Smoke and ash was the only things left of homes in the village. Red stood with the other children, watching as the men helped one another move the dead bodies away from what remained of their village. Only a few buildings stood still: the church, a few homes, and the barn. Everything else was barely standing or ashes. The winter’s snow began to fall and soon they would have to try to survive the harsh conditions.
Within the three months Red saw her mother die along with her unborn sibling, two twins who always annoyed her would never speak again, and a man barely was able to open his eyes. The young woman frowned, death was among them and all the men could do was tried to rebuild. It was then on a cold evening as Red helped her father fetch some water did she speak up.
“Dad?” Red looked up to her father, they shared the same mix eyes-blue and right and hazel on left- but she only got that and his nose. Everything else looked like her mother. “What is it June?”
“I think we should leave dad. I mean … look around! There is so much death and I swear at times I find myself asking if you’ll even make it … we can’t live this way much longer!” June said as she put the bucket of water down. Her honey brown hair neatly tucked away under her red cap before she pulled it off so her father could get a better view of her face. He grinded his teeth and shook his head “No, no you won’t be safe, nor myself. June just be a good girl and—“
“I’ve been one! And looks what happen! We’re dropping like flies and I refuse to die as such! Dad, tomorrow I’m leaving for grandmother … I’ll see if there is any way they can send help.”
Within the wee morning hours, Red left with a basket of what food she could carry and started to the village. The village in question was a very bountiful one, never having any real bad weather nor even being able to be found by any thieves. It has been a village that many have tried to fine but it always seemed to be somewhere else. June hoped to find it quickly. The winter nights were never friendly to anyone, not even the wolves that habited the forest.
With her winter gear and red cape draped around her body the young woman left, not looking back to the faces. She couldn’t. Many did want to go with her but for time being she was the only one who was even able to walk without help and the food she took would soon freeze and was barely enough for her let alone another person.
That day the sun came out and lit her way through the branches of dead trees. Making her way through the thorns of a dying rose bush June sighed softly as she sat down and opened her basket. Two apples, a bottle of milk, some bread and cheese. That was all she was allowed to take. She had grapes but had returned them once seeing how much food the village really had. The deer meat had started to disappear so she wasn’t even a single shred of it. Shivering Red looked up and frowned seeing the birds fly overhead. If only it would be easy to leave like that. No problems, no worries, just fly.
Night approached quickly and soon Red encountered a man who seemed to be a hunter of sorts. He had offered her a place to stay but upon hearing the price was her own body Red quickly refused. It didn’t mean he would take that answer, he grabbed her roughly before letting go as her nails dug into his cheek. For an hour Red ran, unsure of where she was going but hoping it would be far from that man. When she did stop the young woman was panting heavily and leaning against an old oak tree. Looking around June sat down and slowly memories approached her. She had been here once before … the question was when. Slowly following shadow foot prints June began to remember a warm summer’s day, her grandmother and the village. Walk down the unused path... go off at the creek… slowly she began walking again.
Suddenly June was grabbed; two men covered her mouth and pulled her into the bushes. “Aye! Tell the leader we got someone!” one shouted. She was kicking and trying to scream as they pulled her all the way back to their camp base. One tied her hands behind her back and blindfolded her.
“Boss, we got a girl. I think one of the men saw her leaving to the other village we can’t find.”