This story was written for Microcosms (where your story must be 300 words or less) and my prompts were “guard”, “exhibition hall” and “crime”.
Blood and Tears
They had always said that my blood wasn’t pure enough to work here, that the gods would take vengeance for having their holy objects exhibited for all to see. I rolled my eyes at them – but only behind their backs.
The priests added their voices to the surging crowds once money changed hands and their earlier blessing of the travelling exhibition was recanted. All objects were to be returned to the half-forgotten temples. It was fascinating to watch from outside how one leader could sweep the people along, change their religion with shouting and rhetoric and no one seemed to notice. When father dared to question the leader, all hell broke loose.
I pulled my body along the floor, leaving a trail of smeared blood behind me. I knew which one of the smashed and looted cases I needed to reach.
My arms were weak from blood loss and exertion when at last I took the cracked clay bowl from between splinters of glass and cradled it in my hand. I could still see the light impressions and fingerprints of my father in the dried clay. He had made many such bowls.
I would have followed in his footsteps if my hands had been different, my fingers not suited to rather carry a gun.
Tears dripped into the bowl as I cried for my dead family – they who had made the bowls for the gods’ sacrifices. They whose blood was not deemed pure enough to enter the temples.
I cradled the bowl to my chest. I shall die as my family did I decided; with a prayer-song to the gods on my cracked lips.
I coughed blood, spattering the liquid onto the bowl’s surface to join the tears.
I heard the footsteps behind me before I heard the trigger.