by Kurt Hendricks
Two figures approached from the southern horizon - they seemed to have been brought along with the storm. As the lightning flashed violently through the downpour, Eva traced their progress towards the isolated shack. She tried to wake her father and mother, but they were too drunk to rouse. In a panic, Eva grabbed some bread from the table and ran out the back door. She checked over her shoulder as she fled, making sure that the shack was keeping her blocked from view.
Upon arriving, the two men strode right in, simultaneously drawing their hoods back as they entered the one room hut. They were nearly identical, and were often mistaken for brothers. Eva's parents woke abruptly, and sat up straight on their old cots as the two men sat down at the modest dinner table. The man on the right pulled a decanter out of his satchel and set it on the table, and the man on the left, the one who did all the talking, spoke.
"Glasses," he rasped, motioning to the decanter. Lightning silhouetted him intermittently. Eva's mother stumbled out of bed in a drunken hurry to collect two glasses for the men.
"Come, sit," he said as he poured. Eva's parents, terrified, obeyed. He pushed the glasses towards them.
"Drink," he urged, and they hesitatingly did.
"There," the stranger said as they silently set their empty glasses down.
"Now," he whispered, leaning in towards them, "where is the child?"