EN GARDE by Lauren

By Lauren, Year 10

Written as part of Factory Feedback

Upon a vast, barren field woven with forest roots was a rusted gate floating helplessly in the middle of a barren field. Blocking civilisation from what? Its gangling structure looms over my sprawled figure; still unable to clutch onto reality. Due to my torpid state, my vision spirals into a world of blur. My eagerness abruptly overpowers my consciousness, forcing me to uncover the real truth behind the bars. My mind suddenly coils into a mixture of blackness, an uncontrollable trance. 

A thunderous horn alerts myself from an infinite coma. I’m vigorously rubbing my eyes to the piercing chants from over 50 000 people all with different coloured robes, the atmosphere familiarly reminded me of history class in school. The dome-like building is so meticulously constructed with every crisp block of some sort of white-ish concrete or rather stone.

“EN GARDE!” bellowing from my competitor. The nylon skin layered under my chainmail armour tightly compresses every inch of my body, making me sweat buckets of water under the beaming sun. Laughs and scuffling in the background mocks my ability to keep my head up with this iron helmet. Drawing my fine-sharpened sword from my left pocket, I blink multiple times, enough for myself to concentrate in such commotion. Leftover debris and ashes suffocate my breath, emulsifying with the sounds of our swords clashing, weakens my inner strength. I constantly remind myself: my life is on the line. Bouncing on the balls of my feet, I frantically readjust the grip on my longsword, holding it on the right side of my broad shoulder to intercept his slice to my arm. The crowd cheering enlightens my confidence, plasting a smirk on my face.

“Really Alex?” as my competitor responds back in envy. Untangling our weapons, we head back to our neutral stance, remaining a focused state. Swiftly yet rapidly, my opponent furiously charges in, knocking the blade out of my hand. Grasping the hilt once more, he executes a stab. My chest numb… painless… nothing.

Feeling as if my soul is rising, my mind travels in a kaleidoscopic-like tunnel as if it were replenishing my memory. Awakening to the deafening sound of silence, I notice a large scar across my body… What happened?

Factory Feedback was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.

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