I haven’t even looked at Sue’s photo prompt for ages because I’ve been very strict with myself about keeping my head down and meeting word counts. Although I’ve started a new story, I’m not pushing myself so hard. I’m still feeling my way with this one anyway. So, I’m taking a break, and writing a short story that is really inspired by what I’m writing. Not such a break after all.
There is such peace here, she thinks, sitting on the stone and gazing across the landscape of rolling meadow scattered with the white flowers of hundreds of thousands of daisies. Day’s eye, they used to call them, and she imagines them all, gazing up at the sky. Peace, she tells herself when the hawk screams and stoops after something unseen, peace when the wind blows cold, and clouds throw shadows across the vast plain.
She shivers and still thinks, peace, though the setting sun fills the sky with blood, and only crows flap homeward. The wind mutters as it rattles through the trees that line the road behind her, and flattens the white flowers beneath its heavy hand. She begins to think, perhaps it is time to go. She rises, dusts off the seat of her jeans and her eye is caught by the lichen, the yellow, grey and dull green that covers the stone where she was sitting. Looking closer, she sees marks in the stone.
A pattern? Design?
She traces the scratches with her finger, peeling off the lichen, revealing a rough carved image. Horseman, raised sword, heads rolling. She listens, and finds she can hear voices in the wind that races across the daisy heads, voices screaming, crying, moaning, keening. Faces turn to the sky in despair as a rain of steel falls.
Not all the massacres of ancient times are documented. No names remain, no dates or reasons. Just the voices of the dead.