Laying Her To Rest

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm

Laying a young one to rest is always sad. Even more so when the young one lived a painful life.

It was noon when Kaleb reached the point marked on the map. It was indeed a dried river bed. Whoever had made this map was a skill cartographer. He found what he was looking for immediately. A small skeleton was half submerged in hardened mud, only upper half of its rib cage, shoulders and head were protruding from the river bed. The bones had been completely picked clean by the local wildlife, leaving small nicks and scrapes all over the bones. Even with all the damage from the animal feeding on the rib cage Kaleb could see where at least four of the ribs had been broken and had healed. “What happened to you little one?” he whispered as he continued examining the small skeleton. He found more healed breaks on both of the arms and the skull. Kaleb shook his head, “What kind of monster did this to you?” he gently ran his fingers down the skulls cheek, as he did, the skull moved slightly causing some of the mud to crack and fall away from the bottom of the skull and the top few vertebrae. As the mud fell away, a glint caught Kalebs eye.

 

Around the skeletons neck, obscured and caked in mud, was a silver pendant. When Kaleb picked away the mud he recognized the pendant. The boy who went with the crocodilian creatures wore one just like it around his neck. “Gods...” he whispered when he saw the vertebra that was concealed beneath the pendant. A gash bit deep into the bone and was stained red. This child hadn’t been attacked by animals, it had been killed with a blade. Its throat had been cut so violently that the blade had gone straight through the child’s neck and had scored the bone. The red staining on the bone was from blood being pumped through the wound. The child had been alive when its throat was cut. This child had been abused, murdered and left to rot.

 

“I am so sorry, little one. There was no respite for you in this world, but you WILL rest in peace,” Kaleb whispered to the small skull he cradled in his hands. He reached out into the Aether, calling out to the Kind One. The light dimmed as a pitch black specter appeared next to him. A featureless mas of cosmic darkness forced into a silhouette of the Kind One, that consumed the light around it. “This child,” Kaleb said, still cradling the small skull in his hands, “Did it worship a god?” The Kind One reached down and gently plucked the skull from his hands and cradled it in its own. After a moment the Kind One spoke, “No. And she was too young for her soul to be of use. It goes unclaimed.”

“Find her, please. Take her somewhere bright and peaceful,” Kaleb looked up at the Kind One with tears in his eyes, “She was beaten until her bones broke. She was allowed to heal and then she was beaten again. When they were done with her they brought her out here and damn near cut her head off, then left her to rot. Can one know peace after a life like that?” the Kind One placed the skull back in Kalebs hands, “Lay her body to rest, I will find her soul.” The daylight brightened as the silhouette faded.

 

Kaleb carefully dug the bones out of the riverbed and carried them to the base of a massive tree a few feet from the river bank. He buried her between two large roots and laid wild flowers on the mound. With a sharp stone he carved a large heart into the tree above the mound and in the heart he wrote, she is loved now. When he finished the carving he stepped back from the tree. It wasn’t much but it was the best he could do. When Kaleb turned around he found the specter had returned, next to it, stood a little girl. Her skin was gray and riddled with decay. Both of her eyes were blackened and her nose was crooked. The most disturbing aspect of her visage though was that her head lilted slightly to one side because there was a chuck of flesh missing from her throat.

 

Kaleb pushed his discomfort aside and took the little girls hand and stood with her in front of the make-shift grave. “It isn’t much,” he said, looking the grave site over again, but he hoped it was enough. She let go of his hand and walked up to the tree, running her finger tips over the carving. When she turned back to Kaleb her skin was no longer gray and pitted, but was smooth and radiant. Her eyes were no longer blacked and her nose was straight. Her little head sat properly on her shoulders. Kaleb knelt as she approached him and she hugged his neck. “Thank you,” she whispered in his ear. After a mighty bear hug she moved to the Kind Ones side and took his hand in her. A warm smile lit her pretty little face as she and the Kind One faded. As they faded, so too did Kalebs smile. Now, revenge.


Submitted: December 09, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Drinks Much Soda. All rights reserved.

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