The Prisoner


of his view from the window. At least they had left when he shooed them. Kai settled against the

wall, preparing to count the pairs of feet that passed by his ground-level window.

He had counted seven pairs when the squealing of a key in its lock brought his attention

to his door. Arty stood in the doorway with a smile on his wrinkled face. Kai sprang up, tempted

to move forward, but he restrained himself, unsure of what to do. Arty nodded and motioned him

forward, his smile growing wider. Kai noticed the flicker of sadness in his aged eyes, but didn ’ t

know what it meant.

“ It seems you ’ ve served your time, Kai. Get on now, come on, ” Arty urged him gently.

Together, they walked down the corridor, Arty ’ s hand on Kai ’ s shoulder. They passed cells,

some with faces pressed against the barred window, and some cast in complete shadow, as they

wound through the maze of halls and torches. Guards stood at attention at intervals and made no

movement as the boy and his guide passed.

They reached the end of a narrow hall where the guards had set up a table before the final

gate at the dungeon ’ s entrance. One of the guards who sat at the round wooden table stood and

unlocked the gate, allowing the pair to pass before closing it again. After traveling down a few

more winding corridors, Arty came to a halt before another solid door. Kai stepped toward it

hesitantly. Arty put a hand to Kai ’ s arm and held his other hand out.

“ It isn ’ t much, but I think you ’ ll find it helpful, ” he paused, passing a few coins to Kai.

“ One more thing: I hear the kitchens need some help. I also think there ’ s a need for errand boys,

but that could be hogwash. ” He winked and walked off the way they had come.

Kai stood, staring at the door, his hand limply gripping the few coins, the most he had

ever held at one time, and breathed heavily. Light poked through the edges of the ill-fitted door.

The handle was cool under his fingers. He grasped it tightly and twisted.

The sun blinded his eyes. He tried to shield them, but not even squeezing them tightly

and clamping his hand over them could protect them from the brightness. He blinked rapidly and

kept his head down, following whatever path his feet had decided on. Mud and wetness crept

into his worn shoes as he shuffled through the field and made his way towards what he hoped

would be the town. He rounded a corner, his eyes having fully adjusted, and looked up. It was a

high, spiraling tower. Kai wondered what was in there, and if sneaking inside could get him

thrown into the dungeon again.

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