[A/N] A little background: this particular piece is my (inadvertent) first fanfic, and I wrote it a few years ago for a final English assignment on the book Messenger by Lois Lowry. The assignment in question was to write an alternative ending to the book, and once all was said and done, it earned me one of my highest "essay" grades in that class.

Even though I wrote it so long ago, I still think it holds up - which is great, considering it's probably my favorite piece from English that year. It's here in its original form, but with a few corrections for grammar and wording. As a reference point, I believe it picks up from the end of Chapter 15.

[DISCLAIMER] Messenger and all of its characters and ideas belong to Lois Lowry. I own nothing.


PART I - Decisions

Leader sunk down into his chair, indecision and anxiety clutching at him. What could he do to help Matty and Kira and Frolic? Forest would destroy them if something was not done – but what exactly could be done?

After thinking for a few minutes, he had made up his mind.


Early next morning, Leader walked out of his house and started towards the edge of Village, a satchel full of supplies on his back and a hastily scribbled note in his hand. His steps were rapid and determined; he reached the spot quicker than he had expected.

All of a sudden, he stopped. He had glimpsed a small, curly-haired form by the partially finished wall, slumped over in sleep. Moving towards the unknown person, Leader shook the figure's shoulder.

The person woke up almost immediately, blinking sleep from her eyes. Then she looked up. "Leader? What are you doing here?"

"I might as well ask you the same question, Jean," Leader commented as he helped the girl up.

Jean sighed, running a hand through her curly hair. "I was watching for Matty and Kira and Frolic. I know that there's nine days left, but I'm still worried about them."

Anxiety shot through him again. "They haven't come?"

"No." Jean's normally pretty face somehow managed to be worried and downcast at the same time.

"Here." Leader pressed the piece of paper into her hand, closing her fingers around it. "Take this note to Seer for me."

Matty's friend nodded, clutching the paper even tighter. In a few seconds, she was gone; on her way to Seer's house.

Leader looked after her for a moment. Turning around, he stepped outside the wall and into the foreboding darkness of Forest.


Seer was inside his house, frying some eggs for his breakfast and humming to himself when Jean burst through the door. "Seer!"

Pausing his meandering tune, the blind man turned. "Ah, Jean. What brings you here?"

The girl opened the piece of paper in her fist, smoothing out the cracks as best she could. "Leader gave me a note. It's for you."

Seer sat down at the kitchen table. "Read it to me, please."

Jean cleared her throat and started to read:

Seer,

Yesterday, there was something that I did not tell you. Forest is preparing to destroy Matty, Frolic, and Kira.

I've gone to find them before the three weeks is up. Don't come after me.

Leader

Seer was horrified. "When did he give you this?"

Jean gulped. "Last night, I went out by the gate to watch for Matty and Kira and his puppy…I think I must have fallen asleep, because Leader woke me up…he gave me this note…" Her voice trailed off, stuttering. "Do y-you think – do you think h-he's in F-Forest?"

Gravely, Seer nodded.

"But what can we do?" cried Jean. "He might die in there! And so would Kira and Frolic and Matty if he didn't reach them in time!"

"I don't know, Jean. We can only hope that Leader knows what he's doing."