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Through the Flames

The Beginning....

The sun, beaming down. Bushels of hay being thrown over the shoulder, the cows grazing on the field. He was too busy working to notice the sly creature stalking up behind him, ready to pounce at any moment. Held breath, one leg lifts slowly. Pause. Making sure that they haven’t been heard. Slowly a second step. And a third. Inching closer and closer. Waiting for the ideal moment. Like slow motion, at the full extent of one of the bushels being thrown over the shoulder; the pounce! “Got you!” 

“You didn’t see me coming!” Grace yells with glee as she jumps on her older brother's back.

“Or maybe I let you think that little one,” Arthur replies to his younger sister, as he pulls her around to be face to face with her. 

“I thought you were supposed to be helping mom clean the house,” Arthur said, as he picks the grass out of Grace’s curly, blonde hair. As he sets her back down on the ground, she grabs his hand.

“Yes, but momma told me to come get you, that it’s really hot outside, she says you need a break,” she says as she tugs on his arm. Arthur smiles as he gets pulled along by his youngest sister. He doesn’t say anything as they walk the fields of their family farm walking past the cows, and the chicken coop, and the stable for their horses. As they walk, Grace is walking just in front of him, humming a song that he  vaguely remembers his mother would sing to him when he was Grace’s age. As they approach the front of their home, Arthur’s father is stepping through the front door.

Dirty blonde hair, cut tight on the sides and longer on top, combed straight back. With a dark brown beard that reached his chest. “Arthur, finished collecting the hay bushels?” he asked as Arthur approached. 

Grace ran up to her father arms held up, “Nearly done Pa, Mom sent Grace to get me, says I need a break,” Arthur replied as his father picked up Grace into his arms. 

“Where are my brothers?” Arthur asked, but at that moment there was a loud thud and a breaking of plates and cups, and Arthur’s mother screaming. 

“You boys better find a way to replace these plates!” As Shaun and Derrick run out of the front door laughing, which they immediately stopped as they notice their father still standing in the doorway. They immediately stop running and stood there looking down at their feet, as their father looks down on them.

“You know, your mother worked hard to make those plates.” 

“We know,” the twins said in unison.

“I think it only fair you help your mother make more to replace the ones you broke.”

They looked up with faces of disappointment but as soon as they met their father's stern expression, they looked back down and started walking away towards the stables.

“Those boys, they’re something else,” Arthur’s mother said as she stepped out of the house. 

“Don’t worry Beth, at least now you have two helpers to help you with your ceramics.” 

“Don’t give me that little grin Robert, that is a punishment for me as much as it is for them,” she said as she smiled back at Robert. 

“Here Arthur. You look like you need this.”

Arthur’s mom was holding out a cup of water. He gladly took it and took a big gulp. 

“Thank you,” he said as he wiped away some of the sweat from his face. 

“Mom are you sure they’re your kids? We never acted like that when we were younger,” Arthur’s older sister said as she stepped out of the house as well.

“You’re right Lucy, you didn’t act like them. You and Arthur were worse.”

Arthur laughed a little. 

A couple hours later, sunset was approaching.

Arthur was finishing up with the bushels of hay. This took longer then expected, he thought to himself. As he started walking back to his home. He saw an orange glow from the town. As he turned his eyes to his home, his heart dropped. The front door was wide open, broken off the hinges. And all of their things thrown out in front of their home.

Arthur, without thinking, sped off into a full sprint towards the house. His house. His home. Dad. Mom. 

As he approached, he remembered that before he left to go back and work the fields his Father told him that they would be in town that night to walk to the town center as a family, to meet them there when he was done. On a dime, he turned and started sprinting now towards the town.

The closer he got, the more clear he could hear it. Them. The screams of the people in the town, and he could make out now what the orange glow was. Buildings in the city, burning. Flames consuming everything in sight.

I need to find them. He thought to himself. He kept running straight into the Town Center. As he ran, Arthur was scanning the crowd, running in the opposite direction. There was no sign of them.

He heard a scream that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He turned to look down an ally towards the right side of the road. 

He saw one of the girls from town, he couldn’t remember her name, was it Gretall? Mindy? He could not remember. Looming over her was a mountain of a man, or at least he looked almost like a man, but not quite. He stood at least seven feet tall, with a curved sword in his right hand, his back towards Arthur. I should probably do something. Arthur thought to himself. But he was frozen. He couldn’t move.

The mountain man stepped closer and closer to the girl, raised the blade over his head, and with one clean swing, completely severed the girls head from her body.

Wide-eyed, Arthur stood there, tears starting to form in his eyes. Shocked. 

I need to find my family.

To be continued....

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