Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Striking it rich or striking it hungry?

It was 1848 and I was well  along on my long, hard journey. My parents told me we could strike it rich and have all the food we could dream of if we just found that precious stone that only exists in the fantasies they told me before I went to sleep. They had told me a story, something about a man named James Marshall finding a shiny rock worth lots of money in a river in Northern California (Unknown, The Gold Rush). It was in Coloma, a long detour from where our first route we were going to take (Unknown, Yukon Media- Gold Rush). Considering how rich I could be if my family found the gold mine, I decided to go with them on this absurd excursion. After all, who wouldn't want that kind of life? Fancy everything: warm homes, maidservants at your service, and of course high-quality meals, raccoon meat instead of beaver. It was definitely a higher step up from Maryland, that’s for sure. All of it seemed so easy; to find the place where Mr. Marshall had found his pebble of gold and all, but little did I know that many hardships would come from this journey with death around the corner (Unknown, The Gold Rush).

My first job was to pack the food, clothing and get the horses ready for a long "walk". I managed to sneak them a few of our apples stashed in the burlap sack in the hidden cupboard of the wagon. If my parents would have known I did that, they would have knocked the living daylights out of me! I decided to take a little jog, so I could get all of my energy out and sleep on the ride, letting the horses relax knowing that they had a humongous trek ahead. I took one step forward, then the next and soon I was in a full sprint.  I loved running, it sets me free: I felt like I was floating on the clouds. I untied my neatly done braid my mom had weaved last night and lifted my dress up just enough so I wouldn't trip over it with every step I took (Unknown, All About the Gold Rush). The wind thrashed through my long, dirty blonde hair, making me feel like I was on top of the world. I could have gone running like this forever, but my father interrupted when he hollered out to me, "Cynthia, we're leaving! Where are you?!" I stopped my quickening pace and realized I had made eight loops around my horse pasture and was gasping for breath. I knew immediately that I needed water.  "I-I-I'm c-coming-g!" I say in between shaky breaths. Before my papa had any say in what I was about to do, I sprinted to the well and grabbed the bucket, cranked it down to the bottom and brought up fresh water. I drank it right from the bucket, the whole gallon. "CYNTHIA!!!!!!" My brother called to me in an annoyed voice. "I'll be there in two seconds, Chester! Just hold on!" "Dad and Mom are angry! You are gonna get in troubbbbblle!" he said mocking me. "Whatever," I say, dropping the bucket next to the stone well while I playfully punched him in the shoulder. "MOOOOMMM!!! Cynthia punched me!" Chester poutted as he fake cried and ran into the wagon. "Now Cynthia, I told you to be nice to your brother! This was supposed to be a fun trip and it isn't starting out how I wanted it to." "I was being nice to him, Mom, honestly, I didn't even punch him that hard!" "Yes she did!" Chester whimpered from the wagon. I rolled my eyes and said, "Knock it off, Chester, you punk!" "That's enough, both of you, let's get a move on before all of the gold is gone." My Dad hopped into the wagon, shot me an angry glare and screamed "Yeehaw!" as he slapped the reins onto the horses backs.

And so we were on our way to the mystery land. No idea what was surrounding us, forward or behind. It was all a brand new concept, once we had been on the journey for two months. By this time, I was so annoyed with my little brother I couldn't stand another minute listening to his kiddish-comments and high-pitched voice. We had eaten most of the food that was supposed to last us five months. Panic set it and we were on the verge of searching for food, my mother and I tended the wagon, sewing the top because there was a hole from one of the hailstorms we encountered, while my brother and father hunted. They came back with their bow in one hand and nothing in the other. They had no luck finding food that we so desperately were in need of, so we pressed on. Just when we thought we had made it through the hardest situations, we experience something much more difficult. Snow like sugar glistened as it sat on rock-like boulders standing in front of us, stretching as far as the eye could see. The only thing that we could think to do was to keep riding, as far as we could go before it got too distressful. We made it about a mile up and down, swerving through the rock-like hills before one of our horses collapsed. We had no idea what to do, but to keep going and leave our horse behind. So we continued, but just minutes later, a wheel on our wagon cracked in two. The whole family got off from the wagon to take a look, it was nothing mother nor I could fix. We suddenly lost hope. No food, no transportation, and wishing we were rich. 

