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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Contest Entry · #1583029
Prompt: "Everybody is watching you", "Who is watching?", "Just some people"
He took his clothes off to swim the river but found it shallow enough for him to wade. Instead of exiting the far side he turned west, the direction of Kumran, and continued to wade in the soft bottom until he found a tree branch overhanging the water. After drinking his fill he used his wadded up clothes to mask his foot prints as he exited the opposite shore.

He had to figure out where he was. To do that he needed to get up high and wait for daylight. Both would make him easier to find, but there were no good choices, just less desperate ones. He started up the hillside and into the trees, walking at a pace he hoped he could keep the rest of the night.

His body moved automatically, moving upwards, around trees, keeping to open areas so he could make the best use of the moonlight. He had no idea how far away his prison was from friendlier country since he had been hit on the head, then captured. His occasional moments of lucidity, waking to find himself unable to move, at the bottom of a wagon and stripped of his armor, left him unable to make much sense of events.

His captors had questioned him about the city’s defenses, but he had refused and suffered his hand being crushed. He thanked the gods it had not been his foot! Later, the screams he had heard from the others being questioned made him rage at his impotence, then fear the same treatment if it came to his turn. He soon guessed that the quality of his arms had marked him as more important than the others, and that he was being saved, his fellow prisoners serving to get preliminary answers and information to make his interrogation more difficult to evade.

He didn't know the other prisoners, though one of the shouts had seemed familiar, but he imagined the faces of the men he commanded, men who depended on him. His mind began to wander as he continued upwards in the moonlight. He imagined freeing himself and then the other men, taking the tower. He imagined finding men too ruined to escape, begging him to help them.
If physical escape was impossible, then a plea to escape into death.

Shaking his head at the idea of killing his own men in cold blood, he kept his way following the now setting moon. A commander often had difficult decisions to make, even concerning the life of his men, but nothing like this! He imagined himself with only a dagger, in a huge cell, surrounded by his men, all chained to the walls, crippled in various ways. All begging for help, and nothing he could do to free them, at least from the walls.

“Everybody is watching you!” they say.

“Who is everybody?”

“Just some people who need your help,”
then one of them asks to be killed if he can’t escape, soon all the rest join in demanding the cu degra.

A branch slashed his face, breaking the haunting waking dream. He only had to worry about himself now.

Word Count 623/1146 total
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