Out of the Darkness
In the Darkness time stood still, every moment was cold and silent. There wasn't a single speck of light in my cell. Outside death shuffled down the corridor towards me, it groaned and grumbled as it fumbled for the keys to my prison.
Bright light flooded the darkness and I hissed from the back of my cell as the light hurt my eyes. They had become so accustomed to the unending blackness that the light burned them.
" Move it wench!" the guard spat as he stood beside the door if I didn't hurry he would get the whip so I scurried past him and into the dank hallway. For the millionth time I wished I had used my brain when the king exiled the Differs.
The king had made it clear, any Differ caught within the great land of Cenfold would be hanged. Yet I had trusted my friends and neighbors too much, I had never expected them to betray me to the town watch.
Some said the King had always hated Differs, people born with supernatural abilities, they said the attack was just an excuse, that it had been only a matter of time before we were viewed as a threat.
I'd always considered myself different even among the Differs I had met. There was no way you could tell just by looking at me that I was a Differ I looked completely ordinary. Not that it would matter to the King, to him we were all the same.
Burning fire slashed up my back as the guard got sick of waiting for me to stand. I winced and clambered to my feet unsteadily as it had been a very long time since I had last been allowed to stand on my own.
"Follow me... and don't even think about trying anything!" the guard ordered before setting off through the hallway as though he couldn't stand the sight of me any longer.
I was a very powerful Differ, I could manipulate light, I used to use it as a method of travel to get from one place to the other. I'd also been learning to use it as a weapon, blinding people or flooding them with light.
That was why it was such torture that my cell was so very dark. I hurried to keep up with the guard as he led me through the twisting passageways that were the bottom layers of the castle. When we passed a mirror I couldn't help but stare at my reflection.
I was from the Northern mountains and it showed in my pale skin and white blond hair. It hung in clumps down to my waist these days but I used to keep it short.
I had nice blue eyes but they were surrounded by bruise like shadows. I was sweating both from keeping up with the guard and because of my impending execution.
I was too young to die, I was only Sixteen, but the King had executed hundreds of Differs and I knew he spared no one regardless of age. Children, adults, whole families, the man was a monster who cared for nothing.
I had heard that the King liked to meet each Differ before they were executed, he was looking for the ones who had attacked him while he was riding. He wanted to personally watch them shake in their boots before they died.
I was taken to the upper levels of the castle where only the advisors to Dylan and the King himself were allowed to go.
The walls were draped in the Kings signature colors of red and gold and I was pretty sure the mahogany furniture was worth more than my whole village.
The guard shoved me into a small office which was a sea of paper and ink. This must be where they check they've got the right person. I can imagine my name scrawled in red ink on one of these pieces of paper.
Lacy Williams, They'd make sure I was really who the paper said I was before sending me off to hang. My knees were shaking, I was scared, I knew there was no way out of this but I was still foolishly hoping for a opportunity to escape.
Standing waiting with the guard I had a moment of peace knowing that at least I wasn't going to have to keep hiding from the King. After I was dead he would not be able to get to me.
I mustn't have been looking scared enough because the guard chose that moment to backhand me across the face.
Oof! somehow I didn't end up on the floor but my world did spin dangerously as I clutched my face. The guard snickered and pulled his hand back to punch me again.
"Now, now Ken, I didn't hire you to beat up my prisoners" the smooth voice caught Ken by surprise and he dropped his fist. I froze where I was as I recognized the voice that I had heard from a distance so many times. It belonged to the King.
Dylan was just as intimidating as the iron statues that stood in every town of Cenfold of him. A tall man with the bronze skin of someone who was used to being outdoors. His eyes were a hard icy blue and his hair was short and black peppered with gray.
The clothes he wore were simple brown silk but I didn't have to be close to know they must have been expensive. At least compared to my tattered blue prison shirt and pants.
"Lacy Williams, Sixteen years of age, female, powerful elemental Differ" the King read the information off one of the pieces of paper. I tried not to show that I was frightened but I knew the King could tell when his eyes softened very slightly as he glanced at me.
"I think I'll take care of this one personally, Ken bring me my knife!" I almost passed out, the King never had done this before, I would have heard if he had. Did he save this for the Differs he really wanted to see dead? Why me?
Ken fetched a beautifully carved wooden box and presented it to Dylan as I tried to slow my frantic breathing. Red, hot anger pulsed through me as I thought about all the innocent lives the King had destroyed.
"You really are a horrible man aren't you?!" I hissed even though I knew it would only get me in trouble. Ken looked like he was ready to punch me again but Dylan held up his hand.
"Leave us Ken I can handle this girl, fetch the next prisoner" Ken left the room after glaring daggers at me as if it was my fault he had to miss out on the action.
"Why would you say such a thing Lacy? You don't even know me" the King seemed almost sincere, almost. If he hadn't been holding my life in his hands I would have laughed at his attempt to bond with me before he killed me.
"You have slaughtered thousand of people, all for the actions of a few. You never show any concern for the lives you've destroyed! You have no idea how many of my friends are dead because of you!" I was so angry, but I knew better then to believe my words would affect Dylan.
The king walked towards me slowly, letting his leather boots thunk with each step until he was standing a hair away from me with the box in his hands.
"Do you want to know what your people did to me Lacy?" I shook my head but the King didn't seemed to need a answer as he was already setting down the box.
He grasped one of my hands between his own rough ones and slid it under the top of his shirt. I gasped as my fingers brushed a thick scar that slashed across his shoulder and yanked my hand back.
"Your people are dangerous Lacy, they can hurt people, I must protect my kingdom for I have seen first hand what they can do" he went back to the box and opened the lid. Out of it he lifted a slim silver blade encrusted in gems.
"This was a gift from a neighboring Kingdom, It is rather like you, beautiful, captivating, but dangerous" I shivered there was something in the Kings gaze that I had never seen before. Something I had never expected to see from the man who slaughtered my people. Something I didn't want to see.
He sauntered over to me with the knife clutched tightly in his hand. I knew that this was the end for me, that nothing would change my fate now. It would all be over soon.
"I'm sorry Lacy" he stated as he carefully moved my hair away from my neck. My heart was beating so fast I felt like I would die before the knife got close to my skin.
Dylan held up the knife and then glanced behind me cautiously before whispering in my ear.
"Lacy.... run" then he slammed the knife into my shoulder and all I could think about was white hot pain and burning. The King began to shout for his guards as I stood there dumbfounded.
In the next second I knew this would be my one chance to escape and I better take it before it was too late. I ran, leaving a barely distinguishable trail of blood behind me.
Later that day while I hid amongst caves from the soldiers of the man who had saved my life I pondered the reason for his mercy. The only conclusion I could come up with was locked firmly in my mind where denial would keep it from bursting out.
As I fell asleep amongst the boulders that reason squeezed its way out of its prison and into the forefront of my mind.
He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me...