I'm going to call this a novel more like a story in verse, because it's catalogued as fiction and it's told in poems. Patricia McKissack has written another winner with this account of a Mende blacksmith's beloved son, who is captured and sold into slavery in Carolina. McKissack states in her author's note at the end that she wanted to tell the story of the people left behind in Africa, and how they remembered their loved ones who were stolen away. The lyrical words and the Dillons' beautiful I'm going to call this a novel more like a story in verse, because it's catalogued as fiction and it's told in poems.
The lyrical words and the Dillons' beautiful illustrations combine to create a story that lingers in your mind after you've read it. I like how she incorporates the four elements--fire, water, wind, and earth, all said to have been commanded by the Mende blacksmiths--into the story, to tell parts of it that Dinga, the father left in Africa, could not see.
My favorite lines were, in fact, about Water, who, after she reported on what she had seen to Dinga, So saddened by what she had to report, Water melted into the river, Where her tears flooded the shore. Highly recommended! Jun 07, Ursula rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-read-in , children-auth-d-m. This is a beautifully written story about one man's loss of his son to slavery. It shows the hurt, sorrow, and despair.
Everyone should read it. Beautifully illustrated, this will tear at your heartstrings, and show you how important it is to never forget. Nov 06, Margo Tanenbaum rated it it was amazing Shelves: african-american , picture-books. I was immediately drawn to the stunning cover of this new work by Patricia C. McKissack, who has written or co-authored over books about the African-American experience and has received countless awards for her work. In her newest work, she marries African folktales with historical fiction, telling in free verse the story of an 18th century West African boy raised by his blacksmith father and the Mother Elements--Wind, Fire, Water, and Earth.
The boy, named Mufasa, disappears one day, like s I was immediately drawn to the stunning cover of this new work by Patricia C. The boy, named Mufasa, disappears one day, like so many others--captured by the slave traders and taken by ship to a far-away land. Wind, Fire, Water and Earth try to save Mufasa, but none is powerful enough. Nonetheless, the wind finally brings Mufasa news that his son is still alive, and working as a blacksmith, although still a slave. She was inspired to write this tale by her curiosity about how African literature and music portrayed those ripped from their families by the slave trade.
Clearly these individuals were mourned by their families, but she could not find any stories, dances, feasts or other stories about the "Taken," so she decided to write her own using elements of African folklore for her story. The free verse allows McKissack to create a rhythm to her language that in certain passages is reminiscent of drums beating.
This moving tale of family members loved and lost is magnificently illustrated by the two-time Caldecott Medal-winning team of Leo and Diane Dillon. The illustrations were created in acrylic and watercolor on bristol board, and the artistic style clearly shows the influence of African art. I will not be at all surprised to see this book honored with many awards, particularly for its powerful illustrations. Shelves: picture-books , historical-fiction , poetry.
McKissack emulates the chant of the griots before and after slavers kidnapped a young boy from a Mali village. She focuses on his father, a blacksmith, who according to tradition commands the four elements of earth, wind, water, and fire, and here uses them to try to find his beloved son. It is the wind who finds the boy who was lost, and tells his people what has become of him. Rather too optimistic an ending, but if I were the wind, I'd have done the same. Moving, poetic, sometimes dense text. Powerful, emotional art by the Dillons acrylic and watercolor on Bristol board.
Helpful author's note at the end. Be sure to read the Goodreads review by Elizabeth Bird; she says it so much more eloquently than I can. This was a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, and the creators have won many other awards as well. Apr 18, Laura rated it it was amazing Shelves: wow-books. Patricia C McKissack was inspired to write this book in response to the question that haunts African Americans, the descendants of the "The Taken,"-- "Were we missed? McKissack blends the story-telling styles of different African tribes with the legends of the Caribbean slaves to create a haunting tale.
In addition, the artwork is absolutely stunning. This book would be Patricia C McKissack was inspired to write this book in response to the question that haunts African Americans, the descendants of the "The Taken,"-- "Were we missed? This book would be appropriate for most upper grade classrooms. I think that it would provide an excellent mirror to the classic slave narrative which is typically told from the European or enslaved African's point of view. In this book, we are given the additional perspective of those who escape being enslaved, but are still affected by the tragedy.
The book would also be a great starting point for research into African legends and how those stories were blended to create the unique culture of the African slaves.
Another research idea would be to investigate the artist style of the book and learn why the illustrators chose to use that style. One final classroom application would be to have students write poems or journal entries from the point of view of people affected by historical events. For example, a child whose father has gone to fight in the Revolutionary War or the child of a Civil Rights organizer.
Jun 22, Josiah rated it liked it. An inspiring meld of African folk literature and modern storytelling technique, Never Forgotten is stunning in equal measure for its emotionally involving plot and the evocative artwork that accompanies it; of course, this is what one tends to expect from author Patricia C. McKissack and illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon. So much of why this story hits home like it does is the flawless way in which text and artwork fit together to give a sweeping, unobscured vision of African culture and the jo An inspiring meld of African folk literature and modern storytelling technique, Never Forgotten is stunning in equal measure for its emotionally involving plot and the evocative artwork that accompanies it; of course, this is what one tends to expect from author Patricia C.
So much of why this story hits home like it does is the flawless way in which text and artwork fit together to give a sweeping, unobscured vision of African culture and the joy that can emerge out of the sorrow of human experience. Even as the heat of suffering began rising to agonizing levels with the arrival of American slave ships, come to capture the children of the Africans and send them across the ocean to a land where their parents would likely never see them again, the joy of the people's spirits refused to die, would not lie down and accept defeat even in a situation so bleak and seemingly hopeless.
