I just ended up writing one day from inspiration should I continue and make it a novella
| Looking up at his face, I wasn’t able to distinguish what expression lay upon it. Why must he hide everything? His anger or even his anguish. It never leaks through that mask, the one which is so tough that even his fear is suppressed under. I let my gaze fall to my toes, which were ever so dirty from the forest floor. Hesitantly, my feet took me farther into the woods, not even caring if he was following. For all I care, he could be out cold! I thought.
Without even a chance of making it twenty feet from him, not that he would let that, his arms wrapped tightly around my waist, forcing me to stay put.
“I’m sorry, not that that will make up for anything,” he whispered slowly into my ear, as if trying to make every word sink in.
Before I was clever enough to think of silence as an answer, I spun around, still locked in his arms, and wept into his chest. And he held me there, for what seemed like eternity, without saying a word. He knew no words could soothe her, after what they had just been forced to witness.
He kissed my hair and loosened his grip slightly, the better to see my face. Looking straight into my eyes, as if he could see straight through the tears, through the sadness, he spoke, “We can’t linger here for too long. We might be found just like the others.”
“No!” I cried. “They’re going to capture us either way, don’t you see that? Their men, there are hundreds of them, all carrying swords, and arrows, no human being could ever escape from that!”
He gently put my hand into his as if it were as precious as gold, and pulled me behind him, deep into the woods, where darkness swallows you up without letting you know whether it’s night or day. Even with my resistance, he managed to haul me through the dead leaves and twigs quite easily, as if I were a sack of feathers.
* * *
It must have been days since we last ate, although I knew nothing about hunting, and he didn’t care much for it either. Knowing I was getting grouchy with the pain of hunger gnawing at my belly, which no doubt was probably the same for him too, I asked, “There must be something this deadly forest could spare us. Maybe a rabbit? Or a pheasant?”
Knowing that sounded just as unappetizing to him as if I ate tree bark, I dared to see his face. With much disappointment, his expression showed nothing, just like always. We stopped walking and he stared at me questioningly, but then he spoke, it was as if he was thinking the same thing, and he suggested the idea in the first place.
“Of course. We’ll need to take a rest for a few days, so I’ll begin on making the traps.” My eyes bore into his with such surprise, that he smiled as if amused.
“If I didn’t know you any better, I would think nothing of it.” That amused smile still clung to his lips. It didn’t bother me, but since when did the man standing before me think nothing of sacrificing an animal for his own pleasure. Never.
“Ah. What I would do to hear your exact thoughts this very moment” he chuckled, but with the stern look I gave him he quickly grew silent. He hesitated, but that quickly disappeared from what I saw, and the look in his eyes gave him away, even before he spoke. “Actually, I rather wouldn’t, not with that fierce look you tried to frighten me with”, and he smiled, like he always did when he started teasing me.
Too clever for him, I dashed off into the opposite direction and sat down against the roots of an Oak tree. Seeming as if I was offended was exactly what I wanted him to think, and only moments after I sat down, did he appear next to me with concern in his eyes. The only time I saw any emotion from him was when he was worried, worried about me.
Before he had time to squat down beside me and gaze up at my face I was already trying to cover my mouth so he wouldn’t hear my laughter, but he heard it, and couldn’t keep a smile from spreading across his face.
“Oh what an actress you are!” He said with a hint of laughter still lingering in his words.
Night fell not long after, and I was snuggled against his chest, with his arms around me as if protecting me from an evil that wasn’t lurking anywhere near, but with warm, gentle arms. Sleep overtook me instantly, as if just calling me back into those nightmares, the ones with men in armor, ready to attack.
Their shiny helmets were all turned to one man, the Prince. That evil man, oh what horror he caused among people! I thought to myself, but before my thoughts could go any further, their voices reached me. The Prince’s voice was the easiest to decipher, since it was very threatening, like the roar of a lion, but also very charming. Yes, very charming, as if many melodies were being spun into one web, by a spider who continuously wove silk to keep them from breaking apart. “Where are they?” He demanded. “I’m not paying you fools to chat amongst yourselves while drinking the finest wine money can buy and eating the food of the ever so wonderful cook!” And with that he took off, through the forest on his white horse, leaving his army puzzled.
The shrill cry of a bird awoke me. He began to stir as I extracted myself ever so gently from his loving grasp. Standing up, I glanced at his face, oh how peaceful he look. The hard cover mask relaxed, as it always did when he slept. A satisfying smile broke across my face, knowing that any cares he had, disappeared in his sleep. What I would do to have that! I thought, but no, my life found the door to my dreams, seeming as if to put me in endless misery.
Thoughts of the dream flooded through my mind, filling me with dread. Maybe a walk would help, I suggested to myself, although not daring to speak aloud, for fear of waking him. My footsteps crunched the dead leaves on the forest floor. Most of the trees barely had any leaves, and those that were left looked as if they were going to drop any second. Pausing to rest close to a tree, I couldn’t help but let fear grab hold of me as I finally realized who the prince was searching for; us.
A rustling among the leaves startled me. Without looking up I spoke with ferocity that even I didn’t expect, “Who’s there?” Although I thought I already knew; the prince’s men. It didn’t occur to me at that moment that I didn’t hear a large group of people just one person.
“I woke up and you weren’t there,” he paused as he looked me in the eyes for a moment and then lowered his gaze. “I was worried,” he murmured inaudibly, “Worried about you.”
All my tension and hostility disappeared as I flung my arms around his neck. As he wrapped his arms tightly around my waist, he whispered into my ear “Everything’s going to be alright, I promise you that.” Before he could go on, I forced myself closer to him, and he let out a silent laugh. “You know I lose my train of thought when you do that”. “Lets head back”, he breathed, and wrapped his arm around my waist.
After the traps were made, he called me over in a too proud voice. Smiling to myself as I quickly headed towards him, he gently took my hand and pulled me towards him. Looking ahead of me, I was bemused by the contraption he created. Wooden crates stood aligned next to each other, with dead mice in the corner. No trees were overhead, so that the birds wouldn’t be as hesitant as they noticed the easy prey.
“You did a very fine job” I commented through pierced lips, as if sorrow were taking over me for the creatures we kept over, although my hunger got the best of me.