Part 2 – It Rained in the Night

 

We took turns watching over the fallen soldier, death still clung to him like a ghastly shadow and we feared the damage to his throat was irreversible, but Hara was skilled in her art with local herbs and I watched learning as she applied poultice or mixed a lotion. Gradually he could swallow without pain and finally he found his voice.

“It rained in the night, didn’t it?” His voice was broken, gruff and deep.

Hara smiled at me as I knelt by his side, turning back to her broth and allowing us time to engage properly, the first time in weeks. “It did.” I replied with a smile, checking the poultice and meeting those strange yellow eyes. The dull was gone, a bright light returned to his gaze. Death had given up his hold. “Did you hear it?” I asked.

“I got dripped on.” He chuckled. It was good to hear him laugh.

The war had encroached silently, deadly, in the years since he rescued me. Myself and Hara kept ourselves quietly hidden away in the remote cottage, but at times we could hear the fighting , lingering upon the outskirts of the forest, smoke rose into the sky as soldiers destroyed settlements… Then they started to axe down trees, edging closer to our safe haven. We would find bodies, sometimes from the branches, sometimes dragged downstream in the river. There was no escaping the fact that they might soon discover the cottage… Hara shuddered in fear of would befall us if they did…

The decision was made to leave as soon as our own soldier was strong enough to travel, supplies were packed and one crisp misty morning we headed out from the grove, deep into the wilds, heading towards the mountains with our dogs and a rough desperate plan.

Age was against Hara, she employed a cane to assist her journey and we were forced to travel at her pace. For she knew these trees like family, knew every inch of the forest, for this was her home. But it hadn’t always been her home, she was from the mountains and that was where she was determined to return. Occasionally our large soldier would carry the frail Hara, as he had with me all those years ago. It made our passage swifter and for a long while we were unhindered.

Until…

 

Anne Harrison 28.09.16

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