Never Forgotten begins with the story of the great Mende blacksmith Dingal, greatly respected among his people but struck squarely one day by the death of his wife as she gives birth to their only son, Musafa. Though his contemporary culture says that it isn't a father's place to bring up a baby, that a widower should either find a new woman to marry or relinquish the orphaned child to a family with two parents, Dingal shakes off these expectations of his friends and neighbors, determining that he will care for his son on his own.
Brave, revered man that he is, Dingal straps the baby onto his back just as a woman would do and carries his precious cargo with no shame, going about his work as if it were the most natural thing in the world for a father to be carrying his child at all times. The ties that bind Dingal and Musafa are those of necessity and love, and no social convention can ever be more enduring than such strong, instinctive ties as these. Dingal isn't entirely on his own in bringing up Musafa, though. Musafa doesn't take to the work of the anvil the same way his father does, but the spirits soothe Dingal's concerns, telling him "One day his hammer will find a song".
Musafa has more in his future than simply following in his father's footsteps; blacksmithing will play a part in his life, for sure, but there is a larger destiny into which Musafa has been made to fit, and even the evil storm that approaches cannot snuff out the future for which Musafa is headed. Then the slave ships arrive, and the wailing voices of many join into one continental cry of bereavement as children are taken away forever, including the joy of Dingal's soul, Musafa. Not even the wise spirits of Earth, Fire, Water and Wind can help bring back Musafa now, but as Dingal slowly begins to comprehend the horrifying reality that he probably won't ever come face to face with his beloved son again, there is still solace to be had in the words of the Wind, who finds her own way to give Dingal the gift of a contented spirit in the knowledge that Musafa may be a world away, but the wisdom and virtue that Dingal instilled in him as he grew up are ballast enough to keep him afloat wherever he goes.
Dingal will never stop missing Musafa, will never forget the son who was his wife's final and sweetest gift to him, but Musafa has become capable of standing on his own two feet and meeting the New World with all the courage and inner strength modeled to him throughout his youth by his father. So often when we lose what's most important to us the foundational structure of our life quickly crumbles, and we come to realize that we never really had the strength to stand on our own. Never Forgotten , though, is a story about quite the opposite effect. When the waves come crashing and the storm rocks the foundation of their life with a violence that most will never know, Dingal and Musafa, separated by the miles, each stands up straighter and prouder, never forgetting the strength to be found in the memories of those they love and what they taught them for the time that circumstances allowed them to be a part of each other's life.
Continuing to stand tall in the face of cruel loss doesn't have to mean forgetting the past; in fact, remembering it can be the key to remaining upright even through the most stringent of trials, the most arduous of journeys either physical or metaphorical. Because love never gives up, and knowing that there's someone out there who still loves you and cares about what's happening to you is a flame that not even the most blustery storm can extinguish.
Of all the outstanding artwork in this book, I think it's the rendering of the Fire spirit that I find most intriguing. The flaming strength of the spirit as it tries to ward off Musafa's kidnappers brings to exquisite life that part of the story, as the drawings do throughout the book. The author and illustrators have really created something special in Never Forgotten , a book that I think could have been a legitimate contender for both the Newbery and Caldecott awards in I can hardly imagine any reader not liking this book, and I would give it at least two and a half stars.
View 2 comments. Apr 26, Morgan Jones rated it it was amazing Shelves: written-by-african-american-author. This book is a collection of poems about slavery. It tells the story of a young boy who was captured in Africa and enslaved in America during It is told from the point of view of the father and shows many emotions walking through the story. This book is important to children's literature because it is a part of history that can not be forgotten. I gave this book 5 stars because it is a very important topic that is portrayed in a different manne This book is a collection of poems about slavery.
I gave this book 5 stars because it is a very important topic that is portrayed in a different manner than typical and I find that to be important. All children take in topics differently and this is a different perspective. The illustrations are very good and show the events well.
Shelves: history , family , slavery. Nothing I write can do justice to this superb work of art. Never Forgotten is indeed a work of art. It is moving and touches the soul. Never Forgotten is a story of love, a story of memory, and a story of family. The lyrical meter and the artwork add to the feel, the moment of the story.
Never Forgotten is a story of slavery, but it is told from the perspective of those left behind. Dinga is raising his son, Mufasa, alone after the death of his wife. As the years passed there have been drums of warning - drums that spoke of an outside threat. But the threat was so far away that Dinga paid them little heed. When Mufasa was old enough Dinga began teaching him the skill of his family - blacksmithing. But one day as Mufasa gathered the brush for the fire he did not return. Dinga and the village searched for Mufasa, but could find no trace of the boy. Dinga asked the Mother Elements for their help but they were unable to stop the slavers and save Mufasa and stolen children of Africa.
For several years Dinga lived in sorrow with no hope for his stolen son. But one day Wind returned and told Dinga a tale. A tale that made his heart celebrate - though his son was taken and lived across the ocean in a faraway land Mufasa had never forgotten. Mufasa used the skills his father had taught him and told of the father that had taught him well. It is appropriate for all age groups. Jun 28, Debra Wake rated it really liked it Shelves: children-s-literature. Audience - Grade level K and up, students studying slavery and black history, Subject - multi-cultural, black history, African storytelling and music Appeal - This is the story of what happened when the slaves were taken in Africa.
It is the story of Dinga and his son Musafa. Musafa was brought up by Dinga with the help of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water and was taken and sold into slavery. His father never stopped missing him and loving him. Mufasa grew to be a strong, wise man bcause he never forgo Audience - Grade level K and up, students studying slavery and black history, Subject - multi-cultural, black history, African storytelling and music Appeal - This is the story of what happened when the slaves were taken in Africa.
Mufasa grew to be a strong, wise man bcause he never forgot what his father had taught him. This could be used as a lesson on family history or as a focus of black history month. Jun 10, Ashley Gregory rated it really liked it Shelves: childrens-literature. Audience: 3rd-6th grade boys and girls, history classes, art classes. Appeal: This story was different from the moment I opened the cover.
