’t like to fight and I don’t want to. But I was out of options. I looked up at him.
"Really?" I asked, pretending to believe him. He loosened his grip on me.
"Yeah." He replied. Then I brought up my knee to his crotch. He let go of me immediately. I pushed him aside and tried to run. But three of the other boys quickly caught up to me. They grabbed both my arms and dragged me back to the circle. They shoved me down to the ground when they got me back. Before long Shaun had recovered.
I was pinned to the ground by four. The other three watched and laughed as I struggled. No one else was around. I was on my own. I continued to struggle, with no effect. I knew my luck had run out. And worse, Shaun was angry and drunk.
I sobbed louder. I let out a scream. The boy holding my right arm, Chris, was quick to cover my mouth. I licked his hand, but it didn’t bother him. So I bit it. He pulled it away.
"Damn it!" he yelled. Then he slapped me as I screamed again, cutting it off. He covered my mouth again. Shaun stumbled toward me. He pointed a finger at me.
"You’re gonna pay." He slurred. I cried, and it was muffled by Chris’ hand.
"C’mon, hurry up." Lucas urged, at my right leg. Shaun stumbled a few more steps forward. I struggled again, and there was a gunshot. All of the heads turned to see a man about twenty-five holding a pistol in the air.
"What the hell is going on here?" he snapped. All of the boys let me go and Shaun backed away.
"Nothing, we were just leaving." Shaun said, then he and the others walked off. I sat up, put my arms around my legs, and hugged myself tightly. Then I cried. I felt an arm come around me.
"Are you okay, Rachael?" Jared asked. I didn’t know him very well, but we’d met before.
"I think so." I sobbed.
"Where is your father?"
"He’s fighting too."
"But I just saw him a few moments ago. I’m surprised he wasn’t with you."
"I think they all are."
"I’d better get home. My father will get worried if I’m not in bed."
"He should be worried. Does he know about this?"
"I would tell him, but you know how the General is. He’ll kill them if he finds out."
"Maybe they deserve it." Jared said, his eyes dark and his brows pushed together.
"How bad do I look?" I asked, wiping tears from my face.
"Pretty bad." Jared replied apologetically.
"I’ll just tell him I was crying about mom again." I reasoned, mainly to myself.
"I don’t know what to say."
"Don’t say anything. Let’s just keep quiet about this."
"I’m going to walk you back." he said.
I was going to object, because I was afraid father would get suspicious. But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to go back alone.
"Okay." I replied.
I hate this place! Why am I here? I don’t belong here. Here in the army, it isn’t for me. It‘s cruel, and it smells. When are we going to leave? I don’t know how long I can stand it. I want to go home. Please oh please just let me get home. This place is hell!