Saturday, August 10, 2019

Drabble No. 1: Where We Were


Drabble No. 1: Where We Were


An aside: I love writing for readers. It's the number one reason I write stories in the first place. There's nothing better than creating emotion in a reader with my words. Please enjoy these 100 (ish) word pieces of flash fiction with my compliments. If you're interested in reading longer free pieces, please join my Facebook Group where members receive free weekly short stories in exchange for sharing the word about AR DeClerck with their friends and on social media. I hope you like what you're about to read, please let me know what you think, I love hearing from readers. 



They did not know where they were. They did not know how they'd come to be there, or even what day it was. Was it even day? Perhaps night had come and gone and they'd missed that, too. 

The people in the cargo hold were scared, and Miranda didn't blame them. She was scared, too. Children held on to their mothers tightly, crying against their breasts or staring with wide, glassy eyes at the remains of the crew in the corner. Nothing left but blood and bone, by Miranda's estimation. The enemy had come silently aboard, cutting throats and decimating bodies with quiet efficiency. No one in the hold had seen any of them. Except Miranda. She didn't say what she'd seen; they couldn't afford the panic. Nobody in this hold was going home alive, that much she knew for certain.

"I thought they said this route was free from pirates," Jerome whispered to her. They sat shoulder to shoulder, away from the families and the unmarried women. Jerome was the only man over the age of ten years left alive, and he'd certainly been spared because of his hunched back and terribly scarred face. He didn't appear to be a threat to anyone. 

"They're not pirates." Miranda could tell Jerome what she saw, because he would believe her. He would understand why she had no hopes for any of them. She met his good eye, staring at him without blinking. So he'd know she wasn't joking. "I saw Jengu."

He swallowed hard, his Adam's apple bobbing fitfully. 

"Don't tell me I'm crazy, Jerome. I know what I saw," she hissed.

"What do we do?"

She looked at the huddled people, all of them looking for a better life in a new land, just like her. None of them deserved what fate lay in store for them. "We can't do anything. If they'd wanted us dead we'd already be dead." She jerked her chin at the pile of bodies in the corner. "Like them."

"What then?"

She knew the stories of the Jengu, all who traveled by water did. They lived below the sea, in cities built of bone, and they captured travelers, dragging them down to become their servants until they died of old age or mistreatment and it was time to hunt for more. 

"Should we pray?" Jerome wasn't a religious man, and she rolled her eyes at him. 

"All we can do is try to survive for as long as we can."

"Is that better than dying quickly?"

It was a good question, one she didn't have the answer for. "That's up to you," she told him. "I only know that none of us are going to make it to the new world."

"We should have stayed where we were." 

She closed her eyes, imagining the place she'd left behind. Even now, in these uncertain times, she wasn't sure. "Where we were is just a memory now," she said as the door swung open and wails went up from the women and screams from the children when their captors were finally revealed. She held Jerome's hand and squeezed hard. Whatever happened next, she was glad she'd never be going back to where they were before. 




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