The Prisoner


He shimmied out and looked toward the single driver. Fate was on Kai ’ s side, and he

quickly steadied himself, righting the blankets and gripping the edge of the cart. He flung himself

over the side and rolled toward the grass that lined the cleared pathway, glancing at the cart

before he melted into the woods. He ran and ran until he couldn ’ t run any longer. He flopped

down on a bed of moss and slept, forgetting his problems for a few brief hours.

When he had woken up, his stomach protested loudly. He glanced around, hoping for

any sign of life, but finding none. He got up and began walking. Birds chirped happily from their

nests. Once or twice, he followed the trail of a bird as it flew through the air, temporarily

distracted. It was in doing so that he was led to a stream of water as pure as diamonds. He drank

greedily. As he began to explore the area, looking for a cave or crevice to lie in, twigs cracked.

He dove behind a tree, crouching to make himself smaller.

Voices had approached him then, though he neither understood what they said nor cared

to remember as the thunder roared, breaking his concentration on the invading memory. He

screwed his eyes shut tighter and forced himself to become part of the memory again, right down

to believing he smelled the crisp scent of pine trees and the rough bark beneath his fingers.

A heavy thud made him jump in his skin. He ’ d eyed it, the nerves clenching tighter when

he saw one of their bags placed close to him. Another, much larger bag was placed next to that,

and the voices retreated a little.

Curiosity had gotten the better of him and he crept over to the smaller bag, swallowing a

squeak when he saw its contents. One shining apple sat in the bag amongst other, less

remarkable things — namely scraps of paper and a compass. His mouth watered as he held the

apple up to his face. Tucking it into his inner jacket pocket, he backed away from his spot and

snuck away, not noticing the golden crest on the bag ’ s flap.

That was the first time he had truly stolen food from someone directly. Kai liked to think,

and still thought, that stealing from food stores wasn ’ t as much of an offense as the kind of theft

he ’ d committed that day.

It was that kind of stealing that had gotten him caught, though he ’ d become so brazen

that one day, he stole into the bakery while the baker was speaking with a customer. He took a

loaf of golden bread from the domed clay hearth, the fire licking at the paddle he used to take it

from the flames. Kai had successfully gotten it onto the table and located a cloth to wrap it in

when the baker began shouting at him. Without another thought, he scooped up the bread and

Made with FlippingBook Publishing Software