returning to the citadel and taking the stairs to the roof. Some alcalde’s wife from the past had turned
this spot into an outdoor garden and dining room, making it a favorite retreat
for many. A peaceful place when he felt anything but.
easily have been his own. He needed a bath and a rest, but his mind hummed from
the conflict, leaving him unable to stop pacing. Cold chills claimed his limbs.
His stomach was sourer than when alcohol had filled it. With no clear single-combat
victory, he hadn’t earned his beard. The night reeked of disappointment.
it had always seemed to him as a child. Life was no longer so certain now that
he was older.
hand in pots across the rooftop. Colina Hermosa spread before him, a humbling
sight. The city stretched away from the citadel on all sides, a jewel shining
with lights. It spread down the hill, becoming wider and grander as it
sprawled, with imposing avenues and white-clad stucco buildings whose thick
walls and small windows kept out the noonday heat. There was squalor and dirt
as well, fits of temper, rudeness, and often impatience. But the darkness hid
all that, washing the city of its faults and giving it a fresh life until it
tumbled like the sea against the immovable stone walls that now held out the
There, jammed between the city and a deep, old quarry used to build the city
walls, campfires burned. A red swarm of rage and death, brimstone and smoke,
offering a grim contrast with the peaceful firmament. Not by the hundreds did
they burn, but by the thousands, mirroring the stars in the sky. How many
peasants’ houses did they demolish to feed so much hungry fire? They must be
down to burning cacti. How they kept it up night after night, he couldn’t begin
to comprehend. Salvador had talked on about supply trains and quartermasters, but Ramiro had let his
imagination dwell on his first ride instead. An indulgence he regretted now.
contained tens of men. Tens and thousands. And behind them, the siege machines
waited their turn. A lethal combination for Colina Hermosa.
Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge. She’s repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.