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The woman greeted each villager as she passed them, eyes kind but distant. They smiled and nodded, long used to her daily journey.
She left the village behind and headed farther up the mountain to the small grassy hill that lay just above it. Some days it was used as pasture land, in times of trouble it was used as a lookout post, but now it was her hill. She leaped up the path without looking where she was placing her feet and collapsed under the single tree that stood tall in the middle of the hill.
As she lay under its foliage, she breathed in the still air and sighed, her eyes drifting shut. Here only could she let her dreams wander into her childhood. Here only could she cry out in her sleep at the images and expect no one to hear.
She felt the dreams coming on her now and let them drag her under…
There she was, a child, hurrying down the paths of her home village. She looked fearfully over her shoulder at the foreigners watching her and sifted the heavy sack on her shoulder, hurrying on. At the door to the house she was to deliver the sack to, someone darted out suddenly.
“Uff!” She cried and fell to her knees the tools in her sack spilling over the ground. She saw that the person above her was a foreigner and cringed, waiting for a hand to strike her.
“I'm so sorry,” he whispered, struggling over the words and bent to pick up the tools. He handed them to her with an apologetic smile, but she stared back at him confused, half expecting him to hit her with them.
“Boy.” He was dragged back heavily by an older foreigner. The man cuffed his head roughly. “Don't help scum,” he shouted and pulled him away, striking me as he passed. The boy looked back over his shoulder with a pained look. I watched him go as I refilled my sack, eyes furrowed but a small, wondering smile on my lips.
Then the one day she knew she could never forget; the day when the foreigners had deemed their village no longer useful.
Now the girl did cry out in her sleep and she tossed and turned slightly. The boy heard her as he began the climb up the mountain and quickened his pace.
Flames flickered in front of the girls eyes. She saw the other villagers trying to escape and being run threw with swords. She tried to hide inside a doorway, but a foreigner set fire to it and she was forced to run out into the pathway.
A hand grabbed her and pulled her behind a house. She screamed and kicked, but stopped when she heard the voice.
“Shh, shh.” The boy spun her around and looked her in the eyes.
“You,” she whispered, inching away.
“Come, we must escape.”
She pulled back, looking over her shoulder at her village.
The boy tugged on her hand. “Trust me,” he said sadly, “I know were we can be free.”
She followed him then, up the mountain and to the village that was safe from the foreigners touch…
The girl woke then and looked up into the face that was leaning worriedly over her. She smiled to see the man.
He held out his hand silently and she took it, running with him farther up the mountain to a ledge that just overlook their old village.
The man threw his arm around her and she leaned her weary head on his shoulder. They stood there, silent, truly one in their tears.