Short Story: SEVEN DAYS by Kayla Hunter-Phillips


Knowing what we all were going through, we weren’t willing to risk it.

On the first day, we walked in complete silence. The sun was beaming down on the back of our necks, and there wasn’t structure anywhere in sight, so finding shade wasn’t an option. After what seemed like hours of continuous dragging, a slight but distinguished thud made us all jump. Since there wasn’t a tug of what seemed to be fallen weight, we kept walking as the chains felt slightly lighter.

On the second day, we came across a table with small brown bags and a sign that read: “Take one and don’t stop.” 

As frightened as we all were, that’s exactly what we did. Inside we found a half-full water bottle and an apple. The prior whimpering was drowned out by the sounds of biting and gulping. I don’t know about the rest of them, but I once again felt the chain lighten a bit.

On the third day, things got very difficult. When the sun reached its highest point in the sky, a stampede of noise formed behind us as we walked. As the sounds became louder, we all began to run. At that moment, we knew we were being chased by dogs. The chains were long enough to barely do so, but I never turned around to confirm what was following us. After what seemed to be hours, the noise finally ended. Of course, the silence only followed after some of the others cried. But when the silence began, I again felt the chains had lifted some of the previous weight.

The fourth day, and what seemed to be the easiest and shortest of the days, was filled with nothing but rainfall. The downpour lasted the entire day and felt as though the droplets got heavier with every step taken. As hot as the previous days were, this was the highlight of the journey we had undertaken. The cold brought a calming and peaceful feeling none of us had felt in a long time. Hoping it would last, I knew that tomorrow would not be so easy. None of us could tell, with the weather being as rough as it was, that once again, the chains had become lighter still.

On the fifth day, the weather was far worse and made everything up until this point seems less difficult. The wind blew so hard we feared we could be lifted from the ground and blown away. There were dark rain clouds, but not a drop of rain in sight. The thunder and lightning exchanged roles for hours, and walking in silence wasn’t necessary anymore. 

As time passed, every so often, we heard cries from others. I no longer remembered how long it had been since we had a decent meal, and I wasn’t sure how long we could hold off with what we had eaten days ago. I just wanted this to be over. I just wanted it to stop. 

As the storm finally subsided and night fell, so did the weight of the chains. Nothing behind me dragged anymore, and I didn’t hear anything other than my footsteps.

On the sixth day, still afraid to turn around, I began to assess what was different as each day passed. Every day had been different, and nothing was the same by the end of each walk. I still had farther to go, but knowing what I knew now, this would soon be over, that this day would be the last day of walking in chains. The sick and twisted game was finally drawing close to being over.

On the seventh and final day, a truck was waiting at the end of the calculated distance. I hated everything about what would come next, but I had survived this long, and I wasn’t about to slip up now. 

As I walked closer to the truck, I peered into the cargo bed and saw precisely what I knew was there. There lay the six bodies I was chained to for seven days. 

This game that I’m always forced to play has been a recurring tradition played by my family plays on their firstborn son. 

I remembered it all now. I always led during the seven days, always the one to survive it. I had to report what I could remember and how I felt during those crucial seven days. 

It’s always the same. After we get back home, or prison, as I prefer to call it, I help with the disposal. After the garbage gets removed, I’m finally released from my chains.

My father would go out and abduct people of all ages who were easy enough for him to control and herd through countless towns and cities before bringing them back here, just for this game of his. Every day I hoped that it would stop. Each day I’d wait for the opportunity to find a means to get out. I’ve waited twenty years for such a chance and never found one. 

The skill I used to have, plotting and making sure I remained on my father’s good side, disappeared a long time ago. Wishing I’d eventually become free now seems like a dream. To make it easier on myself, I have adapted. Now I teach my son that such freedom never truly existed.


Kayla Hunter-Phillips enjoys having her thoughts, ideas, and creations published as short stories. 

Her goal is to see her work developed into books and movies. She works regular hours, has everyday interests, including food, sleeping, rollerblading, as well as hanging out with her peers, and finds the time to write down her ideas and stories.


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