My stomach dropped at the question, and an instant feeling of nausea filled my body. I had only a few moments to answer before they realised something was not right.
“Thomas, how did she die? Where’s her brother?”
I took a deep breath and proceeded to lie through my teeth.
“We were attacked by hunters along a wooded path a few hours from town. We tried to hold our own, but with only one gun, we were soon outnumbered.”
I faked a few tears just to be sure it was believable.
“Drew got impaled by a spear and soon after, out of anger or sadness or maybe both, Martha sacrificed herself and told me to run to tell the tale. They were both heroes, especially Martha.”
Sweat ran down the back of my neck, a warm entity opposing the cold outside. The wind outside rattled against the walls of the building, shrieking at the inhabitants inside, myself included. The fire inside continued to burn, using the pages of books and rubbish as kindle.
“We will remember them and their stories. Do not forget Thomas, you were meant to survive. Their sacrifice will not be in vain.”
He continued,” But I have a question for you. Did you shake the hunters off your trail on the way here?”
“And why not?”
“I don’t know. I was scared.”
I fidgeted, playing with my clothes. Perhaps to distract my mind from wandering thoughts. If it’s not one thing, its another. I wish things went my way at least once but alas, that would be called luck and that is something I lack dearly.
I knew I was a piece of shit, but you could not blame me. Survival is key and the state of the world in which it is, only the smart and liars survive. All the others are just awaiting their time to meet their fate. A sad truth.
The man smiled in front of me. It was colder than the ice outside.
“Thomas, what is my name?”
I thought intently. I do not recall him ever telling me his name. He just found me one day sick and knocking on his door, covered in bile and blood. From that day forward I was a member of the town.
“I do not recall. Maybe watching Martha and Drew die has caused me to forget.”
“Generalis. That’s my name. I plan to do what my name intends and protect this town.”
I was now confused and did not understand which direction he wished this conversation to continue to.
Generalis continued,” And due to my job, I have to do what is right. Sometimes even if its hard and I know will weigh upon my conscious.”
In the distance, chanting could be heard, along with the occasional sound of gunfire perpetrating the stillness.
He glanced at the two men standing near him faces covered by rags and goggles, hands upon their rifles, and nodded at each.
“He’s a murderer and a fucking liar. Bring him outside. We have some trading to do.”
To read Part 2 of Winters Breath, click here!