|Write a short story or poem using the following sentence. The sentence can be anywhere within the story, but it must be written exactly as it is here.
'The movers come on Tuesday.'
As another bolt tore across the inky sky, throwing the rocky desert into sharp relief, she saw them. The bandits moved with implausible speed, apparently unhindered by the raindrops blinding her eyes, or the deranged wind howling past her ears, battering and pulling her in all directions. She raced towards the driver's perch, a wordless cry of terror escaping her lips as she scrambled up beside Brunt. “They're on us!” she yelled over the din of the storm. Brunt understood. He leapt to the ground in one smooth movement. This huge man's grace never failed to astound her. 'No one can beat him' she thought, 'not one of those whimpering, greedy bandits; nor twenty of them'! She turned towards the city walls, 'So close', she could sense them, towering and colossal; strong, impenetrable and unmoving in the swirling, screaming dark of the storm. Another bolt split the sky; there was a deafening crack as it struck the walls, and a huge chunk of stone was torn free. She didn't see it though. In those brief moments, a terrifying apparition was revealed. He was so close she could touch him, a dirk clenched in his fist, his lips spreading in a maniacal grin. His callused hand closed around her ankle as she scrambled backwards. Her scream was lost in the storm, as the bandit raised the dirk, grinning. Grinning, as the huge rock crashed down shattering the perch. Grinning as the oxen bucked in terror, caving in his skull with a cloven hoof. His grin was the last thing she saw as her head thumped on the rocky ground and blackness overtook her.
She was aware of nausea spreading through her belly, a pounding headache followed close on its heels. She groaned and rolled onto her stomach, burying her face in the pillow, willing herself back to peaceful, painless sleep. Suddenly, her eyes snapped open and she jerked back around, as the memory of the preceding night cut through the pain. She looked, quickly taking in the unfamiliar walls, filthy floor and the old man, hunched beside the bed.
“Where am I?” she croaked.
“T'were me boy't found ye, a't' squall, looks like yer 'van got took by 'em bandits, must'a missed a speck like ye in that wild wea'er.”
“And,..and, my friend?”
“Arr, gone to the Lor', 'ee be. The movers come on Tuesday, ye'll no be seein' 'im agin.”
“Aye gal, them's what takes t'dead n dyin. heh heh.” With this dry, rasping laugh he pulled himself up and walked to the door. “Bes' ye get som'ore rest.” he said, as he shuffled out.
'Tuesday', she thought, for once, glad of her schooling in the old tongue. A day was an ancient measure of time, before the sun was lost. She looked at her ticker, it showed thirty full turns; these movers would come today! Gingerly, she sat up and swung her feet down off the cot. The world spun, but she steeled herself and in three paces she was out the door, on a twisting stone stair. The old man went down, so she began to climb. She emerged onto a turret, looking out from the city walls, over the wasteland. The sight took her breath away. Thirty feet below, guards were piling up the city's dead, like common trash. The bodies unburned and the words of the Kanjima unspoken, to ensure the souls' passage to the place of the Sun. It was too much. “not Brunt.” She howled, “He was good and strong and brave! HE DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS”. Her last cry echoed off the city walls before the words were swallowed by the wind. Then she saw them. There must have been a hundred at least, dark, hooded shuffling shapes, moving steadily nearer. A chill ran through her. 'The movers', the bodies were being laid out for these, ..things!
“Best not t'look” the old man's voice, behind her. She whirled to face him. “What are they?” she cried, “what do they want with the dead?”.
“Non can say, t'be sure. None as goes w'em comes back.”
She turned again. The old man tried to cajole her inside, but she would not go. She'd watch for Brunt and speak the words. She could not give him to the flames, but perhaps the words would be enough. She owed him that much. She owed him her life. The man began to demand, but she was deaf to him. She murmured the sacred words of the kanjima, as the movers set about loading the dead onto wooden stretchers. Tears filled her eyes and fervour filled her words. A bony hand enclosed her arm, the grip vice-like and cold. He spun her to face him. All kindness had left his countenance, now a mask of cold, contemptuous, cruelty. She'd only caught a glimpse, before she was wrenched around, but she'd seen. Brunt had emerged from the remains of the caravan, sword raised to fight, as the movers closed in. “He's alive” she screamed, flailing to free herself, “you left him out there to die!”.
“It's as you said” the old man spat, his accent vanished. “Good, brave and strong. Exactly the sort of man to ruin trade”.
The realisation hit hard, her legs threatened to give way beneath her. She'd heard tell of the cities put to slave, but surely not here! She moved suddenly, yanking his arm up and sinking her teeth deep into his flesh, the way Brunt had taught her. “Fight dirty” he'd said, “use, teeth, nails and go for weak spots”. The man's grasp loosened, and she pulled free. The force sent her reeling backwards; backwards into the crumbling parapet. She felt gravity's inexorable pull dragging her over, then down, down, down. The corpses made a squelchy thud as they broke her fall. Her already frail consciousness was fading. She could have cried when she turned her head and her eyes met Brunt's gentle face. He lay there, next to her, taken but not killed. He had a far away look in his eyes, but he lived. 'He's alive' she thought, as the huge heavy sleds moved off. 'I don't know where we're going, but they didn't kill him, we're going together!'. She reached out her fingers and touched her father's big, square jaw, smiling as sleep took her.