Broken Dagger

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Build A wall

Part II

Broken Dagger

Build a wall

Tiny whiffs of smoke drifted upward from a chimney affixed to a small stone building along a packed dirt road and disappeared into a dark sky. The green moss affixed to the mortar between the stones of the building gave off a subtle phosphorescent glow reflecting the moonlight. Near the solid wood door centered in the stone building a black and white cat sat cleaning himself on a wood stump with an axe leaning against the building nearby. The dim yellow light of but a few lamps scarcely penetrated the textured surface of the rectangular pieces of shaded glass held by a grid of thin metal frames holding them in place in only two small windows. The cat leaped over to a cushioned bench nearby as the door creaked open and a man staggered out. The man stretched out a shaky hand toward a pocket of his wool shirt. Watching it close with his head and eyes he reached into his pocket after three missed attempts and pulled out a wooden match. With a pipe in his other hand he managed to light the match on the stump of wood and bring it toward his pipe as he placed the tip of the pipe in his mouth and finally lit his pipe nearly burning the tip of his nose in the process. The man proudly smiled after he completed his otherwise simple task, and staggered down the three wide steps of the wooden stairs that lead him off the porch and onto the hard packed road.

A short moment after the drunken man exited the inn, a young lady whose moderately attractive features could be seen in the dim light piercing the window stepped out of the inn. She bent down to pet the cat which arched its back beneath her soft touch. The young woman stepped up to the edge of the porch and looked out along the hard-packed road to see the drunken man weaving his way through the night, then she turned to head the opposite way. Her soft footfalls were silent, as she walked along the road bordered by a thick forest on both sides whose ever-encroaching branches reached across nearly touching as if they were trying to join with the trees on the other side.

The young woman continued to walk along the dark, quiet path until she saw the shadow of something along one side of the road. She slowed her gait watching the shadow intently trying to make out just what it was, when it seemed to move. She stopped suddenly.

“Hello I’m sorry if I startled you,” a male voice came from the direction of the shadowed figure. “I seem to have hurt my ankle.” The young woman stood still in the middle of the road, with the moonlight reflecting off her curved figure. The voice was speaking in a language she recognized, but not without a thick foreign accent. She knew that many of the Shrkai from the desert region not too far south of her home had been relocating north of the mighty Mahfoga mountain and wide Seerogana river that bordered the Shrkai region, but she had not yet met one. She cautiously returned to her travels and watched the shadowed man for any sign of sudden movement and her first glance at what she thought might be a Shrkai man. As she neared she could see a man sitting on a fallen tree trunk with one foot held up with his boot off. The features of his face were so black she could really just see his eyes and the tips of his nose and forehead that caught the dim moonlight. She stood in front of him seeing his dark charcoal features a bit better. She relaxed when she saw him smile. Not knowing who he was there was no way she could have known he was Darvin’s father, a man that died more than ten years ago.

“How did you do that?” she asked, her apprehension subsiding as he appeared to truly be in need of assistance.

“I’m not sure, I stepped in a hole or something a while back. There should be a path around here somewhere,” he turned his head a bit to look at the thick woods behind him. “My name is Ahrl, Ahrl Cinge. I’ve been trying to get the Cleredon's home. I’ve been staying with them until I can build a home for my family.”

“Oh I know their home. Yes that path is hard to spot even in the daytime.” She reached out an arm to offer him help to get to his feet. She through his arm over her shoulder and he hopped alongside of her as she guided him in the same direction she was originally heading. “The turnoff should be around here somewhere.”

They walked together a short distance until she spotted the path to the left and they turned to head into the dark woods. They shared a smile, as he staggered and fell and leaned more against her, as he had to hop over a fallen branch just inside the path. They both turned back to look at the path ahead. After a long awkward silent trek, the sight of a shadowed building soon took shape ahead in a small clearing that let some of the moonlight in to shine on the roof of the home. Off to the side and just visible in the dark forest were three freshly-dug unmarked graves, one of them small enough to have been dug for a child. The young woman held the Ahrl on her right side. She would have to turn to the right in order to see the graves, but she kept her vision looking forward as they walked up to the porch of the small stone cottage.

“No, uhh… My room is in the cellar beneath the house. There is a different entrance around to the side there.”

“The cellar?” she asked with a great deal of surprise in her voice.

