Rashkah’s mother is mourning the death of Rashkah’s last surviving brother when the raiders attack their village. This short piece explores what happens immediately after.
A Vignette for Rashkah can be found in An Anthology of Battle or as a stand-alone title at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.
First Page: A Vignette for Rashkah
Rashkah shifted uncomfortably against the back wall of the hut, watching as her mother laid her head once more on her brother’s dead chest. Rashkah's mother's tears were quiet now, the only sign of her grief the occasional heave of her body as she sobbed without sound. Her fingers traced the badge on the corpse’s uniform, then the familiar lines of its face now frozen in the awful peace of death.
Rashkah rocked her head back against the bamboo, glancing up in time to see her mother bend across the body again. Rashkah rolled her eyes at the ceiling.
Her brother was dead. The grieving had begun when his bullet-torn body had been found on the village trail a week ago. He was still dead, and the fighting continued. It was time to move on.
Rashkah looked at his corpse and felt nothing. She hadn't known her brother well. He was rarely home and, when he was, he stayed mostly with the men, too old to have any time for a little girl.
Her hand drooped across her knee. She waggled her fingers listlessly and rolled her eyes again. Surely her mother was finished by now. No one should grieve this much for the dead. It wasn't possible to be that sad when someone died. She wasn’t. Besides, there were more important things to worry about, like food and water, and preparing to move to somewhere safe.
In the hills more gunfire sounded. The echoes of it bounced off the mountains and rolled down the foothills to where Rashkah sat. She wondered if it would cause another avalanche. Another shattering staccato reached her. It sounded closer this time. Interested, she turned her head towards it and listened.
Outside, in the village, she could sense the tension rising. There was the sound of footsteps running, voices shouting, mothers screaming at children and babies crying.