~The Life After~ pg5

The girl would not stop her mourning. She huddled in a corner moaning and crying. She screamed if anyone tried to come near. Every second of the sound scraped at his soul. He had caused this.

Nivia paced in her home with her hands shoved over her ears. Alex had never seen the woman so upset before. Well, at least not for a very long time. When she finally couldn’t take any more, she grabbed him and Chink by their ears and dragged them outside before letting go. “Why have you brought me this sobbing child?!” she demanded, “And what did you do to her to break her heart so?!” 

Chink straightened up, still rubbing his sore ear. “She was being ‘eld captive by an abusive man, Nivia. We took ‘er away before he could hurt ‘er again.” 

The old woman returned to pacing and flailed her arms in unconscious gestures to emphasize what she was saying.“Well, it doesn’t seem like she wanted to be taken. Return her at once!” 

“We can’t,” Chink leveled his chin at her without an ounce of remorse. “We killed 'im.” 

Nivia’s eyes grew wider than new silvers and she turned her wrath on Alex. “Murder?! How dare you bring such evil into my woods!” 

“You saw what ‘e did to Borris!” Chink tried to defend their actions. “We had to defend ourselves!” 

She spun on him pointing a bony finger at his nose. “Oh and I’m sure you did nothing to provoke his attack?” She paused but neither man offered an answer. Nivia didn’t need them to. “Borris’s quiver does not look full. Perhaps this man you murdered was just defending himself from you!” 

Alex snapped his eyes shut. She was right of course. They had attacked him first, but they weren’t trying to kill him. They just wanted to scare him away. Nivia knew that was how they worked. He finally offered his defense in quiet remorse, “He was going to kill me; I had no choice.” 

She saw his pain and softened her tone as she rested a hand on his arm. “Not all men are cowards, Alex. Not all men run away from their responsibilities.” The statement was a slap in the face despite its soft tone, perhaps because he felt like he had abandoned his own responsibilities so many years ago. Nivia did not seem to notice the extra meaning it held for him, though. “And that girl in there, if she fought you then as hard as she is mourning now…” She paused for a moment to let the girl’s wails drive home her point. “You should have left them be the second they both stood against you.”

The End

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