Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

Elle awoke early, as planned, the morning that she was set to leave. She slipped on her best, and only, day dress and wrapped a shawl around her shoulders.

She wished that she could change her fate, but it was too late to do anything. She would be leaving straight away and it would be unlikely for her to see anyone who could help her on her journey.

When Elle walked into the kitchen area of the house she saw that her Pa, too, was up and dressed. It was unusual that he was up this early, so Elle couldn't help but feel as if it was all wrong.

He handed her a piece of bread. She reluctantly and hesitantly took it from him. She looked at it before she ate it. Confusion didn't even begin to explain how Elle was feeling.

Never before had her Pa prepared food for her, even if it was only slicing a piece of bread. He seemed slightly withdrawn and Elle could only wonder why. It surely couldn't be because she was leaving, could it?

"Thank you," Elle muttered, once she had finished her meagre meal.

"We need to go," He replied, grabbing his cloak and heading towards the door.

"I thought you weren't coming?" Elle said, furrowing her eyebrows.

"I'm taking you to meet my friend. He will be the one to travel with you to Vriles."

They started walking together up a hill, and it wasn't until they had reached the top that Elle realised that it was her hill. Only it didn't feel right sharing it with her Pa.

Had it only been a couple of weeks since her and James had sat here taking to each other? It seemed much further away. It had been their first proper conversation.

"Now, I have a new coat for you." Mr Winters said, handing her a rather warm looking coat. There was fur lining the inside and it was beautifully embroidered. It looked as if it had cost more than they could afford. "It will be cold up North."

"Thank you, but where did you get it?" Elle asked. Never before had he given her such a beautiful gift. Shocked was an understatement to how Elle was feeling.

"One of the village girls and her mother donated it. Don't worry, they won't tell anyone where you are going. In fact, they were really keen to help me. I didn't realise that you had enemies." Her Pa smirked as he spoke. All signs of sadness were gone.

"I wasn't aware that I did have." Elle replied. "Who gave it to you?"

"A Mrs Trivilla and her daughter, Deli- something. I can't remember exactly."

Elle couldn't help but feel deceived by Delilah. She could understand why Delilah's mother would want her gone, as she had told Elle quite boldly before. But Delilah seemed fairly innocent.

They weren't waiting for long, and soon a man in a black cloak approached them. He was fairly tall and hard dark hair.

"Ah, is this her?" he asked, looking her up and down. "You were right, she is a beauty."

Straight away Elle felt uncomfortable. The hairs on her arm were stood on end and a slight shiver passed over her.

"Indeed," her Pa replied. "I suppose you will want to leave straight away, right Zelroth?"

"Yes, we'll be off now. I have farm trailer for the girl to ride in." he said, grabbing Elle's arm.

"Please, don't hold me so tight Mr Zelroth," Elle begged, close to tears.

"You will call me sir." He replied, not releasing his grip. He began to drag Elle away.

When she looked back she noticed he Pa already walking in another direction, back down the hill. Back to her home.

The walk seemed too long, and by the time they had reached the horses and trailer, the feeling in her hand was lost. They were on a small road in the middle of the woods, surrounded by trees.

The man, Zelroth, opened the trailer up and shoved Elle down against the floor. It was only tiny and it would be very dark when the door was closed.

Before closing the door, he reached for some rope and some old cloth. He tightly wound the rope around Elle's wrists and tied them behind her back. He then used the fabric to tie around her mouth, stopping all possible communications.

Elle began to struggle, but was held strongly by the man.

"Don't struggle or I will make it worse," was the last thing he said before he locked the door.

Elle leaned back against some hay. It was uncomfortable and cramped, but she was trapped and couldn't do anything about it.

When the carriage started moving it was even more uncomfortable. The road was bumpy and there were so many twists and turns that she began to feel slightly sick.

The journey seemed to go on for hours, and when they finally stopped Elle wasn't even let out. She looked out through one of the cracks and could see Zelroth talking to another man.

"I can't stop long, just need a bit of grub to keep me going," he said. They started walking inside to a small inn together.

This was her chance to escape.

Elle tried to untie her hands, but they were bound too tightly together. Her struggling was useless.

She tried to find something sharp to cut herself free with, but her search was a waste of time. There was nothing but hay in the trailer with her.

After a few minutes Elle gave up. She was trapped and there was no escape.

Zelroth quickly returned and poked his head into the trailer.

"Still here, that's good!" he said, smirking at her. He knew that she would never be able to escape.

Elle, unable to reply, looked at the floor of the trailer. Zelroth turned away and slammed the door. It didn't take long for them to lurch back into the uncomfortable movement.

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