Not just one story, but many stories being told that allow the reader to feel, see, and sense what it was like to be an African slave. The author did a fantastic job of bringing together stories of the people From the blacksmith to the naming of a child, it all was represented beautifully. The artwork in itself captured a different aspect of the story as well Audience: 3rd-6th grade boys and girls, history classes, art classes.
The artwork in itself captured a different aspect of the story as well. The drawings were done to represent African artwork and allow the reader to dive further into what the story is saying. These people really are not forgotten, but remembered through text nicely. Award List: Coretta Scott King author honor This was an amazing story.
The author uses what some would consider poetry to tell the story of a person taken captive and sold into slavery. Although the words don't rhyme, the way in which the story is presented makes each page look like a short poem. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant and clearly illustrate the words written on the pages. This book would be a great way to introduce the topic of slavery either during black history month or in a regular history class.
The images are sur This was an amazing story. The images are sure to keep the students attention! Jul 10, Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing Shelves: african-american , poetry , novels-in-verse , slavery. A stunning, profoundly moving collaboration between a superb writer and two amazingly gifted artists. Jul 20, Lauren Perlstein rated it really liked it Shelves: edlibibliography. Copyright Date: Estimate of age level of interest: Grade 3-Grade 7 Estimate of reading level: Grade 5 Brief description: A series of poems that describe the African slave trade through a story about a father whose son was taken by Europeans, sold into slavery, and the journey to find him.
The story in verse describes how these different spirits helped the father find his son by turning into a hurricane which becomes a vivid picture in the readers mind of all the elements combining in fury to find the enslaved young boy. Poetry has a clear sense of purpose: The verse in this book tells a story of enslavement but also the love between a father and son. The book was done in a purposeful way to allow the reader to feel and connect with the separation of the father and son but to also understand more deeply the history of enslavement in our country.
In what ways and how well does the book as a whole serve its intended audience? This book would be a wonderful read aloud for children to talk about enslavement, love, family, and freedom. There are sounds and chants incorporated into the story to appeal to a younger child and the rhythm of the poetry is soothing. However, the vocabulary and sentence structure may be difficult to understand and follow. I would recommend this book as a read aloud for 3rd grade and up. Jun 17, Bethany F rated it it was amazing Shelves: picture-books , poetry.
This beautifully crafted story written in verse is that of Dinga, a widowed blacksmith in West Africa that chooses to raise his son with the help of the Mother Elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind rather than giving him to a woman in the tribe that was unable to bear her own children. The simple color palette and woodcut illustrations provide the reader with a magical visual connection to the text.
Combining pieces of West African history, folktales, and legends, this text serves as a great addition to not only a poetry collection as its use of lyrical verse is exquisite, but is also serves well to discuss the themes of courage, bravery, and strong will. I would use this text in an upper elementary or middle school classroom to discuss the literary and poetic elements, but also the historical components that are included as well.
Aug 23, Dixie Keyes rated it it was amazing. Probably the most provocative, deep book about the one African family's tragic experience with slavery that I've read Rips apart any form of glossing over the kidnapping of people from their homes to serve the greed of America in that time period. The elements of nature played a role in seeking Mufasa after he had been taken, and the legend of the African blacksmiths and how they spoke to wind, fire, earth, and water takes us into the culture that comforted them and brou Probably the most provocative, deep book about the one African family's tragic experience with slavery that I've read The elements of nature played a role in seeking Mufasa after he had been taken, and the legend of the African blacksmiths and how they spoke to wind, fire, earth, and water takes us into the culture that comforted them and brought them news from far away.
Another must for middle grade classrooms. Excellent for literature circles. Apr 10, Olivia Pollari rated it liked it Shelves: african-american-authors. It starts out in the year when the hundreds and thousands of Africans were stolen for slaves. When I read this first story I felt empathy for them, made me sad. The books end its a story based on today reflecting on the rest of the book and ending on a positive note. Dec 05, Matthew Hunter rated it really liked it Shelves: poetry , children-picture-books. Beautiful illustrations and poetry.
Mar 07, Amanda Quinn rated it it was amazing Shelves: children-s , ed Most stories that talk about slavery start with the arrival of African's to America, or briefly mention their capture. I loved that half of this story took place in Africa Mali and that their culture was essential to the story. It's an excellent reminder that people had lives and beliefs and families and love before they arrived on our shores.
The language and art was beautiful and I loved that the story was told through poetry. I will definitely be purchasing this book. Jun 06, Nicholas Clinch rated it it was amazing Shelves: year-1 , to-reread. These poems were a gentle, hauntingly vivid first reading for some tender hearted boys who ache at the thought of Musafa's story.
Upon narrating, they compared him to Telemachus who honored his father's memory long after others had given up. They especially latched onto the strength of the four Mother Elements, who reminded us of Athena. Nov 01, Haowei Zhu rated it it was amazing. The young boy kidnapped and sold in to slavery, the father loss his son. Instead, I was met with a barren white landscape as far as the eye could see.
Of course, there was a small one-story building a short distance off. A radar dish barely taller than the roofline stood next to it on a rusty steel structure. I felt pity for whoever had to work that miserable place. He stood in front of all of us with a clipboard in his hand. Everyone refused to move, instead of standing in silence and pulling their parkas tighter around their bodies.
He shouted the last word, causing everyone to scramble into groups of three. By the time I had picked up my bag, there was only one group left that had two people. As I walked over to join them, I recognized one of them as the man who sat next to me on the flight. Joining them, he looked over his shoulder and made eye contact with me. Did you get enough sleep? We have another few hours to the basecamp, so get comfortable. Our respective groups walked over to the snow vehicles that sat in line.
