I’m awaken with a jolt when the larger man lifts me and tosses me back onto the horse. It knocks the air from my lungs and I’m terrified of the horse jolting me around again. I feel like I’ll fall apart.
I wait in agony and, much too soon, the horse begins to walk. It’s worse then I remember and I feel my bones chattering with each step.
I focus on the ground, trying not to pay attention to the pain. It’s strange to be able to see from here. Even if it’s just short grass and occasional sticks. To have any idea of where I’m going seems like a freedom.
I continue to stare at the grass. It’s getting longer as we go and soon I’m able to let it slide through my finger. It’s a wonderful feeling, the gentlest one I’ve felt in days. I close my eyes, treasuring it.
I’m sitting outside in the grass with Angela and Markus. Angela had tricked him into helping us make bracelets, necklaces, rings and crowns from the flowers and grass nearby. He wasn’t any good at making them, but he was happy to let us dress him in them. He looked silly, overwhelmed with our creations and the color of dandelion blush placed heavily on his cheeks, but he was always happy to play with us when we were little. Remembering moments like this, I wish he would have born sooner. Me later. We’ve never spoken of it. I suppose in a way we both know. It is a pointless dream. One we can never have.
“Look, a treat.” Flat face says, his words slurring together. It’s so thick that I can tell his mouth is watering and I try to lift my head and look without success.
“There’s no one else in site.” He’s pressing “A quick snack.” At the thought of food, my stomach grumbles. Perhaps they see a deer, or pheasant. Hopefully they’ll feed me to. I’ll need my strength to run.
I can do nothing but continue to watch the ground and I’m surprised when we start traveling on what appears to be a road. I turn my head slightly and can see that there’s a small wagon headed our way. I can just make out its bright colors indicating it’s a merchant before a heavy blanket it tossed over me.
I can only see strait down again and I’m frustrated by the heat. Sweat is already building on my brow. Though I dream of the jerkies and pickled foods he has on his cart. I’ve never gone a day without food before. I’m not used to the pain that accompanies it.
“Hello there.” Alcander calls out. “Care to show us what you have?”
“What can I get out for you?” A happy voice calls back.
“Not sure just yet, have anything unique, for a gift?”
“Sure do!” He calls back “Jamie, grab that blanket we picked up at Riversbend, the embroidered one.”
“OK,” A younger voice agrees followed by the sound of his feet hitting the ground.
“It’s a beautiful piece.” The happy voice calls, a second thud of feet tells me that, he to, has stepped off the wagon. “Richly colored, depicting a boat on the waves. The women who crafts them for their husband is quiet skilled.”
I am not surprised that he would showcase, what is obviously, his most expensive piece to these men. Their wealth is obvious from the gold and silver they wear. Even in its simple design. Perhaps they do have wives at home. I’d never really thought about it before. Nothing is really known about the collectors. They are a shadow no one talks about.
“Yes a very beautiful piece, don’t you think so Egerian.” Alcander agrees.
“Perhaps we’ll take it then?” Egerians voice croaks, excitedly.
“Yes, we shall.” Alcader agrees.
The crunching of their boots drew away from me as they went to pay. “We’ll as you can imagine, this piece is expensive.” The happy man is telling them excitedly. They haven’t asked for a price and I wonder when they’ll ask for food. “I can’t take any less then.” Silence.
It seems he can’t make up his mind. I wish they would hurry. Sweat is dripping into my eyes now. It’s much too hot under this thing. I’m trying to wiggle out from under it when I hear a scream. I stop. Listen.
Feet are pounding their way towards me. It’s all so loud. I jump when I see a young man fall into my line of site. He tries to stand back up to run. But it’s too late. A heavy boot lands hard onto the middle of his back. Something snaps.
I can do nothing but watch, horrified as he’s slowly dragged back from where he came. I can see his tears begin. His eyes lift slowly to mine. He’s still alive, unable to move.
I can’t help but listen to the noise of it all. The sound of something being ripped open. The slurping and crunching of what could only be bones. I feel myself convulsing. My mouth opening to let nothing out. I try to scream, but I am still silent. It gives me no relief from what I can hear.
What are these men? They can’t be human. Who would do such a thing? Who could do something like this? I struggle with all my might. I will get away from them! I have to get away from them!
Thankfully, darkness welcomes me.
Thank you for reading Snow so far! Let me know what you think in the comments section below (Pretty pretty please!) and I look forward to seeing you when I post the next chapter!
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