They took to the fields as soon as it was safe, creeping from place to place and reaping their harvest. A few gold coins here; an undamaged, if stained, jacket there. Good boots were always in demand, and scuffles often broke out over them. One young girl took advantage of this, wrestling the precious treasures from the feet of the departed while those who were old enough to know better fought over them. She scurried back across the field to her mother, bent-backed beneath the weight of her bag, and stowed the boots out of sight before the brawlers even realised they were gone.

While they scrabbled over the possessions of the dead, other scavengers arrived. The crows came first, flying in great fluid flocks and settling on the bodies of the dead. The women flapped their skirts at them, and the men shouted and waved sticks, but they never went far. Eventually, the people gave in to the birds and left.

Later that night, others would come to the field of battle. Creeping quietly, afraid that the victors might return, soldiers and the families of the dead came to seek out the bodies of their loved ones. A few they found, and bore away weeping. In the depths of their loss, the lack of a few coins and a pair of boots was hardly noticed.

Gradually they all departed, leaving the fields quiet and peaceful once more. Trodden mud and blood would give way to grass and flowers, the war would move on to another field, and the scavengers would move on with it.

(Author’s Note: This week the Three Word Wednesday prompt words are Battle, Fluid and Harvest. I almost forgot what day of the week it is though, so apologies if this seems a little rushed!)

Advertisements