They were painted orange but had long faded in the beating sun. We all packed into the snow crawlers, which rumbled to life with a plume of smoke from the exhaust. As we pulled away, I looked out the window towards the small building. There was what looked like a person standing in the open doorway. Although hardly striking me as dangerous, I was filled with a sense of unease. As we drove away, the person walked back inside, never breaking his gaze from our departing fleet. I turned to Drake, looking to see if he had noticed the man as well.
He had occupied himself by opening a book. When we finally arrived at the base, I had grown tired once again. Perhaps I had jetlag, or perhaps I was getting a taste of how low my energy was going to be while I was out here. Even though I had gotten plenty of sleep on the flight, I was beginning to feel fatigued. The vehicles finally came to a halt and we all piled back outside in the cold once more. By this time, the sun had mostly set, leaving the camp illuminated in the glow of floodlights. As my boss talked to everyone, I only nodded my head. I only fantasized about going to sleep once again.
When I heard my boss say something about taking the day off tomorrow to catch up on sleep and rest, I perked up. I was one of the first people through the door. While everyone else looked around the basecamp in curiosity, I consulted a bulletin board on one of the walls. I quickly found my room number and walked in that direction. Once I entered the room, I shut the door, dropped all my belongings on the floor, and collapsed onto the bed. I simply went limp and let the grasp of slumber engulf me. I woke up this morning to find that Drake had been assigned as my roommate for the duration of our stay.
After I woke up this morning, I went into the main area of the base. I joined two other men in the kitchen which overlooked the den. They had cooked breakfast and were sitting at one end of a table. They offered me the remaining fried egg and bacon strips, which I happily took. Before sitting down to join them, I scooped some grounds into the coffee maker and turned it on.
Breakfast went better than I had expected.
The two men, who introduced themselves as Roger and David, were a pleasure to talk to. Roger is a muscular man who keeps his dirty blonde hair spiked up with a large amount of product. He spoke with a booming voice that could strike fear into anyone. David was a skinny man who kept his long black hair combed back. He spoke with a quiet tone but perked up when we started talking about books.
We ended up talking about our favorite authors until around 2 in the afternoon when everyone else began to wake up. We dispersed, saying how we hoped to talk again the next day. Although I had never been big on long conversations, these two were a joy to talk to. I guess this trip will turn out to be decent if I can continue to fight off my usual fear of being social. And so, that leaves us to where I am now. I better get going. The boss just announced over the intercom that dinner was ready.
Oh, before I go, I only have one complaint. I forgot until now that I woke up last night to a shout. Apparently, Drake screams in his sleep. I just ignored him and buried my head deep into my pillow. Today is the first day that we actually did some real work! I, along with Drake and four other people, boarded a pair of snow crawlers and headed out to our project site.
The ride was about forty-five minutes. Compared to the ride from the plane to the base, this one was short. A team had come out here a couple of weeks ahead of us and set up a temporary building near a large hole in the ice. After a quick tour of the facility, we got to work. My job was to monitor the gauges on one of the screens. If the pressure in one the pneumatic arms went out or something like that, it was my job to go out to the ROV when it returned to land and remove the broken piece.
We had brought a spare part for everything on the robot. I would place the new part on and fix the busted one when we got back to camp. Luckily, nothing went wrong today, so I mainly sat at a table talking with Drake. He would occasionally have to tend to a software issue with the computers, but it never took long. Overall, the day went by at a decent pace. By the time we were ready to head back to camp, I had worked up an appetite.
The drive back to base seemed longer than it should have been, mainly due to my stomach only became noisier. As we neared the base, the floodlights turned on to illuminate it. The sun had begun to set while we were at the expedition site, and by now, had almost completely gone down.
As soon as the snow crawler came to a halt, I flung open the door and ran inside. Rounding a corner, I ran through the den and into the kitchen. I yanked open the door to the fridge and grabbed my pre-made sandwich that the asshole had forgotten to pack.
I threw the crumpled plastic wrap on the floor, too consumed by my desire to feast to throw it away. I tore the plastic wrap off and devoured it in a few bites. Even after consuming my sandwich, I was still hungry. I joined the rest of the team in the den while our cook prepared dinner. Although the Seinfeld episode currently on had my attention, my nose would get distracted as the smell of cooking meat wafted in my direction. Soon enough, all of us sat down at the long table in the kitchen and devoured our meal. I sat with Drake, along with Roger, David and a couple of other people I recognized from the expedition today.
In between bites of pork roast, we talked about our lives back home and got to know each other a little better. I guess my wife was wrong. On the other hand, writing these entries does give me some quiet time to myself. After dinner, we gathered in the den to watch a movie. The boss figured that after our first day of work we needed to have a mild celebration. I had thought of turning in to bed early but decided a social activity would do me some good.
The employee who brought the external hard drive of movies connected it to his laptop and then plugged that into the television. After scrolling through a list, he clicked a movie and started it up. It can take the form of any person, making it almost impossible to tell human from monster.
Halfway through the movie, I got up and went to the kitchen to grab a beer. No one seemed to notice me get up and leave. They all had their faces glued to the screen as a husky began to shift into some ungodly monstrosity. I opened the door to the fridge and found a strawberry ale I thought would be good. As I turned back to the den, I caught sight of Drake starring out the window to my left. Whatever he was staring at had his full, undivided attention.
I followed his gaze out the window. There was nothing there… All I could see was falling snow illuminated in the pale glow of the floodlights. Shrugging it off as some obscure behavior, I sipped my beer and turned my attention back to the movie. I woke up to Drake shaking me, gently calling my name.
After rubbing the drowsiness from my eyes, I followed him back into our bedroom. I sat in bed and tried to go to sleep but failed. So, I might as well entertain myself. Currently, Drake is cursing at his laptop for dropping the internet signal. I can finally feel myself getting tired, so at least I can go back to bed. Better turn in. Yesterday went by a little rough for me. I woke up and went out to the expedition site. I had only gotten six hours of sleep, making me groggy the duration of the workday.
