The gloomy tunnels seems to stretch on forever with no end in sight.
“When are we going to get out of here?” she whispers to brother. “I don’t like it down here.”
Marsha turns around, hushing them with a stern look. Their hurried footsteps echo in the cavernous spaces. Down here, they could not hear the sounds of fighting above. The shouts of hatred; the clash of swords. She could not understand why the people who had looked after her and her family all her life were suddenly enemies. Why would they want to hurt her? “They are merely servants, dear one.” Her mother’s words made no sense to her. But then neither had the sight of Mark – a beloved friend who had often carried her on his shoulders – wielding a sword and fighting against her father’s soldiers.
“We are almost there. Be extra quiet now.”
They creep through an empty space in the tunnel, keeping low. Exiting the tunnel, they find themselves outside the city walls and on the edge of the coast. The scent of the sea beckons and the small group of women and young children hurry to a boat hidden behind the rocks.
“Quickly! We need to set sail before dawn breaks.” The reunion between parents and children is hurried as they venture into the hull of the ship. “Mother, I am scared.” Her mother’s warm embrace mutes the clatter of footsteps above. The tension in the cabin is palpable as the head of the family paces the wooden floor. Finally, they feel the ship moving. Will they make it? Holding their breath, they will the boat to move faster. After what seems like an interminable wait, the Captain enters the room.
“We have made it Sir. No one noticed us leave and we are now in neutral waters.”
The family go up on deck and watch the burning city. They had made it! Looking ahead away from the land they had once owned and ruled, the group watch the dawn splash its colours over the sky. A new day was breaking; a new life was beginning.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018
(This post is linked to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge)