• The first thing I heard that told me that something might be wrong was the phone ringing in the middle of the night. I guess every major thing that has happened since the invention of the telephone has been accompanied by that annoying ringing. I didn’t think the call was anything important, but that didn’t stop me from silently following my Dad as he stumbled downstairs. I stood behind the fridge listening. He didn’t say much, mostly things like, “s**t” and “Oh my god”. He was a cop so I thought there must have been a murder or something. Then I heard him mutter something about being right in and put the phone down. He stood there for a minute, one hand on the phone, the other running through his hair.

    Finally I stepped out and he jumped, “Jess, I didn’t see you there.” I smiled that was kinda the point, I had after all been hiding.
    “What was the call about?” I asked, usually he told me everything about work so I was surprised when he tried to brush it away. Then out of nowhere there was a thunderous noise. It got louder and louder then began to fade slightly. Then it happened again, and again, and again. I tried to count but the noise blended together. Eventually it faded and I looked at my Dad knowing the emotion on my face was a mirror of his, Shock.
    “Were those Jet planes?” I asked. Then I heard faint booming noises and ran to the window. We didn’t have much of a view; the house behind us blocked everything. But above it I could see a red tinged cloud. Turning I demanded to know what was happening. My Dad answered, his voice sounding pained.
    “The United States has officially declared war on Canada.”
    I gasped, grabbing onto the counter as my legs began to collapse.
    “War?” I whispered. “But nothing bad is ever supposed to happen in Canada? Why?” I stared at him, not truly comprehending. “Wait. I know, we learnt about it in socials class last year. Is it because of their Dumb-a** belief that they have a God given right to control all of North America?” I stood; pleased with myself like it was some sort of test and I had aced it. “What is it called? Something to do with a line of latitude, I think.” He interrupted me.
    “I don’t think so; I think it’s probably because the government refused to give them trading rights to our water.”
    “Oh. Water.” That was the stupidest thing I had ever heard and I was about to say so when we told me he had to go down town. That’s when I remembered the planes and subsequently the bombs. “No Dad you can’t you’ll die.” I whispered, that’s when my Mom who had come down, jumped in to say she was going to. I tried to stop them but they wouldn’t listen to anything I said. They just kept telling me to wake me brother and sister and head for the hills. Dad gave me the key to his gun case, Mom told me where the camping stuff was. “What, but Dad I can’t take your guns. I don’t know how to use them. You guys can’t go. What if you die.” I was crying and could hardly hear them when they assured me that I did know how to use the guns, that I would know what to do, and that they would NOT die. Then they left. I guess that’s what you get when your parents are ex-military, abandoned.

    I stood there, listening to the city. Most of the bombing had stopped, but I could still hear the faint crackling of fires. Mostly all I heard was sirens as Tellon’s emergency response units raced around. But I thought that I could, just barely, hear screaming. That’s when it sank in. Canada was at war. People were dead, and dying. My parents might end up like that too. And if I didn’t act quickly enough my siblings and I could too.

    My parents were right I was prepared for this, Bob was the artist, Sarah was the smart, athletic one, and I was the survivor. They had always known it and had made me ready for the time when I realized it. Suddenly I realized I was smiling, I was excited! I couldn’t help thinking, “Finally, a time to prove myself.” After this even self righteous Sarah would have to admit I was anything but average. Of course at the time I hadn’t considered what my “anything” was. If I had I might not have taken the guns. I had never liked killing, even if it was necessary.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself with that last bit there. After my parents left I stood there for a minute, then I ran upstairs and woke Bob and Sarah. At first they didn’t believe me, Sarah actually insulted me repeatedly when I woke her, but Bob figured it was true when he saw that I was crying. After he got up Sarah started moving pretty quick too. We all grabbed some clothes and ran downstairs. Sarah started grabbing food and Bob and I went downstairs to get the camping stuff.

    “Bob?” I asked lifting a box of Christmas decorations out of my way.
    “Ya, Jess.” He answered pulling a couple sleeping bags towards the stairs.
    “I figure we should go to the cabin, its off the road and hard to find. But do I think we should still take the tent. What do you think?”
    “Better safe than sorry. I think we should bring as much stuff as we can. There’s really no way to know what we’ll need or how long we’ll be out there.” He answered choking on the last words, turning to look at him I saw he was crying. I put down the box I was holding and went to give him a hug.
    “It’ll be okay, its probably just some small skirmish thing and will blow over soon. We’ll bring the radio and check in everyday then when its over we can head right home to Mom and Dad.” I tried to sound as earnest as I could, despite the fact that I didn’t truly believe most of what I was saying. He nodded and started carrying boxes up the stairs. I followed him my arms also full of boxes. “Bob after we finish with the camping gear and have got all the food in the truck, you and Sarah can start getting clothing and personal stuff together. Not too much but clothing for all seasons and durable stuff too. Kay?”
    “Right.” He said clearing his throat. “Want anything special?”
    “I’ll get that myself, remind Sarah to get female necessities too, please.”
    “Ya, ya, sure.” He blushed, he’s such a dork. He has two sisters and like a million girl cousins, you’d think he’d get used to it.

    As soon as we had finished and he and Sarah were upstairs I pulled out the key Dad had given me. I just stared at it for a bit then I slowly walked towards the gun case. Standing in front of it I quickly made up my mind and unlocked the door and opened it in a rush. Then I stopped again, just for a moment, for that second I wondered what it would be like to kill someone. But I brushed it off, we were going far away from where anybody else ever goes. There would be no danger I was sure. After that pause I quickly grabbed ammunition for my rifle and put it in my Dad’s old barracks box, then I grabbed ammunition for Sarah’s and Bob’s guns and my Dad’s pistol. Next I took the pistol and put in with the ammunition. After that I put Bob and my rifles in their cases and Sarah’s shotgun in hers. Then I opened up the cabinet next to the gun case, and pulled out my knives. Like my Dad I’m a knife nut so I have quite a few but I know how to use them all so I don’t think it’s a big deal. Then I grabbed a few for Bob and Sarah and threw them all in the box. Next I turned to the reloading bench and dug around until I found the container of gun powder. Sounds a bit odd but I was preparing for all possibilities.