Dead Reckoning

Dubrovnik Port Side Maarten Elings flickr - REV.jpg

Photo credit: Maarten Elings (modified)

Approaching Ha’azam by sea, Sabna saw the port first.  The city’s orange roofs covered the hillside, fragrant citrus trees framing the grand manors and halls.  Everything as she’d left it.


No boats in the harbor.  No people hawking goods in the market.  No clattering of carts.  Only a dog’s lonely howl to break the silence.

Limping down the gangway, she ordered her soldiers to stay.  She knew what to expect.

Down empty streets, she followed a faint stench.  Shallow mass graves.  The Evrak showed no respect for those they conquered, gave no rites to the dead.  Such inhuman monsters.

Flicking her hand, the dirt flew off, exposing decaying flesh.  She chose carefully: the strongest, the biggest, the warriors.  Touching them in turn, she shivered, grinning, at each sizzling spark.

“Come, my neighbors, rise up.  You are not yet defeated.  The Evrak have done you evil, but I give you the chance to fight them once more.”

Sabna turned, leading the new soldiers to her ships.  The perfect army, needing no food, no rest, no rationales.  She would bring them glory, avenge them.

The Evrak were not far ahead now.  They would pay for not treating the dead with respect.

Word count: 200.  Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.  Thanks as always to our wonderful host Alastair Forbes for his tireless work — and for providing the original photo prompt, below.  Click here to read the other stories.

For another perspective on the war that Sabna is waging, check out Silent Shore.


Photo © Al Forbes at A Mixed Bag

13 thoughts on “Dead Reckoning

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