Where’s My Brother?


Abby N., staff writer

Six months ago today, my brother, Kayden, enlisted in the Continental Army.

With most of my town being Loyalists, my family had to pretend to be Loyalist as well to make sure that we did not stand out from the rest, which meant that we had to keep Kayden’s enlistment a secret. Luckily, I am good at keeping secrets. Usually.

I hated the way Britain treated us with all my heart and soul, but my mother is not yet ready to tell me what could happen if we acted like Patriots, since I am only 10 years old, so I assume it is particularly horrible to act Loyalist. Boasting about Britain is not my favorite hobby, nor is talking with those two-faced Tories; their conversations to me sound monotonous and they tend to go on and on about Britain, though I do not want to disappoint my mother’s orders to act Loyalist, so I do not let it bother me.

I was reading a book when all of a sudden there is a bunch of clamoring and commotion outside, so my mother and I rush out the door to see what is going on.

What I saw utterly disturbs me.

Some forty prisoners from the Continental Army were being herded along the road near my house by British Redcoats, the spirits of the prisoners too shattered to be put back together again. Their faces were more or less covered in bandages most likely from battle and their scrawny, cheerless figures mirrored the image of defeat.

I sigh, hoping Kayden is not one of these prisoners. Unfortunately, the lucklessness that my mother & I have acquired over the years we have lived in New York wanted otherwise.

My eyes cast upon his face. Kayden’s face, to be exact. Despair swells in my eyes, causing tears to spill over my eyelids. ‘Twas as quick as they come that I attempt to blink them back, praying nobody saw them. Unfortunately, the tears continue to swallow the lower half of my eye more than I can handle.

I am no rebel, I remind myself. I am no rebel. You are Loyalist. You shall be happy that the redcoats are taking in many prisoners.

Then why were tears fighting against the force of my urge to appear Loyalist?

“Kelsey,” my mother scolds me in a low tone. “Wrong side, my dear. You are ten.”

Horror strikes me continuously as I stare at the line of prisoners trudging down the road. I cannot help but do so, my emotions render me as stiff as a board. The redcoats march around them in perfect unison, keeping the soldiers in order as they lead them.

I clutch my mother’s hand, not having the strength for anything else. I am so startled by this sight of Kayden, the idea of him being a prisoner of war is brushing away all my strength as if it is a broom.

I cough back a few tears, though I cannot help the growing knot in my throat that makes doing so harder than I want it to be.

That’s my brother, I think to myself. I cannot disregard him. Kayden deserves much more than that.

Kayden taught me a lot about the world. He taught me to read, he taught me handwriting. He taught me enough about why people in the colonies were taking sides to loathe Britain. I begin wiping my eyes to further hide my inner Patriot.

No Patriots here, I remind myself. You are a Loyalist, Kelsey. Act as one.

I fight the urge to cry out Kayden’s name, as doing so would do nothing good for me. It is just another way to get exposed as a Patriot (they will assume me and my family are spies, and I could suffer the same fate as poor Nathan Hale. It is not like Kayden will respond, either. In the sixth months that he has been gone from the house, I have changed a lot. He might not recognize me.

On the other hand, I just want to hear his voice. I miss Kayden so much, and this could be a chance for me to have a conversation with him. Except, it is not, and Kayden leaves my sight after the redcoats urge the soldiers to move faster.

‘Twas a soft whimper that I let out as I watch the other prisoners get led through the road. I doubt I would get to see Kayden again after this. He is headed straight for prison, something I know deep down is unfair.