Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fiction: Banished

I didn't look back.   My shoulder blades itched; I could feel the laser sights, one of the town's sniper's finger on the trigger. To make sure I did as I was told.  But I kept my head high, my shoulders back, and I walked when I wanted to run.

Across the dusty courtyard, the Elders stood in a row on the left, glaring their disapproval.  Behind them, the townspeople had turned out to jeer and throw rotten fruit.  My family--my father, mother, and younger siblings--stood on the right, near the open gate.  My father stood with his back to me, as if I were already dead. My mother looked at me, her face expressionless. Only the set of her jaw told me that she was fighting tears.

I kept walking.

Banishment wasn't death, the Elders claimed.  They would say that; the hope of a loved one's return might be used as a way to manipulate the unsuspecting.  So there were stories of a settlement on the other side of the desert.  It's easy to believe such stories, when you're safe and warm.  Since no one had ever returned from banishment, I doubted the stories.  I was terrified.  What would I find out there.

I kept walking.

Here's where I was supposed to be scared to leave the safety of town.  Here's where I was supposed to be cowed, submissive.  Here's where I was supposed to throw myself on the ground in front of the Elders, and beg to stay.  Here's where my humiliation would be complete.

I kept walking.

I felt strangely empty of emotion as I neared the gate, the soldiers there to lock them behind me.  I wasn't allowed to bring anything with me except the clothes on my back. I'd tucked a few pieces of stale bread in the pockets of my coat, and a slender bag that I could use as a waterskin. And my mother's knife, hidden in my boot, would allow me a chance at survival.  I caught my mother's eye, nodded, and walked out into the world, my head held high.  I was certain of one thing, as I wrapped a cloth around my head, covering my face against the sun.

Anything was better than being known as soiled goods, having to face my rapist every day for the rest of my life just because he was an Elder.  Anything was better than that.


  1. I like the repetition of "I kept walking." And that closing. Great use of the prompt!

  2. "I walked when I wanted to run." I love this. It speaks volumes about the character's sense of resolve and self control, about maintaining her dignity through such a horrible event. I hope there is another settlement out there for her.


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