Falling

It was late evening; dusk had come unannounced since the rain had fallen hard in the early hours of that day without taking the dark clouds entirely. He had hurried across the road to get roasted corn to satiate his craving.

He was just a foot off the curb, returning back to his house when he noticed a silhouette walking in the direction opposite. It had a shapely build with lustrous black hair flowing down its back; this must be the lady from the dream he had had the night before; he thought quietly to himself.

Although he couldn't place the face, this was definitely the body. Quickly, he raced down in her direction as she took the turn off the main road. She heard footsteps approaching hastily and turned to calculate if she was in harm's way, or so she made it look. A smile flashed across her razor-thin lips painted a faint pink. He caught up with her since her steps seemed to have slowed on noticing his presence.

Hi... He greeted, trying to sound as normal as possible whilst catching his breath. Hey, she replied. My name is Gideon... He paused, unsure of what he was doing or what he should say next. Headed home? Mind if I walk you? The questions tumbled out one over the other. She shrugged. He didn't notice the darkness had covered everything, her face seemed to give off light, and her voice, the few times she opened her mouth to speak, felt like melodies from an orchestra written by Mozart.

They talked more and more; the road became deserted as they walked on, but he was engrossed and noticed little to nothing of the change. It's this way, she said and pointed to a narrow passage through the woods towards a brightly lit house on the other end. He followed behind her till they got to a wider path where they could walk side by side. His eyes to the floor, he talked to the stranger who felt like someone he'd known for much longer.

A few steps farther down the path, he heard only his own footsteps and breath echo amongst the chirp of crickets and rustle of leaves beneath his feet. He turned this way and that; it, however, appeared that his companion had vanished into thin air. In his confusion, hot lead bruised past his ear, jerking him to a more frightful reality. There was no path; neither was there a house in the direction he had been walking towards. The darkness had been swallowed up by blazing flames; the chirping had been replaced by roars of gunshots and mortars tearing through the air.

Men in soldier uniforms were running about shouting orders and shooting at something he could not see. His survival instincts kicked in, and he ran as fast as he could, as far as he could go. Thud. It was the sound of his body against the forest floor. He started up quickly but began to sink. It wasn't a swamp, nor was its quicksand. Into the midst of several dead bodies scattered over the forest floor, he plummeted, some in halves, others with gaping holes in the chest.

He would have screamed, but the words only escaped as a whimper as he fought to climb out of his impending burial pit. A pale-looking hand reached out and grabbed him, fortunately, it was the lady who had decided to play hide and seek without telling him, he was back on the path he had been walking, there was no sign of a fire neither were there any fighting men and the house was just a few steps away. He was puzzled and scared, but his feet stayed rooted to that spot.

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