Spectacular Short Stories: “The Great Sacrifice”
The Olympian is excited to share junior Gavin Huynh’s short story, “The Great Sacrifice.” “This story is all about a family living in a dangerous environment where the parents are trying to make the best decisions for them,” Huynh said. “The town that the family has been living in for many years has come to an Apocalypse. The family has been struggling to make ends meet, but in the end, the family leaves the town with everything they have left.”
The Great Sacrifice
Family. No matter how big or small one is, they will always be there for you no matter what. I picture my family as a bridge. Whenever someone walks on that bridge, every part has to hold up the weight of the person until they are no longer on the bridge. And every person who walks on the bridge holds the problems that my family and I face every day.
Things have been pretty rough for me and my family these past few weeks. One of my closest friends got taken away from me because of a few bullets and just last night my mother’s sister died from cancer. My father thinks it’s best for me and my brother to stay inside for a while because of the increase of gang violence outside. Public stores that have been successful in the past have been shutting down because of the decrease in consumerism this year. Things have been such a mess around town that nobody wants to even come out anymore. The only time you can catch a few cars driving around is when a family has completely run out of food in their house or if they are trying to leave the town for good.
My mother wonders why we have not left yet but my father gives the same answer every time. He tells her that we have nowhere else to go if we leave. She will then instantly respond by saying that any place other than here will be better for our family. Occasionally my brother would agree but most of the time he would just stay out of the family conversations. However, I was always affected by seeing my parents argue over things to keep my brother and I safe.
It wasn’t always this bad in our town, just this year it seemed to be a lot worse than before. I don’t think it will ever go back to normal in my opinion. As nights pass on and days come by, we are still staying inside our home waiting for any possible changes to our town.
My father says our food storage is getting smaller by the day and the last portion of our money is dwindling down. My father and mother have not worked a single day since the start of this month because both their bosses had to lay everyone off as their companies filed for bankruptcy that same week. My parents have been discussing how we can still get food even if we don’t have any money left and the only option that they could agree on was planting food in the backyard. I thought this idea was clever but it would take a while before we could get any food. And this would require watering it everyday with the chance of being seen by gang members roaming the street.
But we all agreed as a family that it was a risk worth taking, so at night fall my father and I snuck out to look for any seeds to grow. We went by foot because at night we knew it was when the most gangs came out. That’s why it is required for us to sleep on the hard ground at night because there is always a chance of a bullet penetrating the walls of our home. As we approached the closest plant shop, we knew it was going to be closed so we looked in the back where shops would usually throw out the extra seeds.
And lucky for us we found a few watermelon seeds and tons of tomato seeds. The look on my father’s face was like the look of a person winning the lottery. He was so surprised that we ever found anything. This was a sight I haven’t seen in a very long time. My father finally found a sense of hope or any survival for our family. He signaled me to quickly pick up the remaining seeds and follow him instantly because we were still in danger anytime we were outside of the house. I stuffed all the seeds that we could find in both of my pockets and came to his side in only a few seconds. I was also very happy that we now could stop worrying about our next meal to come.
My father and I slowly crept around cars and light posts trying to not get spotted by anyone. Although we did see a few people outside, none of them looked very dangerous. I spotted a few cars and another family trying to look for a shelter for the night.
As soon as my father and I got home my mom helped us with the door and instantly slammed it shut as if someone was trying to follow us. She looked a little distressed when she saw us but then she was relieved that we both came back safely with our new source of food. My father told her about how we found the seeds behind the plant shop and told her how lucky we were to find any seeds at all.
The next morning, my father and I planted all the seeds in the backyard as my mother was watching us. We watered it everyday to make sure the seeds grew into healthy plants that are able to eat. As months passed on, we grew tired of living the same cautious life that we’ve had to endure for almost a year now. We decided that today was the day that we would find someplace safer to call home.
So early in the morning we hopped in our dusty car and headed off into the distance trying to get as far away as possible. We never looked back once as we were driving off into the sunset. It felt as if we had never lived there even though we spent our entire lives living in that little town. My brother and I had a few tears rolling down our cheeks but we knew it was better than risking our lives just to live there.
After all, we still had each other.