Shadow of a Flower - Chapter Six

To Charlotte’s astonishment, Delaney was starting to look panicked. She stood in silence as he stuck his head out the window, spinning it rapidly from side to side, up and down, all while cursing to himself.
“This is impossible!” he yelled. “What kind of imbecile designed this place?!”
“Obviously whoever it was didn’t intend on allowing easy escapes for thieves. How inconsiderate.” Charlotte commented, sarcastically. Delaney spun around and grabbed her face with one hand and her throat with the other, his crystal-blue eyes darting madly from one of her eyes to the other. Charlotte held her breath, but maintained eye contact with Delaney. After a tense few moments had passed, Delaney let her go and marched over to the long, decorative curtains. Charlotte staggered back, clutching her neck. Before she could protest, Delaney drew his sword and hacked away at the curtains. Better he take out his anger on them than me. Charlotte heard rapid footsteps coming from down the corridor.
“Corbin, they’re coming.” She muttered. Delaney didn’t respond. He lifted the destroyed curtain off the ground and rushed over to the window.
“Over here.” He said bluntly. “Hold on to this.” Charlotte took a corner of the curtain in each of her hands.
“What are we doing?” She asked.
“Just don’t let go.” Delaney demanded as he pulled her towards the edge of the window. That’s when Charlotte realised what he had planned.
“No. No! This is madness!” She cried.
“There’s no other way! If they don’t take our heads they’re certainly take our hands!” Delaney barked. The heavy door to the throne room swung open, revealing dozens of guards, swords at the ready.
“Jump!” Delaney commanded.

For what felt like a lifetime, Charlotte couldn’t breathe. Air gushed past her face and her insides seemed to shift upwards. Her knuckles were white from clenching the curtain and her nails, though short, dug into the palms of her hands. And then there was the indescribable ice that ran up her entire body, from her toes to her head. And then time itself seemed to stand still. Charlotte opened her eyes. She couldn’t see anything. She couldn’t hear anything. All she could feel was the cold. Am I dead? Suddenly she was dragged upwards by some invisible force. Charlotte breathed deeply as welcome air filled her lungs. She looked around, bewildered, as Delaney dragged her out of the moat.
“Let go of the curtain, Charlotte.” He gasped.
“I don’t think I can.” Delaney pried her hands open and kicked the curtain aside before pulling Charlotte onto her feet.
“Come on, the latrine chutes are around the corner, we have to hurry.” Delaney took most of Charlotte’s weight as they staggered over to the cart. Delaney lifted Charlotte, placed her into the cart and pulled down the canvas sheet. Before long, the cart was moving. Charlotte lied down. She didn’t know where Delaney had gotten a horse, nor did she want to know. She was alive, head and hands intact, and for the time being that was enough.

Charlotte awoke some time later. She could see sunlight seeping into the cart from between gaps in the canvas roof. Outside the cart, Delaney was busy boiling some rabbit meat for breakfast when he heard Charlotte scream. Glancing over at the cart, he noticed her stick her head outside.
“What happened to my clothes?” She hissed.
“They were soaking wet, so I removed them. I don’t need you getting sick on our journey.” He replied casually. Charlotte’s face began to glow red.
“I’ll have you know I am a lady of Faolin! My father is a well-respected lord who has power over several estates! And this kind of behaviour cannot go unpunished!” Delaney laughed.
“I don’t really care who you or your father are. We aren’t even in Faolin anymore,” Delaney smirked a little, “so please, my lady, punish me with whatever means you have…” Charlotte looked shocked.
“We…we aren’t in Faolin?” Delaney was almost disappointed she didn’t react to his lewd comment. “I’ve never been outside of Faolin boundaries before.” Charlotte muttered while staring at the ground before pulling her head back inside the cart. She sat down on the cold wood and hugged her knees up to her chest. For the first time in her life, Charlotte felt completely lost. She didn’t know where she was or what awaited her. She didn’t even know where her clothes were. And she knew hardly anything about the man who removed them. Her thoughts were interrupted by a clearing of the throat. She looked over her shoulder to see her clothes had been placed in the cart, neatly folded and dry.

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Novel / Novella
writing Rinskinski
"Painters paint their pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence." - Leopold Stokowski

"Do you know that our soul is composed of harmony?" - Leonardo da Vinci
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The escape.