A Dance With Fire (Excerpt)

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The Man I

The Man

The room dark, dust heavy and warm, he opened his eyes with a struggle his eyelids sticking together with dirt and sweat. Although it was dark what little light there was felt like red hot pokers piercing his eyes. Feeling around he felt stone and sawdust. It was warm in this place far, from a comfortable warm, almost unnatural, it was radiating from the walls.

He finally managed to open his eyes. The room was not unlike an old barn, but clearly it was underground, perhaps not far underground, but there was no natural light and the windows were full of dirt and stone. Scanning the room he noticed the door, what seemed like a thick oak door reinforced with steel bars and what looked like green glass spheres that almost felt cold but warm at the same time.

Why was he here? The question was at the front of his mind. It did not make sense, he was not here what seemed only moments ago. The place he came from was hell compared to this, though he was not exactly happy with his current home.

“Who are you?” A voice suddenly said, from behind him. He spun around on his heels as fast as he could, but he saw nothing… It was dark but he should see someone.

“Where are you?” He said scanning the room. There was nowhere to hide that he could see. There was a wooden beam in the center of the room but it was not thick enough to hide behind and there were holes in it.

“Who… Are you?” The voice asked again this time showing less patience with the question.

“I have no name, I lost that right a long time ago.” That seemed like the best answer to give, it was true and it still afforded him some power in the conversion.

“A nameless man enters my kingdom, does he intend harm I wonder… Or better yet could he harm?” The voice seemed almost smug.

“I have no name because I lost my right to it a long time ago, and i mean you no harm. In truth I do not know where I am. I was not here moments ago… But I get the feeling i have been here for longer than i think?” He almost did not want to know.

The voice gave a long pause, almost thinking about how to reply to his question. Finally after a time the voice asked, “Your name?” The question was followed by short sharp scrap of metal on stone.

“Jonathan Knott, for what it is worth.” John hated saying his name, but to get answers it was worth it.

“Hmm… I wonder I do indeed wonder.” The voice was more clear now. John could make out that it was coming from a dark corner of the room. Squinting he could see a man. Very thin, but very tall. He towered over John by at least a foot, having to lower his head so as not to bump it on the rafter and ceiling. “Are you a killer?” The man was in the light now, he wore nothing but a scrap of cloth to cover his lower half and a thin scrap that hung from around his neck. He was deathly thin, his ribs easy to see, and although small scars covered his body, his face was oddly clean of dirt and scars. All john could think was if this man was in good health and fit he would make an impressive warrior.

John was taken aback by the question, what did it matter? “I have killed, yes.” He paused a moment, “why is that important?” He asked.

The Man glanced at John with wide green eyes almost searching for something, “What is important? Your survival that’s what, and mine. If it should come down to it would you attack me if it meant saving your own life?” The man asked his face keeping its searching stare.

How was john to answer, would he say yes and risk this giant’s wrath he was certainly big enough to cause John harm quite easily. “How could I answer that? I do not know what our circumstances are. Plus I am not in the habit of killing with no reason.” John spoke bluntly.

The man’s head turned awkwardly towards John, his head almost turning independent of his neck

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