The Persistence of Loss – Part Two: An Eye for an Eye


SHIP

The sense of urgency Ana felt once she actually left the house was so immense that within seconds she was running, a full speed run that didn’t falter until she reached the docks. She’d planned on stopping at the one inn that her brother did spend the most time in after hours, but even it had been closed, and this only made her run faster.

She came to a stop at enough of a distance to rest for a moment behind one of the palms bordering the shore line, bent over, hands on her knees gasping for breath for several minutes, recovering from the sprint. She was thankful that night that the moon was so bright, because without it it was dark down here, and usually she might have only been able to see the ship’s outline at the very most, vague and looming, but tonight it was well illuminated. It looked quiet enough and she moved forwards, the slipper shoes she wore on her feet filling with soft sand, but she paid that no mind and kept on. She moved along the pier quickly and quietly and saw not another soul.

Stepping onto the deck of the ship itself, Ana startled when the board underfoot creaked loudly and she let out a small cry of fright, and in an instant she was afraid. Not that there was any immediate reason to be scared of anything, but it was a similar feeling that she’d felt back at the house, something that she just knew to be true and the sense of unease and wrongness about this place, at this moment filled her every sense and it was at that moment that she smelt it. She smelt that sharp, coppery odor at the very same time her next step caused her to lose her footing, slipping, her feet flying out from underneath her, and she flailed for a moment, and despite where she was and the reason she was there, she still had enough time to think for even a fleeting moment that had somebody been watching, they’d have split their sides laughing at how comical it must have all looked, and then she hit the deck. She rubbed at the hip she’d landed on, wincing, and shifted to get up, putting a hand out to use to push herself up and it, too, slipped, and the smell was overwhelming then. She knew, before she even lifted the hand in front of her face, what she’d slipped on, suddenly. And looking around at the deck she sat on, she realized that she was sitting in …

So much blood, oh Gods, it’s everywhere.

And she managed to get herself on her feet then, at the same time that she heard the shouting of men’s voices from somewhere below her feet and only seconds later the sound of loud footsteps crashing up towards the deck from below and she looked around frantically for somewhere to hide before she was seen. She slipped behind a large container the moment the men came into sight, standing where she had been just seconds earlier, two of them, and they were dragging …

Val…

She opened her mouth to cry out to her brother, but she couldn’t, she wouldn’t. She’d might as well say goodbye to her own life if she were to do that. What could she possibly do against two large men? She was only a girl, after all. She didn’t know where the blood had come from, but one look at Valgoren’s face from her hiding spot told her that he’d been hurt a lot already. Maybe somebody else had felt the end of their blades before he had. Maybe …

Stop, Ana. Focus.

And she did, though the conversation was short, and hard to hear. While she listened, she took in every visible detail that she was able to of those men. What they were wearing, the sounds of their voices, what they looked like. She vowed that no matter what was about to happen here that she’d not forget. That this was not the end.

“’Goren, why’d you do it, man? Ya gotta understand, I don’t -want- to do this. We don’t want to do this. But you killed our brother.”

“He killed my family, “Valgoren growled with as much venom as he could manage, but he was weak, and sounded almost defeated already, and that made Ana cringe. She wanted so badly to fly out from her place behind the container and throw herself between him, her only family, and these men but a sense of self preservation kept her where she was, and all she could do was just listen and watch, and wait.

The larger man spoke then, at the same time drawing a shortsword and placing it against her brother’s throat,

“An eye for an eye.”

And with one swift movement, it was over, and the sound that Ana would remember until her last living day would be the resounding thud of her brothers’ lifeless body hitting this deck.

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