vineri, 29 august 2014

Death is the only god who comes when you call

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”

When has breathing become so agonizing? Living and breathing and just surviving until the next day was simply too excruciating.
"I am sorry ... Please forgive me..."
Her words are barely a whisper and her only companion is just an infant, so he doesn't react. He's just sitting there, left hand half in his mouth, because he is probably still teething and he has his own pain to occupy his thoughts with. Her two oldest daughters left early the same morning, probably to search for something to eat.
None of them has eaten in two days and her milk has dried up or maybe she just never had it in the first place, so the baby is squeamish and hasn't stopped crying since she gave birth, three days ago. She's small and pink and wrinkly and nothing like her other children and she simply can't make herself take that strange creature in her arms and feed it. She's spent the last two days watching her, almost begging every God whose name she could remember to take its life so she wouldn't have to do it with her own hands. And, with every breath the fragile creature takes, she becomes even more convinced that the gods must hate her.
It all began when her husband left to fight in that damned war and abandoned with two small children to care for and another baby on the way. Life had been difficult with him too, but without him she was just another forgotten woman. Why did men crave foolish dreams of greatness and bravery? It was nothing but an illusion. What difference does it make to the widows, the orphans left behind and the homeless if some men depart this life covered in glory while others have no honour but survive?
Theirs was one of the villages that held well until the third year of war. Everyone was running low on supplies but somehow they managed and survived. Until that morning when the Duke's men stormed in.
Because their house was out of the way they heard the screams when it was already too late. Some of the neighbouring houses were already on fire and she can still recall seeing one of her friend's younger children flying out through the window and falling directly in a spear. The smell of burnt fluesh was the worse though. And the screams. She hears them every single night. High pitched shouts of small children whose chests were mercilessly pierced by the soldiers' swords and the muffled wails of women.
She doesn't have nightmares about how it happened, but she remembers his face and his sharp features. His scar and his hard lined jaw. And, more than anything, the pure hatred in his eyes.
Later, when he got tired of her, she was left behind in the snow, the throb in her entire body a painful reminder of what took place in her own courtyard.
Her daughters emerged later from behind the barn, carrying their younger brother with them. Her children survived, yet she felt like she lost everything.
Five months later, the evidence was there and the signs impossible to ignore. Three days ago she birthed that strange creature that hasn't stopped crying and now she is exhausted and tired of life.
The rope feels rough around her neck and the trembling in her limbs is slowing her down, but her movements are almost mechanical, so she doesn’t need to concentrate, which is pleasant. She takes one single step forward and in a couple of minutes it is over.