• Dzama

The Escape

Snakes writhed in a wicker basket and the blood that dripped down from a hole in the ceiling only incensed them and made them bite more. A boy, Candit, reached in to touch the human body that was curled under the snakes but they struck at him and he withdrew his hand just in time. There were some footsteps upstairs- heavy boots, it must be Carmen stomping around- looking for more soldiers to kill. Candit stared into the basket, keeping his distance from the snakes, trying to see if the girl in there was dead or just hiding. There was the thunder of large boots stamping down the steps and Carmen was in the room, a towering giant, with a torch in one hand. He looked around, not seeing Candit cowering by the basket. He swung his torch this way and that, kicking a few of the corpses that lay crumpled and maimed on the floor. He went and stood silhouetted in front of the window, staring out at the snowy fields blue in the dusk.

Candit pushed the wicker basket with all his strength and got it turned over. The snakes rushed out straight over to Carmen, attacking the giant by striking at his legs and springing up to bite his sides. Carmen swung his torch at the snakes, falling to his knees in pain.

Candit reached into the basket and took the girl’s hand and tugged at it. He could tell she was still alive and he dragged her unconscious body out of the basket. Carmen now tugged at a snake hanging off his neck and kicked at another with his boot. Candit lifted the girl and carried her unsteadily toward the door, kicking it open before Carmen noticed what was happening. Carmen called out but the venom was starting to take effect and when he tried to pursue the boy he lurched and fell to his knees. “Stop!” he barked.

Candit ran clumsily through the snow, carrying the girl, making it to the stable before glancing back. He could make out Carmen’s dark figure kneeling in the doorway yelling, several snakes hanging off him. Then Carmen collapsed headfirst into the snow, the torch he still clutched in one hand sizzling and going out.

Candit hoisted the girl onto one of the nags and they rode the trail into the trees, disappearing into the shadows as a light snow began to fall.

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