His heart pounded away in his chest as his feet thumped against the leaf covered ground. The forest was silent except for the nightly sounds that creatures make. And his panting breath. It is hard to remain silent when fleeing for your life. He found a large tree that had fallen on its side and ducked beneath the trunk. It had fallen against its neighbor, creating a protected hallow between the two.
Straining his ears for his pursuers, he attempted to catch his breath. Faintly, he could hear the neighing of their steeds. Crunching leaves and cracking twigs approached his hiding place. He inched himself further into the hallow, making himself as small as possible. The noise was growing ever closer; until it stopped. His eyes strained in the darkness, searching for the creature his ears told him was near. The shadows dance on the ground before him, encouraged by the whispering wind.
“Yori!” came a whisper, cutting through the suddenly still air. A small face appeared in front of him, followed by an equally small body.
“Shit, Verica. I thought you were one of the bloody guards.” He chastised her. His heart has picked up its pounding pace again.
“I’m sorry,” she slid into the hollow beside him. “We should be okay here, they were following Daniel.”
“Damnit. How did they find us so quickly?” He slammed his fist onto the soft ground. This wasn’t good. Daniel was the best of them. If he got caught the rest of them didn’t have a chance.
“I don’t know,” Verica whispered. “I hope he gets away.”
“He’ll be okay, Ver. He’s better than we are at this stuff. Don’t worry about him.” Yori rested his arm over her shoulders, letting her rest her head against his chest.
“We need to keep moving. The dogs may catch our scent if we stay still too long.” He shattered the peace of the moment. Wriggling out of his hiding spot, he pulled her to her feet after him.
“But, we’ll lose our way. And you know I hate the dark.” She shuddered in the light breeze that had picked up again.
“I know. And I’m sorry, but we’ll be safer in the long run. They won’t go too far away from the castle until morning. We can do this Verica,” he encouraged, not believing a word himself. He set his sights on the path ahead of them, refusing to look back for fear the prying eyes of the guards would find them.
They set off at a brisk pace, moving as silently as the nighttime forest would allow. The shifting shadows impeded their progress, hiding hazards in their path. Suddenly the forest ended and a large field stretched before them. They continued forward, eyes darting around the area, searching for enemies.
Suddenly,the ground beneath Yori stopped. There was a muffled scream, followed by a thump. Yori, groaning and nursing a sprained wrist, gingerly got back on his feet. He was standing in a perfectly rectangular hole in the middle of the field.
“Yori? Are you okay?” Verica’s small frame peeked over the edge of the hole. Yori straightened and his head rose a few inches out of the hole.
“I’m fine, Ver. I’ll need your help getting out of here though.” He reached out with his working hand to grasp her offered hand. Together, Yori climbed from the oddly shaped hole.
“Y-Y-Yori ,” Verica stammered, “what’s that?”
Yori dusted himself off and let his gaze follow her arm, which pointed at a small stone near the end of the hole. It had his name on it.
“It’s for the hole, Ver.” Yori’s mouth had gone dry at the sight of the stone, there were still far too close to the castle.
“But why does it have your name on it?” She inched closer to him, seeking comfort.
“Because even thieves deserve a grave, Verica.”
* * *
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Copyright Sibille Rose – 2015