The bells were ringing throughout the street. The lights at every entrance remained on past the usual time. Doors were locked and barricaded from the inside, from fear that they would be exposed for concealing and helping the deadly all seeing serpent. The military went door to door, turning everything over to catch the serpent, ringing the bell and marking each door they had cleared to be free of the vile animal.
Hew hid in the shadows of the street between the corners of the homes. They all had seen him moving past the military avoiding being spotted. He sat in a fetal position holding his legs against his chest, breathing slowly and evenly, thinking of his wife. There was no choice but to leave her amongst his trusted, outside of the city, hidden in the depths of the jungled bushes that had yet to be burned down by the ruler.
The troops pounded the door with a wooden small plank, causing an echo many doors down.
“Hey, open up!” The soldier, Peter, yelled irritated that he was sent to hunt down an imposter. The door creeped open showing a small opening. Peter pushed it wide open slamming it against the concrete wall.
“Move! Move!” Peter and his men went through the small house flipping beds and boxes over, spilling food supplies open. Some soldiers helped themselves to prepared meals, sufficing them for the hunt.
“Girl!” A soldier grabbed the little girl dragging her to the other room while her mother screamed in fright.
“No, no! She’s my only child. Please no!” Her father cried out.
“Shut up old man. She is not yours. She belongs to your leader. You own nothing here!” Peter yelled, slamming him against the wall.
Another soldier went into the room as the mother reacted with several fits, leaving her to drop to the ground and her husband trying to revive her with no avail. Soon after, the soldiers left quietly leaving the girl crying behind the door of the room as the mother laid lifeless in her husband’s arms. He stared listless at the wall in front of him, unable to move or make a sound.
Hew heard the soldiers leave to enter another home. He didn’t have to be in the house to know what had happened, he heard it and have seen it before. The soldiers taking what they wanted on behalf of their ruler. He had many times went into homes to heal and repair from what the soldiers had done. Their aftermath was often gruesome. The girls cries were seeping through the window into the alley where he waited. His comfort that his wife was safe, was soon replaced with the discomfort of the evils the soldiers left behind.
Hew came out from between the trash of the other homeless. Lights were turned off, but he could still see the red marks on all the doors. The mark of blood meant the royal blood prevails. It was the message the ruler left when hunting someone down or if there was victory after war. He remembered a brave soul that had stood beside him when fighting off the soldier of a senseless, evil rape of an old lady.
His door was two minutes away. He was sure to find refuge there, before having to run again. He walked through the alley towards the back of the home tapping quietly on the metal shutters. The wife opened the back door quietly delighted in seeing Hew.
“What are you doing?” Her husband, Zeh, was frightened. He spoke to his wife nervously as Hew stayed low to the ground and sat in his usual fetal position. His hair was wild with knotted curls, standing up as if itself was screaming against injustice.
“You cannot stay here.” Zeh said.
“Just a few moments. To clean and some food and move on. I won’t stay. I know I can’t.” Hew whispered.
“No. Not even that. They will kill us and everyone of my family. You will taint my blood. I cannot go against the ruler.” Zeh said.
“I’m not looking for that, just enough to move on. Nothing more.” Hew said.
“No, you must go now.” Zeh said pushing him away.