Stories

The Prisoner

I woke up and there sat before me the same view I had woken to for ten years.

There you had the village of Eterten where all the people sang and dance at night around a fire to keep the place invisible. Here you could do that thing you wanted without punishment from anyone else and that was the dream before I mistook allegiance for friendship. I took what I had in life, nothing meager or what a king claim to be a proper start, then made into something that people from all over respect. They were a good peoples to me and had me proud of their actions almost daily, none took too much from the other and none that truly mattered. I had made one mistake, I put my trust into a plan that having failed landed me in prison.

See I was a very good man and I had love of many except one: The Dwarf chief of the mines nearby. The mines were large, expansive and a major factor in keeping our tiny village alive. It was all the makings of a big plan that nobody could defeat until someone spun round and told the plans elsewhere. Now I was in prison until what time I could talk myself out of it. I never should have tried to take anything at all from the people let them handle their own business and not try to organize them so they could gain what they wanted, and I wouldn’t be here now but somewhere beautiful and peaceful.

I’d been in my cell at peace because they were worried the dwarves would backtrack and attack, which they were unprepared for, and do it for me; not knowing that I wasn’t their friend just their only chance at more gold coin. Sadly, I was hearing they were losing their cool as they had defended me slight enough to make them believe that they eliminated the mines if not released. Nothing could make me feel that I had much hope or any such thing as this. A jailer returning opened the doors and crashed the gates to the cell block and there I saw the only stranger who talk to me, my imprisoner.

“You’ve been good recently?” I asked. He walked on and tossed some bread to the floor below me. “I’ve had enough bread, you take some. This bread is doing what it’s supposed to, reminding me I’m still eating it inside jail. Not that good.”

He kept going about the cells tossing bread, I caught him on the way back and said, “I could use some ale, liquor, even a pint. I’d be happy to repay you anything to get me some of those.”

The jailer snickered at the suggestion and went on his way. I yelled at him to stop yet he kept on going. Without anything more to do I sat back on my cell to the sound of the laughter of the other prisoners.

“You got close this time, boyo, maybe next time he’ll stick round to see if you have any more gold to be offering he.” A burly, mean large man screamed at me like he was doing any better. “I told you not to be mixing in my business, nobody who ever does succeeds.” He’d been locked up by the same people who’d taken me not that he’d had a better reason as he tried to start a revolt at the same time I was trying to organize the town.

Ten years of this and I still hadn’t the right mind to be at peace with the things that I’d done, they promised one day they released me; I think it was to tease me they’d mention the road I’d taken and how some still remember who I was. They had no messages for me. I stood watching the night sky through the bars, and when the moon pass into the sight of mine I’d cry for life to return the same. For it to be the similar feeling of love and adventure I’d expected forever that is until I ended here. It was no dream and the small space I could move in had grown smaller. Nowhere was there a moment of where I could sit in private and come out in a surprise to others, I was alone.

It was the tenth year of punishment and my life hadn’t gone better, I’d dreamed it before. My escape. How I’d take the spare bucket and bust a hole in the stone wall stopping my eyes from seeing long beautiful fields of green wherever they dreamt. It was here the bucket was for me to never have forgotten to do what I’d have to. And I remembered that in the end we all must die. So for that moment I forgot the reasons for life, like they had fled, and began to beat my way out.