Hello, I’ve returned!
I have more of that short story I promised. To be honest, I’m kind of disregarding the fairy tale at this point in favor of Alexander’s narrative. I hope no one minds.
It’s taking longer than I thought it would, because I’m doing a lot of research on obscure things that no one will probably notice in the first place … but it’s fine.
(I know a lot about medieval medicine now, so that’s cool.)
Anyways, please enjoy! 🙂
Alexander stretched slowly, letting his joints pop one by one. He laid face down in bed, but it was colder than usual in his room. His left hand fumbled for the edges of his quilt. Instead, nails scraped dirt.
His eyes flew open. Last night. The attack.
The prince sat up hastily. His gaze darted around as he tried to piece together where he was. It was hard to see. The only light came from a single torch on the other side … of a wall made of bars.
Alexander tried to stand, but his leg buckled beneath him. Tears nearly brimmed from his eyes at the pain. His broken ankle wasn’t going to let him go anywhere soon.
It was hard to think through the sound of his racing heart. He needed to escape—get out of here. But … even if he did get out, was there anything left to go back to?
His groan of frustration came out as a wail of agony. Not only had he been captured, but he also disgraced the people he would one day rule over by being captured.
Alexander noticed a pile of wood, just outside the bars. Maybe if he could reach some, he could make a crutch and—
He froze at the sound of approaching footsteps. Shoe clicks echoing off stone walls.
The figure that approached carried a torch in one hand. It illuminated his smug smile in a grotesque way, leaving the prince disgusted. Up closer, Alexander could see the grin was composed of worn down teeth.
“Prince,” greeted the man. With the hand that wasn’t holding his source of light, he wrapped his fingers around on of the cell’s bars.
Alexander didn’t say anything in response. A glare would do.
“We have a barber that will treat your ankle later.”
Alexander burned holes into the man, using only his eyes.
“I bet you’re wondering why we attacked your kingdom?”
“Your father is dead.”
Not even a blink.
“You think I’m bluffing,” the man said flatly. He shook his head, “Alright. You don’t have to believe me.”
He turned to leave. Alexander welcomed the sight of the man’s retreating light. The door opened with the sound of metal screeching on metal.
There was a pause in the sound. The man spoke, “A word of caution, prince. If we cannot successfully ransom you according to our terms, we have ways of making you speak.”
The door slammed shut. Alexander was left with the light of one torch.
* * * * *
My father isn’t dead, Alexander rationalized to himself, if he was there would be no one to ransom me to … And besides. He addressed me as ‘prince.’ Prince, as in, not king—
The prince let out a hiss of pain through his teeth. The barber was setting Alexander’s broken ankle, but he was being rougher than necessary. Alexander’s swollen ankle was treated as if it wasn’t broken at all.
“Is that too tight?” the barber inquired, wrapping the splint with a roll of linen.
The barber nodded, “Good.”
Alexander watched warily as the barber began to pack away the herbal mixtures that had been applied to the afflicted area. He hadn’t forgiven the barber for how roughly the broken bone had been realigned, or for cutting the leg from his already tattered clothing.
The barber leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. He regarded the prince with an impossible to decipher expression. “You’re going to be down here for a long time.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I heard our family isn’t cooperating.”
The barber laughed, “I knew you didn’t recognize me.”
Alexander narrowed his eyes.
“Don’t worry—I won’t let them hurt you. This … this situation isn’t about you.” The barber picked him bag off the ground. “I have to do everything around here myself, nothing will happen that I’m unaware of.”
“Who are you?” Alexander called after him, “Wait!”
Alexander flinched. The door slammed closed.
He had only one brother … a younger one that despised their father. Despised his lack of share in the kingdom. A brother that killed their mother for spite, before fleeing into exile.
That was six years ago.
Alexander still remembered the voice of a scared child begging for help. Small fists beating into his back as he tried to comfort his sobbing brother while shaking uncontrollably himself. The poison was still on Simon’s hands.
Without any other option, he told his brother to leave the kingdom. Alexander turned in Simon for the crime of matricide after he had been gone for three days.
Alexander flushed with dread, thinking about the attack.
What if Simon killed their father too?
I hope you liked this installment! More to come in the next few weeks. 🙂
Thank you for reading! Have a lovely day!