a short chapter of dystopia. 😉
As the village of Eldritch swirled around us, streaming down the hill to work with the Huns to fight the clannies, I wondered where Hum was, then dismissed the thought from my mind. Instead, courage filled my soul. Brandishing our weapons above our heads, we let out our battle cry,
“LIBERTATUM! FOR FREEDOM!”
Battling courageously, we knocked out one clannie after the other. Over top of the crowd, I could see Mema watching tentatively from the doorway of our old hut. She looked weary, but hopeful. Very hopeful. And proud. Very proud. I winked in her direction and charged down the hill, brandishing my dagger with courage.
Charging into battle was much like slow motion, the sun’s rays seemed to beat down like an observer; watching us go to our deaths. Our probably slow, painful deaths. But, if we did win, it would be very satisfying, and our lives will improve more than we could ever, ever imagine.
I immediately ran towards one of the clannies, and his sword met mine with a nearly sickening crash. But I felt too alive to notice the fact that the sword could have cut my head off. Right away, when the swords parted, I struck again, and this time the sword made it’s way home.
It lodged into his sword bearing arm and he cried out in pain. In the back of my mind, I was thinking I haven’t cleaned this sword in a very long time, that probably made it worse. But for some reason, I didn’t really care. Perhaps the whole war was making me immune to violence. I hoped that wasn’t the case but I couldn’t think about anything for a moment as I saw the sword meet his flesh.
But as soon as the man was on the ground, nearly unable to move, I moved on to the next clannie.
The fight seemed to go on and on, swords clashing, the sound of people yelling their battle cry, and the sound of victory.
Do you know what victory sounds like? The sound of the rising sun on a new day, a bird chirping happily in the breeze, lifting someone’s spirit. And grunts, and the clash of steel on steel, and the whizzing of arrows ringing sharp against the breeze.
This is what victory sounds like, and I was hearing it.
I kept going, slashing as quickly as possible, but at one point, one of the clannies got me. Their sword hit home in my shoulder, and I screamed.
Sometimes it’s embarrassing to scream, to admit your weakness. But at this point, I didn’t care. The pain ran through my entire body. I couldn’t stand it.
I saw stars in front of my eyes, bright, shining stars. They danced and sang, seeming to mock me as I lay upon the cold ground. I saw the clannie move in, his wicked grin flaunting his face, as he raised his sword.
I’m ready to die… Oh great Lichen-Foot, when victory was so close! And now – to die, the mission to be lost!
“Oh, Hum!” I cried, “Help me!”
And I saw my life flash before my eyes on that one ribbon of steel.
That was when Da came on the scene. With a grunt, he dove over my scarred, cringing body. The startled elder’s sword sliced through his back and pricked my chest. I screamed, a weak moan which faded out against the din of the battlefield, then felt my father’s body – a brave one, with a heart of gold – grow cool.
Weak from blood loss, and surrounded by death and turmoil on every side, I fell asleep.