Friday, October 14, 2005


the child, one hundred ten


Time was passing. The sun was setting. The sounds from before the fortress were fading as more and more of the guards were brought inside, and less and less of them were still outside, waiting to be brought in.

And the rescuers were waiting. Waiting.

'Do you think he got caught?' Stone whispered to Starr.

She was standing quietly, her lips moving in prayer. She looked up at Stone and shook her head. But whether by that she meant, No, or that she didn't know, he wasn't sure.

Suddenly, James was gesturing, motioning for them all to move up. As Stone, Starr, and Mac reached him, the badly bruised man whispered, 'Go,' and waved them on past him.

Cautiously they slipped round the corner and looked. Just steps away was a small door, and peering out that small door at them, signaling for them to hurry - Forest!

Stone hesitated but a moment, searching the boy's face for any sign of anything wrong. After all, it wasn't impossible that the boy might have been caught, and this was now a trap to lure them all in. But there was nothing strange about Forest's face or actions.

Was there?

'Let's go,' Stone said. The three of them rushed onward, swords out and at the ready just in case. They reached the door and Forest all but jerked them inside. The dark inside was momentarily blinding, but as his eyes adjusted, Stone saw that surrounding them within this entrance to the dungeons was...

No one.

He turned to Forest. 'No guards?' he whispered.

The boy frowned and made a gesture for silence as the remainder of their group hurried in the door. Closing the door quickly, Forest led them to a stairway - one of the staircases Stone had remembered? - and on downwards into greater and greater darkness.

Until there was no more down. Only dank musty miriness, scattered torches, and the muffled anguish of captive men.

They had reached the deepest dungeons.

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