The Soldier and The Princess – Episode 1
The Soldier and The Princess – Episode 1
voice: Natalie Lawton
illustration: GEE, geepole.com
It was a cold night; the stars seemed lost in the cloud that engulfed the whole sky. Johnny, a soldier was making his rounds through the camp, everything seemed quiet. He decided to go deeper in, maybe he would see an animal lost in the night that he could hunt and make as breakfast. He carried his gun, let his troops and walked deeper in, the forest was quiet and all he could hear was the crickets. He calmed himself down as he was all alone. Suddenly, he heard some rustling behind the bush, with his gun held up high he moved closer to the noise, unsure of what he expected. He walked slowly towards the bush. He poked inside it with his gun, but nothing moved, nothing came out to the surface. He turned back to leave. He reached a clearing, the space was beautiful. He sat down and was thinking about telling the others to camp there the next night. He felt tired; he closed his eyes to take a little nap before he set back for camp.
“Hello” he heard a strange voice calling out. He quickly got up and hid. He looked around but no one was in sight. A young woman came walked into the clearing. She was trembling, she looked tired and worn out. Johnny looked at her as she moved through the clearing, she seemed to be carrying something, when she saw no one was around, and she gently put the load down and opened it. “Come here little one, everything will be alright.” The baby started to wail, the woman took it into her arms and began humming as she rocked it. “Don’t worry baby, we will find something, as for tonight, lay your little head. We are safe here.” The baby stopped crying. Johnny moved out of the hiding place, his gun pointing at her.
“Hey you, identify yourself.” The young woman jumped up, startled. “Please sir don’t harm us, we just want a place to lay our heads for the night. Johnny moved closer. “Identify yourself woman or I will have to shoot.” The young woman placed the child gently on the ground and stood up. “I am Betsy, I and my little brother are just looking for a place to lay our heads, please don’t harm us.” Johnny looked at the little baby wrapped in sheets and lowered his gun. “What are you doing here; this is no place for a young woman and her brother.” He moved closer to them, “get out of here before the others come, it is almost daylight and we are at war. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of the crossfire.” Betsy looked at her little brother. “Let him sleep here for a few hours and we will be off our way as soon as dawn shines.” Johnny agreed to this, although he did not move. He did not know why, but he just said it, “I will stay here with you, to make sure you are out.” Johnny looked at the girl; he hadn’t seen a female like her apart from the hardy girls in his troop. He sat under a tree and watched them. “Thank you kind sir, I will be out of your way as soon as my brother wakes up.” They sat under the moonlight, the cold eating up their skins.
“Why are you out here alone anyway?” Johnny asked. Betsy looked at him, “we are out on a walk, he got tired and I decided to look for somewhere we could lay our heads.” Betsy looked at her little brother as he slept. “We are from a village not too far from here, but we cannot go back since our sides are fighting. I have seen your troops, and they have killed many of our kind.” Someone came calling after Johnny; he quickly got up and looked around. “You have to leave now, you know as well as I do what they will do if they catch you here.” Betsy carried her brother and ran, the child started to cry, but Betsy didn’t stop. “Thank you kind sir, and with this war, I hope we never meet again.”
Johnny turned back to answer her but she was already gone; the cries of the child had faded away. Johnny scratched his eyes, as if he had woken up from a bad dream. He stood there and waited, his best friend, jack came to where he was. “Who were you talking to Johnny, or have you gone mad?” Johnny looked around the clearing.
“I was just thinking out loud. We can move here can’t we? It has space and all.”
“Let’s go and talk to the captain, he might agree with you.” Johnny looked back one last time and moved on. Betsy had long gone from the ground.
Betsy carried her brother home, she found her parents worried about her. She looked at them, “I’m home.” Betsy’s mother moved closer, she slapped her and took the child from her arms. “What were you thinking? You could have gotten yourself hurt or worse off the child could have been hurt. “She carried the child away. Betsy’s father was too angry to look at her. He looked at her as she cried and went to her room.
The next few days were quiet, Johnny could not stop thinking of Betsy, he wanted to see her again but he didn’t know how to get in touch with her. He decided to go to the river to cool off. He carried his rifle and when he arrived, he found her washing up; he looked at her, taking in the view from where he hid. He accidentally stepped on a branch. She turned back quickly and put on her robe. “Come out sir, I can see you.” She said. Johnny came out of his hiding place, “we meet again Betsy.” He smiled. She moved closer to him. “Seems so, what are you doing here sir.” She asked. “Out for a walk.” They talked for a little while, jack, saw them and hid behind a tree; he looked at Johnny as he talked to the girl. He aimed and walked out slowly pointing the gun at Betsy. Johnny looked back at his friend, “run Betsy, run as fast as you can!” Betsy didn’t think twice she took all ran into the forest. Jack shot but missed her. “What the hell Johnny, I’ll have to tell on you men!” he turned to leave. Johnny ran after him. “Jack, Jack wait, it’s not what you think”