Strangers in the Land


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We will find those who still breathe, Zadok had told her, but we will find no survivors.

* * *

The men of Barak’s camp fell silent, then set down their burdens and parted to let the exiles pass. The starving men and women walked south along the riverbank, back toward the camp, back toward Walls. They stumbled away under the red moonlight, exhausted, spent, the ghost of a people. Perhaps they would make it to the camp and collapse, and those of Barak’s men who had lacked the courage to march tonight against the unclean dead would creep from their tents and bring food and water to these, the barely living. Or perhaps they would not stop. Perhaps they would go on walking, with those same slow, anguished steps. They would walk through the night and on into the next day and on until they came at last to the cinders and ash and the few standing houses and shops that had been Walls. Perhaps they would not stop even then, but would go on, down out of the hills and down the whole length of the promised land, following the steps of Hurriya before them, a silent witness to the violence and the misery in the north. They might pass through the entire land, past Hebrews and heathen who had never seen the dead and who would watch them with wide eyes, uncomprehending yet unable to look away. They might pass out of the green fields into the wide desert and come at last even to the dark earth and the high monuments of Kemet itself, the land of their fathers’ slavery, as though to say with their shambling gait and their sunken eyes and their slack, thirsting mouths, The People who went out from here have perished; only we have come back. Perhaps even then they would keep walking, until they died on their feet and their emptied corpses still moved slowly over the wide earth, moaning their anguish, their grief, their hunger for all that was lost.

from Strangers in the Land
A zombie apocalypse in 1160 BC.

Read more of the story here.

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