short #1

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 26, 2017

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Submitted: June 26, 2017

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Short #1

The winter was over, the farmers of the small village knew. For the center of the sun rose on the left side of the tip of Barak Mountain when seen from the center of the village where the chieftain’s residence stood. The winter, though, had not been as harsh to the village as the tales of the previous generations. It had felt like the fall dragged its feet about leaving and the spring had pounced three weeks early, leaving barely any time for the winter to do anything, much less be harsh. There was only one major freeze in the middle of January which made the villagers talk of relief. As much as the winter was a halt to agriculture, it was a piece in the flow of time that the villagers had grown much accustomed to and needed to feel that the year had come to its rightful closure. After that single incident, however, the thaw was permanent and the debilitated winter left much to be desired. The austerity of the cold wind was needed to eradicate pests lying dormant in the fields and stored hays in barns. The villagers worried of their effects on the harvest the coming year and even discussed burning the remaining hays and setting fires to the fields to kill the pests. But the elders knew better than to take such drastic measures. Instead, they proposed praying to the gods for protection and asked the villagers to bring offerings to the altar placed at the base footpath to the top of the mountain. The villagers were willing to comply, but not happily. The altar was half a day on foot away from the village and were much willing to take measures into their own hands than pray to the gods who may or may not answer them. The some villagers grumbled and tensions rose between the generations in the small village. However, the villagers, to their surprise, soon found out that none that would a problem. The division between the old and the young in the village, the travel to the base of Barak Mountain, the offering, the prayer, the pests, their crops, and their potential future did not matter when troops of soldiers of their own kingdom raided their village a few days later, massacring all of the inhabitants and looting all the valuables before heading northward to return to their stations after a big loss in the war that they never arrived on time in. It was a small village that no one cared about. Lives that never existed died and no one cared. And those who would have cared were dead.

The soldiers gathered the dead bodies into a pile at the center of the village. The harvest that year was a failure. Not because of the pests like the villagers worried, but because no one tended the crops. They were dead, and the dead had their own problems. No one could bury their bodies. Vulnerable to nature, decomposition took place. The crows ate their eyeballs and brains, the maggots their flesh, and the wolves their bones. Scattered in the bellies of the beasts, being digested, one wonders what the souls the dead whisper. Do they care? Suppose only gods know.

Sometime later, just before the weakest wolf of the pack pulled the foundation bone of the pile after waiting his turn until the very last, standing at the center of the village where the chieftain’s residence used to stand, one could have seen the center of the sun rise on the right side of the tip of the pile of bones before the pile of bones crumbled down on the weak wolf and returning to the earth.


© Copyright 2017 Mitoko Itawa. All rights reserved.

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