This week, the RocNaNo blog offered this image as a ‘Wordless Wednesday’ writing prompt:
Peace at Last?
It was quiet. That blissful quiet that made Hanna feel momentarily hopeful. The pond was still. The field beside it was empty.The sun was getting lower in the sky. Soon, she’d be able to slink into her chamber and hide for a while.
Only there was dinner first. A knot formed in her stomach. She could feel Margeth’s breath on her cheek as she spewed insults. Hanna shuddered and glanced around. No one was here. No one could yell at her. At least not right now.
A light breeze brought the sound of distant voices to her ears. Hanna scurried toward some bushes, slowing with the realization that the people attached to the voices were far off.
A small tree stood at the edge of the field. Hanna sat down and leaned against its trunk. She shut her eyes and drew a deep breath. The scent of autumn’s leaves filled her nose.
Dried leaves clicked against each other in the light breeze. Hanna focused on the sound.
“A crime against humanity!” The memory of Balayn’s cry echoed in her head. “She has committed a great sin!” Hanna shook her head to clear the noise.
“If I never see her again,” Anthony’s voice boomed, “it will be far too soon.”
Hanna hit her head against the tree. Tears began to fall. “Oh, God. What do I do?”
“You are a curse. A filthy wench.”
“I’ll not touch her. She is the Devil.”
“Remember your place, woman!”
Hanna banged her head harder. “Please make it stop. Please.”
She sat bolt upright, eyes wide. She could pack up and leave. She should. She had no choice, really.
No one would notice. Not for a while anyway.
No one but Trey.
He’d be better off if she were gone. They’d all be better off. She’d be better off.
But she’d miss him so bad. Why wasn’t she allowed to even speak to Trey?
Why had she survived? “Why didn’t you just kill me? Markus, you ass!”
Hanna bawled. She pounded the ground, stomped and thrashed. She punched the tree, dropping to her knees from the pain.
She sat back against the tree once more and cried quietly. Emptiness consumed her, followed by a sense of peace. It was over. She had nothing left to fight for. She slept.
“Well then,” Kevin’s voice resonated. “What have we here?” He tapped her with his boot.
Hanna leapt up, scrambling a few feet back.
“Come to join us for practice, aye?” Kevin grinned.
Hanna shrank back and noticed a dozen other men arriving, all with swords and armor. This was a disaster.