Now We Rise blog tour - The Reaper
Today I've got another piece of original content to share with you, a story I've written to link in with the #NowWeRise blog tour and the release of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
Death came to the village an hour before the sun rose.
It was the right time for death, a transition time, an in-between place. The darkness had faded to a soft light, and the world felt cool and gentle without the burning heat of the sun. The village was silent , the people slept, or tried to, unaware that their death was approaching.
Death came to the village as a young girl, barely sixteen summers old.
She walked slowly, each footstep carefully measured and considered. She didn’t rush, she didn’t get distracted. Death comes at its own pace.
As she reached the first houses she paused. She closed her eyes and reached out with other senses. She pictured dark tendrils snaking out from her, finding cracks under doorways and open windows, extending into the clay houses. She could feel the life inside, a man in deep slumber, snoring. A woman turning restlessly in sweat-soaked sheets. She reached further with the dark tendrils of her magic and she took their life. The snoring man stuttered to silence. The restless woman lay still.
The next house in the village held a mother and her three children, all squashed into a single large bed. The tendrils reached out for them. A tear rolled down the girl's face as she took their lives.
One hundred and ten people lived in the village before the Reaper came. By the time the sun crests the eastern hills, not a single soul is left alive.
The Reaper sits on a boulder just outside the village. Tears glisten on her dark skin as she feels the sunlight warming her.
A young man walks up behind her, and places a hand on her shoulder. She squeezes his hand in hers and leans into him. He feels so hot against her cool cheek, he always does.
"It had to be done." He says, solemnly.
"A healer could have saved them all." She mutters. "Maybe we could have waited."
"If we'd waited, the sickness would have spread to the next village, and then the next. There are no healers for a hundred miles."
"Maybe we could have waited." She protests quietly, though she knows the truth.
The man runs his hand through his long hair, which is as white as the snow on the distant mountain peaks. "You did what you could for them. You saved them in the only way you could."
The girl stands, and pulls her brother into a tight embrace, her back to the silent village. The man closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and speaks a prayer to Sangó. When he opens his eyes again the flickering light of burning houses is reflected in the darkness of his pupils. He watches the fire spread until it has engulfed the whole village. Then he leads his sister home.