The valley cast in long shadows embraced them all in the curve of her chest.

Large and expansive she ran endlessly in her wake skulls, skeletons, limbs and the stench of death so poignant it choked anybody within miles of her.

Vultures circled overhead, even as birds cowed in fear, mourning the past and hungry for a little sun and rain. The trees has already shed their leaves, and their skin, the wind an unwanted furious adversary blowing everything it could and taking it with it.

Time, oh well time stood still, too distraught to mark the change in seasons, and silence so loud reigned supreme even the vultures could not speak too awed by the sight of damnation and vengeance.

The sky a flat lead stared unblinking and unmoving, so old and exhausted her eyes too disillusioned by the sight before it.

Each corpse had it’s own story to tell. Some had no limbs, or had just one, while others had holes in their chests. Others had been burned to ashes. Pain Suffering, helplessness and desperation and fear were common cloaks written on the remains in that bottomless ugly hole, somewhere in the heart of Africa.

Husband number six had done that to her children, he had turned them against each other and in the end they had killed each other.

She remembered the will, she had given each of them a piece of land, equal and just enough for each of them, but it had no been enough. Husband number six had convinced each of her children they deserved better, and more. Somehow blood was no longer thicker than water, and each would not rest until they had it all. They wanted everything and had to have everything.

Each was his favorite according to them and every time he got one alone he strummed him like a master guitarist nurturing their devotion like cubs to their lioness.

Eventually the thin blood ties snapped like dry twigs and that blood was spilled, with the drum beats sounding hatred, fear, insecurity and greed.

That hatred grew from that of children to that of men, and when he lay dying he emphasized, ‘Remember what I have taught you, and use it well to survive.’ Their hearts swelled with pride and they knew they had to make their surrogate father proud.

In the battle to ensure only the strong would survive, and the weakest links would be severed, a disgrace never to be mentioned.

He was buried, and so was sanity. Their mother unable to control them, watched and hoped they would come to their senses. But baba had given them their greatest weapons, hate and greed. So each had to survive at the expense of the other. But none had counted on each being evenly strong, and eventually killing each other so none was left, and the land they had fought over remained, hugging their corpses and mocking them all.

Mama stood on the hill, a lost soul tempted to follow her sons into death, guilt a cloak she wore regrets constantly nagging at her. ‘If only’