Monday, February 8, 2016

The Rats


It was through the old streets of Jerusalem, at night, with trembling torches in one hand, the other at the ready to draw for the threat of Saladin was near.

The night stood quiet, too quiet, the wind from time to time hit the patrol tenderly but every time it felt as if a knife was crossing through their skin, that they had been betrayed by their senses and their death had finally arrived.

None of this had happened so far, the weeks at night quiet but tense and even more during the day with everyone waiting for the dreaded strike, the patrols doubled and tripled, men pushed to the brink by the horror of a full scale attack, how would they fare, how long could they survive, how horrible would be their death, some had come to bet on the situation, the money had been hidden in a reservoir, at the bottom, for the survivors to live off from it as an insurance, others would drink it all away and hope for the best, or the worst.

Throughout the dead streets they heard their own footsteps, always wary of the direction the sound came from it never ceased to stress them, their armor crunching and ripping, leather and metal in clash, the torches cracking slowly and if they stood quiet long enough not only could they hear their breathing, their heartbeat throbbed hard on their ears, fast.

It wasn't long for them to find an oddity in the streets, a man lay dead, at first they stood in shock at the visage, then rapidly attended the body to find the culprit, their failure to rapidly grasp what was happening led them to their doom.

Rats, rushing out of the shadows in the hundreds, silently awaiting for their next pray, screams of panic and warning were followed by those of pain and horror, the torches did little to put them out of harms way, swords ineffective with such small targets even in the quantities present they seemed well aware of their intentions and evaded easily, their armors useless as the rodents flew towards their face and any openings between legs, arms or chest, no flesh left to tear, no bones left to gnaw, the metal and leather turn to pieces or taken away by the wave, the torches only a few splinters now, nothing remained save for the infusion of terror that the surrounding inhabitants had to live with every night, pray the next victims were not them.

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