I plan on posting bits and pieces to share with you all :)
The Day Everything Changed
John William ran frantically down the long curved road to his house. In the spring of 1918, he hoped this war the newspapers called World War One was coming to an end. German Fokkers and British Camels circled the clouds above like mosquitoes. He covered his head as bullets buzzed around him.
An airplane engulfed in flames spiraled out of the sky and disappeared behind the trees. Bang! A loud crash shook the ground. Dark smoke wafted into the air near his house. “Oh no,” he gasped, sprinting so fast his lungs throbbed through his chest.
He turned down the driveway to find his worst fears were true. Fire and smoke billowed out the windows of his house. Airplane pieces and splintered wood protruded from the top where the roof once was. Intense heat scorched his face. Boom! An explosion shattered the house and propelled John William backwards. Fragments flew everywhere.
He curled up in a ball, screaming from the pain of his wrenched and torn heart. His parents were home hiding from the chaos. Nothing could have survived the explosion. He felt empty – the two people he loved most in the world were gone.
The shouting of German solders approaching silenced him. He stumbled to his feet and ran into the forest on the edge of his house. Through the trees, John William saw two German pilots surveying the area. The airplane that had crashed into his house was a German Fokker. One walked to the edge of the thick fern and hovered over John William. The pilot stared into the forest. “Hallo!” he shouted. John William bit his lip, praying the cough building in his throat would stay where it was.
“Lass uns gehen!” The other pilot shouted and waved his arm, signaling for them to leave. They appeared to be searching for signs of life – but except for John William, no one remained.
John William lay flat on his back with his eyes fixed on the sky. Tears rolled down his face. He had no idea what to do. At eleven years old, he was left with no home and no parents. A car rolled up the driveway. He squirmed over to the fern and peered through the leaves.
His uncle stepped out of the car and stood with his hand over his mouth. “John! Katherine! John William!” His voice trembled as he walked around the shattered house. John William hunkered behind the fern, watching his uncle fall apart.
He was overwhelmed and heart broken, but he had a decision to make. He could go with his uncle or somehow make his own way. He could not bring himself to go. Something in his gut told him to make his own way. He prepared to turn and run. Snap! A twig broke under the pressure of his knee.
“Who’s there?” His uncle walked over to the fern. He looked down and saw John William’s reddish brown curls poking through. “John William? What are you doing?”
“Hi, Uncle, I was just…” John William stood up and gazed at his feet.
His uncle wiped tears and ash from his face. “It doesn’t matter. Thank god you’re alive!” He carefully pulled John William out of the leaves. “Are you okay?”
“I wasn’t home.” John William’s eyes welled up again. “I should have been home.” He buried his face into his uncle’s chest.
“It’s going to be okay, young man. You’ll stay with me.” He gave his nephew a firm hug and led him to the car.
As they pulled away from the house, John William’s heart sank. Life as he knew it was over. He wondered if he would ever feel again.
John William's story stems from heartache; but he turns things around. Lets just say... he gets more than he bargained for. His journey begins with a talking frog and a leap into a magical tree.