The Legend of Spyri and Gympi - Part 4
Spyri was lonely. It was 9 months since the war had begun and he was feeling very lonely. He watched the other children play games and talk to each other, but he never had anyone to talk to. Everyday, he, like all the other children of the town worked hard to find food enough for themselves. He always searched for extra things that he could leave in the caves for the other children. Every attempt they had made to find out who he was had failed. He was too wary and it usually ended with him leaving something behind for them and silently slipping away.
He was ashamed to show himself to them, mindful of how he had been before the war had started and his looks now. The right side of his face had been burnt and was now scarred from when he had escaped from his burning house. Nobody would have been able to recognise him now. His mother and father had almost thrown him out a window, through the fire, in a desperate attempt to save their youngest son. Not long afterward, the roof had collapsed. After sitting a while, crying, he had heard screams of other children and parents, trying to escape from their burning homes or from the whining bullets of enemy fire. A sudden thought had come to him and without further thought for his own safety; he had gone to save as many of his townsmen as he could.
He constantly berated himself for being so weak. He had only been able to save the younger children, being yet too small to save the older teenagers or adults. Nightmares of that night tormented him almost every time he went to sleep and the only thing that made him feel as if he were making up for not saving more of them was to try and help the children he had saved, survive.
The children had noticed that the enemy were becoming more and more uptight about something. They heard news that their own countrymen were coming to save them and sweep the enemy back into their own country. They had also found that it was now getting too dangerous to go out into town to forage for food. The enemy soldiers were unpredictable and would do sudden things to an unsuspecting child.
Spyri and Jessica Frilby were the main sources of food for the children now. Being the daughter of the town grocer, the man who had been given all the food stores to take care of, she was often able to take some food for the others. Her father, Stanton, turned a blind eye to her activities and only made sure that she never took enough to be noticed. He just rearranged any paper work to cover up for the loss of any food.
The war was beginning to turn and the enemy were still deciding on their next move.
Spyri stealthily crept into the enemy storeroom. It was dark, but he knew where everything was. He selected a few choice foods and wrapped them in a few blankets and spare clothes. He had seen these supplies arrive just earlier this morning. He quietly tied his bundle to his back and slipped out the window after a quick check to see if all was clear. Spyri hurried down the street, and pressed himself into the dark shadows of an empty house.
A car stopped outside the storeroom. Doors slammed and some enemy soldiers went into the building.
Loud shouts arose.
“Where have the extra blankets gone?”
“Who took the cheese and bread that just arrived this morning?”
A light flashed up and down the street.
“How do you know it’s the kids? It could be one of the civilians or one of our men as well!”
“Get onto Frilby, and get him to find out whether one of the civilians has been sneaking around. He’ll know. We’d better order a pop search of our men. We can’t keep losing things like this.”
Spyri waited until the commotion had settled down and then ran off in the direction of the caves. He didn’t realise that he was being followed by a shadow as silent as himself.
He set the Spyri branded items down in the usual place and decided to call it a night. As he was setting off to his own hide out, a voice called out to him and stopped him.
“I saw that,” said a girl’s voice. “So you’re Spyri.”
Spyri recognised Jessica Frilby’s voice. Her voice had woken some of the children sleeping in the caves up. They stirred and began to come out to see what was going on.
Spyri slid into a moon shadow and disappeared.
“Spyri? Spyri was here?”
Children emerged rubbing their eyes.
“What’s going on Jess?”
“I just saw Spyri rob the enemy and bring you some stuff.”
“What did he bring?”
“It’s too dark to see, we’ll find out tomorrow.”
“Say Jess, won’t you get into trouble if you’re dad finds out you’re not at home?”
“Aww, he won’t care.”
Jessica let herself back into her house quietly. The lights were still on. That wasn’t a good sign.
Rough hands suddenly grabbed her and she screamed.
“So. You’re the thief.”
Jessica looked up into the faces of the soldiers that had checked the store room earlier.
“No, I- , it wasn’t me! It was one of the other kids!”
“Spoken just like a thief. Do you know what we do to thieves? Why don’t you tell her, Stanton? She’s your daughter after all.”
“Where have you been, Jess?” her father moaned. “What have you done?”
“Tell her what happens to burglars!” one of the soldiers kicked Jessica’s father, who was sitting at the table with his head in his hands.
“D-don’t kill her! Please don’t kill my daughter!” Stanton pleaded desperately with the soldiers. “I’ll tell you anything you want, but please, don’t kill my daughter. She’s all I have left.”
“Hmmm. Anything, eh?” the soldier smiled evilly. “Let’s get started then. If your answers aren’t good enough, you know what we’ll do.”
He gestured at Jessica meaningfully.
The soldiers soon received all the information he wanted on the actions and views of all the other townsfolk. It was just before dawn when they left to arrest several other townsfolk and left Stanton weeping over his unconscious daughter who was lying with both legs bent at a grotesque angle.