Short story: Evolution by Owen Ward

Ground fire at Grant Village. Photograph: Wikipedia
9 Jul 2013 @ 11.49 am
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Ground fire at Grant Village. Photograph: Wikipedia
Ground fire at Grant Village. Photograph: Wikipedia
owen-ward

Evolution
by Owen Ward


 

Audemar awoke, the smell of burnt pine filling his nostrils, the taste of smoke in his mouth. Looking around he saw only ruin. Burned huts filling him with anguish, bodies of his friends turned to ash in one night. With what strength remained he moved a heavy piece of timber from the top of his leg. It had fallen when the attack began and his house had been pulled down. His nose and eyebrows were frost covered from the long night outside. Winter wind stabbed through his mammoth skin cloak like a knife.

Cringing, he slowly stood, pushing himself up from the frozen floor. He could hear nothing but the crackle of burning wood and the howl of the wind swirling round his head. He limped into the centre of the vacated village, clutching his twisted knee. The brigands had taken everything, killed anyone who resisted. They had been different to anyone Audemar knew. They had abstruse eyes, wore little but their skin and spoke in a different tongue to his people.

The snow had not been heavy enough to cover their tracks but in his state he could not catch them. He found it hard to stand. He was no warrior, only a runt to most people’s eyes. Trained to fish and hunt but not swing a weapon at a foe.

As he limped through the sacked village his foot hit something with a soft touch, tickling his numb toes. He bent down and felt around in the snow for the object. He grasped something hard and cold. Pulling it out of the snow he held in his hand a bear bone axe, honed using glass sharp as a razor.

 


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