Novel: Reaper’s Puppet (Chapter 2)

Chapter 2: Imprisoned

The prussian skies open. The deluge began. The trees opened their owns out wide, the warmth of the rain felt refreshing, after the cold darkness had fallen. Dull brown leaves became revitalised in the downpour, the colour returning to their cheeks. A derelict prison lie, hidden inside the dark forest. It stood alone, isolated from the world. Moss decorated the outside walls, ivy vines grew in the gaps of eroded bricks.

A small wooden carriage, drawn by three horses. The midnight black led his younger brothers, their hooves clomping through the thick mud. The carriage rattled over small bumps in the road. Commander Grey sat uncomfortably inside, resting his armored body against barely cushioned seats. He folded his arms, his legs crossed looking down at the floor. Beside him sat his second in command, Julian Jones, who stared anxiously out the window.

“Where are we going, Sir?” he asked puzzled with his surroundings.

Commander Grey sighed, “Why must you always ask stupid questions, Julian?” he queried. The young guard glared at his older colleague.

“It appears we are not following the usual route to the prison,” Julian commented.

Grey peered out the window, “That’s because we are not going to the usual place. A criminal as dangerous enough to murder her own mother, and spend fourteen years running from the law, such as Avalin Young will rot in this derelict prison for eternity.” Julian turned to face his commander, his opals widening in horror.

“But why this particular prison, Sir?” he asked sheepishly. Grey grunted, the corners of his lips turning up into a dark grin.

“For such disregard for the law, the girl must be punished. Where else would be better than an abandoned prison, hidden deep in this forest, to torture the outlaw. No one will hear her scream nor cry.”

Outside the carriage pulled to a sudden halt. The three brothers silenced their hooves, slowly catching their breath. Julian turned to his commander for guidance. Grey smiled, folding his arms across his chest, continuing his speech.

“This derelict prison has served as a torture chamber for thousands of years. Killing all captured enemies in warfare. This is where Avalin Young will live out the remainder of her life,” he chuckled sinisterly. Commander Grey stretched out his armored body, before kicking open the carriage door. Julian followed the commander outside the carriage.

The skies grew darker than a raven’s wing, thick grey clouds circled the bright moon. The large trees swayed in the fierce wind. Julian looked around at his surroundings, the eerie atmosphere sent chills down his spine.

He swallowed hard with fear, “This really is an abandoned forest,” he choked.

“Stop standing there catching flies, help move this body!” Grey yelled from the rear of the carriage.

A small cage was fastened to the back frame of the carriage, inside was a body curled up like a fetus. It had a slender build, clothed in ripped leather trousers, with a piece of suede covering its’ torso. Its’ feet had been stripped bare, with a heavy sack covering its’ face. The barely-breathing body lie there completely defenseless, heavily bound with rope.

“Is this?” Julian began, staring horrified at the body.

Grey chuckled, “Yes. This is the body of Avalin Young, the criminal I’ve been after her for fourteen years. Now I’ve finally caught her!” he dove into his pocket, pulling out a rusty keyring, three keys clang to the bronze hoop.

The Commander picked up the middle key, and threw it into the cage lock. He turned the key slowly into the lock, until it clicked. He pulled the cage door open.

“Julian,” Grey called.

“Yes, Sir?” he nodded in reply.

Commander Grey grabbed the prisoner by its’ bound arms. He turned to his second-in-command, “Grab the legs.”

Julian paused for a brief moment, “Why did I sign up for this?” he thought silently to himself, losing himself in his own thoughts.

“Julian!” Grey bellowed at the ignorant boy. He came back to his senses quickly.

“My apologises, Sir!” he saluted, picking up the legs of the criminal, who now laid on the dirty ground.

Julian stood frozen, Grey had wandered off again, leaving him to do his dirty work, like always.

“Hurry yourself, Julian. We don’t have all night!” Grey’s voice rung in the distance.

