- Vol. 06
- Chapter 01
They came for the people first. There was no bloodshed, no protest. They simply chose three of the children playing in the square and sent the others home. I remember the little faces. One boy, two girls, silent and terrified. The people gathered up only what they could carry. Some chose to take wealth - gold coins, jewellery - in the hope of being able to barter. Others took family mementoes, preferring the comfort of photographs and treasured trinkets. One old woman (I thought her foolish then, though now I recognise her wisdom) left her home with only the clothes she wore, knowing all was already lost. At the end They released the three children, who ran to their relieved mothers; the villages mistook this for kindness.
After the people had boarded the trains (we had no idea where they went, despite the rumours) and the streets had fallen silent, They returned for the houses and cottages. They swept them aside, jumbled up like wooden toys. I glimpsed a shop where I'd bought sweets as a child, and the vicarage which had overlooked the green. I looked for my grandmother's old cottage, glad that she'd not lived to see it destroyed, but couldn't spot it from my vantage point.
We crept home and told our friends and neighbours. Some didn't believe us, said it was just another of our silly stories. Others started to pack, discreetly, quietly. A small prayer group began meeting at the village hall.
It's our turn next. Soon. Now. It's barely light and I'm curled up beneath my blankets. It's warm, but no longer safe. I can feel the ground reverberating, hear the distant footfall.