FictionCC Chapman

The Valley

FictionCC Chapman
The Valley

Thank you for the feedback on last weeks bit of fiction. I guess I wasn't clear that I'm going to be sharing a lot of different pieces of fiction and not a serial story as many hoped for. I'm not to that point yet.

Over the years I've written snippets of stories and ideas. I'll be sharing these in various forms, so you never know what you might get.

Today is a bit of a coming of age story. At least the beginnings of one.

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The Valley

The Valley

Marcus looked down to the valley before him.

It was a mix of pine and birch. There was a lake off to the east and to the west he knew the river ran down from the mountains.

There would be fish in the river and if he was lucky he’d surprise a rabbit in the early morning light.

He had been left here by the elders. Left with a longing look and a pat on the shoulder from his father.

As had every boy before him, it was time for The Awakening. Time to become a man.

For generations, boys would be left here and told to find their way home. Told to return when they had become a man and when they knew the time was right.

Growing up, every boy wonders what this means. How would you know? What did you have to do to become a man?

Last night around the campfire he was once again told the tales of the the old days before The Collapse. Told the stories of what the world was like and how they had survived.

Sure, he had heard these stories a million times. Every child was told them from the moment they were old enough to comprehend having a past.

The stories of the rising anger in the world. The third great war and devastation it left. The division it caused. All leading up to The Collapse.

Then he was told stories that he hadn’t heard before. About the men who came before him. The sacrifices they had to make to become the men they were.

He was instructed to go in the valley and not return until it was time.

He was told that he would be lonely and confused, but that the answer would come to him.

He was told he had no choice.

The valley below was massive and stretched as far as he could see.

As kids they had never been allowed into the valley. They’d sneak out and peer over the edge, but years of warnings of what lay below had kept them from ever going further. They knew that you were only allowed to enter when you turned sixteen and only then when you were brought to it.

He was given a backpack and instructed to only open it once he reached the valley floor.

Marcus thought back to the previous week. When Mr. Davis approached him during school and notified him that it was his time.

He knew that it would be coming since his birthday had come and gone.

Once he knew it was time, he and Dianne tried to spend every moment together. They knew that boys didn’t always return and when they did they never returned quite the same.

He promised her that no matter what happened, he would still love her and once he was a man they could finally truly be together.

Marcus looked down on the valley below and thought of Dianne. He thought of his mother crying as he left. He thought of the look in his father’s eye as he left him. The slightest bit of concern in his eyes.

What lay below that he needed to worry about? How would he know it was time to return?

He took in a deep breath of the fresh morning air and began his walk down.