This here is some more writing I’ve done. It was the first piece of writing I put up online to be critiqued by others, the first piece I was truly proud of. I wrote this nearly a year ago and has been sat in my writing folder, on my desktop, since. In that folder its name is Draft 32, the way that I name my writing to keep it all stored nice and neatly, the name up above is just so when you see it on the home page of MBM that it looks as if I know what I’m doing. Anyway please enjoy and tell me if you’d like to see more of my writing or I’m as crap as my self-esteem tells me I am at this;
The rain fell heavily around me, fat droplets collided with the mud with audible crashes. The rainwater kept the smell of burning wood and tar close to the ground, like a fog of death and destruction that floated at knee height.
My hands were heavy and slick with blood. The rain smeared the semi dry patches of crimson that ran along my forearm, it dribbled in pink beads down my fingers and ran along the shaft of my axe.
The road which I walked along was covered in ankle deep mud that had slipped down from the banks on either side.
Squelch. Suck. Squelch. Suck. The rhythm created a counter tempo to the endless drumbeat of the rain.
“You’ve got far enough away” the voice in the back of my head whispered.
“Concussion!” I retorted at my own mind. I felt whatever part of my mind that had whispered to me slink away into the growing darkness, like a kicked dog whimpering as it hid under the table.
“What… darkness” the rational part of me thought. The thought echoed through me as I slipped in the mud. “Ah, that darkness.” Perhaps it wasn’t the rational part of my mind that thought this at all, but the cowering, whimpering part that hid in the twilight inside my head.
I stayed there for a moment, the mud seeping through the knee joint in my armour, my left hand trembled as I brought it to my face. I wiped at the sticky, watery blood that smeared my cheek. Undoubtedly adding a brown tinge to the darkening burgundy that covered me. I was no stranger to blood. The army had made us acquaintances. Banditry had made us friends. The birth of my daughter made us brothers. Her death…
I looked back over my shoulder, the muscles in my back screaming, to see Arwear, my adoptive home, in flames. Seth’s house that had stood three storeys tall, collapsed inwards under the weight of its burning roof. Somehow my mind had tricked me. I wasn’t a mile down the road, only a hundred yards at most.
“Look at what they did… At what you did” the voice drawled. Emboldened by my unresponsiveness it continued. “Ten years a soldier. Five a bandit. And seven a farmer” it spat out the last word with unconcealed disgust.
But the voice was right. These outlaws were ragged and starving. The roads had become safe and men like them were desperate, desperate to attack a farmer’s village… Not fifty miles from the Capital… And I was outmatched after years growing crops…
“I bet Ned took at least five down with him… the old man had more steel in him than you ever did. You’re like iron gone to rust” it sneered “too many seasons ploughing fields, too many days chopping wood, too many years spent loving a child.”
“No!” I bellowed out loud. The voice had gone too far.
I was on both knees now with my right hand wrist deep in the mud. The dull glint of well used iron shone through the muck, the rain already cleaning it. I saw a twisted image of my well weathered face. A beard and goatee matted to my face with dried blood, there it was black in the ginger of my beard. I had seen this before. Blood and I were friends once, now only an enemy glanced for a fleeting moment.
“Lie down and die” the voice continued. “Your life is burning in that village. The world doesn’t need rusted iron like you. The world needs steel.” I recognised the voice. A captain who had commanded me. He compared men to metal constantly, he had died with an arrow in his lead grey hair.
My hand slipped and my chest slammed into the mud. The leather jerkin that had saved my life but broken my ribs now stopped the wet earth from reaching my skin.
“The cold will kill you” the voice now said in a dark, nearly helpful tone.
“No. I will not die here. They will. Those bandits will die” I vowed, letting any god listening know as I shouted it into the sky. My hands were beneath me as I pushed myself up. I steadied myself against a wave of dizziness, using the shaft of the axe to keep me upright. I would not die on this road. I turned and limped into the burning village of Arwear, once it was my home, now it burned like the fire that had ignited itself in me.