I was mesmerized by the sudden downpour of rain. I should have kept running, but by the time I'd gathered my wits around me, it was much too late. I was still within the city gates and confrontation was imminent.
Shadows darted and zigzagged all around me, the first hint that I was in dire trouble. Wet fingers clutched the precious book tighter to my chest, hidden beneath the folds of my cloak, close to my heart.
My feet sloshed through muddy puddles as I tried to appear as normal as possible. Running now would mean certain death. The dirty water seeped through the cloth slippers, freezing my aching feet.
Warmth radiated from the book, warming my chilled shoulders and stomach. I kept my head down, aiming for the edge of the woods. If I dared to look up, I could just see the hazy greenness. Freedom was within my grasp.
"You there! Girl! Freeze!" The command sliced through misty air.
I swallowed hard and inched forward, willing it to be some other vagabond they hailed and not me.
"I said stop! Be ye deaf?" Rough hands seized my shoulders and yanked me around.
I stumbled backwards into a cart of vegetables, the ache in my heart beginning to burn. The hood was jerked back from my face and I did not look higher than his red and brown-speckled boots.
"Lift yer arms!" He bellowed, prodding me with the end of his blunt stick.
I shook my head, inwardly bracing for the slap that followed.
"This is 'er, chief!" He broadcasted the news down the ranks that filed in, until I was completely surrounded, vegetable cart and all. "A girl in a cloak, with no arms. Tha book's got t' be on 'er."
The captain stomped to the front, with a snort of disgust upon seeing me. I knew his cruel features by heart and closed my eyes when he yanked my chin upwards. "Hand over tha book and ye ken go."
My chest began to ache as the burning grew fiercer. I shook my head as my fingers opened the book.
A ring of yellow-gold energy streamed out, knocking the guards senseless into the filth. The very breath of life was sucked out of me as the energies delivered swift punishment to my captors.
I choked and gasped until the energy returned to its vessel, the book I clasped beneath my cloak.
Breath was feeble for a moment and then my feet began to move again. Tears leaked out as I stepped over the forlorn bodies.
There was nothing I could do to help them now. They would never believe I was a bookchild. One who carried a book of the ancients and dedicated their lives to preserving the gifts within. To give up my book, meant death. For their disbeliefsthey were dead. I'd had enough darkness for today. The mist parted as I slunk past the city gates.
Sara Harricharan is a young Christian woman with a passion for writing for the Lord through faith-filled Science Fiction/Fantasy stories and pure words. www.fictionfusion.blogspot.com