The shriek pierced my ears, startling Blostma and I out of our sleepy silence. She scrambled to the doorway, dropping the toy she had been entertaining Lytling with. She soon let out a gasp, and called franticly to me.
” Alysandra! Alysandra, wilde ielde! Hie heawan user ielde!” I did not understand, but she was so frantic I hurried to join her.
The village was burning. People fled from an oncoming army, that swarmed over the small town like so many ants. I gulped, and tried to suppress my fear. Blostma was the first to break out of our horrified trance, and began to bustle quickly around the house, taking some food, handing me Lytling, and hurrying the other three children who were with us outside of the house, trying to get them to go faster. I followed quickly, trying hard to keep myself under control. We were running past crowds of screaming people, past frightened horses, past burning homes…… I noticed that Blostma and one of her brothers where far behind us. Swallowing my fear, I turned back for her, her other two brothers following me closely.
“Hraeding!” Blostma yelled, tugging on the boy’s hand. The little tike wailed, looking back over his shoulder.
“Modor! Modor!” The boy shrieked, digging his feet into the ground, making the two of the halt.
“She’ll be fine!” I cried, trying to shush the baby, who began to wail. Horsemen were rushing by us, going to meet the invaders. There were so few…….
“Wit sculan faran!” Blostma wailed franticly. The shouts were drawing closer. . . . we could see men coming over the nearest hill. . . .
“Faran, Alysandra!” Blostma pushed her other two siblings towards me, motioning for us to flee. “Faran! Ic nah gewald! Ic sculan findan Modor! FARAN!” She bellowed, and, too terrified to question her judgment, I fled, clutching the hands of the small boys, who began to cry. I was crying too- what if I died?
“Modor!” the boys were crying for their mother, and trying to go back, but I herded them before me,, determined now to get them to the hills and – hopefully- into safety. Lytling was screaming. . . . . or was it me? In my panic, I could not tell.
I continued to run, and smoke filled my nostrils . . . . we were near a fire. . . . . I could hear fighting. . . . Where were the boys? I was suddenly aware of the fact that the baby and I were alone in the smoke. I looked frantically about, but there was no sign of them hiding by any of the nearby homes. I was almost to the hills…. I could save my own skin if I ran now….
Coarse voices filled my ears, and I saw soldiers lighting a nearby home on fire. I made the cowardly decision: to flee. And so I did, clutching Lytling to my breast and hurrying to get into the hills.
I have never felt worse in all my life than at that moment.
Night had fallen. Still I jogged/walked/limped/ran across the fields, not stopping to rest. But my adrenaline was no longer so great, and I no longer could keep an even pace. Finally, I stopped.
I couldn’t run any farther. I was too tiered. Too overcome. Besides, I had never been the most fit person on Earth or- wherever. Lytling was only sobbing now, her big blue eyes red and sorrowful. I halfheartedly tried to rock her, but I was too preoccupied with thoughts of Lytling’s family. I closed my eyes, and sank into the yellow grass, ignoring how itchy it was.
You’re such a jerk, Sandra. You just indirectly killed two kids! A little voice was yelling at the back of my head. I buried my face in my one free hand and cried. Everything was just too awful. I wished to God that this had never happened. Lytling began to cry in earnest, too, and together we wept under the bright stars that twinkled happily, unaware of the slaughter that had just occurred.
A bird was singing somewhere. I rolled over sleepily, bumping into Lytling, who was curled up next to me. At first I though she had died, and I sat up quickly, but my fears were unfounded. She was clearly breathing. My heart slowed a bit.
The grass was tall, shielding all but my head from sight as I sat on the hillside beneath the morning sun. I took a deep breath, and stood. I winced. My legs hurt. I had never run so far before. Maybe, I thought dryly, I’ll lose a few pounds before this is over. I smiled at the idea, but quickly frowned. It couldn’t be right to be smiling only a day after that slaughter, could it?
After Lytling awoke, we started off again, except this time walking. We needed to find a town, find shelter. Especially we needed to find a mother for Lytling. She couldn’t survive long without food. Could she eat solids yet? I could not remember her mother breast feeding her, but, then again, I could not remember seeing Lytling eat at all. My brain was muddled, and confused. Hopefully it would clear up in time.
Either way, we needed to find another human, and soon. I had no idea what you could, or could not eat, and, though I had seen rabbits, I had no idea how I would hunt one with Lytling. So I set out, with the sun at my left, hoping that there was someone- anyone who would help…..