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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Contest · #1582471
The Escape Begins Prompt: use chore, hole and bar
He could hear the soft thumps as his bare feet hit the cool, sodden earth. He began to run even before his eyes could adjust from the bright torches lighting the courtyard from which he had just escaped.

Speed was the key, he thought, distance from the hole in which he had been imprisoned. A quick glance at the mostly lit moon told him it was before the middle of the night, and he was heading southeast. Not the direction he needed to get back to the fortified city of Kumran, but his job right now was not to be noticed from the walls. Hunger had sapped his body of strength and his muscles had lain unused for two hands of days, but these were the tools he had been left with.

The runner choose a shape on the shadowy horizon and aimed for it while he tried to ignore the mounting pain.

He had been so surprised when the metal cuff around his ankle had simply fallen open, that he forgot the fantasies his mind had dreamed up if he could just get free. His only thought was to flee, not be caught, not brought back to that place of pain with no hope of release.

His hopes to free his fellow prisoners had fled in that fear. Images of finding a sword and killing the ogre that had smashed his right hand with an iron bar had vanished in the panic of escape. The dreamy lust of slaying his goblin jailers ran full force into the lack of a weapon, even a knife. Dreams of wrapping two good hands around the throat of the hooded man who stood in the shadows and asked his questions, evaporated in the sudden reality.

The throbbing in his ruined hand broke his trance. His legs and lungs competing to burn the most. His will weighed the pains and kept on running. He tried to imagine his wife's face, his children playing, anything to lend him strength. His recapture could endanger them as well as the whole city.

A sudden flash of light right in front of him caused a stumble which quickly turned into the collapse of his whole body. He rolled to his back to protect his damaged hand and strained not to make a sound. Holding his breath to keep from shouting in pain, he could hear his heart pound in his chest. He was reclining on a grass covered bank which stretched out to his right and left in an almost straight line in the silvery light. Looking back across his path he saw his former prison for the first time.

A pair of towers, one much larger and taller than the other. The walls looked short but he knew the light of the moon could be deceptive. Tiny flames on the walls and in the tower had to be torches of guards and occupied rooms. He would not be returning, not without an army at his back.

As his breathing calmed he listened for any sounds of alarm coming across the field. Nothing could be heard above the soft sound of water moving, and he knew what he had seen in the moonlight. He carefully rose on pain filled legs and turned from the towers. The bank he had rested on was one shore of a river, perfectly flat and straight, he had to watch for a moment to detect the direction of flow. Fear abated and was suddenly replaced with thirst.

He scrambled up and over the bank. The first part of his escape was over, he was free of his cell and away from his enemies. But the path home was unknown and his eventual freedom far from settled.

Word Count 623/623 total
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