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                                        The Child Kings

                           By:

                     Tom Jones

 

   A biological and nuclear Armageddon had killed every person in the

world, except those twelve years of age or younger. For some strange

reason, the diseases and horrific deaths that exterminated the adults

did not affect the children in the least. Now, with no elders, parents

or authority figures, the boys and girls must organize themselves into

gangs to protect themselves and scavenge for food. Mike is a boy who has

journeyed to his old friend's house, looking for help and offering

companionship if Nick will join his gang.

    At Nick's house there was a sense of paranoia and desertion. The house

was bedraggled and unkempt. Chained outside was Nick's huge Great Dane.

The dog was always sort of scary before, but now the monstrous beast was

terrifying.

    Mike loaded the semi-automatic 38 and pulled back the safety. Once more

he thanked God his father had kept such a gun, and then he quickly

pushed memories of his dead father out of his mind.

    Nick was a good friend, but now, after the "plague," you never could be

sure. Cautiously, he peered through the first floor windows and then

knocked on the door, hiding the piece in the pocket of his sweatshirt.

Someone Mike had never seen before stood next to the door with a hunting

rifle while yet another stranger carefully opened the door. Mike stepped

inside and peered around.

    "Where's Nick, and who the heck are you?!"

    "I don't have to answer to you. You can't talk to Nick. We're his

friends from Kingston, and I said that he didn't want to talk to you, so

leave!"

    Mike knew now that he wouldn't be able to get much help here. Nick had

already formed a gang. But maybe the gangs could join together. Times

were desperate. If Mike's gang didn't get bigger soon… Mike couldn't

allow himself to walk away in fear.

    "Is that so? Perhaps you had better ask Nick anyway. The consequences

could be dire," Mike flashed a grin in the boy's direction.

    "Why don't you just go on your way now, before I have to shoot you?  I

said I'd like to have a word with Nick."

    The hunting rifle swung up as the child's hands readied on the trigger.

But he was not fast enough!  Mike's semi-automatic coughed once, and the

rifle flew out of the sentry's hands. The sentry charged forward, intent

on killing Mike. Again, Mike swung the gun up and let loose a round of

metal into the unsuspecting chest of the boy. The others slunk back into

silent submission.

    Mike asked, "Now, where were did you say Nick was?"

    "Mike!" Nick shouted, coming down the stairs to welcome his old pal.

    "Your little henchmen tried to jump me, and I had to kill one of them.

They try it one more time, and I'll lay them all out so fast they won't

even scream. But, that's not what I'm here about. I started a gang. We

can provide food, protection and a place to live. You know that you and

the bullyboys won't be able to last here forever. We'll cut you in, and

the punks can come too."

    "Alright, you guys can leave now. Mike and I have to discuss some

business," Nick motioned toward the door with his hand.

    "Whoa! No you don't, you dirty traitor. We're not letting this guy

get away," called out one of the guards.

    "Yeah! He killed Kevin. Let's string him up," chimed in another.

    "Enough! Nobody touches him," Nick ordered.

    "Let's trash the loser! And bring Nick down with him!"

    "Yeah! Whose friend are you anyway, Nick?"

    "Kill the bloody…"

    The sentence was broken as Mike fired a single shot into the boy's

skull. Then, the tiny world inside Nick's house exploded.

B    efore a reaction was possible, a sentry behind Mike had him in a death

lock around his throat. At the same instant, one moved in behind Nick.

Nick swung and kicked frantically, but to no avail. Mike had reached

into his sock before his assailant could comprehend what was happening.

A shiny object flashed out and up, slitting the sentry's throat and

killing him. In a split second, another sentry was diving towards him.

Mike lashed out at him with his foot and caught him in the jaw,

instantly knocking him out cold. Out of the corner of his eye, Mike saw

another rebel drawing his pistol. In a flash, Mike whirled around and

hurled the knife at the attacker. The knife slammed through the guard's

chest, sending him staggering back against the front door before he

slumped lifeless to the floor.

    "Hit the deck, Nick!" Mike screamed as he squeezed the trigger of his

.38, sending a hail of bullets at Nick's antagonist.

    The boy dropped wordlessly to the ground, a stream of blood flowing

from his mouth. Nick came up clutching his right shoulder where a bullet

had just nicked him.

    "Perhaps, we can discuss the matter at hand," Mike said calmly.

    Nick looked quickly at the eyes of this amazing boy, a different Mike

than he had known before.  He saw the icy composure, but it was not the

cold-hearted ice of a killer. It was the ice that comes from trying to

survive without any help at all. Nick was looking at the face of a

leader who knew he had to kill and kill again, but who knew it was the

only way.

About the Autor of this story: Tom Jones is twelve-years-old and in the sixth grade at PDS in Hackensack New Jersey.

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