There is no warning rattle at the door. I hear it burst open as the horns bellow through the camp. Voices scream in panic outside our small house. I fall out of bed and hide in the closet just like Mum always tells me to do if the horns ever sound.
We are supposed to be safe here. Mum always tells me we are safe.
I hear him walk into my room. Boards creak under the weight of him. I move my head close to the floor and watch his boots meander around the room. He isn’t rushed. He is looking for someone.
He is looking for me.
I can only watch in horror as he turns slowly toward the closet door and I know it’s over. I wonder where Mum is hiding. Her daily warning pops into my mind.
One day, they’ll come for you, dear. You mustn’t be afraid. It is all meant to happen.
The closet door swings open. All I can do is stare up at the beast of a man. He reminds me of the gladiators Mum used to tell me about. He is draped in leather and wears a skirt. I smile and he tilts his head at me. Before I can react, he reaches down and scoops me up in his arms. My instincts kick in and I thrash uselessly against him. He is too strong and I am just a little girl.
“What is your name?” I ask as he moves out of my bedroom. He stops and stares at me before walking down the hall and out the front door. I forget the question as I take in the sight of my village. Houses burn. Bodies lie in the grass at our feet. Tears well up in my eyes when I see my friend Marco lying still on the ground.
“What did you do?” I ask him. I don’t get a response. He steps over the bodies of my friends and family as if they are nothing. I try to look away. I bury my face in the big man’s chest. The leather crossing it is smooth. I trace the markings of a bird on his left breast. The skin is raised. He flinches at my touch.
I force myself to look to where he is taking me. I avoid the ground littered with the bodies of my kin. A group of six men stand in a circle at the edge of the forest. A woman is on her knees in the middle. She has long, beautiful, blonde hair and her back is straight as a board; strong and defiant.
“Mum!” I yell, pushing against my captor. He sets me down on the ground and I’m off. The circle parts for me and she takes me in her arms. Tears pour out of my eyes as she squeezes me tight and kisses my head.
“Is this her?” one of the men ask her. She kisses me over and over before whispering in my ear.
“You will survive this, my dear.”
I pull away.
“So this is it?” I ask. She takes my face in her hands and smiles. Warmth flows through me at the sight of it.
“You were always meant to survive this,” she says again. “Don’t ever forget that.”
As if on cue, huge hands grab my arms and yank me away from her. I don’t fight. I trust her. The smile stays with her as the big man throws me over his shoulder and hauls me away into the woods. I watch Mum’s hand slide in and out of her gown. The knife is clumsy in her grasp. As I disappear into the woods, I hear her screams and know that it’s over.
“Where are you taking me?” I ask the big man. There are more markings on his shoulders and down his backside. I’ve never seen anything like them. The big man stays silent. He flips me underneath his arm with ease and I see a small carriage in the distance. A knot forms deep in my stomach.
“I will survive this. I’m meant to survive this,” I whisper.
The big man grunts in response and I look up to him in surprise. He stares down at me with a grim smile.
“No one survives this, little girl.”
46 thoughts on “Taken”
Egads. I want more!!
Great storytelling, as always.
That was deliciously terrifying. You sure can tell a story!
Oh wow! Thank you so much! 🙂
I really enjoyed reading this. Now tell us – what happens next???
Hah! Thanks and sorry. 🙂 I have an unnatural love for the cliffhanger.
This was a great little story. I hope you develop it more!
Thank you so much! It sort of came out of nowhere so I’m excited as everyone else as to what comes next. Haha!
Compelling, and a great group of characters. I’d love to know more about the village and about the people who destroyed it. Also, the prophesy! Do write more! 🙂
Thank you so much! I want to know too! Haha
Oh, that’s wonderful. I love where you went with the media prompt.
Thanks Rowan 🙂 I’m not gonna lie though. It was one of those things where I got halfway through and went oh shit, I need a bird somewhere. Haha
Hey, you saw mine.
I was really hoping to see a titmouse in there somewhere…
Hah! I know. I have no room to talk 🙂
This was terrifying! Loved it! Are you going to finish it? I kind of need more!
Haha thank you!! I really hope to expand and I’ll be sure to do it with the speakeasy. 🙂
You grabbed my attention and HELD it. Yes, I want more. Tell us more
Thank you so much! That truly means a lot.
Great story, well told. I’m not sure if I want to know what happens or of I’d rather not know. Well done?
Haha! I’m not sure either but in my head, it would end well 🙂
Holy crap that was scary!! Part of me wants to know what happens next and the other part of me knows and really doesn’t need the details. Your story kept me on the edge of my seat, entranced till the end. Well done.
Haha! Thanks Kathy! You’re not the first one to say that 🙂 In my head, she ends up okay. Now I just have to figure out how that happens 🙂
Excellently done. Wonderful tension built through out, and a chilling ending. I have only the slightest of quibbles, but I shan’t share it unless you wish me to, as it really has nothing to do with the quality of the words you have written and may be entirely unfounded, depending. 🙂
Thank you! I appreciate you asking first. Please share! 🙂
Again, this is entirely reliant on the setting. It has the feel of a medieval village, being raided by vikings or visigoths or some other barbarian tribe who starts with v. 😉 The quibble comes from this – houses in such a time period would not likely have had a closet. The idea of storing cloths in a small, dedicated room is a fairly modern idea. A large chest or a small wardrobe would be a far more immersive place to hide in such a setting. Other than that, your words are fantastic, and remind me again of why I love following your blog. 🙂
Thank you so much Mark!! I honestly have no idea when this story actually takes place but if I do expand, I’ll certainly take note of this. You learn something new every day 🙂 Thanks for reading!!
No need to thank me for that – your stories are reward and thanks enough on their own! 🙂
You are too kind 🙂
What a brave little girl, and somehow, I believe her captor is wrong. She will survive.
God bless you,
Thanks for stopping by!
Awesome! Even if it is another cliffhanger. Excellent use of the prompts. (Still wish there was a pterodactyl.) 🙂
I know, I know. I just love those dang cliff hangers!!!
Yikes! I was picturing the Hound from Game of Thrones as the big guy but he had a heart (sort of), and this guy doesn’t sound so sympathetic. Spooky good.
Hah! Hard to imagine someone scarier than the Hound! 🙂
I don’t recall breathing as I read this. Super stuff!
Thank you Nandini!
So well written…I thoroughly enjoyed this! “One day they’ll come for you”…this really set the scene and upped the intrigue. Left us wanting more for sure!
Thank you Kelly!
Couldn’t breathe from all of the tension in this story. I’m impressed.
Skilful story-telling. I want to believe the little girl that she will survive and live.But a small whisper in my heart tells me she wont’. A tussle.
Thanks for stopping by Kalpana!