Chapter 24, Part 1

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Hello Everyone! I'm back, and the story can continue! Thanks for being patient. Part 2 of this installment will be posted later this weekend, hopefully by Sunday. It's still being edited, but for now, you can catch up with Rene. If you recall, the last time you saw him, he was thrown in jail...

The stench of his cell made him want to wretch. He could feel tiny vermin crawling all over him, but with his hands still tightly bound, it was impossible to scratch every itch. A single hanging lantern, suspended from the ceiling by a rusty chain, provided a dim light, but it seemed better not to see clearly. It was wretched enough to smell his prison room. He didn’t need to see the details of it. He could hear the sounds of mice and rats...their hideous squeaks and their nails scraping the beams overhead. Never in his life had he been in such a hellish place.

But even in the midst of his captivity, his mind was working fast.

Other prisoners might have been content to sit in fear and submission, praying for a miracle. What good was that? No one was coming to help him...so he would just have to help himself.

There was only one sentry outside of the cell. Since his captors had imprisoned him, he hadn’t seen or heard a soul, except for this one guard. He was a stout, short man with a nasty temper, which he’d already unleashed several times. At the slightest disturbance, he would rap the bars of the door and shout a threat, usually with an expletive.

Rene realized what an advantage that could be, if he played it just right.

Rising from the wooden bench, he went to the door and stuck his chin between the bars. Pursing his lips, he began whistling...and was instantly answered with a nasty reprimand.

“Shut your hole before I shut it for you! And get away from that door!”

A moment of silence passed. Until Rene began again. The angry guard got up from his chair, and using his baton, he slammed it at the bars.

“Get back from this door and shut your mouth, unless you want me to come in there and thump your skull!”

Rene stared him in the eye, challenging him. “You lack the stones.”

The guard’s eyes flashed with growing fury.

“Do not tempt me, boy.”

With a tiny smirk, Rene’s words were spoken in a low, taunting voice. “Was your mother a goat, or just a common whore?”

The key turned in the lock. Moving back against the wall, Rene waited for the moment to strike. The door flew open, and he didn’t hesitate. Flinging his bound hands around the guard’s neck, he yanked the rope tight. They struggled violently for several minutes, until Rene hit his captive’s head against the wall. The body went limp. He let a few moments of caution pass before dropping the guard to the floor. It was unlikely he was dead. He would soon wake with a horrific headache, and the shameful realization that his prisoner had got the best of him.

But there was no time to think of that now.

Working quickly, he searched the guard’s clothing, hoping to find a knife or dagger. He found a blade in the guard’s belt, and holding the hilt between his knees, he sliced his rope bindings in two. There was little time to rejoice in his freedom. Quickly, he traded his own clothing with the guard’s. Lord, the smell of the garments was pungent and disgusting. But he would endure it. He knew he had to. Dragging the body over to the wooden bench, he hefted it up and rolled him on his back, giving him the appearance of being asleep. Taking the keys, he let himself out and locked the door behind him, looking about to see if the commotion had brought any attention.

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