Barren View

The more deeply the sight is desired, the bleaker the vision.


Photo credit: Al Forbes


Sieri gazed across the barren field, past the leafless trees, to the distant road. She imagined, as she had so often, her husband returning on that road. Some had, after all. Not many. Bringing home scars, and limps, and brutal stories of the war.

She wondered what losing was like, if this was winning.

Then the droves came. Young men, sometimes women, turned bitter and hungry and lost. They kept fighting, seeking new battles, spreading chaos across the emaciated land. Worshiping only the strength of a blade, cutting away their customs, chopping down what leadership was left.

Now her boy was with them.

The discussion echoed.

“It’s too dangerous.”

“I’ll be careful.”

“We need you.”

“I can protect you better with them than against them.”

“Your father—”

“Isn’t here.”

He’d stomped off. Gone.

The clanging of metal carried across the field. Sieri drew her knife, gathered her remaining children. “Another raid. Quick, to the new cellar!”

Harsh threats turned to coarse laughter, gleeful destruction. Nothing would be left.

No more waiting. She would take her family north. The refugee road.

Through camouflaging branches, Sieri studied each man. Dreading seeing her son like this. Desperate for one last glimpse.



To read more about this war and its aftermath, try the Tables series: here.

Word count: 200.  Submitted for Sunday Photo Fiction.  Thanks to Al Forbes for hosting it!  To submit your own story, or to see the others, click here.






8 thoughts on “Barren View

    • Thanks! Yes, I was trying to get across how tragic the whole situation is, that even winning the war, the country is in such a terrible position, there’s nothing for the survivors to come back to. And yes, Sieri is in a tough spot, because who knows whether leaving might be even worse for her children, or whether if she waited just a little longer, her husband would return? If she leaves, he would never be able to find them, and neither would her son, if he left the warband…

      Liked by 2 people

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