The sunlight slowly peeked through the cloth that covered the window, and with it emerged the familiar sounds of the countryside awakening. Hens were scratching around the yard and clucking to one another, the birds chattered and sang on the rooftop and in the distance Farmer Pierrot’s mule could be heard braying. Sebastian propped himself up on his elbows, stirred from another long night of distracted and fitful sleep, and gradually dragged himself from the hard, unforgiving bed. He rested momentarily on the edge of the bed allowing his numb mind to acquaint itself to another day, brushing his tangled, unkempt hair from his face and rubbing and scratching his unruly beard. He rose achingly and padding slowly across the cold stone floor to the kitchen.

Faithful Gaston was alert in his basket waiting patiently for his master, and leapt up as Sebastian entered, fussing around his ankles and pleading to be fed. Sebastian automatically opened the one cupboard in the room and from it took a cut of meat. He lazily threw it on the ground for Gaston, who instantly scooped up the red, raw slab and disappeared out the doorway into the yard. Sebastian picked up a dirty mug from the breakfast table and followed Gaston outside. He paused in the glorious Dordogne sunshine. He wondered, as he did every morning, how a world so cruel could also be so beautiful. The heat from the sun’s rays warmed his bare torso that had been chilled in the shade of the house. He paced over to the hen house and took out three freshly laid eggs. As he stood up the wound ached and he paused to stretch his arms and back. He felt the scar that ran from the top of his shoulder blade and travelled down his right flank, the constant reminder of his battle and loss. Standing in the courtyard of the rundown farmhouse Sebastian cracked the three eggs open into the mug he carried and gulped down the raw eggs in quick succession. The pleasure he used to take from properly prepared food was a long lost sensation. Now he only ate for sustenance, and on his worst days he questioned why he even bothered doing that.

In answer to that question he shambled over to the barn on the opposite side of the yard. The doors had long ago rotted from their hinges, the roof had crumbled away to leave just the beams, the warm sunlight was trapped by what was left of the dilapidated walls. The only thing in the barn was a wooden stand that held Sebastian’s old army issue weapons. The carbine had long since fallen into disrepair through lack of maintenance, but Sebastian had no use for the impersonal long range bullet it could have fired. Next to the rifle though, his sword gleamed as the dawn sun spread across it. Sebastian picked up the sword and began running its edge over the grindstone. The clash of metal on stone cracked through the sleepy rural air. Grimly, Sebastian set about this daily routine, sharpening the blade on his sword, his mind set upon some day in the future when he would enact his vow to Helena. Revenge.


Written as part of  a recent Creative Writing Course. The assignment was to create a character and include a mealtime that revealed something about their personality or motivation.

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