Get a grip, Alice! Think rationally.
I forced myself not to let panic and hyperventilation take over my body. I forced my brain to build a wall to imprison the hysteria screaming inside me, and locked them away with a key. I looked around and analysed the scenery before me.
All around me, I saw people fighting. There seemed to be two different groups; one group was in metal, armoured bodies, the kind you would expect to see in a medieval war. The other group was dressed in simple breeches and tunics, with no armoured protections. They looked like peasants. The peasants fought with ordinary farm tools such as spades and pitchforks. I could see who was the winning side. The armoured men fought with more professionalism whilst the peasants were simply waving their weapons in sheer panic against their enemies.
The fight was brutal. They didn’t care if the other side was weaker. It wasn’t simply a fight. It was a massacre. I watched in horror seeing men after men butchered like animals and the land was soaked in a bloodbath. They were cold and merciless, their swords swung forth to cut down their throats. My feet were frozen to the ground, too shaken to move.
Run. My brain screamed at me to move but I was frozen in my fear. Despite the horror before me, I couldn’t close my eyes. I watched every single peasant being massacred and I couldn’t lift a finger. The last peasant standing was sliced by a sword before he fell to the ground along with his fallen comrades. I watched the blood trickling from his mouth like an open faucet. And my feet were still frozen on the ground.
I still didn’t move when one by one, the armoured men slowly turned towards me, their blood-covered swords pointing towards me.
Move. Dammit, move!
Screams choked in my throat and panic boiled in my brain. I mentally screamed at myself to not just stand there. Do something, dammit!
As they made their way towards me, my feet finally moved. I turned to run, but fell backwards over a dead man. I yelped and crab-crawled backwards, until my fingers felt something smooth. I saw a sword lying next to me and I immediately grabbed it. I stood with my trembling legs and pointed the sword towards them with both of my shaky hands. The sword was heavier than I’d anticipated. It wasn’t like one of the swords that I wielded in fencing matches. This was the real deal. And my wrists already ached at the weight.
“Stay away,” I said desperately. My voice shook and radiated with fear.
One of them laughed. It was cold and it grated my skin.
“Stupid filthy peasant.”
He rushed towards me with his sword drawn backwards before he came crashing down on me. I blocked his sword with mine and I gritted my teeth at the impact. It wasn’t like in any of my fencing duels. My opponent was a professional killer. This was real. If I was cut, I would face a painful death.
Kill or be killed, a voice whispered in my mind. Make a move.
I parried off his sword. Our swords slid against the blades, making a sharp, hissing noise. I focused on the techniques I learnt back when I was fencing with a sabre sword. I dodged his next blow and twirled to one side before I slashed my sword across his knees.
He yelled and lost his balance, and with a scream I swung the blade across his neck. I thought it would be hard to cut but surprisingly, his head was torn off as soon as I swiped the blade across in one, clean cut. I gasped out in shock. It was easy to pierce through the skin; so fragile. His head fell and rolled on the ground, his body still standing before it kneeled down and dropped to the ground.
I didn’t stop to grieve over the fact that I just committed a murder. I didn’t feel terror or horror at the thought of losing my humanity. I gripped my sword tighter, the blood dripping all over my hands, making the hilt slippery in my grip. My teeth rattled and I knew I looked petrified in their eyes. I mentally assessed the soldiers before me. There were about a dozen of them. No matter how good I was with a sword, there was no way I could take down that many numbers. So I did what I could to survive: I ran.
I turned and ran from the battlefield, fully aware that the shouts behind meant they took chase after me. Still clutching the bloodied sword in my hand, I ran past the fields. They were crop fields of some sort but there were hardly any stalks left. It looked like they were brutally torn off from the earth’s sockets.
I jumped over a broken fence. I wondered why this place was silent apart from the battle sounds from earlier. Was there nobody here or were they were all killed off on that battlefield? As my eyes quickly scanned my surroundings, I realised why the pig pens and horse stables were silent. The animals were all dead. I could see blood seeping out from the animal houses and the rank smell permeated in the air. I made a face. It was wasteful to meaninglessly kill all the animals. They were innocent. These men could not even be considered humans. I mentally slapped myself. Hell was definitely not Kansas. I was in a world full of cold-blooded murderers.
Something heavy tackled me to the ground and I crashed down, my hand losing my grip on the sword. I struggled against my attacker. He pinned me down with one hand, his other hand holding out his sword. My hips bucked as I struggled to get him off me, my hand desperately reaching out for my fallen sword.
“Filthy mongrel. You think you can outrun me, you filthy deserter? I will slice you into ribbons.” He laughed under his breath, his piggy eyes gleamed.
I slammed my fist against his chest but to no avail, for he was protected by the metal breast plate. He brought his sword down and I grappled for his wrist, trying to push him off me. I gritted my teeth as we wrestled, my other hand still trying to touch the hilt of my sword that was just out of reach.
Realising I could not hold him off any longer, I whipped my head to one side as his blade slammed into the ground. I hooked my right leg over his and used my momentum to push him off me. At the same time I grabbed my sword and slashed his stomach, right under his armoured vest. He clutched his stomach as he fell to the ground, his screams filling the air. I didn’t bother to do a finishing blow. I saw the other soldiers were catching up to me and I jumped over the fallen soldier and ran.
Suddenly I slid to a stop again. No way! I peered down the cliff. Dammit, every time I ran, there was always a damn cliff. I growled in frustration. All things considered, it didn’t look too bad, although the fall would be long. There was a huge river underneath and the current was moving fast. I looked back. The soldiers had formed a semicircle around me and I had a flash of deja vu. I wondered where would I go this time if I died in Hell. Would I take that chance? One by one, they came closer, their swords swinging in their hands. I was just a game to them. A mouse caught in a trap. I ground my teeth together.
“You can never own me. My death will never be yours,” I said, before jumping off the cliff and into the river below.