Photo credit: Miguel Virkkunen
When the drovers came, the survivors hid in the hills. There was nowhere else to go.
They mourned, waited, rationed, hoped.
Finally, someone attacked the drovers. The taen’s forces, presumably. Although who the taen was now, nobody knew.
When it quieted, when the acrid smoke dispersed, they hobbled back.
Joenna and Yamaen stood before the barn. The house was burned, the animals gone, the stores plundered, but the barn stood.
Yamaen growled at the vile words scrawled on the barn. “Don’t let her see.” He limped closer, smeared the charcoal with his sleeve. “Barbarians.”
Joenna let Peren down, but held her hand.
Yamaen sat, slumping, covering his face with bony hands. “It’s all gone. We have nothing.”
“Nonsense. You have me, and I have you.” She didn’t mention who they no longer had. Focus on today. Live for tomorrow. She smiled until she believed it. “And the late harvest, we have that.”
“Half the fields are ruined, you saw.”
“There are fewer of us to feed. We’ll make it.”
He smiled her husband’s smile, nodded. “My son chose well.”
“And we have Peren.”
“Yes.” He reached out.
Peren staggered over, beaming. “G’ampa!”
Yamaen held her tight. “That’s right. See, you’re helping already.”
Photo © Al Forbes, A Mixed Bag