The Hunt: War is Here

This is a rather lengthy story for a blog. This is the tenth of eleven parts. I never intended on adding onto it or making into something more. Perhaps your enthusiasm will change my mind.

war is here

War is here. It is not coming, nor is it looming; war is here. We have few firearms, few bullets, few explosives and few people. There has been little time to train the villagers, or prepare the village for battle. So, we have abandoned the village, and will attack the City’s forces in the woods. If we are to be hunted into extermination, we will fight as though our blood is being boiled and our enemies are at our gates. We will not surrender, nor will we give up. Everyone will fight, there will be no exceptions. Children that are able enough are even being tasked with helping. They will mostly bring supplies to the adults who are tasked with killing.

Oliver has forsaken the leaders of the City and denounced them. He and Benedict have sworn allegiance to this village. Gregory and I have also given our word that we would protect it, and its people. We will kill for this village. We will die for this village, if that is what must happen. We can never go back to the City, unless something profound happens during this offensive. It is unlikely, but the leadership may have a change of heart, and grow fond of the idea of working with these people. Or, more likely, they will be put out by a revolt. However this battle ends, this is our home now. These are our people.

Somewhere overhead a brilliant white sphere churned in the sky, casting a yellow glow across the forest. Dots decorated the background, adding tiny streams of light to the moon’s cascade. Beneath the trees, on the floor, it was unusually bright. The trees were more spread out here, so their branches and leaves could not blot out the entire sky. Moreover, this strange light was due to the cloudless sky that stretched out overhead. It is in this warm light we are to make our stand against the City’s forces.

Guarded by the moon, and standing still in the eerie swirling light, we waited. Our people had taken positions in trees, in the shadows and bushes. They were stoked with a vicious attitude, and the desire to be released from whatever imprisonment was sure to come their way. They would rather die chilled through, and all alone, than face a prison sentence in the time of war. Many of the villagers grew up hearing stories of the wars that destroyed the world. Some even grew up fighting to protect the village. These folks knew war, and they knew death. They knew what was coming, both in the fight and with the recovery. Still, they chose to confront the storm with fists and swords, rather than run away or bow down to the City.

As the sun broke the darkness, and began to peel away the traces of nighttime, I tried to calm my nerves. But tension still rattled my body, and shook my mind. I narrowed my mind, and prepared myself for whatever onslaught was to come. I focused on saving the town, and its people; my people. It was our turn to hunt. Today I was to be a hunter, a defender. I was no longer just a scribe or a quiet guy on a hunting trip. I was someone with purpose. I was a warrior.

An hour after the sun broke the horizon the first shots splintered the quiet, and still forest. Sniper fire, someone nearby remarked, as random shots zipped through the woods. Some people screamed for help before the brief volley of gunfire ended. We’d already lost people. Some to injury, I am sure, and others to death.

Mortar fire came next. The forest was splattered with our blood as the shells rained from the sky. The explosive shells landed all around our village and position. Trees collapsed as their base was eaten away by shrapnel and fire. Their splintering wood shooting out, with deadly force. Our defenders were eclipsed with debris, fear and blood as friends were torn from this world, obliterated by the falling shells. As the shelling ceased, I could hear excited chatter about the soldiers creeping through the woods.

The heavily armed and well-trained army of the City would now be on the prowl. Their boots scraping across the ground, kicking over piles of twigs and squashing small animals that did not flee their advance. Their eyes, lit with the scarlet fever of vengeance, would scanned the trees and caves. Their rifles would sway back and forth as they marched, waiting impatiently to claim the lives of the innocent. Without hesitation, without passion or feeling they would sanitize these woods with the rawest, and brutal forms of malice available to them. When their bullets became thin, their rifles would become bats, and blunt instruments of death.

“When are they going to come?” Gregory asked from the tree next to me. His hand was gripping the hilt of his sword, ready to strike. Above, the sun was sliding along, tossing a warm light onto the tree tops.

“I do not know,” I said sitting on the ground. I laid my ax on the dirt at my side. Someone in the village had given me their ax during our week of preparation. Originally, the ax had only been used to chop wood. Its handle was comprised of a thick molded plastic that dated back to before the Great Wars. The blade was a crisp metal, equally as old, but sharp as any sword.

“Maybe they have been stopped?” Gregory suggested. He had grown some positive notions since first hearing about our situation. He was no longer hysterical with laughter, nor was he babbling of our defeat. He was focused on defeating our enemy.

“Maybe Benedict will have luck,” I uttered.

“This whole thing is hinged on him,” Gregory stated as the first volley of machine gunfire began to paint our world. The harsh, and abusive chatter of the guns drowned out any hope of speaking, as bullets cracked through the air, shattered trees and stitched their way through the bodies of our defenders.

Continue to the final part here

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