This depressing little piece is for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto writing prompt.
They said we would be safe on the other side of the river. Across the frontier they would never dare follow us. We have nothing left—supplies finished, pack animals eaten, the unburied bodies of the very old and the very young left along the way. But we are here, on the banks of the river. Behind us is certain death, and before us, the dark hills of safety.
Night is falling. We sink, weary to death, tired to the bone, to wait for morning, to look for a possible way to cross the river. No one speaks, no one cries. We haven’t the strength. We devour with our eyes the valleys full of shadow and the peaks still caught by the last of the daylight. I watch those dark hills hungrily, full of hope.
Light streams through a gap in the cloud, pours down a hillside and chases the shadows of the valley bottom. A stray beam catches a rapid movement, the flash of metal or the bright glitter of eyes. I glimpse what is waiting at the other side of the river and hope dies.