Write a story ending with: "If only I had been more careful, that wouldn't have happened."

- by Abigail Shannon Chua
Wesley Methodist School Melaka

It was dark. My partner Jack and I were doing our usual rounds around the palace grounds, talking among ourselves softly. As we walked, I looked around. The night air was still and the palace grounds were deserted.

"I'm thinking of going to the tavern to ease up a bit. You want to come?" I asked Jack.

"Dean, you know it is against the rules to go to the tavern during patrol. You want to get disbanded?" Jack asked.

"We never have anything to do around here anyway. It's just a quick drink. I won't be long," I responded.

Jack just sighed and continued to do his rounds. I walked to the tavern downtown and flung myself onto a chair.

"One pint of ale please," I gestured towards the bartender. He set a large pint of ale in front of me and I took a gulp of it. Before I knew it, I had drunk almost 3 pints. My head was clouded from the alcohol within my body and I lapsed into a deep sleep. After what seemed like a long time, I woke up to the sound of screaming and to Jack shaking me like a rag doll.

"Dean, wake up! We're under attack!" Jack yelled at me.

His sword was out and his armor was covered in blood. I stumbled onto my feet and Dean helped me to steady myself as we rushed out to the streets. Buildings were set ablaze and the villagers were running around panicking like lost ants.

"Sirs Dean and Jack, where in King Edward's name have you been to?" Sir Peter screamed at us. We scrambled behind a large bundle of hay for cover. Men were yelling and brandishing their axes and swords in the air. Their faces were smeared with the mark of the Barbarians of the North.

They took us by surprise. Most of our men were caught off guard and killed. We've managed to secure the bridge leading to the palace but we've lost the town," Sir Peter shouted over the North barbarians' yelling of triumph.

"Go help secure the bridge. We'll handle it from here," Sir Peter ordered us. We scrambled to our feet and began running towards the bridge. Barbarians and knights were locked in combat. It was a slaughter.

"Come on. We have to get to the tower outside the bridge," I panted as we ran. Some barbarians ran towards us yelling and throwing their swords at us. We managed to overpower them and ran to the tower. Suddenly I heard Jack yell. He fell to the ground after an arrow had gone through his thigh. I helped him to his feet and we continued to make it to the tower.

"You could have just left me there," Jack said wincing in pain. I leaned him against the wall of the tower entrance and checked his wound. He was bleeding profusely. I held his hand as he pulled in ragged breaths.

"Go and secure the bridge. I'll handle it from here," Jack said. "Go, I'll be all right."

I quickly picked up my sword and ran up the tower steps leading to the locks controlling the palace gates. I slammed down the lever and the gates came slamming down atop many barbarians. The battle continued until dawn. When I came looking around for Jack, I saw the bodies of barbarians and knights alike littered the ground. And right where I left him lay Jack with two arrows piercing his chest.

During the funeral in memory of those who had fallen in that bloodshed, I could not help but thought, "If only I had been more careful, that wouldn't have happened."