In every direction, the leaves rustled. His boots slid as he walked through the sludge of mud and snow. Winter hadn’t arrived, but every morning the snowfall took longer to melt. A few boys were harvesting corn stalks. They nodded to John as he passed, their empty baskets painted a bleak future for the colony. A group of men huddled around a campfire; they held their hands above the flames.
“Those who don’t work, don’t eat,” said John, they responded with stares of loathing and contempt.
When he reached the wood gate he motioned to the guards who opened the doors.
“Is it wise to go alone?” said a guard.
John placed a comforting hand on the man’s shoulder, “Don’t believe what they tell you,” he closed his cloak to keep the cold out, “they’re not savages.” he added.
Autumn leaves coated the forest floor. He walked two miles into the thicket listening to the wind brush through the branches above him. When John arrived, they were already waiting. His brother was draped in wolves’ fur and wore knee-high deerskin shoes. He separated from his entourage of men to embrace John.
“What news do you bring?” asked John, but by the solemn expression on his brother’s face, he knew the answer.
“Father hasn’t changed his mind. We will only trade food for weapons.” he said as John lowered his head in disappointment, “Why do your men refuse to work?”
“They’re gold miners and rich men. They came expecting you to do everything,” John shivered as a breeze swept past.
“We’ve heard rumors,” said John’s brother as he wrapped his fur shawl around John, “stories about death, starvation, and slavery.”
“They’re different people from a different country,” said John as his brother handed him strips of dried deer meat.
John snatched them, biting and salivating over the pieces, but he soon blushed and looked away ashamed of his animalism. His brother gently touched his shoulder.
“This winter will be chaotic, god only knows what they’ll do for food,” said John.
Daily Post Writing Prompt: Chaotic