“Why is it always me?” Julian sighed as he hauled the bound body towards the Commander’s echoing voice.

Julian struggled lifting the body, instead he dragged it through the filthy ground. Suddenly the thick grey clouds began to cry. He found himself battling against the heavy winds and frozen tears. He was using all his strength, his armor ringing with sweat.

They reached a large derelict building, hiding deep in the heart of the forest. The walls were eroded, discoloured and cover with ivy vines snaking up the sides. All of the windows were completely scattered, and the surrounding fence had become completely rotten to the core. The sign above the opening, where a wooden door used to sit, was clinging on by its hinges, its paint barely eligible.

Commander Grey glared at the young soldier, his armored hands cupped up near his mouth. He casually lit a small cigarette with a match, snapping it in two and flicking it at Julian once he was finished. Julian stared at his commander unamused, his armor drenched in his own sweat.

“Oh Julian, you’re finally here,” Grey sighed, withdrawing the death stick from his chapped lips.

“Yes Sir, my apologises for taking longer than expected, but you see…” the young guard tried to explain. His commander peered down his nose at the boy, he blew a toxic cloud into his face. Julian coughed violently, collapsing to his armored knees as his lungs began to shrink. Commander Grey snatched his prize from his younger colleague by its’ bound torso.

“I don’t have time for your excuses, you are a disgrace to this force,” he snarled.

Grey spat his death stick at the young guard, “Bring the carriage to the door and ensure all the horses are tied down!” he demanded, kicking the boys’ shoulder, forcing him to the dirty ground.

The Commander stormed into the run-down building holding onto the captured criminal like a trash bag. He walked through the barely lit corridors, their ornate decor aged with mold and rust. Grey walked until he came to a well-lit room, inside several guards, dressed in similar attire to him. They sat at a large wooden tables with cards in their gloves.

“Is the cage prepared?” Grey called into the room.

One guard drew a death stick from his lips, “Everything is ready for the prisoner.”

Grey’s grin grew dark, “Excellent.” He left the room and continued down the corridor. The Commander pulled a large keyring from his pack, picking a small brass key from the mix. He threw the key into the rusty lock, turning it quickly. He kicked open the wooden door, and began descending a flight of stairs. The concrete steps coiled like a sleeping snake. The brick walls were eroded in places, with small foliage covering the cracks.

As the Commander ascended, the temperature began to drop. The chilly air sent shivers down his spine. At the end of the descent sat a stone hut, with large iron gates replacing the doors and windows. The metal was rusted to the core, but still had enough strength to detain any criminal. Two lanterns hung either side of the gate.

Grey dumped the girl onto the solid ground, before diving into his pocket for the keyring. He forced a tiny bronze key into the gates lock, turning it slowly. The mechanisms clicked, disconnecting, Grey left the key fixed in the lock as he picked the body up from the cold stone ground. He carried the criminal like rotten trash, throwing her to the cage floor. The sound of breaking bones echoed through the air. The Commander let a grin fall upon his lips. He bent don beside the barely breathing body, pulling a small silver dagger from his armored boot. He traced the seams of the cloth bag hugging the girls’ identity, with the blade. Grey ripped the bag open, allowing her to breathe, before attaching thick iron chains to her boney wrists. He quickly removed her muddy suede boots, replacing them with chains similar to those on her wrists. Commander Grey stood up, looking down his nose at the young girl, he felt a sigh of relief, he had captured the one criminal he had been hurting for eight years.

“I hope you will be very happy in your new home, Avalin, after all you will be here for eternity,” he grinned darkly. Grey left the cage, slamming the iron gate, the mechanisms locked together once more.

The barely breathing body lie, silent and still, dead to the world. Her pale skin covered in crimson stains around her freckled nose and peach lips. Her clothes were torn in places, the belts and scythe holsters had all been removed. The moonlight shone through the iron poles that replaced the only window. The light was a beautiful silver, that cast over the body of the young woman. Outside a shadow figure crept close to the eroded walls of the prison, until he reached Avalin’s cell. He peeked through the iron bars, blocking the gorgeous beam of light.

