I Survived NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo

…and lived to tell about it.

 
 
Inferno
by Laura Libricz

Thundering hooves speed away. Shouts fade.

Or is that the sound of roaring flames? 

The intense heat of the fire burns my cheek,

Nose stings from the smoke.  

Clothes cold and soaked, I open my eyes. 

I lie at the base of a tree in the mud;

Weak, can’t lift my heavy, humming head. 

Early August morning. The sun should be rising soon, 

But not through those billowing black fumes. 

I’ve taken a severe blow to the shoulder. 

He kneels next to me, his tired face partially lit by the burning barn.

The main house is on fire, too. 

He examines my wound. It’s not that bad, he tells me.

Help me, give me a drink.

Troops had rolled over the North Hill in the middle of the night. 

Mounted Croatian soldiers rode down into the hollow

Where the farm lays exposed and vulnerable.  

Many came. 

Crabatten, they call them, they wear red sashes.

Hard to judge their numbers by the pounding of drums,

Snorting, screeching horses. 

They fight for the Catholics, they say.

Ununited Germany a fine stage for battle.

Luther assured us that no Hell Fire awaits us

Because here it is, on Earth, stinging my nose.

No walls separate the farm from its attackers, like the big cities. 

Everything went so fast,

They settled on us, they were gone, they left nothing whole this time.

I squint at the heap of smashed furniture ablaze in the farmyard. 

 The riders flew through the paddocks, with torches,

And lit the buildings on fire. 

As if a rushing wind carried their campaign

And our animals away.

I ran behind a shed that wasn’t burning, a soldier came up behind me. 

Sliced me down with his sword. 

I crawled out of the way. 

I never thought it would come to this.

No, that’s not true—I knew it would come to this. 

I’m surprised we held out this long.

My daughter. A tear.

Help me, give me a drink.

He sniffs the bottle.

If the war doesn’t kill you, this stuff will.

He crouches like a cat poised to flee.

My daughter. Where is she? A tear.

Soldiers savor young girls.

They’ve unburdened us of our possessions,

Relieved the barren fields of trampled fruits,

Are saving us from our heathen ways.

We pay,

We are grateful,

And our wicked souls rejoice.
 
 
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