It had been a terrible war
One that had plunged my people into darkness. The only light one could see at night was the fire licking at the roof of a neighbor’s hut.
I was a broken man. I had already watched my wife and two children die in front of me. I had nothing left to lose.
Yet the gods had decided to show me no mercy and not only gave me unwanted life but gave me recurring dreams of my family’s demise.
The Moontago as they called themselves were an outcast tribe who had lived among the deserts eating cacti and scorpions till their grandchildren got up in their large numbers to terrorize our village.
They had started a war which most of my people did not even know its origin as there were no records of their exile and their names were said only in hushed whispers by the gray and worn out elders who nodded their heads in acceptance to the vengeance of the Moontago.
The worst part of the war was that they never fought as a regular army would. They would only come at the stillest moments of the night and wipe out an entire district. Leaving only when our armies had readied themselves to retaliate and disappearing back into the wasteland.
We had tried everything. We set traps. We waited in shifts but these demonic creatures would only attack when we had assumed we were rid of them. We could wait months and they would still attack the night we dropped our guard.
I overheard an elder say ” they are like a Hyena who takes giant bites off a Lion who still chooses to sleep beside it” I cursed that elder’s name. For causing such a calamity to befall us.
Every morning they attacked, we would wake up to see a new hut razed to the ground. Another day of work to rebuild. The real heartbreak was the people. Relatives would roll in the ash covered mud into a fit of pain and frustration as they saw the roasted, mangled bodies of their loved ones. I felt so useless. Then in the corner of my eye I saw an elder nod his gray head and utter “we deserve this”
In a blind rage I ran across and threw him to the ground. After a few punches, he was dead. Yet I still battered his limp body. As I hit him, I felt justice for my dead family. I felt like I was doing the village a great favor. I don’t believe they agreed with me because the next thing I felt was a heavy rock against my skull. I saw the elder’s wrinkled face for one second before my world went dark.
I woke up with a numb feeling in the back of my head and my eyes were stuck fast like I had been sleeping for days. Feeling my way around, I realized I was back in my hut but all entrances had been sealed tight as a sort of prison for me for the murder of the elder.
Those fools. If only we killed all those senile elders then maybe the Moontago would forgive our village.
Nobody would hear my thoughts as I sat in the darkness with nothing on my mind on what to do next.
Every night, a wooden bowl would be passed through the bottom of my hut. My new source of food was soup and dried roots. For the first few nights, I would wait till the supplier comes again and empty the previous night’s bowl on his head. This practice brought joy to me.
Over time however I became too hungry to waste even a drop. The supplier must have assumed I was now eating because he decided to change my soup. Upon tasting it, I spat it against the wall. It was urine. I heard laughter outside the hut and knew he had gotten his revenge for my spilling the soup on his head. I cursed my name for causing such a problem for myself. I ate nothing but roots that night.
Months passed and I grew weaker and sicker. Yet death did not come. The Moontago seemed to avoid my cursed hut and granted peace in death to the ones around it. Every night, I would hear screams and the smell of burning flesh would choke me for hours.
I was a broken man.
Finally they came for me. I should have known because I finally dreamt that night. A beautiful dream of my family and I walking among the trees that line the village. My children were laughing and my wife was looking proudly at them.
For a brief second I smelt smoke and felt the spears pierce deep into my body. I didn’t scream because I was not afraid. Neither did I beg because I did not want mercy. I felt the roof collapse on me and heard the blood curdling sounds of them running back to hell.
All this did not faze me because I was with them. My beautiful family. Finally I was free of the bondage of life.