What Remains of War

This belongs to Melissa Snyder

The river had swollen with an early thaw, overflowing its banks and swamping the riverside. Standing sentry in the flooded bank, the river still running with ice flows, was a bare, spindly-branched sapling. Caught and waving from its bent fingers was a shredded swatch of red, fluttering weakly in the late-winter wind. The ravaged flag, its golden sunburst obliterated by mud and fire, was only vestige of the bloody battle fought here. The Winterwise had washed away all other evidence, hiding it beneath the ripple of its icy skirts.

A flash of glossy black with peacock sheen broke the grey of the waterlogged landscape, standing out in stark relief to the white-capped river ripples. Landing on the tree branch, the rook pecked at the remnant, attracted by the golden flicker of the sunburst. Its beak, however, dislodged the flag’s tenuous hold on the branch, and the icy wind grabbed hold with greedy fingers to sweep it away through the grey air over the Winterwise.

The river had swollen and overflowed its banks, washing away any evidence of the battle that had splattered the crystal snow with hot blood.


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