“What shall we do with him father?” ten year old Lok asked as he edged closer to the trap set by his father.
Cong grabbed his son’s thin shoulder and pulled him close. As a millet farmer in this small
Chinese village, Cong was more accustomed to gathering crops than creatures.
“He may have allies hidden within the landscape. Where there’s one there are usually many.”
“Shall we string him up to warn the Mongols? To set an example?”
Cong placed a calloused finger over his lips. “Hush your mouth. He may understand you.”
“How can such a creature understand our words? Look at him.” Lok picked up a stick and poked the interloper in the belly, stirring a pig-like grunt.
“He is simple.”
Seizing the stick from his son’s hand Cong cautioned “Simple or not he could be dangerous.”
“Where is his clothing? Has he no shame?”
“A clever ploy” Cong replied while scratching his chin, “to silently attack us like the tiger.”
Lok’s curiosity refused to waver.
“I’ve never seen a Mongol before. Their heads are so round. His skin is like ash. And just look at his bulbous black eyes. They’re nothing like us. They’re ugly.”
The invader shook the heavy bamboo bars of his cage and screamed. The noise pierced the otherwise quiet countryside.
Lok retrieved his stick and beat the top of the makeshift prison and hissed.
“Silence you ugly beast” commanded Cong. “We don’t need any more of your kind here.”
Cong knelt in front of his prisoner to study him further.
“We’ve been lucky my son. This village has yet to feel the command of the Mongols. We have never laid eyes on the Nomadic faces of the invaders. I’ve prayed that we would be free from their oppression, but it seems the gods have other plans.”
A long slender arm reached for the stick as Lok continued to beat on the bamboo cage.
Exasperated at his son’s childish nature and the ungodly wails of the invader, Cong snatched the stick from his son and flung it into the surrounding millet field. Instead of landing with a thud on the soft dirt, it echoed with a hard, startling crack.
Both father and son stared at each other, trying to decipher the unfamiliar sound. Without a thought, Lok ran through the towering millet.
“Get back here foolish boy! You do not know who may lurk in the fields, waiting vengeance for his imprisoned kin.”
Lok appeared from the millet. “Father! This Nomad rides alone on a metal horse the likes I have never seen.”
Cong ventured into the field, inching closer to the strange metal horse that lay derelict on a patch of crushed grain.
“Can I touch it father?”
Cong shook his head. “No. This could be a trap.”
He examined the wreckage a little more closely.
“It is said the Nomads have captured blacksmiths from various lands and forged extraordinary armor and weapons of destruction.”
Forgetting his own warnings, Cong cautiously attempted to touch the sleek grey metal. The prisoner’s screams quickly drew his hand back.
Father and son ran toward the cries.
The captive had grown feral, violently hurling himself into the bamboo bars and shrieking in an exotic tongue.
Lok retrieved a larger stick.
“I am afraid father. What do we do now?”
Cong withdrew a blade from his waist band. “We fight for the freedom of our village son. He is one lone Mongol. We are many.”
Once again he knelt in front of the naked grey man wailing in front of him.