Coward

“Mary Stop!”  Dontarius screams as his wife steps from the small hut that serves as home.

“I forbid you from seeing Herocies.  NO… you can’t do this too me!”

Mary looks back.  Seconds seem to stretch into hours as Dontarius watches the flame within his wife’s eyes flicker.  It was then that he realized that his wife was lost to him.

Dontarius fell to the floor of the hut and stared upward at the thatch roof.  He picked out small areas in the roof that showed daylight and waited for his wife to disappear.  The silence was unbearable and Dontarius looked toward the door.  The reeds swung from the top of the door.  His wife was gone.  Dontarius screwed up his nose in frustration and screamed.

He stood and walked to the door and stepped out.  Mary stood, just outside the hut.  She was crying.

“No, this is over like you said,” Dontarius shouted.  The village of Rosemary was located along the Heracleus River.  Dontarius and Mary lived on an outcropping above the village.  Dontarius realized that large men, dressed in dull gray armor stood over what was left of the village.  He was at a loss and stood quietly staring at the scene below.

“Are you going to do anything?”  Mary shouted.

Dontarius examined the scene ahead of him.  He counted ten heavily armored men with large swords.  They walked through the village methodically pulling residents from the small huts and then piercing them with the sword.  Dontarius realized that this raid was sanctioned.  The soldiers did what they were told but they resisted.  They could easily finish the job with far more violence.  He could would have to do something to frighten the soldiers from the village.

“We would have to frighten them off,” he said as he continued to think.

“Frighten them off.  These are soldiers.  How are you supposed to frighten off damn soldiers.” Mary shouted.  She was hysterical and they were noticed.  A soldier spotted them and pointed upward toward them.  Mary screamed and turned.  She screamed a second time and fell to her knees.  Dontarius turned to find a large spectre staring down from above him.  The beast stood seven-feet tall and hovered an additional two feet off the ground.  Dontarius knew who and what this was and he knew his running was over.

“Dontarius,” began the spectre.  “You dare to run from me.  Your flight has brought shame and destruction upon your family.  Your wife is now dead because you failed to keep your word to me.”

“NO…No!  Do not take my wife,” Dontarius pleaded.

“It’s too late.  She is already mine.  Your debt is now paid.  You will now live the rest of your life cursed with Cowardice.”

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