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Here is a small excerpt from Maroz....
The words seemed to crash down on Willim like a mountain and he felt light in the head as the captain raised his voice to make the announcement to the rest of the people. Mothers, including Willim’s, who thought their child to be safe, began crying and begging the captain to not take them. One woman fainted and fell hard to the ground while nobody noticed for being caught up in his or her own worries. Another woman, who Willim recognized to be his friend Carlon’s mother, grabbed Carlon and began dragging him away from the soldiers while shaking her head and repeating the word “No” over, and over. What Willim thought was pandemonium before, now reached a new level as he watched it all happen in shock. He had thought he had another two years to get away and join a merchant’s guard, rather than be drafted, and now here he was being told he would be drafted this year as well.
In the corner of his eye, Willim saw the Captain point and say something to his corporal, and then an arrow flashed across his vision to embed itself in the back of Carlon’s mother. Carlon screamed as he watched his mother fall face first, dead as she hit the ground. Wrapping his fingers around the shaft, Carlon pulled the arrow out and spun on his feet to charge the Corporal, who still held the bow. Carlon’s yells were filled with rage as he charged the bowman. Willim shouted for him to stop, but was too late as another arrow took his friend in the throat. Carlon stopped where he was, wide eyed as he fumbled with the shaft, as if wondering how it had gotten there before falling backwards to stare at the sky through empty eyes.
Everyone now stood in silence. Some out of shock and others out of fear they might receive the next arrow, but they stood silent all the same. The rest of the soldiers on horses all lifted bows nocked with arrows to give those fears a reality. The captain cleared his throat to draw their attention to him before he spoke in a harsh voice. “I will have no more insubordination from anyone! As I had said, the age this year will be seventeen, now anyone over thirteen get in line and be ready to give your age and name. Remember, we will be comparing your answers to the records from last year. If we find anyone lies, he will be arrested and hung.”
Willim looked at his mother, her eyes red with tears and mouthed the words. “It’s okay!” Right then he wished his father was there to comfort her and knew she would have to find her comfort from friends. His father had gone to the city of Golston to sell some horses. Horses brought a strong premium in the bigger cities and they needed the money. He was sorry he would not be able to tell his father good-bye. “It’s okay.” He whispered to her again, though this time he was trying to convince himself as well.
Suddenly, someone gasped as a ghostly howl broke the silence. Every eye turned to the sky as the people, and even the soldiers, stepped as far away from the dead bodies as they could get without looking like they were trying to escape. Someone pointed to the north and they turned to watch as a writhe and a death hound descended. Before they reached the ground, the hound changed directions and hurried off to the west, but the writhe continued to descend to the bodies. There was nothing solid looking in a writhe. The black tendrils of mist spread and billowed in every direction and even the face and hands did not look quite solid.
Then without warning, the writhes hand shot forward and the long pointed looking fingers closed as if clamping on to something. Everyone knew what it had caught. The writhe had snatched a soul before it could get away. They just did not know which soul it was, the mother’s or the son’s.
The howling of the Death hound continued in the distance and the people knew the reasons for that as well. The other soul had tried to get away and the hound had gone off after it. The writhe turned its head in the direction of the howling and then to the people around it. Its ghostly mouth spread open wide as it screeched at the people, and then it hurried away in the direction of the hound.
Nobody moved for a long time as every eye followed the writhe, stretching away into the distance. Even the soldiers were licking their lips.
If you would like to read Maroz, you can find it HERE.