Dark Part 1
I had been down in this stink-hole of a dungeon for weeks. At least I assumed it had been that long. There were no windows here. No light save for a dim torch at the farthest corner of the hall they dragged me down. I wasn’t the only one down here, just the most lively. I was used to such high standards of accommodations. The rest, well, they were barely ghosts of their former selves. With the exception of the occasional pitiful moan or groan the place was surprisingly quiet. The dark and the dank didn’t bother me much, but the smell could definitely be improved. My poor nose was filled with the stench of blood, piss, and despair. The place could definitely use a good airing out.
Too bad some prat forgot to put in a fucking window.
“Let go of me! Get off of me you, you filth!”
Well, that was certainly new. Haven’t heard screams like that since I first arrived. And did my ears deceive me, or was that a woman’s screams coming from above? Couldn’t be. The guards here were pricks but not-
The heavy wooden door slams against the dungeon wall with such force I could hear the hinges vibrate. Two guards step through, one grabbing the fading torch from the sconce on the wall while the other struggles with their new guest. It was almost funny how much trouble the guard was having to keep a hold of them, they barely came to the man’s chin. The guard had them by the waist, carrying them like a sack of flour towards my cell. Despite their obvious disadvantage, the poor devil fought like a feral cat, all claws and teeth, to get out of the guard’s grip. Their screams echoed off the dungeon walls, causing some of the other residents to stir awake.
The dead eyes of the other prisoners watched from each of their cages as the newbie was tossed into the empty cell next to mine. They rushed towards the cell door as it swung shut, banging on the bars as they screamed.
“Let me out of here! When the priest hear what you have done-”
“Ha! The priest? They’re the ones who put you here, demon’s whore!” the guard that tossed them in spat in their face, “Your father consorted with fiends and devils, and paid for it. Now it’s your turn. The temple’s got a nice warm pyre waiting for you, witch!”
“No... you’re lying. The priest would never... Let me out of here! Please! I must-”
Their cries are silenced by a loud pop. There is a soft thud, then the sound of muffled sniffling coming from further back in their cell. I couldn’t see what had happened, the guards’ shadows blocked what little light there had been, but I could guess from the sounds that one of them had cuffed the newbie.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not prone to acts of heroics. I’m used to the sights and sounds of violent acts towards others. Usually, I prefer to not get involved, but something about those muffled cries and the way those two snickered through the bars just pissed me the fuck off. So, of course, I decided to do something stupid.
“Hey, Lard Ass! Oh yeah, and your smelly, weaselly friend too! When the fuck you ladies bringing us down our dinner eh? I haven’t had one of your delicious, maggot filled rolls in weeks! And that piss you call water! Come on now, be a dear and bring me and the lads here some grub eh?”
“Shut your mouth, Devil! You’ll get your meal when we’re good and ready to give it!” the larger of the two guards shouts as he glares into my cell, spit clinging to his heavy jowls.
Not fazed by his oh so intimidating behavior, I give him a charming smile and say, “If you’re not feeling giving you could just fetch your mum for me. I’ll make a meal out of her nice and proper-”
Lard Ass might have been mostly flab, but he had a mean right hook and no qualms about using it. Felt my teeth rattle with that one.
“I said shut your mouth, whore’s son! One more word-”
I rub my bruised jaw, the smile never leaving my face, “Whore’s son? That must make us brothers then eh? Damn, Mum sure likes to get around-”
Oh, Lard Ass was pissed now.
“Listen here, you Fiend’s wank stain. When I get through with you-”
Weasel pulls on his friend’s shoulder, his shifty eyes bouncing back and forth between us and the door, “Hey, you can threaten that devil later. We need to report in or the Captain will have our heads.”
“Fine! Blast it all, fine! I’ll be back for you, Devil. Best sleep with one eye open,” he hisses at me, wagging his sausage of a finger in my face.
“Give my regards to dear old Mum won’t you?” I call out to them as the dungeon door swings shut.
I could just make out the muffled cursing of Lard Ass and Weasel’s pathetic whining as they stormed off to do gods know what. I couldn’t hold it back anymore, and I fell back into the straw mattress laughing my head off like a damned fool. My jaw stung something awful, but I didn’t care. Petty as it was I couldn’t help loving pissing those two off.
The soft sounds of quiet weeping jolted me out of my revelry. I had nearly forgotten about the newbie. Shuffling towards the bars that separated our two cells, I got as close as I could. Curiosity had always been one of my vices, and I desperately wanted to get a look at my new neighbor.
“Psst, hey. Hey hey hey don’t cry. Pigs like them aren’t worth the effort.”
Even in the dim light, I could see that their dirt and straw-covered robes must have once been a pristine white. Small, delicate hands nearly as white as the robes reached up and with shaking fingers pulled back their hood.
