A Life of Revenge

Violence.

It’s in the air. You always know; the sharp smell of metal and rust and salt; metallic blood on your tongue. The place is thick with it; the atmosphere could be sliced with the blades that had long silenced the screaming.

Cold. Despite the humid heat, the chill permeating deep inside; the heavy presence of death.

Hiding. Breaths coming rapidly, shallowly. Trying not to hyperventilate, to avoid the gasping, sucking breaths that would alert them to your presence. If your frenzied heart, the voodoo drum trapped inside your chest, constricting your lungs, doesn’t first.

Voices. Harsh whispers, coarse mutterings, derogatory filth and spitting. Desecrating the corpses. Anger makes your fingers curl, twitching against your sweating palms. For a moment it almost overrides your fear. Then one of them passes close in front of your fragile refuge and your heart is in your throat, cutting off your scream before you reveal yourself. Your back presses against the flimsy plywood, flaking paint and splinters digging into your skin. The bite reminds you that you are alive, that you have something to live for while the others in there do not. You cannot let them find you.

How much longer can you stand here for? Your legs feel weak, shaking under you, your skin clammy with cooled sweat, the product of heat and terror. The stench is invading the tiny space, making you want to gag, but you have to hold in the reflex, though it crushes your lungs. A few minutes more.

The mutterings grow fainter as the ‘’soldiers’’ move away, heading towards the door, guns slung over shoulders on straps, blood sprayed up their uniforms. They spit out their cigarettes, stamping them out on the hands and faces; they kick them over, stopping to crouch and take any valuables from them before leaving as if they had not been disgraced enough. Your blood boils, the pressure in your head increasing until you might faint.

You moan as you fall, pushing the wood out of the way and collapsing from your cavity onto the pressed-earth ground of your home, now flooded in blood and saliva and horror. The dishonoured bodies of your family lie sightless and mutilated, filling you with a grief and revulsion and wrath so strong you can only kneel there and let the bitter tears track through the grime on your face.

An engine starts up outside with a sound like gunfire, cutting off your sobs abruptly and making you scramble to your feet. There are crunching footsteps on the stones outside, a clinking sound, a scuffling, scraping, hiss, laughter. Smoke.

You hear the jeers and cheering even as you throw yourself, sick with terror, from the single roomed hut as the contents of the smashed bottle set the thatched roof alight. The vehicle is already speeding away down the dry grassy hill, trailed by smoke and clouds of dust shading you from their vulture’s eyes.

Behind you, your home and your family burns. You have nothing left except the horror and rage in your heart that are so closely entwined you can no longer tell the difference. Together they form the lust for revenge,. You want nothing more than to see those men on their knees, bloody and battered, begging for mercy with tears running down their compassionless faces, humiliated as they had humiliated others. You want them dead. You clench your fists so tightly that the nails dig deep into your palms; you scream your defiance after the jeep, shimmering in the distance like a mirage. A curse, an oath. You will see them again.

The End

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