I Told You Everything
By Cassie Steighner
So why’d you do it?
Why are you selfish?
Why can I trust you anymore?
- Have Mercy, “The Place You Love”
Looking for a friend
A song spoke up
Calling me to somewhere new.
I turned my back and ran
I felt the pain but couldn’t believe it was you.
You never gave me a chance.
Sleepy, dead eyes
Unable to see
Unable to hear
Only could I feel my heart pounding
I wanted to be safe.
I wanted in your arms
Some place with a you that still cared about me.
The Final Crusade
I trudged through the snow up the mountain. I knew that I had mere minutes until the cavalry would arrive. I had to get back to my people and warn them. The war with the Outlanders had been going on for several years and they always seemed to be two steps ahead of us. Anytime we’ve planned an attack, they’ve relocated and blindsided us once more. Hope was all but lost. I couldn’t let my people down.
The snow was thick and heavy. It took all the energy that I could muster to get up the hill. Wind whistled in my ears and the cold bit at my nose. I wasn’t going to make it in time in this weather. I reached the top of the mountain and looked down at the village in the valley below. A scream choked my throat. I couldn’t move.
Below, the village was aflame; I could see people -- my people -- running about. They were lost. The Outlanders must have gotten there before I could. Shouts and gunshots sounded from below. I could hear swords clashing and see my best archer, Josie, on top of the steeple. A large man with pale skin and a gruff beard held a torch in his hand and threw it into the building. It caught the wooden doors and the church was in flames within minutes.
The Outlanders were ruthless, this much I knew. I had seen them fight countless battles, but this was unlike any I had seen before. People tried to flee but it was futile. An army surrounded the village. No one could get out, and there was no way I could get in. We needed reinforcements immediately. There was nothing I could do from here.
I saw Josie get devoured by the flames, her arrows flying until the last second. I saw men holding back a gang of Outlanders with nothing more than a couple of shovels. Behind them women gathered children and hid them inside the stone buildings with underground bunkers. I saw a calvary of village people -- my people -- fighting against the guards on the outskirts of the village. I saw an old man firing a rifle from the back porch of his burning house. I saw a fire in the eyes of the people that I had never before seen. I saw a want -- no, a need -- to win and fight back. I saw desperation for this war to end. I saw hope in the faces of young children as they watched their fathers and mothers risk their lives to keep them safe.
I ran. I ran down the mountain as fast as I could manage in the bitter weather. These were my people and it was my job to fight alongside them. I knew help was on the way, but the villagers knew nothing. They thought that they were done for, yet they kept fighting. I pulled my dagger from beneath my belt and prepared myself for a battle I could not win. The village was already destroyed beyond hope. Countless lives had been taken. I was not giving up. This war would end once and for all. Hours of fighting took children away from their mothers and robbed villagers of their lives. I could not let this continue any longer. One way or another, I knew this would be the last battle fought in this war with the Outlanders.
When the troops arrived, our forces were down to maybe a hundred people. We were tired and broken. Seeing their leader had given them a second wind, but that was almost gone. I heard the drums playing in the distance. At first, I believed it to be in my mind. Soon enough the beating of the drum was close enough to match my beating heart. I knew we were not done for. The cavalry had arrived.