Life only got harder as the time went on, the nights grew darker and the daylight became lessened. My brother had no luck hunting, neither did my Dad. There was a couple options for things we could eat. I refused to the least appetizing idea, but my family decided on something better than the other option. We ate our horses. Every little piece of them. My dad went on a search to find the horse that collapsed and we cooked him over the fire that Chester started all by himself with the sticks he found by some trees. I cried while I ate them, because I grew special bonds with each horse, and now I was eating my best friends. Then I reminded myself, would you rather starve, or survive eating your animal? 

Soon the bark was gone. No more fire. We were starving, cold and skinny to the bone. All of the horse remains were gone. The only question that came to my mind was how could God let this happen to us?! I thought he wanted us to become rich and make it safely to California, guess that wasn't his plan after all. Chester was becoming too weak to function and he had no hope anymore. I recalled his face from when we were back at home right before we had left. We were so happy, all of us, before we ever went on this dumb trip. Chester's face had completely flushed from all it's color and turned pale white. We knew it wouldn't be long until he would pass away, so we spent every moment we could, trying to comfort him and tell him we loved him. It was very hard though, being in the circumstance we were in when we were in the same exact pain he was going through. 

A few days passed and Chester was no longer with us. He passed away once the temperature got to below freezing during the night. He had lost his coat while hunting animals and searching for bark, so he couldn't stay as warm as we could. I cried and cried, licking the tears from my eyes, desperate for water somewhere. I dreamed my tears were like the ocean, signs that maybe we were getting closer, but when I woke up I realized it was all just a illusion. I wished I could have apologized for being such a horrible sister to him. My parents kept telling me, in their weak voices, that it wasn't my fault that he died. Although, I felt like it was and continued to grieve, as well as my parents. 
Finally, a day after Chester's passing, my dad brought up the only hope we had left. "One of us had to die for the rest to live." I pondered his words for a second, and then processed the fact that my dad was telling me we had to eat my brother. I couldn't do it. I was filled with anger, bottled up with so much emotion. My body moved without me thinking, and I sprinted as far as I could away from them. I couldn't believe what I had just heard. This was absolutely insane, had my parents gone wild?! First the horses, and now this! Am I the next one to die and be eaten? No, I can't let them. This is a berserk thought that only some cannibal would even think of attempting. I ran back to save my brother's body from the two crazy aliens who I called my parents, only to see jugs of a red-colored substance and body parts tucked away inside of a plastic bag in our broken, vacant wagon (George). I stood there with my eyes practically bulging out of their sockets. How could this actually become reality?! I was about to say something, but couldn't because I felt a blade pressing through my skin, deeper and deeper until my father had stabbed me straight through the heart. I managed to say a few words before my breaths drew to a close, "I'm sorry I r-ran awa-ay. Good l-l-luck find-in-in-ing gol-d-d. I l-love y-ou both so-so-so m-m-much-ch." Everything suddenly faded and went dark.
After gold was found in California, people started flooding there and this boosted its population (Underground).The two parents never did find gold, nor did they survive when we tried to make it all the way through the mountains. Many other people searched for gold, but were unsuccessful (Unknown). Mostly everyone forgot about this “Gold Rush”, until the 1960’s when another one started up again. Americans became greedy, and wanted to become rich in an instant so they continued to search (Unknown, Gold Rush History).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beach Time

Author's Note: This a creative piece I wrote about this upcoming spring break I used some similes that tie into my piece. I have never been out of the country, so it'll be a whole different setting from this frigid winter. Puerto Vallarta here I come! :)

With my sunglasses on, flip-flops clicking, and sunscreen lathered, the seashells wash up on shore as the white waves crash to the sand and touch my toes. I have finally made it to the beach where there are no more harsh temperatures while frozen snowflakes melt on my bundled up body. I can finally break out of my shell and run free while watching the sunset as it reflects on the calm ocean waters. The ocean dances back and forth, to and from the awaiting sand as I sip a fruity smoothie which I can have at any time I desire it. The sand seeps through my toes as a pedicurist would before painting my toenails. I breathe in, and breathe out the fresh aroma of newly-baked corn-dogs, snow cone flavorings and the pure scent of sea-salt as I soak up the warm sunny rays with people stretching across the whole shoreline. The other vacationers are doing the same as me, but I don't notice them because everything seems too good to be true. As a matter of fact, it feels like a dream that I've always longed to experience: a dream where I crossed the borderline of the United States, and branched off and explored in a different country. At last, I get the chance to experience what I have dreamed of forever: new country, different language, different way of life, and all of it is different and utter paradise all at the same time.