Drops of water hit the ground and splashed onto the shiny black surface of the car. I dunked my rag into a bucket of water and soap and finished washing the car. The last speck of dirt was cleaned from the windshield. I stepped back to admire my work. The once dirt covered car now looked like it was fresh out of the store, and every inch of it shone with an intense luster. The owner of the car came out of the waiting room and walked up to me.
“Thank you so much. It really needed a wash. I knew you were the right person to come to.” he said, sliding a green bill into my hand.
“It was a pleasure. Come back anytime.”
I called after him. His car left the rundown parking lot and drove off. Just as his car drove over the hill and into town, another pulled up to the front. “Hello, sir. How may I help you today?” I asked him, giving my most polite voice.
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll take a full body wash, how much is that?” he asked through drags on his cigarette.
“A full wash will be 10.50” I replied.
“Alright,” he said stepping out of his vehicle.
As he exited his car I could see he was in an officers uniform. I had always wanted to be in the military. What an honor it would be to serve my country. That was one of the main reasons I left my family to move to Hawaii. Sadly, the military turned down my application, and I was forced to take up a job washing cars. I bowed deeply to the man.
“It is an honor to be in the presence of an officer,” I said.
“Thank you, very much,” he said. “Are you in the military?” he asked.
“No, sir. I want to be though. They turned me down though.” I said. “Maybe I’ll put in a good word with my superiors, see if I could get you in,” he said.
I bowed again.
“Thank you so much, sir,” I said, trying to hold my excitement.
Before he could tell me more about his offer a loud siren blared to my left, near the edge of the island.
“Probably another drill.” the officer said.
This wasn’t unusual since the military base was located on our island. Sirens went off every week, almost all the time it was something minor. This time felt different. The sea seemed to stop, any sounds of cars from the road simply vanished, and it was like everything was waiting. But for what? My question was answered almost immediately.
From the sky thousands of fighter planes dropped from the clouds, their engines screamed like a banshee, and they all dove for the base. Their guns fired, bombs dropped, and all erupted into chaos. Everyone ran in the other direction, some carrying babies, others just trying to get as far away from the planes as possible. “Oh my Lord!” the officer said.
“We have to do something!” I yelled and ran towards the base.
“Wait!” the officer started, but I was already gone.
I passed several bodies on my way towards the base. They were all killed from the debris that shot out from the base. I found a truck that was stuck on its side, and the driver was stuck.
“I’m coming!” I shouted through the smoke.
The man was clearly shocked, and there was no way he would get out in time. I ran up to him and fumbled with his seatbelt. It wouldn’t budge.
“Come on!” I yelled. Still, it would not move.
“Need a hand?” the officer said.
He dropped down and cut the man free with a pocket knife.
“Thank you.” the man said, still disturbed.
“I’ll get him to safety. You just try to find as many people as you can.” the officer said.
I nodded and ventured farther into the smoke. I lifted a fallen tree to find nothing but a frightened dog. The dog leaped up and gave me a thankful look. The dog promptly ran in the other direction in order to find his master. My search continued with no luck when all of the sudden I saw a few fighter jets break formation. They were coming right for me!
My first instinct was to duck behind another wrecked car when I saw another trapped person underneath some rubble.
“Shoot,” I said.
I tore out from my cover and sprinted across the small clearing towards the helpless women. Even the short run was enough to put me on the pilot’s radar. He banked hard in my direction and fired. The shots landed just to the left of me, but I made it past the clearing and into the small patch of a village still standing.
“Don’t worry ma'am, I’m gonna get you outta here,” I said.
I pushed off the first level of debris off of her, but couldn’t lift up the large slab of stone on top of her. My instincts told me she had little time to live, and I had to act fast. Without thinking I pushed with all my might, and to my surprise it actually worked. With a herculean effort, I managed to slide the chunk of stone from off her leg and get her to safety.
My next conflict had arrived. The pilot that targeted me was back and he brought friends. The pilots were going to surround me, I was out of options. I could see the faint outline of one of the pilots. He was a young man, maybe around 24. The red sun on the side of his plane gleamed, indicating that it was indeed the Japanese who were launching the attack. Shots from his plane had just begun to start, when I felt someone push me out of the way. I fell to the ground and scraped my knee. It began to bleed, but I couldn’t even feel it through the adrenaline. I turned to see who it was who saved me, and to my horror, it was the officer. Instead of hitting me, the pilots shot hit him, and he fell to the ground with a thud.
“NO!” I yelled.
I ran up to him and knelt beside him.
“Come on. You don’t have long to live.” I yelled tugging on him.
“No. Leave me. It’s too late.” he said and reached out to touch me.
“No, I won’t leave you here.” I said.
He simply shook his head and handed me one of his medals, the one indicating he was an officer.
“Take it.” My heart sank as I reached out and took the medal.
“Goodbye.” I said as he fell back on the ground. I slammed by hand into the ground and sobbed.
The explosions echoing from the base soon stopped, and the Japanese planes flew back into the horizon. The last screeches of their engines faded away, and the attack was finally over. Soon after the streets flooded with people. Some were looking for a loved one, others distraught at the loss of their homes, some just stood in shock taking everything in. Everyone looked like they had just witnessed the world ending. I walked out from the ashes of the city and looked at my old car wash.
I was suddenly thankful for what I had left. My car wash became a shelter for all of those people affected by the attack. I didn’t need a story, if you were out in the streets alone, you had a place in my shop. It soon became the most popular place in town, with additions being added on to accommodate for all the new people. I didn’t care that it was non profit, these people needed it more than I did. I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that it doesn’t matter what has happened in your life, as long as you bounce back and stay positive, than everything will turn out OK. I have since renovated my car wash to be a full scale shelter, named Donald Blake’s Shelter, after the fallen officer.
By: Sebastian, 7th grade