A twig snapped and Uwase was jerked awake. She instantly knew the worst was unfolding and all her senses sprang into full alert. She shook her snoring brother awake. It was time to flee. Tossing a few things into a tattered bag she led her sleepy brother through the back door and into the pitch darkness. Her heart pounded furiously. The night was cold and eerily quiet. Though the war had lulled there was an unmistakable stench in the air. The smell of decomposing bodies rent the air and it hit their noses with such fury. Sidestepping the mutilated bodies they slowly slithered through the bushes. An owl hooted nearby.
A week earlier their parents had been hacked to death right in front of their eyes. That memory made Uwase flinch. She was still in shock. In only two days, rivers of blood streamed through entire villages and severed body parts littered the fields. Machete wielding mercenaries prowled the area inflicting wanton destruction on all their perceived rivals. Sounds in the woods suddenly yanked her back to reality. They were being tracked down.
“I’m scared”, whispered her brother Dilane.
“Me too, but it will be alright.” She unconvincingly whispered back.
The sounds were drawing closer. They heard dogs barking and men chanting war songs. Their blood froze when they heard the men saying that the “two rats” must be found. They were baying for blood. Immobilized by fear she mastered all the strength she could and held her brother’s hand as they scampered down a narrow path. The sound of the barking dogs became louder. Their feet were sore, their muscles numb and their will pushed to the limit.
“I can’t walk anymore” panted Dilane.
“I know, but we have to move!” Uwase hissed with urgency in her voice.
The young boy had reached his endurance threshold. The past few days had taken its toll on him. His eyes were haggard and his face looked twenty years older. His skin was flaked and was pale. Uwase had to make a snap decision, one that would either save them or deliver them to the altar of their pursuers.
They were paralyzed when a beam of light pointed smack at them.