Drake kept me company and made conversation as much as he could. I give him kudos for trying to keep me awake. Close to the end of the day, the ROV had to be pulled back up to the surface. One of the floatation blocks had come off, causing the vehicle to be pulled back to the surface via its tether cord. Apparently, the pilot had tried to explore a small cavern structure and scraped the block clean off. By the time I had undone the bolts on the frame that once held the flotation block, it was too late to put on a new one and continue working.
I relished the idea of a short work day. I kept my excitement hidden, not wanting my boss to regret his decision. We all piled into the snow crawlers and headed back towards the base an hour early. After dinner, I played some video games with Roger and David, then turned in for the night. Instead of heading out to the expedition site today, I stayed in my shop to craft a new floatation block from the stock we had brought down here.
I had never stepped foot in the shop but expected it to be like a much smaller scale of the one back home. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with new machines lining the walls. Although the small shop was one quarter the size of my other one, it had half as many tools. I spent the day machining a solid block of condensed foam to a set of plans on a nearby table. Apparently, the government had given my company enough money to where they bought a Bluetooth speaker for me to use. I took a break for lunch, sitting with David and Roger at the table in the kitchen.
They had been brought along to create maps, spreadsheets and other collections of data that the ROV gathered. Whenever we brought back information one day, they would spend the following making sense of it and storing it in a neat and organized manner. I failed to comprehend the gibberish that left their mouth. Roger had said something about mapping the ocean floor.
I finished my lunch and went back out to the shop to finish my work. Spending another hour working away the foam to the smallest detail, I finally finished. I glanced down at my watch to find it was only four in the afternoon. I grabbed the floatation block along with other supplies to bring with me to the expedition site tomorrow and turned off the shop lights.
Stepping out into the cold, I zipped up my parka and dreaded the short walk back to the main base camp. As I walked through the snow that had fallen overnight, I glanced over at the mountain range that dwarfed our camp. Some members of the team had wanted to take the helicopter up there and ski down, but the boss prohibited it.
Suddenly, something on one of the mountains caught my attention. At first, I thought my eyes were playing a trick on me. I used my free hand not holding the floatation block to rub my eyes. I looked at the same spot again to see it was still there. All I could see was a tall, slender black shape. Although my guess is rough, I estimate it was at least ten feet tall. It stood still, not moving a single bit.
Even while writing this, I find it hard to believe what I saw. It just filled me with an overwhelming sense of dread. Even now, I faintly feel its effects fatiguing my body and weakening my mind. It filled me with trepidation that I have never come close to feeling before. Drake is asleep now, and I probably should do the same. I locked the door and drew the curtains over the windows a few minutes ago.
Jesus, I should just stop.
Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each solider who died protecting it. Thank you to all those who served + are serving!. Never Forgotten is a picture book by Pat McKissack about a blacksmith father in West Africa who has Musafa, his son, kidnapped by slavers and with the .
I just need to get some rest and think this through. What I saw was simply a trick my eyes were playing on me. Nothing more, nothing less.
The past few days have gone by without any problems. Drake and I have gone out to the expedition site and sat in the portable building while the ROV does whatever it was rented out to do.
Luckily, the only part of it I had to replace so far is a flotation block. Drake does a good job trying to keep my attention, but I still wish that I was at least back at basecamp watching a movie on the television. When we returned to base camp yesterday, Roger and David were doing their work, but had the television on all day. They get to have a television, while the only entertainment I have is the strange ice patterns that are forming on the window of that building.
Even a little music will cure my boredom. I seem to have forgotten why I started typing this entry to begin with. Something happened last night. And to answer your questions right off the bat, the answer is no. No one died. Drake just told me something that I still find a little unsettling. What he said was just unnerving. As soon as he finished eating dinner, he left the rest of us and went back to our room. It must have been around midnight when I finally left the den and came back to our room. When I opened the door, I was met with the sight of Drake staring out the window like the other night.
However, this time his face was pressed right up against the glass. Although I was hesitant to get closer to him, I found myself inching forward in his Direction. He must have been in some kind of deep trance, because when I asked him that question, he immediately turned around and covered his mouth to stop a scream from escaping. His eyes were open wide with fear, and the hands covering his mouth trembled. I was never all that comfortable with people opening up to me, but I felt this time I had to do it. Drake slowly uncovered his mouth, his hands shaking even more violently as he placed them down at his side.
The only response I could muster was letting my mouth hang open and let out of confused sigh. I shook my head and finally found some words to say. Drake shook his head. His eyes darted back up towards the window. His body shook, and he returned his gaze to me. I turned around and glanced out into the hallway to see if anyone was listening to us.
After I was certain that everyone was either asleep or in the den, I shut the door and locked it. What do you mean by it? At that moment, the image of that thing standing on the mountainside pushed to the front of my mind from where I had tried to ignore it. I remembered it as vividly as the day that I saw it.
With that image burning in my mind, I also began to feel that sense of dread fill me like it had the first time I saw it. His eyes had gone cold, conveying no emotions to me. When I was growing up, my grandfather lived with me and my parents. Although his mind was still sharp, his body had long since begun to fail him. My mother thought that putting him into a retirement home would do nothing but strip away his dignity.
So, she renovated our old guest room and allowed him to move in with us. He sold his house and used the money to renovate the room. Anything that was left over, he put aside for me in a college fund. After a few months of him living with us, I started to notice that he was constantly looking over his shoulder.
He acted as if someone was around every corner waiting to get him. He placed a finger over his lips and lead me into his room. He sat me down on the bed and pulled up a chair next to me. He feared that they would take him away and lock him up in an asylum somewhere. I gave my word and he took a deep breath before starting his story.
