No Surrender

Diela, her ragged nightgown dragging behind her, was followed up the grassy hill by a slow-moving emperor penguin. When she finally noticed the penguin, near the crest of the hill, she dropped her bloody knife and knelt down, taking the note from its beak. “Surrender,” the note read. “Or we kill the boy.”

Diela looked back down toward the cabin and thought she saw a figure move in the window. She scrawled on the back of the note using a twig and blood from an open wound in her arm. “NEVER”.

The penguin clamped his beak onto the note and shuffled obediently back down the hill to the cabin.

Tossing away the bloody twig, Diela stared out toward the ocean. The view was empty except for the rough water and a sky of dirty clouds. She took a few steps to the edge of the cliff and jumped off.

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