“Well yes. That way I can come and go without waking them. I oft times come in late after working on my home.”

“Oh” she answered simply, as she turned to head him toward the side of the house away from the three graves. “How is your house coming? I’ve heard the Shrkai live mostly in large community structures with four or more families sharing a common living space.”

“Oh yes some are quite large, but I thought I’d try building a home more like you have here except maybe a bit smaller and with some Shrkai architecture,” he smiled at her, proud of the answer given this time.

They stepped awkwardly down the dark stone steps that led to a door on the lower half of the small cottage. Ahrl hobbled on one leg after the young woman released him and reached for the handle to the door. The woman took a step backwards up the steps and started to turn around.

“Well I’m sure you’ll be fine from…” she was unable to finish her sentence, as Ahrl planted the leg with the supposedly injured ankle and with one hand on the door handle as he pulled it open, he reached out with the other and roughly grabbed the woman by her long hair and threw her down into the dark cellar. She slid across the stone floor some of the stones raised slightly scraping her back and came to rest with her head striking a wooden leg of a table of some kind. She could see absolutely nothing in the dark room other than the silhouette of the Shrkai man standing in the doorway she was just thrown from and quickly closing the door. She could hear mumbled voices behind her and the slide of a bolt as Ahrl locked the door.

The young woman reached up to grab what felt like a person’s leg and used it to pull herself up, to a seated position, as Ahrl lit a match. The brief glow of the match reflected of Ahrl’s face, as he leaned forward and lit an oil lamp illuminating the dark cellar chamber. The young woman recoiled along the side of a wooden table with a young woman tied to the surface with a gag in her mouth. Ahrl stood watching her chuckling as he watched her vane attempts to retreat from him. The young woman on the floor scooched backwards until she came to the opposite wall and could go no further. She then looked closer at the gagged woman lying on the table beside her and could tell she appeared pregnant, then she saw another young woman who was also tied and gagged who was definitely pregnant and near full-term, then she looked to see and empty table with leather straps bolted to it.

Ahrl’s chuckle slowly morphed into a full out belly laugh, as he looked upon the young woman with her back pressed up against the wall.

“HAA HAA Ha. You really think you’re going to get away. You humans are precious,” he laughed, as he pulled out a long dagger and stepped toward her. “You are so easily fooled. The first one is imply said I was lost and ‘could you please help me find my way’” He used a very mocking child-like voice as he quoted himself from what he said to the first woman he brought down to his lair only a few short weeks ago. “I should have just I was looking for my puppy that got away from me. HAA HAA ha. You’re so arrogant too,” he said as he continued to move approach the young woman who pressed herself tight up against the cellar wall. “You’re not the first humans I’ve met, I’ve known many of your kind. You think you’re the superior race. Haa HAA HAa. Descendant of some fictitious race that exists only in your pathetic little minds. The Shrkai are the first seeds of the suns. Pick up a history book for once in your frightful lives,” by this point he was upon her and despite her futile attempts to wave him off, he lifted her by the throat with one hand and carried her over toward the other table. “You are but our afterbirth. A substance tossed away only to find it had grown like a weed. How you survived the great super-volcano that destroyed thousands of my kind is beyond me.” He tossed her roughly upon the table and with a dagger at her throat he reached out with his other hand to pull the straps over her arms one at a time. “The caves and boroughs you primitive ancestors lived in must have protected you from much of the initial blast. If only my ancestor would have known, we would have found you and extinguished you before you could become sentient and learned to survive.”

She watched with fear in her eyes, as he reached down and spread one of her legs to the side and strapped down her ankle then did the same with the other. She struggled in vain, as he reached under her dress and cut off her undergarments tearing them from her body. “Haa you think I’d waste myself by ravaging your disgusting body. HHaa no you are to be mother to a new sort of life. One prescribed by the gods!” Ahrl stepped over and lifted a ceramic carafe. Using a pair of wooden tongs he reached in to a thick syrupy solution and gently retrieved a glowing soft-shelled egg with an embryo within that wiggled as he held it with out for the young woman to gaze upon with wide, fearful eyes. With one hand under the squirming egg, Ahrl stepped toward has latest victim.

“NOOOO! Her muffled scream seeped out of the edges of the gag in her mouth, as he held the fertilized egg in the tongs.

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