Although the name of where he was deployed escapes me now, I remember him saying that during the winter, it snowed at least six feet. He stayed with his fellow soldiers in a makeshift tent in a field. The nights were cold and brutal, sometimes two blankets not even being enough to keep him warm.
One night, it got so cold that he put on his jacket and went outside to make a run to the supply tent and grab more blankets. The weather outside was well below freezing, but he felt it would be worth it to be warm in bed. As he trudged through the snow towards the supply tent, something out in the distance caught his attention. There was enough moonlight for him to barely make out a shape standing at the edge of the field by the tree line. However, he soon found The Shape slowly starting to move in his direction.
He was frozen in fear for a few seconds, but soon found the strength to move and run towards the supply tent. He sprinted to it, throwing open the door and running inside. He slammed it behind him and locked it tight. The officer on duty at the time gave him an extremely confused look rather than one of worry.
He asked my grandfather what had him out of breath. He simply replied by pointing towards the window, motioning for the officer to take a look outside. The man walked over to the window and looked out over the field. My grandfather had expected The Shape to be gone, making him look like he was absolutely mad, but it was there. He darted away from the window and immediately picked up his radio. As he shouted into it, he flicked on the spotlights and illuminated the entire camp.
Within less than two minutes, the commanding officer had burst through the door. He pulled my grandfather and the solider on duty aside and questioned them. All he knew was that by morning, three soldiers had gone missing. Although no one at the camp sent out a search party, he recalled seeing Jeeps swarming the surrounding area.
He had no idea where they had come from, and they lacked any sort of identification. The vehicles remained there for nearly four days, but nothing came of their activity. They simply left and were never seen again. My grandfather never learned anything more about the missing soldiers or the mysterious search party. For years, he lived his life with her and enjoyed himself. He had gotten a job at a machine shop when he returned home and loved every waking moment of it. It was a cold night in November when he saw The Shape again. Instead, it lingered in the backyard at a distance.
No matter what time of day it was, the shape was always there. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, it was always there. My grandfather lived in a state of constant fear that it would come in the house one day, but it never did. Every damn day… it just stood there and mocked him. After years of searching, he finally came across one piece of information. It was in some obscure medical journal that had made its way into the library from a mental hospital in Ohio.
It had been in a private collection donated to the library. The journal contained the notes of a doctor whose name had long since faded from the cover. Inside, it contained three pages of notes on a patient named Mark Squier. Mark had claimed to see a shape standing outside of his house. It never got any closer but was always there. The Shape soon drove the man insane, causing him to murder his family in a fit of rage and confusion. This doctor noted that Mark could still see The Shape standing outside on the lawn. During the day, it stood on the lawn and looked at his window.
During the night, it stood on the lawn and looked at his window. It was always there. After three weeks of Mark being in the hospital, the doctor noted in his journal that Mark may need even more intense care than originally thought. When the doctor asked what it said, Mark simply shook his head and clasped his hands over his mouth. After days of talking, the doctor finally convinced Mark to write down what The Shape had said. Mark shook violently as he wrote on a sheet of paper. That piece of paper had been taped inside the journal.
Although it had yellowed and faded with age, my grandfather could still make out the one sentence written in scraggly handwriting. Apparently, he had bent the metal leg of his bedpost back and forth until the metal fatigued and snapped. Using the jagged edge of the pipe, he cut a deep gash in his throat and bled out all over the floor.
He gave up his search, somewhat pleased with the results he had found. That day, he went to the window overlooking the backyard, and it was still there. He had been waiting years to build up enough courage, and he finally felt able to do it. He opened the door to the backyard and stood on the porch. With one deep breath, he shouted at it. It retreated into the trees and vanished from sight. After all these years, it only took a few words to make it leave. This caused me to shrink back in fear.
I asked if it had come into the house. He reassured me that it was still in the backyard. He theorized that I was too young to see it. Over the years, he constantly thought about those words Mark had written. My grandfather had come to believe that The Shape was a physical manifestation of all our wrong-doings. Its prime function is to make us suffer for the error of our ways. It was at this moment that Drake paused. I pulled my mind from the story he had told and made eye contact with him.
He now had tears flowing down his cheeks. I had never seen a grown man cry, except for at funerals. I wanted to find some way to console him, but instead let him have his moment. During his last few days, he warned me about The Shape. He said it had begun to move closer to the house and was now at the back door. Just like human nature, it made unexpected moves. My grandfather said that it probably acted different for everyone it stalked.
He said that The Shape had made its way right outside his bedroom door. He knew his time had come, and there was no place he could run. With tears welling in my eyes, I told him goodbye. Instead, I lay in bed with the covers pulled over my head. When morning finally arrived, my parents opened my bedroom door and rushed me into the living room. They told me to stay seated on the couch. He had suffered a heart attack that night.
Although my parents saw it as a surprise, I knew exactly what it was. I simply sat on the couch and waited for the ambulance to arrive. Drake wiped his face on the sleeve of his shirt and sniffled. I continued to sit in stunned silence while my mind processed what I had just heard. It acts randomly and without notice. I had begun to tremble at this point, moving a shaking hand through my hair. My mind had long since shifted from seeing The Shape as a figment of my imagination, and now I began to fear it.
When I asked him if it was still there, he was silent. I called his name again, but he refused to answer. I took it upon myself to investigate and walked over to the window. I can still picture it just as vividly as I did this morning. I let out a deep breath, my body beginning to shake again. I asked Drake how long it would take for The Shape to get to us, but he just shook his head. Like my grandfather said, it acts differently for everyone.
Drake and I spent today at the expedition site. It must have worked, considering that no one gave us any questioning glares. While everyone hovered around the screen for the ROV, the two of us sat at our table and whispered to each other. I did my best to keep my calm, thinking that one of us needed to keep a level head.
