|The Field of Blood
Author: Nia Moone PM
ONESHOT. The story of what happens to the bodies of those who die in battle and the girl whose job it is to collect them.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Supernatural - Words: 1,111 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 10-02-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2957747
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The cool breeze whispered though the night air, bringing with it the bite of cold from the sea that lay unseen to the west. People in their homes huddled more closely together, and wrenched their curtains closed against the cruel wind, yet those lying in the field didn't flinch. They didn't move from their contorted positions on the blood spattered ground. It was only when one looked closer that they realised that these men, who so resembled broken dolls, would never flinch from the night's shadowy embrace again.
Among the dead stood a solitary figure. From a distance she appeared to be a shade of the dead, for her skin was so pale that it was difficult to tell where her flowing white dress ended and she began. She started to move, slowly, gliding, her dark hair fluttering in the breeze, but otherwise she seemed untouched by the night's icy air. As she walked, the hem of her dress became stained with the blood that soaked the field; a look that illustrated the truth of the horror that had taken place there.
The soft glow of the moon illuminated the field and allowed Anamika to forlornly examine the horrific scene of carnage around her. The ground that earlier in the day had been dry was now damp and sticky with blood. The field that had been barren, yet peaceful, was littered with corpses. Although the bodies had not yet begun to rot there was the lingering sickly sweet stench of death. The smell of the dead didn't bother Anamika; she had been doing her job for centuries. Yet no matter how many years passed humans never learned. They never stopped fighting. They only learned of more horrific and brutal ways to destroy each other.
Anamika sighed; it was such a waste of life. Not that she cared for the living. She just felt that it was foolish of the living to spend so much time destroying one another. Anamika actually had a distant relative who looked after the living. Her brother cared for the spirits of the dead, and she got what was left. Anamika didn't socialise much with most of her family and she didn't have much need to. The only family that Anamika kept any regular company with was her brother of death and the feared twins. It was quite difficult to avoid her brother anyway, with the proximity in which they worked. If forced to admit it, Anamika didn't mind Duane's company. They both liked to complete their work in silence and so Anamika tolerated, perhaps even enjoyed Duane's company. Unfortunately for Anamika, Duane was still permitted to go into the homes of the dying. He was able to collect his spirits wherever they departed. Anamika was jealous of this, but never complained of the bodies that were denied to her. She saw some of her elder brothers occasionally, but other than that Anamika avoided her family as much as possible. Not that many of them were willing to keep company with her anyway.
With a sharp gesture of her delicate hand, a carriage nosily clattered to Anamika's side. The rattle of bones shattered the spell of silence that had encircled the clearing. The hull of the carriage was ornate, yet grotesque, constructed from the rib cage of some humongous beast, and encased in bright red velvet that was eerily similar to the colour of fresh blood. No matter how many bodies Anamika placed in the carriage it would never fill, yet it never appeared to grow in size. The carriage always had just the right amount of space that Anamika needed.
In the beginning it had been Anamika's job to collect the remains of anyone who died, but early on the people had begun to refuse her entry to collect the bodies, fearing her and her work. At first Anamika had felt slighted, it was her job, and she lovingly cared for the remains, yet people held onto them, buried them, died themselves and were forgotten. Anamika never forgot. Nobody cared for the remains of the dead as she did; they only saw the reminder of those who had lived in the now empty shells. Anamika cared for the bodies as they were, not as the empty houses of the soul, but as the bodies that had toiled on this merciless earth, and they deserved respect for the work they had done. Eventually they had all but forgotten her and she was only able to collect the bodies of the poor souls who died in battle.
Anamika began her work of loading the battered corpses of the dead into her coach. She handled the bodies gently; as if they were only children that had fallen asleep. It was the only mercy she offered the living, to not have to march over their fallen comrades into battle. The dead had already suffered enough, they deserved for their bodies to be well-looked after. And Anamika would look after their bodies well.
The night was long and the stars gazed down from the inky black sky, watching as the field slowly became clear again. Anamika worked tirelessly, and her work was done just in time. The stars were still watching as a red sun slowly began its ascent.
As the sun rose Anamika turned from the field to return to her home beneath the ground. Before the stars were outshone by the now rapidly rising sun, Anamika looked up. The enormity of the sky was breathtaking and filled her with longing, but she knew that her place was beneath the ground, not up here with the light and the sky. For a moment Anamika felt a pang of sadness, but quickly brushed it away. Her place was in the cool damp earth with the bodies and death. She was not meant for the beauty of the world. Anamika wished that perhaps she could have one night when there were no bodies to collect when she could just admire the night sky, but she knew that so long as there were mortal men, it would not be so. Anamika returned her eyes to her collection of bodies and continued her journey to her place below the ground.
The stars were quickly outshone by the sun and faded into the clear sky of a new day. The field was now empty; the only reminder of those that had fallen was the blood which slowly seeped into the dark earth. The wind rustled through the green grass, and the hungry earth waited, waited for those that would fall that day.