I lost my breath then. The Goddess herself had been tossed into the cell next to mine, there was no other explanation for it. No one could be that unearthly beautiful and not be divine. Her hair hung in loose curls down her shoulders, the torchlight making the silken strands the color of honey. Her skin looked like porcelain, smooth and creamy white. She was slim as a reed, but there was a softness to her that was quite comely. Her eyes were the palest blue I had ever seen, wide with fright and filled with unshed tears. Her lips were slightly parted as she looked towards me, full and blood red-
That’s because it was blood you fuck-wit. That old bastard had cuffed her the same as he had done me. I could see now that her cheek was swelling and blood stained her lips. The sight filled me with rage, and I wanted nothing more than to gut the pig that dared harm this angel.
She shivers as she looks at me, her thin robes doing nothing against the damp chill of this wretched place, “I-I’m not crying because of them. T-the priest, they... why did they-”
She began to weep then. Quiet, gut-wrenching sobs that had me feeling empty and worthless.
“Shh, shh, here. Don’t cry. Here,” I unwound my scarf from my neck and handed it to her, stretching my hand through the bars as far as I could reach. She hesitated for a moment, watching me like a frightened animal before very carefully taking the ragged cloth in her hands.
“It’s not much, but it’s dry and will keep you warm.”
She sniffs back her tears, clutching the rough wool to her chest, “Why... why are you being kind to me? The way you spoke to the guards I thought-”
“What? That I’m a brute like the rest of them? Sometimes I am. Sometimes I’m a complete ass, but the way I see it you have to be if you want to survive in this place. And what makes you think I’m being kind? Maybe I just don’t want your sobbing keeping me awake all night.”
She scoots away from me, hiding her face behind a curtain of honey-gold hair, “S-sorry, I didn’t-”
I lean against the bars as I try to get as comfortable as possible on the cold, stone floor, “Shh Angel, I’m teasing you. Cry if you need to. Gods know we all have at one point or another in this dump. Hell, I’d gladly give you a shoulder to cry on if you like, if it weren’t for these damned bars that is. Of course, if it wasn’t for these bars we would be free, wouldn’t we? Aw damn, there I go rambling off. Sorry about that, just been a while since there was anyone worth talking to in here. I’ll try not to bother you so you can rest.”
Those wide eyes blink at me in the dim light of the torch as she tries to get a better look at me, “You’re not bothering me. It’s just... it’s so dark in here, I can’t see you and... oh Goddess it’s so dark-”
“Hey, hey, hey shh. It’s okay. It’s just dark. You’re not scared of the dark are you?”
She shakes her head at me as she wipes the tears from her face with her palms, “N-no! M-maybe... I just-”
“You don’t have to be afraid. Not of me anyway.”
She carefully wraps the scarf around her shoulders and tries to cover herself in as much of the warm wool as possible, “T-thank you... for the scarf and... just... I wish I could repay you, but I-”
“You’re talking to me aren’t ya? That’s more than someone like me deserves. I’ve earned my spot here, but you? Not to fall into old cliches or anything but, what is a girl like you doing in a place like this?”
“I’m not s-sure. My father and I were on the way to Heimburg when the guards stopped us on the road. When they grabbed me he fought and... Oh, Goddess I ... I’ve never seen so much blood. My father... those bastards, they-”
She broke down crying then. Sorrow filled moans that had her doubled over with grief and pain. I was filled with an overwhelming urge to hold her, to offer her any comfort that I could.
She looks up at me, her pupils are blown wide in the dark, and tears streaming down her face. She inches towards me, her body trembling like a leaf in a storm. Once she is close enough I very slowly reach my hand out to her. I hold her cheek in my palm, using my thumb to dry her tears. She tenses at first, then to my surprise she leans into my touch and quietly sobs into my hand. In the dark my skin is nearly black next to hers. She is so small, her hand is only about half the size of mine as she holds onto me. I’m grateful for the dark. The last thing I wanted was to scare this poor girl more than she already had been. There was a reason those pigs called me Devil.
Once she calms down she pulls away from me and sits with her back against the bars, “T-thank you. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have cried on you like that.”
I resist the urge to touch one of her golden curls as it brushes against my shoulder, “Listen, Angel if you want to cry then cry. And if I can offer you even a small amount of comfort I am more than willing to do it.”
She peers over her shoulder at me, her face only inches from mine, “B-but, why would you?”
I shrug, trying to hide how nervous I felt then, “Why not? Got nothing better to do now do I?”
She fell asleep not long after that, curled up next to the bars of my cell with nothing but my scarf as a blanket. I stayed by her side, drifting in and out of consciousness. The straw mattress was looking tempting, but I just couldn’t pull myself away from her. I felt this strange need to protect her. This was new territory for me. I was used to being alone, I preferred it even. Don’t get attached, don’t get involved, don’t get hurt. Simple rules to live by. I like it simple. Something was telling me this girl was anything but simple. But I couldn’t bring myself to pull away.