“As if things couldn’t get much worse.” Sighing, she picks up another empty shell. ” What could leave behind such carnage?”
“Momma?” Asks the little girl. ” Are they all gone?”
Giving her a reassuring smile. ” I am sure there are some left, but for now lets’ get you home.”
Taking her daughter’s hand in hers they walk back up the beach stepping over the hollow shells left behind.
Hierodeacon Mathus lifted the cup to his lips and let the liquid cover his tongue in a sweet tangy promise of a batch well done. Relieved Mathus turned to his fellow monks and grinned , they nodded to one another and proceeded into the winery to bottle the wine.
Father Hieromonk Damian patted Mathus on the back. “Another good year in thank-fullness to our Lord and the vineyard.”
Mathus nodded. “It really has been a blessing.”
The two were interrupted by a loud ringing booming from the monastery’s bell housing. “Ah dinner, just in time.” Mathus patted his round belly.
As he entered the hall Mathus was encircled with smells of oven baked honey bread and lamb stew. Sitting at the rustic table he thanked his deity and all who made it possible. Dunking his bread in the stews broth he began eating his meal in revered silence as the rest of the monks joined in. His belly full, Mathus retired to a small room where he finished praying and to get some sleep before dawn rose. He Laid upon the cot reading the tattered book and fell into a dreamless sleep.
” Hierodeacon Mathus!”
Sitting straight up he rubbed his tired eyes and tried to make out the young monk in his doorway.
” Hierodeacon Mathus, please come quick, it is the vineyard!”
Mathus’s heart pounded in his throat as he rushed to the field and found the ruin. In terrible awe of the carnage that lay before him, tears streamed down his winkled cheek.
“We managed to get the boars out of the vineyard Hierodeacon Mathus,” Comforted the monk. “but it was too late.”
Mathus looked about the field hoping to find a survivor, grief stricken he fell to his knees and weeped. Before him hidden beneath a grotesque mass of sap and grapes a small vine-ling remained unscathed.
Yelling to the young monk, “Bring a pot quickly!”
“It is time hierodeacon Mathus.”
The old monk gently pulled his hood back and nodded reverently. “Yes Father Hieromonk Damian.”
He gazed at the vineyard and felt a twinge of loss as he started down the small path that opened up to the monastery. Approaching the courtyard he saw his brothers standing in witness, awaiting his arrival. Mathus half smiled at Father Hieromonk Damian as he accepted the old chalice held out to him. Running his fingers over the delicately carved vines and grapes he turned towards the Firkin. Slowly he walked down the dark cobblestone path and stopped, taking in a deep breath he stared momentarily at the Decrepit barrel. His worn hands gently shook as he reached for the faucet and poured the red liquid into the cup.
Sweat trickled down the leathery face, he paused momentarily to soak it up with a soft rag. The hood did little to protect from the hot rays beating down on him as he tended to the precious vines. A callused hand worked flawlessly as he snipped away the dead leaves and branches. The old monk nodded in satisfaction and moved on to the next row and started pruning. He worked vigorously unbeknownst the sound of footsteps coming up from behind. Startled by the tap on the shoulder he spun around to see who had disturbed him. His old hands quiver as the tool slips to the ground, his heart sank at the sight of the unwelcome visitor.
Warm wind flowed gently against dusty feathers in small relief to the heat. Dead branches crackled from the movement of the scavenger sitting upon them. Urgency never outweighed patient calm as she waited above the corpse that refused to obey destiny. Her gaze followed the feeble attempt scrawled in the burnt sand by exhausted hands. Eyes stared off into the horizon as the body succumbed to the elements. The Mother stretched her wings and floated down and gracefully landed atop the precious meal, after all her young were waiting.
“Board up those windows and secure that door!” Barked the commander.
The tired troops scurried about the hovel like ants, finding scraps and anything that was usable. Two young soldiers nailed the door shut and guarded it.
The commander could see the sun sinking through holes in the slats. ” Not long now before they come.”
The wounded lay silent and a few whimpered as the sky grew dark. The commander pressed his scarred cheek against the cool clay and listened for tell tale signs.
Silence ensued and they nervously sat in the dark and waited. Some clutched their guns and a few held their breath as the dark silence seemed to swallow them up.
The commander jerked his head back from the wall and quietly moved away as it raked it’s claws against the outer wall. The soldiers huddled together in the middle as claws dug in from all sides.
Steel and flesh clashed together as the cries and screams of death enveloped the field as the battle waged on. In weariness he pulled himself up onto his steed and fled the scene. The howls and clashes of hooves broke the ground in pursuit of this coward. His horse covered in froth gave its last breath and fell broken and shattered to the earth. Scrambling to his feet this forsaken knight limped hurriedly down the overgrown path. Pushing foliage aside and entering a small clearing he stumbled, Exhausted into the damp green grass. He gasped for breath and flailed at the gnashing of teeth that found and ripped into flesh. The young knight lay gazing up into brilliant red orbs that hung delicately on the branch as the light escaped his eyes.
Watching the riverbank he sat and waited for the right moment, Oh so long he had waited for them to arrive and watch him. Flapping his delicate wings he sprang into action and bounced gently above the water causing tiny ripples to appear as he skipped over the stream. His friends gasped as the water exploded and a rainbow of colors sliding down a side of silver leaped at him with jaws agape. Swiftly turning and dodging he eluded the trout and triumphantly landed on the smooth rock as the fish belly flopped back into the river.
“Jesper!” Yelled his mom.
Cringing he turned to see his mother hovering above him.”
“If you had a death wish I would of thrown you in the river as a larva,” She took a deep breath. ” Now get home, wait till your father hears about this when you get home.”
Jesper flew home with his mother tailing close behind, he couldn’t wait till later when he would sneak out and see how impressed his friends were.
Running as fast as she could
mustering the strength to move on.
Finding the path to redemption,
no easy task to push for the light.
A new beginning at the exit,
Run, move, keep pushing forward.
It is within reach,
so close, she stumbles and sits in the dirt.
Wiping the tears from her eyes,
A gentle hand touches her shoulder.
Feeling renewed she stands
putting one foot forward at time.
Her path becomes known,
her pain becomes less.
Your name is her comfort,
Your love is her strength.
Alone………., all alone shifting and traveling at the mercy of the air currents. This Icon once cast it’s shadow among the thriving throngs of life that once breathed, cheered and loved. The old skeletal hand still gripped the controls that gave no direction and no longer heeded the warnings from an empty skull looking on. Chaos ensued the world over as mushroom clouds erupted, bringing on an eerie silence that lasted for decades to come. Descending ever slowly to the torched earth below to reunite itself with it’s maker.