Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2285120-Pride-and-Punishment
by brom21
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Emotional · #2285120
An apathetic man will see what life is like on the other side of things.
Lucas sneered as he passed by a poor man holding a wooden sign saying help.

“Insolent sloth! you can work!” said Lucas.

“Please sir! No one will hire me. I have tried!”

“Excuses! Look harder!” said Lucas as he continued walking toward the kingdom castle. He passed by a cathedral where a priest in a robe held out tin cup. “Alms for the poor,” he said.

Lucas just shook his head. He came to the castle gates. “Greetings, Nobleman Lucas,” said a man who grasped a wheel crank and turned them as a gate lifted.

Lucas entered the grand antechamber. A young man in a silk blue tunic with a cape approached him. He kneeled. “Hail, Prince Therin.”

“Greetings, Lucas. How goes your day?”

Lucas frowned. “I cannot endure those people who want others to work for them.”

“It is not the will of the poor to be poor,” said Therin.

Lucas paused and looked away before facing Therin. “Perhaps you’re right. So, how does the peace talks with the new kingdom of Nimbus fair?” he said.

“Quite good. My father hopes to sign a peace treaty with Nimbus soon.”

“May I ask if your father, King Titus, plans to include me in the negotiating?” said Lucas.

“I will inquire concerning that. I am sure he will. You are a top nobleman.”

Lucas bowed. “I am tired from teaching the noblemen instruction apprenticeship school. I just came from there.”

Therin smiled. “Very well.”

Lucas made the long way to the other end of the chamber and walked through door into a hallway that led to a square room with doors on each side. He entered one with his name inscribed on the top.

In his quarters, he collapsed on his bed and drifted into slumber.

He awoke from his sleep and found he had slept all the way from evening of the previous day to the next morning.

Lucas rose and made the long trip back to the main antechamber. A few, royalty were awake and conversing in the brightness of the sun shining through a vertical, rectangle window above the open front gate.

Lucas trudged out on the way to the nobleman school, early. He walked down the cobblestone concourse and halted. He scanned the left edge of the street. Lucas, addressed the first man he saw there. “Excuse me, but do you know of the poor man that usually begs on this street?”

“He died a few hours ago. His body was collected and burned,” said the individual.

Lucas froze. “That is unfortunate. At least he is not suffering.”

The individual put his hands on his hips and shook his head. “It could have been avoided if he would have been given him food and shelter. His starvation with the intense cold killed him.”

Lucas raised his eyebrows in sadness then shook himself. “It is what it is.”

Lucas continued his trek to the school building and unlocked the door. He walked down a row of desks and sat at the front desk.

Eventually, his ten pupils arrived. Today Lucas would be going over the last five kings of the kingdom of Wrethmire, where he lived. The day ended with a narration of the three wars fought by all the free realms against the tyrannical kingdom of Beign.

Lucas stayed behind to help four of his students. It lasted for three hours and at the end of the session, twilight was approaching.

He stepped outside and three muscular brutes took Lucas and stripped him of his apparel and put rags on him.

“Please! Do not hurt me!” pleaded Lucas.

“We are just going to sell you as slave in Nimbus,” said one of the men.

Lucas was locked in a cage and hauled into the thicket behind his school building and out into the wilderness.

Lucas kept begging to be freed, but to no avail as the three men just taunted him.

When they were at Nimbus, Lucas was sold to a man in an ornate robe with scarlet threading.

“I am Dorious. Your first task is to feed my pigs. Now get to it!” said Dorious as he pointed to a pen.

Lucas stood in shock at the situation and was lashed by a switch by Dorious. “Get going!”

Lucas went to work and fed the pigs and began to cry. “Why has this happened!”

The next thing he could only think was how to get free. He waited until Dorious was not looking and dashed away into the night. The cold chilled his spine. He took the first person he saw by the robes. “Help! I am a nobleman from Wrethmire and I was kidnapped!”

“Get off me filth!” the man said as he pushed Lucas away.

Lucas went to another man. “Please help me!”

But his tears and genuine desperation failed.

The night got colder and soon his stomach rumbled.

Lucas sat by the road and a carriage stopped. A man in a silk robe with diamond studs and a hood covering his face exited the carriage and kneeled. The mysterious man took Lucas by the hand and led him into the carriage and he sat on a seat across from the man. He took out a small, cooked hen from a covered platter and gave it to Lucas who devoured it.

Ten minutes later, the man led Lucas out of the carriage into a place with warm braziers and a stuffed bed with silk pillows.

“Who are you?” asked Lucas.

The man lifted his hood and it was the beggar who had died.

“How can this be!”

“God has brought me back from the dead that your heart may be changed. Do you sincerely repent?”

Lucas nodded with tears.

Suddenly, in a flash of light he found himself laying his head on his desk the day before, when he last encountered the poor man. Lucas sought him out and took him by the hand. “Today, your life is about to change,” Lucas said.

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