For three days she had trudged through the unforgiving mountains, chilled to the bone by the howling wind. Her only protection was a short leather tunic rough, against her skin, no cloak, no leather swathes to protect her feet from the rocks, cold and bleeding as she propelled herself on, she had fled here with nothing.
After the village burnt down, loneliness gripped her heart. All she treasured was turned to ash and rubble. Not for her crimes but those of her ancestors.
A vile smell emanated from the filth on her gardens made her eyes crinkle violently. It was a constant reminder of crawling on her belly through the death and decay. She could still feel the fire’s flame searing her pink flesh, her survivor’s instinct the only thing that drove her on. It was that tribal instinct that kept her moving forward, driving her on so she wouldn't be torn apart from hunger and joining the dead.
Her flesh rubbed against the rough brown leather of her tunic. Strands of her dirty hair caught as the blood dried, causing her skin to tear and fresh wounds to appear. The pain constantly engulfed her offering no reprieve. She gasped, causing a sob to rise from her chest, choking her.
Buffeting wind bore down on her small frame, chilling her naked legs, she bent over quickly and rubbed her hands up and down. The friction brought warmth. Not paying enough attention, her toe hit at a rock; pain screamed through her foot… with a thud she landed on sharp, slimy rocks. They cut at her knees, the palms of her hands. The blood, violently red in colour and sticky to touch, oozed between her fingers as she reached to check the state of her toe.
Her fingers gingerly explored her toe causing a sharp intake of breath. Suddenly her centre of gravity was knocked out of alignment; a feeling of floating weightlessly, taking her to dizzying heights, gripped at her. Although she struggled, it only took seconds before oblivion grabbed her and opened its arms. Before she could gather a single thought, she was quickly engulfed in darkness.
Eyes dried firmly shut with dirt and grime, she could hear dripping water as she tried to prise her lids apart. Sunlight slowly filtered in, the early morning sun rising, a yellow haze against the grey was the first thing she saw as her lids separated.
Piercing black eyes looked towards the sun, chin lifted proudly, looking out over the mountains; below she could see the destruction of her village. Yet she felt strangely reinvigorated, vibrant and alive.
A strange voice caused her to startle as it escaped from deep within, “You can attack my heart, my soul. I will avenge my kin. With the last breath in my body you will know fear so deep, so dark and so fierce that you will wish you were with your maker. I will show no mercy and offer no quarter… Freedoooom”
Writing order: Iliena Bosu (Ind) Hemali Ajmera(Ind), Donna McT (NZ) Ray Stone (Cyprus), Anna Zhigareva (Scot), Dan Oliver (NZ) Gabrielle Burt (NZ) Jasmine Groves (Aus) Angela Shaw (NZ) Sumanda Maritz (Sth Africa)