The lost village – a fictional short story

Mikaela Bradford

A full moon shone brightly in the inky sky, beginning to dip beneath the horizon. Surrounded by stars, it outshone them all. Below the fluffy white clouds, a small graveyard sat, squat and still. The air hung heavy, weighed down by the desolation of the nearby village. The haunted silence rode the quiet wind, bringing with it whispery moans and feathered cries. The sound of hooves interrupts the holy peace. Four horses appear over the horizon, each approaching from a different direction. They ride with the dawn, the rising sun illuminating the cloud of dust the horses kick up. By the time the men reach the village, the sun is high in the air, just before noon. The riders screech to a stop as they enter the destroyed crossroads. As they dismount, the riders groan. Different colored plumes sit on each head, signifying where the rider is from: Blue plumes pay respect to the ocean, standing proud upon the rider from the east. The rider wears the traditional garb, a white tunic, bleached by the sun, with a purple vest adorning his chest. His skin is a sun-kissed golden, paying tribute to his years on the sea, and combined with his blue eyes, he is the picture of Poseidon. His tunic ties between his legs to allow him to ride.  The horseman from the west wears a sandy yellow feather, representing the desert. He wears a cotton cloth with an indigo turban and a matching vest. His skin is almost black, stunning ebony that breaks when he smiles, with teeth like ivory. He pays tribute to Set, who watches over the dunes. To the north, a white ruffle sits upon the head of a large woman, honoring the majestic snowy mountains. With her brightly patterned underclothes, she seems kind though the heavy furs that frame them speak otherwise. Her face is wrinkled with age and wisdom, but her size spoke of incredible amounts of strength. And finally, to the south, the rider wears a thick band around his head, with a green plume flying high. His coconut-fiber covering contrasts with his beautiful caramel skin. His eyes, golden like the sun, seem to glow. They come together in the middle and place their hands on top of the others. Their pride is palpable. 

“I am Koykon.” The woman speaks. “I represent the mountain tribes.”

“I am Orion, and I represent the ocean tribes.” The man from the east almost growls, his words tainted with a slight accent.

“And I, Atacama, stand for the desert tribes.”

“As I, Kaa, for the jungle.”

“You all know why we are here then?” Orion breaks the silence that follows. The other three nod in agreement.  They split apart to begin the summoning. The first thing they need is a body, which wasn’t very hard to find. The second thing they need is spoils of war, for which each brought a single coin from the other regions which their people stole. Dragging the body to the village square, the men place their coins under the dead man’s tongue. Chanting, they each cut their hand and allowed a single drop of blood to fall on the man’s forehead. Finishing their chant, the men waited. Silence fell upon the ruins. No soul would dare disrupt this ritual. A wave of air rippled through the given space. Then another. And another. Wave after wave, the body began to shake. Writhing, his eyes flew to the back of his head. The four living fell to the floor, feeling their life force drain. Cries of fear and despair were left unheard as all movement stopped. The dead body became enveloped in darkness and, when it dispersed, a child was left sitting there, wrapped only in a thin black blanket. 

Upon awakening, the men expected to be blinded by the light of a glorious god. He would be dressed in shining armor, ready for bloodshed. When no light came, the men sat up. Looking around, they were stunned to find no god and no dead body. The only thing that had changed was the little girl, shivering and crying, wrapped in a tiny blanket. The woman from the north was the first to speak. 

“Tiny child, Why are you here? Ar-“. 

“We summoned a god, and all we get is a sniveling wench!” Roared the man from the west, his yellow feather waving as he cursed in his native tongue. The child recoiled, taken aback by the loudness. The other two began to moan at their loss, crying out to Zeus to save them. She looked down. When she returned her gaze to the three men, her eyes were ablaze with an icy fire.

“You summoned me. The god of war and I have answered! Be grateful I did not strike you where you stand.” She stood, and the ground shook with the rumble of her voice. The blanket fell from her thin shoulders, dropping to the floor before the corners began to waver. The child continued to cry as her back began to shake. Giant black wings erupted from her back. 

“Do you see what your war has done to me! Look upon the ruin you hate has brought down upon me!” she screamed. Large black feathers began to fall and burn as they watched. What little of the wings they could see became nothing but bone. Her flesh thinned out, and her eye sunk into her skull. Massive wounds tore down her fragile little body. The earth began to shake more violently, bringing the horrified people to their knees, their eyes alight with terror. The child fell to her knees, exhausted. 

“Ares is the god of bloodshed. I am the voice of true war. Look upon me and see.” And they did. Through her eyes, they could see the sufferings of their people. The pain they went through. The girl fell unconscious to the ground.

As the little girl was swallowed up by the darkness, the ground stopped shaking, and the fear in the emissaries subsided, and they agreed. 

Whatever it took, there would be no more suffering thrust upon that little girl.

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