photo by Rachel Bjerke
Cold ash in the grate, Nemain sat and stared.
Vaguely she remembered times past, when the fire raged, the bustle of feast days. Smiling and laughter.
A leaf carpet where once were fresh reeds. Tapestries torn from the walls, burned in that very hearth. Animal carcasses thrown down the well, to poison their water – those left untouched by the slaughter then destined to die slow and painful.
Only 4, she was spirited away, silently.
2 score years later, it crept upon her. Pressing the small blade into her palm she swore vengeance for blood long spilled.
photo by Sandra Cook
Silvery grass now crisp underfoot in the morning air. Hot clouds of breath from the boy at my side.
With no overcoat, this child, unshod and raggedy, appears a plaything too old, worn, forgotten.
I glance down. Soon, all will be finished.
Walking further, the boy stumbles, his toe hits a rock. I hear the anguish escape his blue lips. He whimpers.
Underneath matted hair, a single tear falls.
We reach the glassy edge of the stream.
He does not struggle as I plunge his head into the frigid water.
His life trickling away in its flow.
It is done.