For about two weeks now Amur and Dular go every morning to their "job" at the marketplace. I worry about them, but, it's better if they have some kind of purpose, instead of just hanging around the mercenaries all day! A soldier or two drive them there and watch over them. I stop by almost daily to make sure that, everything is alright.
Just before I entered the tent this morning, I heard stifled sobbing from the alleyway behind it. A middle aged man in a khaki uniform sat on a log. He glanced at me. His face was puffy from crying.
- "What's wrong? Do you need help?"
- "No, just leave me alone!"
I turned around to leave, but then heard the sobs again. I came back and sat next to the soldier.
- "Things couldn't be that bad! How can I help you?"
He cried harder and ran from the alley.
The evening was hot. There was no breeze, and the leaves on the trees hung lifeless and dusty. The kids weren't back yet, so I sat by an open window, waiting for them.
The car drove into the yard, and immediately the shouts rang out in alarm. The soldiers helped to carry a body from the Jeep and laid it on the grass. It was General Yokoyama. His son, Aishi, knelt by his father, crumpling his hands in anxiety.
- "What happened? Is the General OK?"
Aishi could hardly speak:
- "No! We were attacked in town!"
- "What?! By whom?"
Aishi pointed at his clothes. They were covered with feathers.
- "By birds! So many of them, and they didn't care, what we did to them!"
Aishi was screaming in terror. Amur hugged him around the shoulders and quietly implored: "It's alright, you're safe now! You don't need to say anything!"
The General didn't suffer any serious damage, but because of his recent injuries in the bear attack, he just wasn't strong enough to withstand any physical exertion. Aishi had more small wounds and scratches, though, especially, on his head, back, and shoulders, because, when the General fainted, he covered his father's body with his own. I occupied myself with tending to him, while carefully questioning him about, what happened.
"We were going to see Amur and Dular at the marketplace. The Jeep stopped at the light, when a whole bunch of birds suddenly flew at us! Dad and I jumped out of the car. He yelled to run to your kids' tent, but collapsed in a few moments. People tried to help us. They beat at the birds and shot at them, but the creatures didn't care. They threw themselves at us and pecked and scratched us, like they were being driven by something!"
I made Aishi take some drink with valerian root and lie down. When he fell asleep, I went to see to the General.