The Metal Fortress

The Metal Fortress

Kaavya Vinod, Writer

The Metal Fortress

    There I was, sitting on the ground with my best friend, showing her my new invention. The invention was a glove, made out of scraps of metal that welds the other pieces of metal together into anything I wanted. I just had to think of what it was, and the pair of metal gloves welded it into that exact shape. 

     For example, if I wanted a model train I would use the pair of metal gloves to weld the metal into that toy train. I showed my best friend and my mom, but my mom got scared that I would get punished for using the metal needlessly. 

     Just then, the alarm started blaring and we were all transported outside. There were army planes flying above us. It seemed like the planes they use for flight training. Maybe the kids in soldier training were learning how to fly the planes?

    I walked outside, into the thick, gray fog and behind me was a very familiar kid. He looked older than me, but I wasn’t sure how much. He had bruises all over his arms and legs and cuts on his forehead, but I never knew why. Then I remembered, the day that kid was beaten up was different. It was the day our base was under attack for the first time. Where we lived, we didn’t get to see a lot of action, but that day we did. We were at war with the princesses. The princesses were the biggest enemy we ever faced. They had all sorts of magical powers and weapons, waiting for the slightest mishap to use them on us. They seemed like monsters who wanted nothing but mass destruction, based on what our officers said. 

     After the officers checked if we were making progress on the metal, we were allowed to go back inside. Our factory was a weapon-making factory, so it was our job to make more weapons and give them to our officers. We made these weapons so that they could use them for our base, and many other factories and buildings, but weapons as well. I wouldn’t know a lot about it because the only places we were allowed to be is the factory and our sleeping quarters. 

     That’s why my mom was so scared that I was using the metal. They would have thought that I was using the metal for an irrelevant cause, and would punish me, which was what probably happened to that kid I saw in the fog. There were a handful of children in the factory, and any children that weren’t old enough to work were taken and trained so that they could be soldiers when they were old enough. 

    “Hey, Keith!” Skylar yelled. Skylar was my best friend and she always liked to shout. She had her big brother trailing behind her, keeping sure she wasn’t goofing around. She was known for goofing around in our factory, and I’m pretty sure that the other factories have also heard about how she was the devil when it came to pranks. I always hated it when Skylar’s brother came with us because we never got to have any fun. It was always, “Watch out for this” and “Don’t do that” and “Oh be careful, you could get hurt.” It was extremely annoying when he came along. 

    “Hey Skylar!” I yelled back. Skylar finally caught up to me and her brother who was a few yards away talking to one of his friends. Skylar came up to my ear and whispered, “We have to get away from my brother soon.” 

    “Totally! No offense, but I can’t stand him,” I commented.

    “None taken, I can’t stand him either,” Skylar replied. We quietly and sneakily tip-toed away from Skylar’s brother and ran off the other way without him noticing. I really hoped he wouldn’t find us. We went to our normal meeting spot, behind a giant scrap of metal. There were so many because literally everything in this factory is metal. Skylar’s brother would never have known where we went. Besides, we change it every day. 

     Just when we were about to go to our spot, I heard footsteps just outside the factory doors leading outside. The door opened so hard that they went flying and crashed into the side of the walls with a big BOOM, and a few officers came in. 

    We all knew why they were there. “We need some children for the soldier training. We don’t have enough, and we’re so close to winning against the princesses.” 

     That’s what they always said when they needed more kids to make into soldiers. Honestly, the factories are the safest place. No one wants to go to soldier training. I’ve heard rumors saying how it’s incredibly dangerous, and that it’s a death trap. Even if the soldier training was good for us, all the children ran and hid behind their mothers, hoping that they wouldn’t get picked. 

    “We would really appreciate it if children would come and volunteer instead of us picking them out this time. We wouldn’t want to do that.” Even if they are horrible people, they actually seemed kind of considerate. None of the kids went up, of course. We all just stood there, like marble statues, staring into the dead eyes of the officers. 

     Then suddenly, I heard another set of footsteps, but this time it was behind me and Skylar. It was Skyler’s brother! I was astonished that he actually volunteered to go to the soldier training. Nobody had ever volunteered to go to the training. Skylar ran up to him and begged him to not go, to not go to that death trap. Everyone was so quiet that it echoed when he said that it was for the best, and that he wanted to win against the princesses. Maybe he finally wanted to avenge his mother, who died a few years ago by a bomb that was dropped by the princesses.

    “Fine. If you decide to leave us then I’m coming with you.” What? Did Skylar really just say that? I guess I had the same expression as her brother because he looked at me in a way that I totally understood what he meant. She didn’t have to go. There were so many other kids in the factory who could have gone. She didn’t have to go. 

    “I can’t let you do that Skylar; you’re too important to me. I can also think of someone else who would be devastated if you left.” Skylar’s brother turned his head to me and nodded. I have no idea what the nod meant but it must’ve been important. I begged them both not to go, but their minds were set on one thing, to get revenge for their mother. There were no little kids left because they had already been taken to the soldier training in the beginning, so all of the kids who were left were the older kids and kids a few years younger who were able to work. The first kids who had stepped up for the training were Griffin, Skylar, and someone else. I didn’t know who it was but I recognized him. He was the kid talking to Griffin when Skylar and I were going to meet up. The soldiers said that they needed one last kid and then they could go, but no one was stepping up and volunteering.

    “I’ll go,” I said at last. I joined the other three kids in the line leading outside. My mom ran up to me and I knew what she was going to say. Before she could start her dramatic pleading, I said, “Mom, I know you don’t want me to go, but I want to help our home too and fight for what we believe in.”

    “But why do you have to go? Please don’t. I won’t be able to protect my baby boy from the princess.”

    “I have to; it’s my job to protect our home. I want to make you and dad proud. Please, let me go.” She let go of my hands after a few seconds. She had tears streaking down her cheek and she pulled me into a big hug. 

     “I love you, to the great big moon and back, no matter what. Good luck, my dear son” she said, and we both had tears running down our cheeks. I wiped them off, and soon, me and the other kids were being led out of the factory and through a maze of other factories. 

     I had no idea that there were this many. I had only been outside when the alarm went off in our factory. Why did they need this much metal? I looked up and saw a huge building with ramps and balconies. There were so many windows. It was massive and gray smoke was coming out of the top. There were towers and other buildings I had never seen before. It was beautiful but also scary at the same time.

    “Hey Keith, doesn’t that cloud kinda look like a turtle?” Skylar always knew how to turn the worst moments into okay moments. Hey, she was right though. That cloud did kind of look like a turtle. Even though Skylar always knew how to fix up my mood, I was still a little sad and scared. I moved up to her though, and nodded indicating that  I thought she was right, that the cloud did look like a turtle. 

     Thankfully our factory was kind of close to the main building, otherwise we had to walk at least a mile. No wonder we were fighting with the princesses. They probably wanted all this space for themselves. They were so mean and greedy. A few minutes had passed and me and the other three kids had reached the main building. The huge, big, main doors slid open and we stepped inside this magnificent structure.