The piece of cloth dangled from the tree in plain sight. He could see that his opponents hadn’t taken much care in defending their flag. Just ten feet in front of the prize stood the weakest link in their team. He began to sneak forward moving around to the right flank of the tree, when he stepped on a twig. The tubby boy in front of the tree shifted his weight uncomfortably and looked around; he squealed when he saw his opponent before him and ran away as fast as his waddling legs would allow. With the boy out of the way he ran forward and snatched the rag from the tree’s grasp.
Smooth oily hands wrapped around the rough worn fabric. The cloth rippled in the wind as the body carrying it dashed through the woods. After years of being washed and folded the white blanket had lost its comfort. It could no longer protect its owner from the late night chill; its ends were frayed and tiny holes riddled its surface. The hands crumpled and creased the material, forcing it into a spherical shape. The white ball sailed through the air, the wind tearing apart its new form. It slowly glided into the rough, callused hands of another body, who wildly clawed at the frail fabric.
A perfect toss. The boy bolted towards his teammates on the other side of the forest. Dodging both trees and opponents, he made his way quickly towards allied territory. His team cheered him on as his enemies clambered after him doing everything they could to tag him. He then reached his teammates and a loud victorious cry sounded across the field. The boy raised the captured flag in one hand and swung it in a circle above his head.
The white flag was lifted high and brandished like a trophy. For a moment this small tattered piece of fabric was everything to the surrounding bodies. It was their triumph, their power, their pride. Despite its rough texture and faded colour, every hand reached out to take hold of the cloth. In celebration, the flag was once again thrown into the air, but this time there were no greedy hands ready to claim the prize.
The school bell rang, cutting short the celebration. One of the boys grabbed the flag and threw it in the air as everyone ran back toward the building.
It floated down towards the snowy ground, once again, only a tattered white cloth discarded and forgotten.
Beniah Lanoue is a second-year Arts student at Wilfrid Laurier University and is an Honours English Major. He is an aspiring editor/publisher who enjoys reading and would like to one day write his own novel.