It was a dark, blustery night. Fall had come early that year. The frost also crept up on the ground in the early hours of the dark. A cloaked woman swished through the woods . A swaddled bundle was hugged tight to her chest. Behind her, shouts and the flicker of torches chased her. She quickened her pace, as her breath accelerated. She became frightened, like a trapped fox. They were closing in on her. She began to run, and in the dark night, she tripped over a twisted root sticking up. The swaddled bundle escaped her arms and rolled across the ground.

She reached for her precious bundle, but it was too late. They were upon her. Torches, Horses, Yelling, and the silver glint from the sword that rose above her, before it came down, slicing the air, and then her own throat.


They blended in with the dark of the night. Their dark skin, gave them as much protection as their dark cloaks did. His arm, wrapped around his wife protectively, tightened, as everyone held baited breath. He tossed a look over his shoulder, at the small caravan following them. Silent eyes looked back at him, waiting for orders. His wife was hunched over as they led on, her arms tightened as she hugged herself.

The man held up his hand. Silently, everyone started to unpack, noiselessly making camp. His wife smiled down at her own bundle. A dark baby stared back up at her, mouthing wordlessly. She turned to the edge of the camp, nursing her baby in private. She hid among the trees, listening to the quiet talking and humming of her people.

A cry went up amongst the trees. She knew the sound - the cry of abandonment, pain and sadness. She knelt down, blindly searching for the source. The moonlight gave her little help. Finally her hand brushed over something of cloth. She made snatching gestures for it, and finally snagged it. She scooped it up, and peered into the bundle. A moon white face, scrunched up, wailed at her. Her heart cried with the child. With the instincts of a mother, she tucked the contrasting bundle next to her own, and walked back to camp, to show her surprise to her family.

Three days later she died of disease.