"Our first teacher is our heart”, Cheyenne.
Bright rays of sunshine chased away the dark of night with the promise of a new day. In the distance a lone figure stood with an axe in hand hidden among the shadow of the tall pine trees a small log cabin lay a few feet behind her.
The steady sound of wood being split pierced the quiet, as the forest slowly came alive with the chirping of the birds and the rustling of the small forest critters.
The morning wind stirred, gently playful, caressing the slender form in refreshing kisses, cool fingers brushed the brown strands of her hair away from her sweaty face.
Song tilted her head up, she closed her eyes enjoying the relief it brought to her heated features.
Turning back to the task at hand, Song raised the axe over her head bringing it down swiftly as she chopped the firewood needed for the day.
Her father had left at the crack of dawn, their small cart loaded with goods. It was how they survived, selling the excess vegetables from their small garden in the village. But most times her father gave away half of the produce and what little he was able to sell, the money was used to buy supplies and dry goods. The once thriving town had fallen on hard times and now because of the war everyone was suffering. The women who had lost their husbands and the children their fathers. Song's father took pity on them.
Placing the last of the chopped wood on a pile, Song walked to the small stream flowing gaily at the side of the forest. The trickling crystal clear water sparkled against the rays of sunlight. Kneeling down she splashed her face with the cold water, wiping her hands and face clean she headed towards the small log cabin.
Pushing the door gently open Song entered. "Songbird?" Her mother called. "Yes maman," she answered. "Come little one, before the heat takes you to an early grave."
Song took a seat at the makeshift table that had been crafted by her father, she began to eat the simple meal placed on the table, as her mother continued to fidget in the small clean kitchen.
Song glanced at Maman as she walked towards the window nervously peering out, she wrung her hands anxiously, her almond shaped brown eyes creased at the edges with worry. Pushing her long straight black hair away from her face she turned towards her daughter. Song frowned, "What's wrong maman?" Her mother sighed, her eyes downcast as she wrung her hands on the soft faded blue fabric of her cotton dress. "Lydia visited yesterday while you were in the garden with your father, she told me that the villagers are worried, it is rumored that the commander will be here anyday now."
Song paused her stomach now tight with nerves. Lydia was one of the only women in the village that had accepted her family, her son John was Song's best friend, her only friend. Song pushed her plate away, her hunger suddenly gone, glancing at her mother she tried to keep the small smile on her face.
"Yes, John told me," she replied calmly. "But papa will be safe, don't worry he knows what he is doing."
But Song could not help the unease that skittered down her spine even while she tried to reassure her mother.
Song knew that a warrant had been issued by commander Ryker for the arrest of her father and while the soldiers were in town it would not be safe for him.
"Just be ready to leave, as soon as your father returns," Her mother cautioned. "Yes Maman", Song replied glumly.
Song knew that it was a great misfortune that the soldiers visited more often now, needing new recruits as the civil war raged on, not that there were much able bodied men left in the village.
The war was between two factions of the upper class fighting for the right to rule an independent nation. But it was the simple folks in the end that suffered, families like hers and men like her father who simply wanted to protect their families.
What made it worst was the corruption between the ranks, it caused many families to be preyed upon, men died, women exploited and children suffered. That was all war brought and Song knew while her father was seen as brave for choosing his family by deserting his post, the army had labelled him a deserter an offence punishable only by death. It wasn't the first time that they had to hide and she knew it wouldn't be the last.
Song glanced at the bulging bags packed and ready to go, if all goes well her family would be able to return to their small log cabin at the edge of the village, by the end of the week, when the soldiers had left.
The beauty of the evening was lost, all colour had faded leaving only a matt black canvas. The light of a single candle illuminated the interior of the cabin. The two women sat together cocooned in fear, Song's father had not yet returned from the village.
In the distance the sudden rattling of wheels could be heard, looking out Song could not decipher anything. Before she could act, her father burst through the cabin doors his frantic eyes searching for his family in the dark. "We need to go," he gasped out, picking up a packed bag from the floor. "They are coming!"
Scuttling forward the shadowy figures prepared to leave. A strong gust of wind rattled the windows camouflaging the sound of thundering hoofs. Turning to her husband, Maman whispered defeatedly. "They are here."
If your reading this, thank you for giving this story a chance. Please comment and vote, and please if you can leave a review. 💞