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Peter Alan Orchard

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by Peter Alan Orchard   

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Books by Peter Alan Orchard
· The Morning Gift
· The Cross of St. Mary's
· A Pig in the Roses
· Voices from the Past
· The House on Athene Street
                >> View all


Historical Fiction

ISBN-10:  1458099121 Type: 

Copyright:  2011 ISBN-13:  9781458099129

Price: $0.99 (eBook)
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Peter Alan Orchard

Ulf, a farmer in Anglo-Saxon England, starts a new life after a Viking raid. Short story, 3470 words.

Ulf, a farmer in Anglo-Saxon England, starts a new life after a Viking raid. Short story, 3470 words. 

A light rain fell on Ulf's upturned face and he opened his eyes. It was night, still winter-cold and black as pitch except for the stars flung across the sky like splintered ice. The ditch he lay near was dank, foul-smelling, and the iron tang of blood filled his mouth. There was no sound but the wind scything across the wet field, the whisper of blown grass, the scuffle of mice and voles in the bank.

The fight was over and he was alive. Bone-weary, he felt himself over as far as he could reach. No trophies taken, at least. The sting and ache of a million biting ants blazed in his legs, both broken. When I come to, he thought, I'll remember him, the man who struck me down. Yes, I'll remember him for sure. Then: I hope they find me before I die.

The silence of the night spread around him, but within it a deeper, calmer silence. Drawn by it, Ulf turned his head to gaze across the field. Against the night a shadow moved across the grass, a woman's shape, faceless and calm, outlined in stars.

'Hroswitha?' He called, choking, spat out a tooth and called again. 'Hroswitha?'

The woman moved past and away, and he knew it was his Hroswitha, the wife he had left bleeding at home while he fought her attacker in a muddy field. He stared after her as she left him and saw starlight through her shape, saw the wraith gliding footless over the wet grass and knew he was alone.

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