Backyard Battlefield

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
November/December 2010

Jack Taitel
Backyard Battlefield boy observing his backyard

Cold wind made me shiver as I stopped to observe the beauty of my backyard

As I slid open the door a valley of fun stood before me. The bright sun sliced through the cold air, leaving patches of bright grass on the backyard’s surface. With no one around this was the perfect time to have fun at my favorite place. I looked back through the glass door, making sure not a single soul was there. As I set out to the swings, the creaking of the porch sounded like the roar of a lion in the peaceful evening air. The earth slid under my feet and, in a fraction of a second, I was taking a step that would lead me to the core of fun.

On the ground, dead grass was covered by colorful fall leaves that fell from trees. As I walked, squishy mud sank beneath me as the soothing sound of rustling leaves overcame me. Cold wind made me shiver as I stopped to observe the beauty of my backyard. Suddenly, the sun heated up like an oven and ceased my shivering. A frantic hunt of squirrels was happening around me like a search for your most prized possession.

I made my way through the tall grass, slicing like a knife towards the swings. The smell of rotting logs wafted towards my nose. My smelling machine scrunched up from the horrid smell. I dodged through dark shadows and then through wonderful light patches. The forest looked so lively but the whistling wind distracted me and invited me to dash across the beautiful yard. It said, “Come on, Jack, you know you want to.” Resisting the temptations, I swerved away, knowing that I would have to use all of my strength to resist. The wind continued and eventually I gave way and turned around to the starting line. I needed to improve my racing skills to beat my friend the Dashing Devil. Off the track we were friends, but, when it came time to race, our years of friendship vanished. Some knew him as John Meyer. Those kids thought that he was the fastest kid in Shrewsbury, but they thought wrong. The fastest kid in Shrewsbury was me. The air got chilly, but that didn’t bother me. The sun took shelter behind a fluffy cloud, knowing that this clash wasn’t going to be pretty.

Backyard Battlefield bunny

As I lined up at the starting line, John appeared next to me. “Have you tasted defeat?” I asked.

“No, and I probably never will. Well, at least not from you,” he said, chuckling.

“Prepare to taste defeat,” I spat back to him in disgust.

We got into our starting positions, ready to go head-to-head, man-on-man. Go! We took off. Me in first, him in second. The colorful trees turned into blurs as he gained inch-by-inch on me. My heart began to pound, I lost energy and he gained as we flew across the grass. We were neck-and-neck as we closed in on the finish line. I knew that if I could dig deep down inside of me I could beat him. The sun peeped out from behind its bodyguard but then went right back, not bearing to see the ending of our battle. Using my last bits of energy, I took the final steps to… “Victory! Yes! I finally beat John Meyer,” I screamed in my head as my whole body filled with happiness. With no energy left, I collapsed to the ground, still breathing hard. The trees looked down on me, approving my victory. “Yes!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “I won!” I was exhausted.

Hauling myself up, I noticed the tired sun sinking behind the trees. Hobbling towards the start, I felt an urge to do it again, but the torch had gone out for these games. Later, I lay on the couch, exhausted from my battle. I could still see the grass flying beneath my feet as I glided over the finish line. I drifted off into a deep sleep, satisfied with knowing that I’d finally knocked the Dashing Devil off his throne.

Backyard Battlefield Jack Taitel

Jack Taitel, 10
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Backyard Battlefield Alondra Paredes

Alondra Paredes, 11
Bentonville, Arkansas

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