Red Rivulets Running on White SnowMature

Tamhia Reata

Everything was covered in red rivulets of blood. The snow was tainted in crimson, tragic yet beautiful. The screams of death and pain never ceased, not even after the raiders and the defenders fell one by one on the red snow. It was a symphony of death and the battle had just got to the best part, the minuet, a dance of death. The torches had landed on most of the makeshift settlements, lighting the sky with red. 

Nobody enjoyed more the sound of a falling dead body than Bruth, and Tamhia despise him for that. Bruth didn't see any difference between his people and the cannibal raiders, they were all the same for him, something he could slice open and spoil. Bruth held his ax high above his head and brought it down, splicing a cannibal head into two. The blood spluttered everywhere, bathing the nearby children who were cowering because they weren't fast enough. Bruth turned to them and laughed maniacally.

"You'll learn to enjoy that!" He said, shouldering his ax on his broad shoulder. "If you want to join, you're more than welcome." He took the spear from the cannibal he just killed and offered it to the oldest of the cowering kid, an eight year old. "There is nothing more exhilarating than killing and hunting. It keeps the soul alive in these ice wastes. Come on, this is part of your future."

"Stop it Bruth," a lean woman with waist-length black hair stepped between the bloodied children and Bruth. "These children have seen enough, don't offer them to be part of this insane killing." Her gaze was piercing and threatening. 

"Whatever." Bruth shrugged and ran into more bloodshed.

The woman turned to the children and her expression changed completely. Instead of the dead serious face, she had a warm and pleasant smile on her face. 

"This is no place for small children like you, why don't you run as fast as you can to the shelter? This woman is going to protect you." Tamhia pointed to a waiting teenager who carried a loaded shotgun. The children scrambled to their feet and ran to the teenager. 

Tamhia joined the chaos again. Her movements were steadied and deathly, she only pierced through the vitals of the cannibals, where death was immediate and blood wasn't plentiful. This settlement had absorbed enough blood from the various attacks from another settlements throughout the decades and it didn't need more. They especially didn't need blood from these monsters from hell. 

A raider charged towards her from the back, howling as he ran, his flails whipping from behind him. He thrust his arm down, bringing down a rain of pellets from the flail. Tamhia jumped back and flipped through the air, reloading her crossbow with another bolt. She took aim in midair and fired. It was a clean shot through the heart, her favorite. The cannibal dropped to the ground, his flail by his side. Tahmia didn't enjoy the sound of death, but she did enjoy the success of her kill, the accuracy of her shot, and her overall skill as a hunter and a doctor. Not to sound conceited. 

The cannibals kept coming even though most of them were already shot or stabbed to death. It was a killing spree and both sides were losing their men and women. Tamhia felt a painful tug on her hair, she was then yanked to the floor and dragged like a rag doll. She screamed painfully. She aimed her crossbow above her head and fired at whomever was hauling her from the hair. A hand grabbed her own wrist, painfully pulling away the crossbow from her. The straps ate away her ivory skin, leaving bloody marks. The cannibal said something unintelligible. She caught a glimpse of his deformed face and bulging eyes. His torso was bigger than the rest of his body, his feet were like tree stumps, and his hair was overgrown and unkempt. He was carrying a broken long sword bathed in blood. 

He pinned her down to the ground and sniffed at her, slowly inhaling her sweet aroma of sweat and blood. He licked his lips and opened his mouth. His teeth were bigger and stronger than the average person's teeth, yellowed; the consequences of eating raw meat. Tamhia tried to scratched him with her fingernails to no avail. She tried kicking but the cannibal was holding her down with a knee on her chest, taking her breath away. 

"Ahhhh!" 

Tamhia waited for her death, but it didn't came. Instead, the pressure was loosened on her chest and a heavy body fell beside hers. She opened her eyes and saw the beheaded raider. She turned to her saviour. 

"Harru?"

Harru dropped the sword. He was shaking all over. "I- I killed it..."

Tamhia stood and rushed to him. "What the hell are you doing out here? You should stay in the shelter."

"No, I came here to kill." Harru showed her the crossbow. "These people took my mom and I want revenge. I will avenge everybody they took ten years ago..."

"Harru, I remember," Tamhia said. She was fourteen when it happened. She saw the wound and the misery, and was re-living it all over again. "Just be careful."

Harru nodded and ran to the next warrior who needed help. Tamhia's chest swell with pride. Harru had finally become a man. 

Some metres away from her, she saw a man with a black jacket she didn't recognized, fighting off some cannibals. He seemed to be in trouble. Tamhia reloaded and aimed. The shot was perfect, right in the middle of the chest. The stranger looked at her, transfixed. She hated that. What was there to be amazed anyway? She took another aim at the forehead of the cannibal behind him. She didn't even waited for him to get out of the way before she shot. Thankfully, the stranger ducked and the cannibal fell. It wasn't a wasted arrow.

She smiled triumphantly and moved on to the next target. All the while, she was wondering what kind of scumbag Otto had allowed into the settlement. 

The End

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