Chapter 8

Written by: Jasmine Groves

The knife slid easily from its sheath, and glinted briefly in the firelight before Dilara sunk it into the old man’s stomach. His flesh gave easily, the blade sunk to its hilt. Bright red blood started oozing from the wound, the old man’s eyes fixed on her with piercing clarity.

“You will have no pe…..” echoed from his lips before his head lolled gently backwards, blood dribbling red against white lips.

Fierce strong arms violently drew her torn fingernails from the hilt, another fiercely wrenched back her head, harshly snapping her neck. She was dragged brutally backwards, feet kicking her hard as she passed. Violent voices sung with confusion and fear.

Whispers, what have you done, why, what about the curse.

Drawing on the last of her strength, digging to the very depths of her soul, Dilara wrenched herself free. She thrashed from side to side, looking at others in the room, guarding her stance so that they could not recapture her.

“You ask me what I have done? You ask me, when this old man lies dead and his warmongering has come to a stop,” her voice was guttural, the anger tangible on the air. “He drove me to this. He put me on this journey, this road towards my fate.” She walked over and spat on the corpse.

“How can you judge me? How dare you? The spirits sought retribution, Mirembe gave me the visions I needed.” She looked from face to face challenging them to disagree. “Women and children dead, a beautiful village destroyed and the spirits are restless.

“You dare question me? Me, who has walked and fought and struggled for days upon days. I consulted with the spirits, the witchdoctor looked in to the cauldron for me and the signs were clear. The spirits were mourned, but yet they did not rest.” Her eyes glassed over with water. “You question me. I, who have lost so much. I, who have nothing left but a blackness where my heart was.” A tear slipped past her eyelashes.

“I question you, not those of you who are brave and who have helped me on this journey, but those of you who did not. I wanted to turn from this fate, to hideaway and grieve for the loss…. I could not.

“Fate and the spirits took that choice from me and demanded I seek retribution.”


While Dilara delivered her speech, she was so caught up she hadn’t noticed movement at the front of the cave, hadn’t felt the air change as others moved so the dark heavily clad stranger could move about.

She didn’t see him reach over and feel the old man’s pulse, or rub his fingers down the eyelids closing them, or giving the old man one last kiss before whipping the blood away on his sleeve.

The first Dilara realised there was someone else in the cave was as wind whistled past her hair and something shattered against her skull.


Again, your imagery is graphic and spot on! You also delivered a challenge, not only to Dilara and her warriors, but to our writers who, ever so adeptly, dealt with an entirely (by me at least!), unexpected plot twist! Well done.