Things are happening.
I can feel it in the crackle of the early autumn air.
He lay upon the red clay, and the world shook to swallow him. Under his father’s sodden cloak, eyes closed, he heard nothing, saw nothing. All was sensation, cool knuckles of the thick riverbed gripping his back and arms; he sank a little more before the tremors stopped.
He waited for the cloak to be husked off, ripped from his body. They would find him, soon. He lay yards from cover under this pathetic shroud; they were toying with him. His weeping eyes stared open expecting the clouded night sky, and the coppery anticipation of death coated his own tongue – made his breath stink like the earth.
The silence was all.
He waited for strangers.
His breaths grew shallow under the thick material, slowed with the cold of it and he remembered reaching that point finally, where the immensity of fear was devoured by a monstrous finality, a sense of end, and he decided to die.
The small arm that pulled clear of the muck was stiff and unfamiliar, as if another boy hid there with him, was betraying him.
Then the cloak fell aside, and all was a screaming panorama of the looming forest and the angry darkness, and a total emptiness – their absence. His sniveling helplessness spurred to quicken his blood; he saw himself as if from the edge of the trees, a shaking unreality.
And that was all, his earliest memory.