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On the Run (Prologue)

On the Run (Prologue)

By Lyn - 3 Reviews

I awake with a start. Dreams still clog my mind and sleep covers my eyes in a hazy fog. The only light in the room trickles in through the window draped with thick curtains identical to the ones draping my bed frame. Glancing around the room, I notice nothing amiss among all the assorted trinkets. Why had I been awoken at such a late hour? Turning my head, I recognize the sound of footsteps running through the corridor outside my door. They were light and barely audible, but in the still night air I knew immediately that something was wrong.

Fumbling through the sheets to get out of bed and trying to make as little noise as possible, my toes touch the cold wooden floor and make their own pitter-patter sound as I waddle across the large room. My nightgown falls around me, brushing up and down my legs as I walk.

I turn the knob and peek out into the hallway. And suddenly, I come face to face with a dirty boy with matted brown hair. His blue eyes look bright even in the dim lighting. “What?” I whisper just before he pushes past me and into the room. He rushes for my grandmother’s chair, quickly crouching behind it. “What?” I say again, louder this time.

“Sh!” he hushes me from his hiding spot.

“What?” I ask, appalled and aggravated by his insensitivity toward me.

He mutters something from behind the large obstacle blocking my view.

I step closer to where he is and ask, “Excuse me?”

His head thrusts out from behind the chair and he whisper-yells, “Shut the door, damn it!”

My mouth drops open and I’m about to tell him how rude he is and how that was no way to talk to me when I hear more footsteps in the hall, these ones heavier than the boy’s.

Angrily huffing, I spin from him and look out into the hall. There I see two of the royal guardsmen banging away on other bedroom doors farther down the hallway and waking up honored guests of the king. My heart skips and I gasp as they shove past a man in a red robe. They invade his room, causing him to turn and follow them as he says some choice words. I hear them rummaging around, seemingly looking for something. A pillow flies out of the doorway and hits the wall, causing me to jump. I try to shrug off my anxiety but I know what they are looking for. I have to get out of here.

I close the door quietly, praying that they hadn’t seen me watching them. Turning quickly, I rush to my closet and grab four dresses, cramming them all into my baggage. I then notice my silk nightgown, which prompts me to grab a fifth dress and lay it out on my bed. Turning back to my closet, I almost run right into the boy.

“Gah!” He doesn’t move. He just stands, staring at me with those blue eyes of his, a questioning look on his face. “What are you doing?” I ask, stepping around him to get back on task and trying to pick up my pace. They would be in here any minute.

“What are you doing?”

I freeze, arms full of skirts, and slowly turn to face him. “Me?” I ask in a loud whisper, my anger at him coming back full blast. “I’m not the one who barged in here and got those guards’ attention!”

“Why are you so scared of a couple of thugs? I could take ‘em, easy.” He grins a dumb grin at me, revealing a missing tooth in the front of his face. That only makes me even more angry at him.

“Oh yeah?” I glare at him, hoping I look intimidating.

Apparently I don’t because he simply says, “Yeah.”

“Then why were you hiding behind me earlier?” His grin falls and he blinks at me. Now it’s my turn to grin at him. I don’t get long to bask in my accomplishment, though.

A loud knocking sounds from my door. We both turn as one to stare at it in fear. A raspy voice says through the wood, “Open up!”

Without another word, I rush to the door and bolt it shut. They begin knocking again, louder and louder each time. I run for Grandmother’s chair, then think better of it. Grabbing a less valuable wooden chair, I place it under the doorknob, hoping to keep them out for as long as possible.

I turn back to the boy and start to yell at him again when I see that he’s tearing my favorite dress. I shriek and rush over to him, yanking the fabric from his claws. “You monster!” I yell, now completely ignoring the banging on the door.

“Would you calm down?” He rips the torn dress from my hands and yells over the noise, “I’m trying to get us out of here.” He then ties the dress to all the other fabrics he had destroyed while my back was turned. I make a mental note to never trust him again and wipe my eye with the back of my hand.

“There.” He stands up, admiring his handiwork. I, on the other hand, do not admire the mess he had made. One end of the make-shift rope was tied to Grandmother’s chair while the other was far below, dangling out the three-story window.

The boy steps up onto the window ledge, tugging on my fabrics to make sure they are secure. He turns to me and smiles that dumb smile of his after finding that it would stay. Then, without warning, he leaps out into the dark night. Rushing to the window, I peer down at him. I can only assume that he’s grinning at me in the dark, far below where the window sit in the tall castle wall.

“What are you waiting for?” he calls.

Looking past him at the ground below, I feel my knees buckle beneath me. I didn’t know how to climb down a rope, and I definitely wasn’t going to trust a rope that he had made. The loud smashing of the chair shakes me to my core and without thinking, I fall out the window after him.

Air rushes past me as I grasp wildly for the fabrics. The grass grows closer and closer and soon enough I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, wishing I hadn’t been stupid enough to follow that stupid boy.

Then my arm almost snaps as a strong grip pulls me out of the air. I go silent, breathing heavy, dangling a few feet above the ground. I strain my neck to look up at the boy. He wasn’t grinning as he struggled to hold me and the rope, his eyes squeezed shut. I twist my hand to grab his wrist and we dangle for a while, the guards just now getting into the room.

Far above us, I can hear the men talking. They get louder as they approach the window and their voices become clearer.

“What do you suppose these here dresses are for?” the first one asks.

“What do you mean, dresses? That’s clearly a rope,” the other informs his companion.

“No way. I think someone was combining their dresses to make a really big one.” I roll my eyes. These were the king’s mighty gaurdsmen?

“No, you moron! That’s a rope they used to climb out the window. Don’t you see it dangling off the ledge?”

“I’m telling you, man, it’s a giant dress.”

“It is not!”

Their voices fade as they walk away to examine the rest of the room. Just like earlier, a pillow flies out the window. This time, though, it hits the boy in the face, causing him to lose his grip on the rope. We go tumbling down, and this time I hit the ground.

I make contact with the grass-covered rock and feel pain shoot through my body. Groaning, I sit up and look over at the boy. He groans, too, laying on the ground on his back.

“Are you alright?” I ask him, only partly caring.

He sits up, groaning louder as if mocking me. “Yeah, fine. You?”

“I would be a lot better if you had just left me alone!” I stand up, shaking the grass off my skirt.

He follows my lead and stands up beside me. “Calm down, your majesty. I never meant to drag you into this in the first place.”

I glare at him, hating the nickname he’s just given me. “And how exactly did you drag me into this?” I speak slowly, trying to control my temper.

“What?” He looks at me dumbly.

“How did you attract so much attention to me?” I yell in the darkness. “Why were they chasing you and why did you hide in my room?”

He holds up a gold necklace chain speckled with the best gemstones that money could buy. I gasp, reaching out to grab it from him. He quickly pulls it out of reach. “Sorry, but I stole this fair and square.”

“Give that to me right now!” I grasp for it again, only for him to pull it farther away.

“No.” His stare is hard even in the dark.

“No?” I reach out again weakly, quickly losing interest in the piece of jewelry.

“No,” he says again, this time smiling at me, the moonlight catching his crooked teeth.

“Whatever.” I huff and storm off into the night, away from him and whatever trouble he might find next.

Author Notes: Wow, this was fun to come back and write! I hope you enjoyed. Be sure to take care of yourself and have a great day/night!

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About This Story
5 Nov, 2022
Read Time
8 mins
3.7 (3 reviews)

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