Ridiculing Crowd

Fou, the older of the two brothers, was the first to move, but he didn't move much. His hand had been covering his face so that his eyes would not betray his semi-consciousness. He looked at Moor through split fingers.  The body of his brother didn't provide any visual clues, but he was pretty sure his brother was still alive, for Moor had not reacted either—at least from the sound of it.

Fou lay motionless for another few moments, listening to the sounds of the forest. A few birds chirped as they flew from one tree to another, and the wind sent fallen leaves scampering across and into their fellow brethren. 

Deciding that their attackers had probably moved on, Fou propped himself up with the hand that had been covering his face. At the sound of his movement, Moor rolled over onto his back.

"They're gone then I assume." Moor did not look at his brother but continued to stare at the tree canopy above him.

Fou did not respond right away. Instead, he sat up the rest of the way, crossing his legs underneath him. After several long breaths and a glance from Moor, he said, "I hope so."

"They took the boar," Moor said, his tone conveying a true sense of surprise. Fou shook his head at his brother's naive nature.

"Why else would they attack us?"

"I guess you're right," was all that Moor said in reply, and that was the last thing either of them said on their way back to the village, a trip of about an hour's journey. At each new sound the two would stop to make sure the attackers had not returned.

Moor looked at his brother several times during the journey, wanting to ask so many questions, but he dared not disturb the silence, a decision clear from Fou's expression. The two of them were normally very talkative on their way back from a hunt, but this was the first one that Moor could remember not returning with the carcass of an animal, a carcass that would not only feed the village but would also provide other useful materials.

When they arrived at the village, most of the villagers were gathered at the gate. A man about the same age as Fou stepped forward and asked, "Where have you been?"

"Yeras, we were attacked," Fou reported, keeping his head down.

"Surely the two of you could handle a boar, or do we need to send someone else next time?" Yeras' mockery was accompanied by wide gestures. He turned to the rest of the villagers and continued, "Now what are we to do?"

Looking up, Fou replied, "The village will not starve." He tried to continue, to tell the villagers about the attackers, but Yeras stopped him with a palm just inches from his face.

"No need to explain." Yeras looked at Moor. "We know who to blame."

"Moor had nothing to do with this." Fou pushed Yeras' hand away. "We were not attacked by a boar. In fact, we did get a boar."

"You did?" Yeras beamed and ran around the brothers a couple of times, gesturing wildly as he did so. When he stopped he addressed the other villagers, "Do any of you see it?"

Moor stepped forward, raising his voice above the various responses of the villagers. "We were attacked by other people, you moron."

"You're calling me a moron?" Yeras turned his back to Moor, addressing the crowd again. "Moor is calling me a moron."

Fou grabbed his brother by the arm, and the two of them walked passed the ridiculing crowd and into the actual village.

The End

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