• In the big city of Kalleghi, our house, the Theay household, was in big fuss. My father, an important man in the military, Luke, and older brother, Lev, were leaving for war; they were all dressed and ready. My mother, Kami, was trying to keep me and my younger brother under control.

    Well... mostly me....

    "But mother! I want to go with them!" I screamed. "I'm four now! I want to go help!"

    "Dada!" Kedai, who had just turned three, reached out to father from mother's arms. Father took him and gave him a hug.

    "Dada has to go now, but he'll be back!" He said to Kedai. Lev knelt down in front of me and wrapped me in his arms.

    "You have to be strong and wait until you're trained." He said soothingly. "So go to school and train hard so you can graduate! Then you can fight like a warrior to!" He gave me a warm smile and stood up. Dad and mom kissed.

    "I love you all! We'll both be back just fine!" Dad said. Lev looked down and saw the disbelieving look on my face.

    "I promise." He said with another warm smile. Then I smiled and hugged him one last time.

    Lev never broke a promise.


    "Mother!" I yelled excitedly. "Mother! The warriors are here! They're walking through town! Daddy and Lev will be there! Come on!" I ran out the door and toward the main road in town.

    "Lucy?" I heard my mother call. "Lucy! Stop! Stay with me!" I kept running, and I knew my mother was running after me with Kedai in her arms. I ran through the crowd to the edge of the road. The smile I had faded when I saw the warriors faces. The long line passed by. I looked at every face closely, but none of them were Daddy or Lev.

    And then, I saw a truly horrifying sight. Four men were carrying a stretcher and on that stretcher was Daddy. His face was pale and his body was still. I watched him pass and heard Mother gasp behind me. Then, Lev passed us. He passed us with a dead look on his face. His clothes were more torn than anyone else's, and his whole body seemed to be in bandages. His long black hair was dirty and messy. The parade ended at that, and everyone parted to see their loved ones in safety. Mother ran to Daddy, but I stayed glued to the spot. I suddenly realized how gray the day was. How sad the atmosphere was. It started to drizzle. Was this a dream?

    It had to be, because Lev had broken his promise....