Her eyes searched the night sky for answers to questions that she dare not ask aloud. The Gods blew their cruel breath down on her full force, billowing her long dark hair behind her like the flag of some long lost nation. Her eyes moved from the tiny twinkling stars onto the large round luminous moon, noticing the craters of some disaster from the first days while her mind remained numb to the world.
Her love, her one and only in a long lifetime of waiting, was dying somewhere down below her. There was nothing that could be done and the helplessness forced her to retreat into silence while the night continued unabated.
The cruel twist of the dagger could be felt through her own flesh, despite the fact that it hadn’t happened to her at all. It was the bane of her people, this intense empathic connection to others. It was more painful because of who was dying. She made no noise, only listened to the music of the wind as it poured through the nearby trees.
She sat on the grass slowly, and watched the moon. She saw the approach of the others, some heavily bandaged from the recent battle, some unscathed. They nodded at her, but she all ready knew what they were going to say.
He was gone, the Gods had claimed him and she could still feel the dagger being removed. She could feel the last painful breath as it left his lungs. She could feel his eyesight darken, and the cold, cold wind on his skin.
She nodded in return. A kind elder placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “You may stay with me tonight. It is cold out here. We will take care of you. It will be all right. There will come a day of vengeance. But, first you must rest.”
“No. My days are done; there is no need for vengeance. I feel nothing. There is no reason to go on. Nothing to live for.”
“Nonsense. There will be others. You will live. It is what he would have wanted for you.”
“No.” She was dragged by a kind wise woman whose strength remained within her old bones despite her fragile appearance. She was rushed past the men who were digging a long trench for the bodies of the dead. There were too many to bury in the proper ritualistic fashion, it had to be a shared grave for all.
She found her knees bending with the old woman’s and she followed, all the time thinking, “no.” None of this could be happening. She was at home, cooking a simple soup when she saw him in her mind. She saw the brute stab him in the heart with a sharp dagger, felt it being twisted in his gut, to make sure the wound would be fatal. She saw his friend kill the enemy while the dagger continued to twist. Agonizing pain swept through her. She felt her feet shift out of underneath her, felt her breath grow faint, and she fell. She fell onto the hard kitchen floor, the sound of her bubbling soup long forgotten.
In a daze she left her home, and walked up the hill, to look at the moon and feel the pain, waiting, as she had waited for many nights. Waiting for news of the most recent battle. News of victory. Now, she needn’t wait. She knew all ready. The morning found her much the same. She said no when the woman spoon fed her oatmeal, but that was all she would say. Everyone expected her to snap out of it, to one day breath life again, to look at the sun instead of the moon.
She found herself being moved with the rest of the village. They lost the battle and had to flee their homes. The information entered her mind and left again. She said nothing. No one talked to her anymore, but they talked around her much like adults do around children who are deemed too young to understand. She knew, but no longer cared. She still felt the dagger, and the twisting, and the pain. She couldn’t sleep, yet she couldn’t awaken. She waited for the Gods to claim her, but they were indeed cruel, and did not.
The old woman was placing her belongings into a makeshift hut, a temporary home near the fort of an ally tribe. They would be well protected here. Life would continue as it always did. The land may not be the same, but the people were, and the people always managed to make themselves at home.
This wasn’t their first relocation, nor would it be their last, she knew. Her charge lay near the fire, not saying a word. Her eyes remained open to the world and her breathing was regular, but if anything went on inside that head, no one knew of it. The old woman sighed.
It was the next day when she went to feed her and found her lying on her stomach. She gently turned her over and found somehow, a sharp dagger had been shoved hard into her breastbone, and the life was gone from her large vacant eyes.
The wise woman closed them, uttered a prayer and took the pale fingers off the handle grasped so tightly by cold hands. The old woman’s tears fell onto the dirt floor, causing a small puddle of mud to appear. She carefully removed the dagger, and examined it closely. Odd, it was the same style as the one that killed the young woman’s husband. The very same style, the crude bone hilt and the slight curve of the blade.
How could it have gotten here? The old woman certainly hadn’t kept it, and how did she not hear the killer enter? Why would anyone want to kill the silent woman? Nothing made any sense. If the woman had killed herself, how did she come upon this blade?
It was over now, the waiting, the wind was no longer cold. It would no longer blow her hair around wildly. And it no longer bothered her at all.