This is installment 12 of our story The Black Medallion. If you are just now joining the telling, you can catch up with the links below. Of course if you have been reading along and would like a refresher the links will work for that too.
Prisoner of the Mouse Trap
Time spent unconscious, drifted through a fuzzy realm where he had no idea where he was anymore. The pain, cut with indistinct voices, had been more than he could take. As the pain intensified his eyes cracked open.Chill, musty air filled his lungs. He had been moved.
Soft light in the distance broke the darkness. It crept around the edges of the door into the small room he woke in. His hands were bound behind him and a shackle bound his left ankle, its chain ended at the wall. It left little slack for movement.
He contorted his body into a sitting position then pushed against the wall and managed to stand. Through the struggle the blood rushed to his head. The room spun and the floor felt uneven as he fell back against the wall. Tisdan gulped in air as he fought to right his mind and perception to the world around him.
As his breathing settled and he adjusted to the space around him his mind flashed in panic. The ring. He twisted his hands across each of his fingers, all of them empty. With that he knew that the amulet had left him as well. It would be gone from his sash and now, maybe out of his life.
Jak had always told him to be prepared for anything. Forethought could get a prepared thief out of any situation and manacles were little more than practice for other locks. The manacles on his wrist had more play in them than he had expected. Not enough to break free, but they didn’t pinch his wrists and he could maneuver. He slid down the wall, and brought his hands in front of him.
Long ago he had sewn a lock pick into the lining of his vest. He worked it free in short order and then twisted it through the locks of his manacles on his wrists and ankle.
He slipped back to its home before he felt around the room. Aside from the wall he had been chained to it seemed to be a simple ten by ten room. Wooden planking covered what would have been a dirt floor. The door to the next room, though closed, had not been locked.
Light in the next room had come from a sconce similar to the ones he had seen in Jillian’s living room. A soft glow illuminated the base of the stairwell that rose like a walled tunnel to a closed door above. He stepped on the first stair and stopped. Something had changed. A twist in the air, a scrape of metal to wood, or maybe a smell. Something small that defied any logic had changed and stopped him in his tracks. Call it his survival instinct but something deep inside him screamed at him to go back.
Without another moment’s hesitation he swooped back to the place he had been chained. He snapped the manacle to his ankle as he heard voices at the top of the stairs. The scrape of the feet on the stairs masked the click as he snapped the manacles back on his wrists.
Light blasted into the room as they pushed the door open. The radiance blinded Tisdan for a moment as three dark shapes shuffled into the room. As his eyes adjusted he marked the forms of two brutes that stood to the side of the Monsignor. The gem at the top of the man’s cane glowed with the bright light that had filled the room. It dimmed slightly as he poked Tisdan in the ribs with the end.
“Undo his ankle but not his wrists. We need him mobile but not free. I see you are awake,” he said. “You have the choice to follow me on your own, or they will help you along. But either way you will be coming with me now.”
“Where are we going?” Tisdan asked.
“That is of no concern to you at the moment. You should be more concerned with what happens if you do not do as I say.”
“Rot in hell,” he knew it was a mistake even before he finished the sentence. The thug on his left rabbit punched him in the side. The pain brought him to his knees.
“I have time,” the Monsignor said. “Shall we continue?”
Tisdan stood up but did not look at him. The manacles on his wrists were clamped shut, though with enough space that he could free his hands in less than a heartbeat. All he needed to do was bide his time till the right opening presented itself.
“Take him upstairs.”
The thugs each took an arm and frog marched him to the base of the stairs. He was then pushed up ahead of one while the other blocked his clear path to the door and possible freedom.
The top of the stairs led into the room where Jillian had trapped him. She was no where to be seen. Any trace that he had been in the room was gone. The thugs pushed him through the room then out the door.
Outside there was a horse drawn carriage. The cab of was covered with the curtains drawn. He did not have long to wonder what the inside would be like. The thugs shoved him in and barred the door on the outside.
The interior was spartan, wooden benches with no cushions. The curtains hid barred windows from those outside the carriage. He was not alone. Jillian lay on the bench across from him. Though she hid her face she could not hide the sobs that wracked her body.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.