Castle Roland


by Owen Hudson

Short Story


Posted: 1 Jan 15

© 2010 Owen Hudson

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

This story is copyright by Owen Hudson, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.

Eight year old Caleb woke to look up into the sky and saw a very bright star above. "What am I doing in the back yard in the middle of the night?" He asked himself. He often escaped to the back yard at night to escape the arguing and fighting of his parents. But, what was different about this night was that he didn't remember going to the back yard.

The day had been much as any other day in the Carter household. He remembered coming home from school and his mother had yelled at him for putting his "dirty" book bag on her couch. She had hit him as she often did. Sadly, Caleb was used to this and expected it almost each day he came home from school. Some days he was lucky and his mother was too drunk to notice him.

After taking his beating, Caleb had gone to his room in the hopes of escaping additional punishment. He took the brown bag that Mrs. Wall, his teacher, had given him. He quickly hid the contents, a peanut butter sandwich, an apple, some carrot sticks, and a cookie under his bed. Mrs. Wall somehow knew that Caleb wouldn't eat unless she sent food home with him. She knew that he had breakfast and lunch at school, but often went to bed hungry. On Friday he got three bags to get him through the weekend.

Caleb was becoming very good at staying out of the way of his parents when they were drinking; which was becoming more often lately. He had learned to keep a bottle of water under his bed. He only left his room to use the bathroom. However, there were times when there was no way of avoiding the beatings.

"I've come to take you away from all of this," a voice said to Caleb as he was trying to figure out why he had been sleeping in the back yard.

"Who are you?" Caleb asked as he looked into the face of a teenage boy who looked a lot like himself.

"I'm Andy, and we must go now," Andy said. "I'm going to take you to a place where you will never be hurt again."

"Where is this place?"

"See that bright star that you say winks at you?"

"Yes, but the stars are like our sun. You couldn't live on a sun."

"You're right. Just think of it as a planet."

"How did you know about my star? Are you my guardian angel?"

"I suppose you could say that. Now come, we must go now."

For some reason Caleb trusted Andy and sat up and took Andy's outreached hand, following him without fear. In the field behind his house there was a light that had a warm welcoming glow.

"How will we get to where we're going?" Caleb asked.

"This is how we will get there," Andy said as he pointed toward the light.

"That doesn't look like any space ship I've ever seen."

"Our technology is much more advanced than what you have here."

"How long will it take for us to arrive there?" Caleb asked as he stepped into the light.

"We're there now," Andy said as the light disappeared from around them in what had been a wink of time.

Caleb had never seen a more beautiful place. It was hundreds of times more beautiful than Meadow Brook Park where he sometimes escaped to play.

"Are you hungry?" Andy asked.

"I am hungry," Caleb said when he remembered that he hadn't had dinner.

Andy took Caleb to a table filled with all kinds of wonderful foods. Caleb had never seen so much food. There was another table loaded with fruit. Some he recognized, but there were many exotic and beautiful fruits.

"I have no money," Caleb suddenly remembered.

"You need no money here," Andy said as he filled a plate with food and handed it to Caleb and then filled one for himself.

"You must have been hungry," Andy said when Caleb quickly consumed the plate of food.

"I was hungry," Caleb admitted. "I didn't have a chance to eat the food Mrs. Wall sent home with me. I wonder how she knew that I might go hungry without the food."

"I let her know that you needed someone to lookout for you."

"Do you know Mrs. Wall?"

"Not the way you did. I'll explain it all to you in good time."

"Are we the only people here?"

"No, there are many others. You will see them when the time comes."

"Why do you look like me?"

"I thought you looked like me," Andy giggled. "Anyway, we look alike because I'm Andy."

"Andy Lopez is in my class and he doesn't look anything like me."

"You will learn all of that after you go through admissions. I'll take you to see the administrator of admissions."

"What if I'm not admitted? Will I get sent back? I feel safe and peaceful here."

"Don't worry, it is just a formality. The administrator of admissions never turns away kids."

The administrator was a kind looking man that Caleb immediately liked. "I tried to be good," Caleb said when the administrator asked if he was a good boy. "Sometimes I hated my Mom and Dad when they were mean to me."

"Did you love them," the administrator asked.

"I tried, but sometimes it was hard to do," Caleb said.

"Andy said that you should get to stay and that's good enough for me," the administrator said.

"Do I get a new family here?" Caleb asked.

"Tell him, Andy," the administrator said.

"Everybody here is your family," Andy said.

 "What is this place?" Caleb asked.

"Oh my god, did you see this?" Scott Wall asked his wife as he was reading the morning paper.

"See what dear?" Katie Wall asked.

"Some drunken parents brutalized their eight year old boy and threw him out in the back yard to die. Neighbors heard the screaming and called the police, but by the time the police arrived it was too late. I wonder if he was one of your students. He would have been the right age."

"Does it say who it was?" Katie asked as she gasped. She was afraid of what the answer might be.

"Caleb Carter."

"I called Child Protective Services several times," Katie said as she wept. "They always said that nothing was wrong."

"It says here that an older brother, Andy, died under suspicious circumstances five years ago."

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