I told him not to try and worry about it too much. Neither of us wanted to work ourselves into a panic. The two of us exchanged a glance of relief. That night, everyone gathered around the television to watch another movie. While everyone else had their eyes glued to the screen, Drake and I would occasionally look out the window to see if The Shape had moved. By the time the movie ended, neither of us could remember what exactly happened in it. The entire time, I kept reminding myself not to overthink it and to take breaks if necessary. A stressed mind yields no good solutions.
Drake fell asleep about an hour ago. He had told me out at the expedition site that he hadn't slept well the night before. I just glanced over and noticed that he has a cross grasped tightly in his hand. Less than an hour ago, I woke up in the middle the night and needed to go to the bathroom. I got up quietly, doing my best not to wake Drake. I slowly opened our door and made sure to lock it behind me with our key.
Our bedroom is at the end of the hall, requiring me to walk a considerable distance to the community bathroom at the opposite end of the hall. I wrapped my blanket tightly around my shoulders and proceeded down the hallway. The heater must have blown another fuse, because the hallway was absolutely freezing. It had done so maybe a week ago. My boss made Roger go outside and change it. I stayed out of their fight, not wanting to make my relationship with my boss any worse. Roger must have taken it upon himself to go replace the fuse.
I turned the corner and pushed open the bathroom door when I felt something. There was an almost painful cold nipping at my ankles. The chill sent a shiver up my spine and caused my entire body to tremble. When I looked to my side, I saw that the entrance door was wide open. The bitter freeze was flooding into the building. I pulled the blanket even tighter and made my way to the open door. With each step I took towards the door, I could feel the air getting colder. I stepped over the threshold and out into the night.
Even though I was wearing my parka and had a thick blanket wrapped around me, I could still feel the chill in the air penetrating the layers. I shivered before turning in the direction of the fuse box on the side of the building. I damned whoever designed this place. I wondered who would put the fuse box outside instead of inside like a normal contractor. When I studied it closer, however, I found it was closed. I called out his name, expecting to receive something in return. All I could hear was the sound of wind blowing.
Give customers a reason to do business with you. At first, I thought my eyes were playing a trick on me. The Jeep I drove back home was far worse. View 2 comments. It was… grunting.
Not knowing what else to do, I started walking around the base and searching for him. He continued to stand motionless, the floodlights around us casting his long shadow across the flawless white snow. I extended a hand and placed it on his shoulder. As I gently started to shake him, he refused to acknowledge my presence. His blue eyes were wide open, and his mouth hung open in a contorted frown.
As I studied him more, I could see his throat trembling as he tried to speak. With each failed attempt, his mouth would utter a squeak that I could barely hear over the howling wind. I nearly jumped out of my skin when his head suddenly turned to stare into my eyes.
After one big swallow, he managed to choke out a few words. I shook my head from side to side, unable to comprehend what he was talking about. Suddenly, he lifted his hand and pointed out into the night. I followed the direction his finger pointed. He was motioning towards the mountain. I turned back to face Roger. His mouth was no longer hanging open in a frown, but instead forming a demented smile. Starting off slowly, he began to laugh.
This laugh was maddening. He sounded like someone who belonged in a mental institution. He pressed his finger over my lips and silenced me. Although he had stopped laughing, that sick smile was still plastered on his face. It was at that moment that I ran. I sprinted, not so much as turning back to catch a glimpse.
I crossed over the threshold back inside, and quickly slammed the door behind me. All I wanted to do was get back to my bedroom and hide under my covers. Drake is still asleep with that cross gripped tightly in his hand. The poor man has been exhausted the past couple of days and needs his rest. When I woke up this morning, I found Drake sitting at his laptop going through his email.
Before I even grabbed my supplies to go shower, I told him what I saw last night. The entire time I spoke, he remained perfectly still and silent. When I finished, he sat in silence. For at least a minute, we sat without speaking a word to each other while he stared at the floor and thought. I was a little spooked when he finally lifted his head to look at me. Just make sure that you keep an eye on him. God only knows what a man like him is capable of. Without speaking another word, he stood up and left our room.
I came to the conclusion that I would talk to him more out at the expedition site and left our room to go get breakfast. When I walked into the den, I was greeted with the sight of Roger and David sitting at the table eating breakfast and inserting data into their laptops. They both paused and looked up from their work to give me a smile and a quick wave good morning.
I returned their gesture with a forced smile, doing my best to not show my fear. After the incident last night, I was expecting him to lock himself in his room all day. Yet, here he was. He was fully functioning and treating this morning as if nothing had happened a few hours prior. I was tempted to pull him aside and have a talk but decided against it. I would have to talk to him when he was alone and no one else was around to have any suspicion. I ate my breakfast with the two of them, making light conversation between bites of cereal.
By the time I finished and rinsed out my bowl in the sink, David had gone back to their room to grab some supplies. I tried to take advantage of the situation and talk to Roger alone. Just as I pulled back a chair to have a seat, I heard my boss call that it was time for the expedition team to depart. I swore at him under my breath and went back to my room to retrieve my backpack. Drake and I spent the day at our table in the mobile building at the expedition site. He had to go fix an occasional software problem, and I had to repair a pneumatic line on the ROV.
Although we both started with ideas of building up to a confrontation with him, we decided against it. When we considered what we were dealing with, we decided it was best to flat out ask him about it. We ended up staying about an hour later than we usually did. By the time everyone piled into the snow crawlers to return to base camp, the sun had completely set.
We traveled back under the guidance of bright fog lights bolted to the top of the vehicles. Even with the massive amount of light that they gave off, we still found it difficult to see through the heavy snowfall. When we finally returned to base camp, Drake and I leaped out of the vehicle and immediately rushed inside. As we had hoped, Roger was sitting alone at the kitchen table drinking his pre-dinner White Russian. We had no idea why he did it, but we were thankful that he had kept a daily routine. The two of us each grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat down with him.
