Where there is smoke

Had the Whipsswitch not stolen the source of the Clan Destineer’s fire, the thatched huts that dotted the river’s edge as it cut through the canyon below would have been alight with hearth-fires. This not being the case, the flat fields to left and right looked desolate in the twilight.

Neither feigned desolation nor quickening darkness was capable of masking the heady musk of unwashed clansmen however, it rose thick as green-wood smoke, filling our nostrils with hope and causing our empty bellies to growl like circling timber wolves, as we descended upon them garrotes and knives at the ready.

Separating into two flanks, one to each side of the river, we silently encircled them. Bands of men gathered at the door to every hut as we awaited the signal. Finally the flute sounded and our onslaught began. Screams of death on our lips. Dreams of sweet-meats on our tongues. 

A profound wailing tinged with much anguish replaced our battle cries, as upon entry, every hut was found to be devoid of life. Filled in its staid with piles of soiled garments from which the sweet smell of unwashed flesh emanated, mocking us in our hunger and heightening our desperation.

Not willing to let such a fine food source escape us and quite convinced the clansmen were hiding from us in plain sight using the very darkness that we had perceived as our vantage over them as a weapon against us, we lit fires, which spawned torches, and gave chase. 

So great was the din of our displeasure, that none among us noticed the lone clansmen descend the rocky hillside and steal from the heart of our fracas the pail of smoldering embers that imparted not the death that we had intended, but new life upon his tribe that night.

This week, in addition to telling the story in 50 word increments, I was able to use both the photo prompt and the literary prompt provided by Debbie on 50 word Thursday. The literary prompt was: “The flat fields to left and right looked desolate in the twilight.” – The Talented Mr Ripley – by Patricia Highsmith.

11 thoughts on “Where there is smoke

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