Whatever I Draw
by Eliza May
Jaxon quickly assessed the situation–taking in the stream of cars that was blindly heading towards the huge wall of rock–and then floored the gas pedal so that everyone in the car was pressed back against their seats. “What are you doing?” shouted Tullier.
“I’m getting to the front of the cloud. Trust me, I know what I’m doing!”
It was only a couple of minutes until they reached the front of the billowing mass of dust. Then Jaxon plunged the car into the cloud. Everyone in the car started talking. “What are you doing?” “No, not back in the cloud!”
“Shut up!” Tullier yelled. “I think I know what his plan is, but Jaxon, you might want to explain it to everyone else.”
“Okay. Listen, the cars are all following each other, and the ones in front are simply going straight. But now we’re in the front, and we can lead the others to the fort.”
Collectively, the car’s occupants sighed, “Ohhh….”
Then Jaxon put his plan into action. He turned to the right, and sure enough, the headlights behind him followed. “Yes!” he shouted. “It’s working!”
The closer he got to where the fortress would be, the rougher and rockier the ground became, until the car was narrowly swerving large rocks. Finally, without any other choice, Jaxon brought the car to a halt. “Cover your faces, guys,” he ordered. “We’re getting out of the car and making a dash for the fort.”
The car’s occupants hesitated. Seeing this, Tullier took initiative. “Come on, guys, it’s not like we have an option.” He took off the T-shirt he was wearing under his hoodie and tied it around his mouth and nose. The others in the car either used their shirts or handkerchiefs that Tullier quickly drew for them.
“Ready?” asked Jaxon, voice muffled by his shirt.
Everyone opened their doors and were greeted by a stinging onslaught of tiny particles of sand and dirt. It literally felt like sandpaper. Heads down, they walked to the car closest to them. By signs, they conveyed for the passengers in that car to also leave their vehicle, and they moved down the line of cars, until everyone realized what was happening and acted of their own initiative. Then the growing crowd of people moved as one, staggering through the dense cloud of dust.
Gradually, the dust began to thin, and at last, they burst into sunlight. Ripping off their face coverings, the crowd of people whooped with joy. Then they looked at their surroundings. Looming above them was the fortress built into the cliff; they were less than a mile away. Then they looked at each other. Despite the coating of dust that they all wore, Pencils recognized Pens, and vice versa.
And the battle began.
Using anything that came to hand as a weapon, or just fists and feet, the Pens and Pencils began to viciously attack each other. It was unclear who started it, but it increasingly becoming obvious who was going to finish alive. The Pencils were severely outnumbered, and their only hope was the fortress.
Tullier quickly realized this; without the protection of the fortress, the Pencils would all soon be killed. The Pencils were naturally gathering into a group, desperately fighting a last stand, and Tullier, in the midst of that group, shouted, “To the fortress!”
It didn’t matter that the Pens heard the command as well as the Pencils. There was only a shadow of a chance that they would make it there at all. Clinging to this last shred of hope, the Pencils immediately followed Tullier’s order and began a mad dash towards the fortress.
It was almost a total slaughter.
The only thing that prevented every last one of the Pencils from being killed was the fact that panic gave them extra speed. Like a hunted animal being chased by a predator, survival was more important to the prey than catching the prey was to the hunter. As they neared the looming cliff face with the fortress built into its side, Tullier, with a sinking feeling, began to wonder how they would get into it. Behind and around him, he heard the sounds of killing, and felt sick. With nothing else to do, though, he continued running, until he literally ran into the side of the fortress, deeming it too dangerous to slow down, which would allow his enemies to catch up with him.
There were only three visible entrances to the fortress: a main gate, and two smaller side doors. Although Tullier was at the firmly locked main gate, he could see that the other doors were also fast shut, by the way the Pencils desperately pounded on them. At last, they stopped trying to get into the fortress altogether and turned to face the enemy in a final last stand.
No, thought Tullier. I won’t go like this. We’re so close to being safely in the fortress. Instinctively, he pulled out his pencil and paper, but was unsure of what to draw. While he pondered–bodies accumulating on both sides of the battle–Jaxon came struggling to the place where Tullier was, supporting a wounded man whom Tullier had thought dead.
Yep, Kirk is back. Did you seriously think I would forget about my favorite character?