Where the butcher’s hand is home

 He loaded the cramped skiff with a few days of stolen water and cured meats best left nameless and pushed it into the current. He boarded breathless and cast the oars across the black and silent water. The firefly dots of his captors lamps retreated into brume and shade. 

 He awoke on his back after what felt like days of drawing breath alone to find his craft stilled where the current grew weak, against knotted growths of rushes and galingale. In the time it took his eyes to grow used to the dimness, he spied the face of a woman he did not know. She watched tight-lipped and close to alarm. With resignation, he decided to pretend he knew her. 

 “How long was I gone?” he rose. 

 “A moon hasn’t passed yet,” she answered, her mouth turning to a smile. “If we hurry back, the kids might still be awake.”

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