Today the world ended sooner than expected, and what new life lay ahead for one little boy remained uncertain and terrifying. It had started with reluctant journey to retrieve medicine his parents sorely needed. The boy worried over everything, even his own shadow at times. So, when his father had requested something of the boy, bigger than anything he had ever done, there was hesitation and doubt. He had never gone off of the farm, not even to follow his father into the nearest keep to sell off some of the arduous work that was placed into farming.
Perhaps his life had be spared because he had left, but what now? Death might as well be more kind compared to this. Orphaned, alone and afraid. The mutilated bodies of his parents are fresh on his mind at the moment. His father, butchered in the field, his mother ravaged before her death. Their son? Tied up behind a bandit ridden horse to an uncertain fate.
Each step feels heavy and by now the cold, hard ground had left his small feet numb and tingly. It takes him quite a bit to remain upright because of the distance walked, the tug on his bound wrists remind him to keep up. Looking down at his wrists, it appears as though the skin had been rubbed raw and blistered, his chapped lips draw into a tight line as a whimper escaped him.
The look of one of the bandits causes his breath to catch in his throat, his face to become pale as he is reminded of the hard kick to the side he had received earlier. Oh no… oh god no. The group of bandits comes to a halt once they hear of a commotion at the rear. “Hey! What’s going on back there!?” One of the members shouted, the reins of his horse is tightened to turn the beast of burden towards the back to investigate.
“Nothin’, just this kid whining again. Unf!” He struck the boy across the face, causing the child to topple over and curl up with his hands on the right side of his cheek. Because his hands are guarding his face, the boot of the bandit plants itself right in the boys gut, forcing most of the air out of him. The bandit soon sneers in disgust. “Aw, shit. Kid’s gone and pissed himself!” Another kick. Again, and again. By now it appears that the bandits have decided to settle for the night, ignoring the brutality of one man towards the little boy.
“Alright, knock it off. He’s no good to us if ya kill him.” A voice spoke, sounding much more superior to the abuser who spat upon the boy and stormed off huffing. “Dirty little…” Grumble grumble. The rope is untied from the horse and dropped onto the ground before the horse is lead off to the rest of its kind. Untacked and left to feed and drink. Nikolai is given a bit of relief for the time being, retching momentarily, shifty so that he is settled on his rear and holding his arms close to his stomach. He is hurting, keeping sobs as quiet as he can from the ears of the bandits.
A little bit passes by and Nikolai finds himself away from the warm glow of the campfire. The stake in the ground connected to the rope deters him from any hope of running off coupled with the beating he received earlier, his cheek now hot and bruised. He is curled up on the cold ground, shivering silently as tears well in his eyes. His thoughts drown out the laughter of the bandits, who share tales of the women they bed and the future that lay ahead.
Nikolai merely stares at the darkness of the woods, sniffling and carefully curling up a bit more as he hides his face in his hands. “Mama… papa…” He whimpered, pining for the loved ones he knows are gone.