Enjoy Part Eleven. I will continue with BARD on Wed. July 27.
Let me know your thoughts on the story…
Part Eleven July 25, 2016
Bran watched the men as Dwight slicked his hair back with his right hand and stared keenly into the distance. “A good day after today. It ain’t uncommon te ‘ave rain ‘ere after a long dry period, and sh’ hasn’t rained for two days now,” Dwight said. “From what I saw da first time I saw da witch, sh’ don’t come out unless it’s bin rainin’.”
“Alright, give da boy some water den we get goin’ again.” Harold said as he stopped to stroke his chin in thought. “Better blindfold da boy so as ‘e can’t say ‘ow far we’ve gone should ‘e escape.”
“Let’s be off, it’s been a long day already,” Angus said without humour. The old man tied a black handkerchief around Bran’s eyes then tied the sacks onto his back. Bran felt a jerk to his neck from the rope and started walking.
To himself, Bran began to sing a sad song. But as the afternoon continued and with the heat and lack of food, wooziness bore down on him and he sang his own words, to old tunes.
“Walked this path in the day when the sun was brightest,” he sang.
But unlike all the lores no sparrows darkened my sky to give me cool
I just walked on in this blasted heat
Delirious from the last two days and from the heat and exertion of carrying the sacks, he laughed to himself as he sang:
Now the day is nearly gone
How will I survive this night
With all the bug bites
Can’t stop though
No! Someone pulls my silver string
Pulling me towards an unknown
Is this what they mean by destiny?
Shall I fall
No! Someone will drag me on
Further I say, into the dark!
What a start
The real words came back to him:
We are the soldiers marching into the mist
No one knows if it will turn to vapour
The next moment we could be dust
But go on we will
Somewhere up ahead the fog breaks
That’s the destiny
On that path beyond the war we want to go
Or we shall die
“Shut up,” scoffed Angus. Bran felt a slight tug that pulled him off balance. Unable to see, he faltered, and fell to the ground. “Don’t piss me off again boy,” Angus warned. Bran continued on in silence for the rest of the day.
By evening Harold called for a halt. Bran felt the blindfold pulled off. They were at a bend in the river where weeping willows grew along the bank. A little back from the willows, cypress trees stood in bunches for as far as the eye could see. Angus undid the sacks from Bran’s back.
Harold and Dwight made a fire pit with rocks from the edge of the river. Bran lay back and felt the full brush of a cool evening wind.
Harold placed a few of his oatmeal cakes to the side. The carrots and potatoes within the sack were tossed into a pan.
“Now all we need is some meat,” balked Angus, looking especially at Bran. Dwight took out a knife from a sheath hidden under the left breast of his shirt, and diligently moved into some of the cypress trees.
Meanwhile, Angus and Plaglo gathered some birch bark twigs and a few large sticks. When they were finished they placed their piles near the fire within Harold’s reach. The big man made a lean-to over the bark with some of the twigs. “Go get some more of the larger ones,” Harold told the others as he pulled out two flint stones from a pouch he kept hidden under his shirt. Expertly he scraped the stones together to make a spark. Within three strikes the bark was alight. From within the forest Bran heard an animal cry out. From the forest appeared Dwight with a groundhog.
“Dat’s all!,” shouted Angus, “I’ll starve.”
“I’ll get more, but let’s eat dis first, eh,” Dwight replied. Bran could see a hungry weariness in the greasy-haired man’s pale face.
“We should be alright with the rest of da boy’s food fer tonight,” Harold said as he slit the groundhog’s throat so the blood spilt into the pan. “Fer now we can ‘ave groundhog stew.”
Dwight walked over to Harold with his knife in hand. “Gimme one of dose flint stones.” Harold handed him one of the stones. “I’ll sharpen me knife today an’ carve out a spear point tomorrow.”
Harold looked up at him with quiet serenity. “I didn’t see no ash trees around, da ye think de cypress tree will be ‘ard enough?”
Angus coughed to interrupt their conversation. “Why worry? Da boy ‘ad a dagger in is sack. It looks ‘efty enough te kill an animal.”
“Yeah, suppose,” Harold replied, “if we were to kill a bear te eat.”
“Ye questioning me hunting know how?” Angus shouted defiantly.
“Ye challenging me Angus?” Harold asked. The brown eyes of Harold and the cold blue eyes of Angus met in an equal stare of temptation. Both men’s faces became granite in the flickering firelight. For a moment the air was tense and smelled of nervous sweat, both men seemed ready to pounce on the other.
Finally Angus relaxed and gave a menacing smile. The old man’s eyes twinkled dangerously. “Maybe we should forget about each oder and let da boy in on our past. So should ‘e try te leave, ‘e’ll know what ‘e’s up against.”
“That would be good,” Harold replied lowering his eyes from Angus to the fire.