The Prisoner


unleashing a hellish fury above his head. With no hood or hat, Kai threw his arms above his

head and decided it was worth bothering the pastor after all. Thunder cracked and echoed in

rolling vibrations that rattled his teeth. His body shook like a leaf. Kai knocked twice on the

wooden door, bruising his knuckles in order to be heard over the ferocious thunder and gale

force winds.

“ Kai? Come in, come in. What are you doing out there, boy? ” The pastor ’ s drawn face

was filled with shock and mild agitation, having been illuminated by a flash of forked lightning

as it struck the water far behind them.

“ I don ’ t mean to burden you, sir, but it ’ s some awful weather out here. Is there any

chance I could ride the storm out in here? I ’ ll be gone as soon as the wind lets up. ” Kai ’ s hollow

eyes gleamed with desperation.

“ Of course. Stay as long as you like, but, Kai, why were you out in the storm? ”

Another clap of booming thunder punctuated the pastor ’ s question, causing Kai to flinch.

The pastor sighed and showed the boy to the plush chaise lounge that the woodcarver had

crafted and his wife had bolstered. Kai was handed a rough quilt and, almost as if it were an

afterthought, a piece of bread.

Rattling thunder shook Kai awake. He rolled over and pulled the scratchy burlap blanket

up to his chin. It was another pitch-black night. The storm hadn ’ t exhausted itself, continuing its

assault right up until it had woken Kai up again. He shivered, remembering the night of the storm

before he lived here, the one in his nightmares. Calming his beating heart, he tried to drive off

the echoes of what had led him to be on that dock, amidst a tropical storm, on the pastor ’ s

doorstep, in the first place. In the end, the clinking of a glass bottle shattering against the floor

was the last thing he heard of the memory before the static-plagued air and exaggerated

dampness of the dungeon made goosebumps appear on his skin.

Kai huddled in his spot, trying to stop his chattering teeth and chase off the other

hauntings. Every few seconds, a plump droplet of water splashed across his right shoulder.

The rhythm became a pulse. He focused on it like one hones in on their own heartbeat.

The constant tap, tap, tap against his skin lulled him to sleep once more. He grew to ignore the

wet stickiness of the water sliding down between his shoulder blades and onto the floor beside

him. At least he didn ’ t sleep under a bone-chilling draft. Kai brought his knees closer to his

chest, tucking his elbows in as tight as he could.

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