Before I could even open my mouth to speak to him, he held up a hand. I sat in silence while he drained the remaining liquid from his cup and rested it down on the table with a clink. He let out a soft chuckle. I never knew I had so much darkness inside me. Drake and I turned to each other and exchanged confused glances. Neither of us knew how to respond, so we simply sat there in silence and waited for Roger to speak again.
After a few seconds, he reached over and grabbed my open beer bottle. He wrapped his lips around the neck and drank the entire thing down in a few large gulps. He lowered the empty bottle from his mouth and stared at the label. Then out of nowhere, he threw the bottle with all his might against one of the cinder block kitchen walls. By this point, some of the others had left their rooms to investigate the noise that echoed through the entire camp.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see David inching his way towards us. Roger sat in his chair and glared at me with that same sick, demented smile that I saw last night. It still managed to make me feel just as uncomfortable now as it did then. He then slowly turned and looked over the faces of our fellow colleagues who had gathered in the den to observe him. Everyone must have believed them, because they all walked away. Even though David left, I could see a hint of fear in his eyes as he walked away. When the den has finally cleared, Roger turned back to glare at me with intense hatred.
He slowly stood up and placed a hand on my shoulder. He leaned closer and whispered in my ear, and I could feel his hot breath tickling my skin.
We all have our faults, but some have more than others. It may just end your life without any pain. I, on the other hand, may not be so lucky. With a final few pats on my shoulder, he left the den. As I watched him turn the corner, I could still see hatred in his eyes. He just stared at the corner Roger had turned, a single tear rolling down his cheek. I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder. Roger had returned to normal since the incident.
He acted completely rational whenever we ate dinner or watched a movie in the den. At first, I thought the way he acted that day was only momentary, but I was proven wrong. Whenever I would come to get breakfast in the morning, he would be sitting alone at the table. I would walk over to the fridge and he would stare at me as I passed. His eyes still burned with that intense hatred I saw almost a week ago. Everyone in the base camp gathered in the den to celebrate only a week left out here. We all gathered snacks and the last few cases of beer that remained in the fridge.
That only left us with the hard stuff. For the first time in a couple of days, I allowed myself to relax. I took off my shoes and placed my feet up on the coffee table. For the first time in days, I was able to let down my guard. At first, I thought I must have overlooked him. As I glanced at everyone in the room once more, my worst fears were confirmed. Roger was nowhere in sight. I started to panic.
He was sitting in a chair to my right whenever the movie first started, but he had now vanished. Without drawing too much attention to myself, I darted my eyes around the room and started looking for any sign of him. Out the corner of my eye, I saw movement. It slowly moved across my field of vision before vanishing out of sight. David and Drake, who were both sitting on the couch next to me, turned their attention towards me. My boss paused the movie, and I could tell he was irritated at my disruption. My boss scowled at me, and I returned it with an even fiercer one.
He walked over to the window and pressed his face up against it to look outside. His eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. I zipped my parka up and rushed through the front entrance. While everyone else scrambled to gather their jackets, I rushed in the direction the shadow had been walking. I soon heard the familiar crunch of snow under boots as everyone else joined me outside.
I turned a corner of the building and was met with the sight of Roger kneeling in the snow. I slowed my pace down to a gentle walk. I finally came to a stop about six feet from where he knelt. As I heard everyone else run up behind me, I held out an arm and motioned for them to stop. Everyone listened and came to a halt, leaving the only sound being that of the howling wind. I turned to face them and spoke with command in my voice.
Everyone nodded their heads. I turned and walked towards the figure that knelt in front of me. As I walked around Roger, I glanced down at his hand. Clenched in his grasp… was a straight razor, the blade shining brightly in the floodlights. My attention then turned to the green stains in the snow.
I took a few steps back and withdrew the knife from my waistband. Pointing the tip in his direction, I motioned for everyone else to gather around us. Outstretching a trembling hand, I watched as Roger kept his gaze pointed out into the void that surrounded us. With breath leaving his mouth in a white cloud, Roger slowly turned to me. He slowly raised the blade. Everyone behind me gasped and moved forward. As they got closer, Roger quickly swung the blade around. Roger stood up, never breaking eye contact from me.
I remained perfectly focused on him. He lifted his head up towards the sky and took in a deep breath. He let it out slowly, letting his breath go out into the air like cigarette smoke. You all have a little more time, but my time on this Earth has come to an end. Roger then placed the blade up to his throat and sliced a deep gash into his flesh. The blade made a tearing sound as it ripped his neck open. I watched as the dark crimson fluid gushed from his neck and splattered onto the snow.
As it traveled through the air, the flood lights caught the liquid and reflected on it with some kind of sick beauty. Behind me, I could hear multiple people vomiting. Roger dropped down to his knees, and the razor slipped from his hand. It fell into the snow and vanished from sight. Even though I thought it was over, blood continued the pour out of his gaping neck. It sounded like he tried to speak, but all that escaped from his throat was stomach-churning gargling noises.
I had to place a hand over my mouth to stop myself from vomiting.
At that moment, anyone who had not vomited or fainted crowded around his fallen figure. I stood in place and stared out into the night. While everyone else was losing their sanity in front of me, I tuned them out. The Shape had gotten closer. It was now halfway between the base of the mountain and our camp. Although the physical proof stood before me, my mind refused to grasp the fact that it had moved that quickly.
As everyone else hovered over Roger, I stared at The Shape. Even though all I could see was a solid black mass, I still had the uneasy feeling that it was staring right into my soul. Any extra antifreeze that we stored, Roger had cut the containers wide open. My boss sent out a call on our radio asking for assistance this morning.