Prompt: The story must be influenced by music in some way
Word Count: 750 words
Deadline: Wednesday, 14 September 2011 – 8 PM EST
(Author’s note: My story is influenced by music – THE HOST OF SERAPHIM by Lisa Gerrard of DEAD CAN DANCE – that I recently used in a video that I created for a friend. The music has been stuck in my head for several days, refusing to leave. The following story is set against that song; for those unfamiliar with the song, you might listen to a bit of it on YouTube and then read the story? This story also provides some more back story to my vampyre character, Erin. Thank you. VMLS)
VENGEANCE IS MINE
By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
After eight years of dark bloody war, the tide had turned… the enemy pushed back against their own borders… their defeat now a foregone conclusion. My unit is finally going home. Morale is high.
The attack came while our company was still a day and a half out from my village. Word reached us through the underground wireless… we double-timed the last thirty kilometers.
Against my captain’s wishes, I take point… a thousand meters ahead of the rest. Half a kilometer out from the village, a sudden shift in the wind brings the stench of death and destruction to my nostrils. A silent scream echoes inside my head as I sprint the final distance.
Rounding the last bend in the road, the village comes into view… and I come to a skidding halt… assaulted by the scene in front of me… a sledgehammer blow to my senses… I reel back.
Winter wheat was harvested a fortnight ago… the field on the left side of the road leading into the village lies fallow… empty… save for the poles littering the open space… upright in the dark soil… obscene scarecrows.
In a scene straight from Hell… the women of my village… heads and arms hanging limply from the poles… the wood wet and dark with blood… naked bodies impaled… the one nearest the roadside… my mother…
My rifle slips from nerveless fingers… I fall to my knees in the middle of the road… a low wailing sound rises up from my chest… I lift my eyes to the field… doubling over as my insides clench… a raw gag is torn from my throat… heaving… the morning meal splatters the roadbed.
Another spasm… and then… another… yet another…
Dimly aware of the sound of boot heels pounding up behind me… a strong hand on my shoulder. I try to straighten… my stomach clenches again.
“Steady soldier… just… what the hell… breathe, soldier… breathe…!”
I push myself upright… the hand relaxes its grip… turning, I face my captain.
“I’m alright, sir…” I push the image of the violated body of the woman I knew as my mother back… for the moment. Reaching down, I retrieve my rifle… clicking off the safety. Turning back toward the village… dreading what lies ahead… I start up the road.
“Stand down, sergeant!” I turn to my captain.
“Take Radic and Batista… I want you three to set up a .50 ….” I turn and walk away.
“That was an order, sergeant!” The captain’s voice is unnaturally loud in the quiet of death’s aftermath. I step back in front of him.
“Sir… this is my village… my family… my sisters…” I choke back a sob, setting my mouth in a hard line… staring up into my captain’s grey eyes.
“Sir… permission to…” Swallowing hard the rising lump in my throat… “… permission to reconnoiter the village… sir!”
Our eyes meet… grim determination… controlled rage… I feel the red rise in my irises… my captain flinches.
“Erin… ” he stops… sensing the futility of his words.
“Va multumesc, domnule!”
We make our way slowly up the main street, stepping over debris… around the craters left by mortar strikes. On either side of the road, the low, stone houses lie in rubble… portions of the outer walls still standing, held up only by the charred frames of doorways.
The smell of death… the rich, coppery reek of fetid blood heavy in the air… close, but not… charcoaled bits of furniture smoulder in the ruins… the smoky tang mingling with the stench of burnt mortar and plaster.
Every house we come to… a mortar-torn ruin… charred remains of casements and furniture… but, no bodies. With mounting dread, I approach my mother’s house.
The apotropaic figure hangs crooked over the burnt-out doorway. Senka used to tease me that I “could not really be a vampyre, my sister, because…” the unbidden memory tears a sob from my throat. We cross the threshold. Again, no bodies… my dread rises… a looming tide.
Reaching the town square… the church looms in the stench and smoke-laden air. We enter the church… and find the children… their lifeless bodies… strewn carelessly across the pews… lips black with poison.
My peoples’ future…
One hour later… the company is on the road again, marching north. Icy calm on the face of each man and woman… underneath… a black, smouldering rage… building with each step forward.
A silent vow is made to loved ones.
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