Week 10

Task

By now, you are likely to have an ongoing piece of work that you can post a section of for the Writer’s Workshop. This might be a piece from an earlier week you are extending for submission in your Portfolio. If so, post a 300-500 word extract.

Barramon

I saw them in brief moments through the thick smoke, the fleet was no more, gone, as was the beast. The warm crackle of fire brightened the cry of the dying. A wave washed over my legs, cooling the burn in my thigh. The next one washed higher, nearer my waist, I had to move or become another casualty. The sky was there as was the sun; at least I hoped it was. Forcing myself to sit, I just stared at the destruction – fifty ships, destroyed. Men, women, whole families – lost. 

The first steps were hard; my leg was stiff, every step an effort, exacerbated by the shifting sand and the push-pull of the ocean. My thigh was hurt, a ragged flap hung on a flesh hinge. Endless salt and sand, I had to find freshwater before I dried out, it seemed to me, as soon as the thought was out the desperation for water began.

Ahead the beach gave way to a ridge of tall grass filling the air with its susurrous sound; soothing, a gentle welcome to a new land. I let my hands play among the tallest stems. Their coarse stalks brushed the sand from my skin, almost pleasurable were it to have ceased there. By the time I had passed through the barricade, I was cut and grazed. My blood speckled my hands stung. Then I heard it, the drum. Dull at first, a single beat from the dark horizon I later realised was the endless forest. 

The dead were there, watching – their eyes dark marbles of blood. My crew and my friends, all of them, head bowed listening for the next beat, and when it struck, they took a step as though they had no will. 

Thud. The drum called my name. Gentle as lover’s call. I felt her breath upon my cheek, and my pain ebbed to a dull ache. I stepped toward the forest and its dark embrace, I had been exposed too long so I sought shelter, thinking there must be a settlement nearby, perhaps a fishing village or trapper’s hut. 

Another beat, another step, and so the rhythm sang the necromancers’ song.

There was a chill, not unpleasant, a caution to skin. I shuddered, hesitating at the fringe where hope remained in view. I wanted to run. I truly did, I did not try. What was there to go back to. My Elenor was by my side though I could tell she no longer knew the living from the dead. She just walked on that bone splinter towing her foot behind her. Pity was all I felt. The best emotion I could muster. She was dead, as were they all. One child carried a wooden horse in one hand, in the other the tattered remains of a cat, its pink tongue lolled out of its crushed skull, one eye reduced to a sticky residue, the other stared into oblivion.