a postcard story about a healer living in a land of warriors

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The First Healer

a postcard story about a healer living in a land of warriors

My people are warriors. They live as warriors, die as warriors, their spirits carried off to the great feasting grounds beyond the sunset.

Not so for me. I was born without an appetite for violence. And so I became my people's first healer. I joined the fray to bring my sisters, brothers, and siblings back to fight on one more battlefield, and another, and many more.

They do not understand my path, but they try. Every time I show up for battle, they ask "Why have you come? Why risk death if not for the great feast?" Every time, I reply, "You did not think I would leave my sisters, brothers, and siblings behind?"

When I finally fall to an arrow while tending the wounded, I have no one to heal me. My companions gather with a sad look. My spirit sinks into the afterlife of the unblooded: a sloping pit guarded by demons on all sides.

I slump in despair. I spend an age wondering how my companions will remember their wayward sibling. And then I hear it. The distant sound of war drums. The cry of battle drawing near. A raiding party swarms over the lip of the pit, driving back the demons. "Get up! Get up!" they shout.

It is my sisters, brothers, and siblings. The ones I saved to fight and fight again until they could pass on to glory. They lead me away and we march to an endless feasting ground that smells of honeyed beer and roast meat.

"Why did you come for me?" I ask, unable to believe my eyes. They simply smile and say, "You did not think we would leave our sibling behind?"


Short story written by Peter Chiykowski

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Story prompt taken from a photo by Guille Pozzi

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