The King’s Road
The constant, pounding ache threatened to rip his skull apart as he woke. He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the cot, groaning with the splitting pain of every movement. It took a moment to remember he was at an inn.
He recalled having to stop for the night, because that was when the thieves came out to play on the King’s Road. He had been carrying something…
Standing, he shuffled slowly over to the cracked looking glass on the wall. Staring at his bloodshot eyes and the stubborn brown hair falling in lank waves onto his shoulders, he rubbed his face. His beard needed a good shaving. He was starting to resemble his father. He looked down for just a moment before the voice came into his mind.
You remind me of a man I once loved.
It was seductively female, and when he jumped with surprise, he knocked into the washbasin. It made a deep, metallic boom that resounded eerily as he swung around searching, but she wasn’t there.
That voice! It was the woman that had bought him a drink last night.
“You are the image of him,” the woman had said tearfully. “Please sit with me.”
He recalled deep blue eyes like sapphires and strawberry-blonde hair tied in a plait. He remembered their first drink, but the second was mostly a blur.
He had been carrying a bounty…
He tasted the familiar sweetness of the drug on his tongue as realization hit him. He flew to his rucksack and dumped its contents onto the bed.
There were some stale bread crusts and enough coppers to get him home.
The rest was gone.
He sat on the edge of the bed in numb disbelief. He had been robbed.
Halfway to Dover, Sapphire the thief smiled and tucked the precious gem back inside her cloak. Men became such fools when they thought themselves needed. They should be more careful on the King’s Road.
This excerpt meets two submission guidelines.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Karla V challenged me with “You looked down for just a moment…” and I challenged Kurt with “Your character or someone close to them is always getting sick. Write a situation under 500 words in which there is a conversation about this.”
Trifecta Week 12: image noun \ˈi-mij\ 1: a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing;especially : an imitation in solid form : statue 2 a : the optical counterpart of an object produced by an optical device (as a lens or mirror) or an electronic deviceb : a visual representation of something: as (1) : a likeness of an object produced on a photographic material (2) : a picture produced on an electronic display (as a television or computer screen) 3 a : exact likeness : semblance b : a person strikingly like another person 4 a : a tangible or visible representation : incarnation b archaic : an illusory form : apparition
These characters and the setting are based on ideas from my original YA fantasy series, “Ebony”.