Friday, April 6, 2018

Page 1673

((TZKS 5th Anniversary -- Page 22 of 24))
It all became a haze as he sat there, looking over the shoddy grave and feeling the evening wind lick at the tears sliding down his face. He’d thought he’d ran out of those multiple times already. Tears. But they just kept coming back like waves.

At length, however, he could sit there no longer. Night was falling again, and his mouth was parched to the point that even just breathing through it was painful. So he finally stood and left his mother behind.

He needed to find water, first and foremost, and he knew exactly where to go. There was a rocky stream not far from town where he would sometimes take the flock to be watered. His mother had gotten angry at him for doing that, saying it was better to water them from the troughs at home, but Parson had kept doing it anyway from time to time, whenever he felt like she wouldn’t find out. He just liked going there, and maybe he was wrong, but it seemed like the sheep liked it, too.

Now, though, the sight of it there, babbling down a gentle eastern slope, was not nearly enough to soothe his heart. He knelt down and drank from it until his thirst was quenched.

And then he didn’t know what to do.

He cried some more.

He could still smell smoke from the village. The wind was blowing it this way, he noticed. And he thought he heard something, too. Yeah. The distant clopping of horse hooves. If he could hear them, then he was probably still close, he figured. He got up and ran, not even having a destination in mind until a thought struck him.

The hiding spot. The one that he’d dug with Damian and Steven. He wanted to check on it. Maybe one of them was there. And if not, it might still make for a good place to sleep.

In the darkness, he made his way. It might have been more difficult if he didn’t know the area so well. He recognized almost every tree in relation to the village, and so it didn’t take him very long at all to loop around and find the hideout.

He was the last to arrive, apparently. Damian and Steven were both already there, though neither were their usual selves. Damian, at least, expressed surprise at seeing him, but Steven just remained huddled up in the corner, eyes wide and staring out over his knees.

At length, Parson tried to touch the younger boy’s shoulder, to rouse him in some way, but Damian stopped him.

“Better not,” said Damian, and he brought Parson around to Steven’s other side, the side nestled up close to the wall.

Parson saw a bloodied dagger in Steven’s hand, hidden behind his leg.

Damian pulled up one of his own sleeves and revealed a shallow wound. “The little monkey nicked me with it when I tried to move him.”

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