The morning was a dark, filled with grey clouds and cold weather. Despite this I still managed to struggle out of bed. There is one thing I never understood about my family is that they always seem to sleep in a lot longer than me. Of course, it comes down to how much work that needs to be done. In my case, it was plenty.
The outside air greeted me with a cold grip over me. The warmth that came with sleep under thick blankets was dwindling when I first stepped onto the cold stone of the house, but now it had completely vanished. I could actually feel my skin grow paler.
After quickly rubbing my arms to brush off that initial mental frost, I clutched the spade and went to work on the land. It was a piece of land that my father bought cheap, exchanging his own plentiful farm for this larger one. It might have been foolish, but considering the great cold was setting in and the crops were dying for the season, it was the perfect time.
With that in mind, it was also the perfect time to work the land. You couldn’t work it when the crops were planted, so you had to muscle up and start digging in the tough soil during the winter like me. It was fortunate that the snow didn’t fall on our side of the kingdom or else I might be bed-ridden like the useless side of my family.
I kept that thought to myself, after all, it was that useless side that was more prone to aggression than a beaten dog. I fear, not even their ailing state would stop them from charging me with sharpened steel and violent intent. However, that was something to keep out of the mind and instead, enjoy the peace I found in the garden.
Of course, peace on this day in particular, was scarce. We had two dead trees at the entrance to the land. The gate hung strung, the iron work brilliant and the wood solid, but the tree at the left of the entrance fell to the ground.
I heard the faint, cracking noise and turned in time to see the behemoth of damp wood fall into the mud. I feared for the stone wall that marked the border of the land, but it held strong. The tree bounced of it and the more brittle branches snapped with ease. Finally, the old tree settled, sinking a few inches in the mud.
I immediately sighed and threw my spade to the ground. It was another day of work just added to my plate. With my own aggression building, I decided to collect the axe from the house and start with the tree. Perhaps this angry energy building inside would help me finish the job quicker.
I entered the house, the inside still dark and great and no sign of movement. Surely my family could not still be enjoying the comfort of their beds? With that bitter thought, I decided not to find out, grabbing the axe and leaving instead.
I soon was walking down the sodden path towards the fallen tree. I sized it up in front of me. It was a strong tree in another life, the thick trunk and many branches hinted at this much. Even dead, the tree had a strength to it. Still, I was in no mood to admire it, it would only take away from the energy I needed for the task.
I raised the axe high and brought it down on the thickest part of the trunk. I was determined to turn this entire tree into firewood and in which case it would be better to start at the toughest area while I was still strong. With each blow from the sharpened axe, a chunk of wood flew into the mud.
I was working a cleaner cut at first, but soon my aggression was growing and I began chopping madly. I felt my muscles tighten each time I willed the axe downwards and soon the trunk was separated from it’s stump. The stump fell back to the ground, landing back in the hole it created from the fall.
I rubbed my forehead, feeling warm for the first time that day. I then began chopping at the centre of the tree. It was then that something felt different and although I was hot on the outside, I was growing cold on the inside my chest. It moments, I saw why.
The section of the tree that I was chopping was oozing red. Upon closer inspection I saw it was a family of sparrows. I didn’t hear them, if they were alive to begin with. However, the mess I created was truly awful. The sparrows were either severed or crushed by the strikes of my axe and lines of blood ran from the trunk to fall into the mud.
With a grimace, I decided to wash my axe, leaving to the house. I continued up the path, staring at my feet as I walked, thinking of the sparrows. It was an honest mistake, so why did I feel so cold? A question that plagued my mind before my feet felt something strange beneath them.
Lifting my foot, I saw I had stepped on another sparrow. Long since dead, but my boot had crushed it. Looking up I saw many dead, black birds along my path towards the house. I was transfixed and my legs willed my to go forwards. Opening the door to the house I saw an odd blood trail leading from the innermost rooms. I followed it to the first room along its path and looked in the room.
My heart began to pound, but my legs pulled me onwards. Wind opened the doors of the room and I soon saw the rest of them. My family, from the oldest man to the smallest girl, were slaughtered much like the birds in the trunk of the tree. Severed and crushed under the strikes of an axe.
My feet finally stopped in at the entrance to a darker part of the house I don’t remember existing and I saw a figure standing there in the darkness. It walked from the shadows towards me, but as it neared the light it faded more, keeping the features from visibility. I fell to my knees, into the light and blinked.
That is when the local guards dragged me from my home, towards the castle and into its dungeon. It is where I wait for death and wait I will for many years to come.
Pin for Later!