“There you are beautiful,” a grin appeared on his lips, as he gripped the iron bars. the figure shook the bars, in the hope they were loose, but had no luck. He sighed turning his back on the prison cell, leaning against the cold metal. The figure disappeared in a cloud of crimson smoke, leaking itself inside the prison. The smoke began to morph back into a human figure, the moonlight revealing its’ features. He was a male; roughly only five foot tall, wearing a long crimson trench coat which drowned his figure. The hood hugged his identity under the trench, he wore black trousers with thick leather boots.

Jonathan Beccles threw off his crimson hood, revealing his identity. He was young, roughly fifteen years old with piercing emerald eyes and curly ginger locks. He bend down beside the body of Avalin young, touching her white-blonde hair.

“Time to wake up, sleeping beauty,” Jonathan grinned, touching her soft pale skin.

Avalin’s brows frowned, her eyes fluttered open revealing her beautiful sapphires. She moved her bound hands up to her eye line, oblivious to the cuffs and chains. She struggling, wincing in pain as she forced her tired body to move into a sitting position. The young girl turned to face her new cell mate.

“Who are you?” she asked, finally coming to.

“Me?” Jonathan replied, placing his hand on his chest, “You can call me Little Johnny,” he smiled, holding out his glove.

Avalin glanced at his hand, “Pfft,” she snorted, “That didn’t answer my question.”

The boy grinned, “No I suppose it didn’t, did it? Oh well, if you don’t need my help getting out of,” he pointed her wrists, drawing a circle in the air, “this,” he paused getting to his feet, walking towards the prison window, “Maybe I should just leave.” There was a pause, the atmosphere silently as they stared at one another.

“It’s a shame, Avalin,” Jonathan began, “My boss was really excited to meet you,” he smiled darkly.

“How do you know my name?” Avalin asked, utterly confused. The boy paused again, the blonde became irritated.

“Answer me!” she screamed, launching her body at him, only to be restricted by her chains.

Jonathan laughed, “You have been wrongly accused Avalin Young, however no one will believe you. They never did,” he paused, “You were only even when Melissa Rose passed away from an incurable disease,” he continued.

Avalin glared at him, “Mother was sick?” she asked, slumping back on the dirty ground.

“I am part of a clan known as the Dream Eaters. We are responsible for helping those poor souls pass on,” Jonathan continued, “My boss believes you can become one of us.”

“But why me?” the young girl cried.

“Because you have suffered a lost so painful it made you stronger. You know what it’s like to be an outcast, and to be wrongly accused for a crime you did not commit. All of us share one or more of these qualities, Avalin,” he smiled, “You belong in the Dream Eaters clan.”

The young blonde looked down at her chains, “I can’t do very much stuck here,” she complained.

Little Johnny grinned, holding out his gloved hand. A small puff of smoke appeared, shape shifting into a ring with two keys.

“Use these to free yourself,” he threw the metal at the inmate, “I have to run, so when you get out of here, head for the beach. I’ll be waiting,” Jonathan saluted, preparing to leave through the window.

“Wait!” exclaimed Avalin, “This place is over run with armored guards. How am I supposed to fight them without a weapon?”

The boy placed his gloves under his chin, thinking, “Yes, I can see how that could be a problem,” he sighed, “Suppose I better give this to you now then.”

A puff of smoke appeared on the prison floor, circling around and round to form into a double ended staff. The wood was beautiful varnished oak, with curved scythe blades adorning each end, bound with crimson cloth.

“It is clearly the perfect weapon for you,” Little Johnny smiled, “Now about the condition you’re in,” he snapped his fingers, sparks flew from the click. Suddenly all of Avalin’s cuts and bruises began to fade. The blonde stared at her arms, all the crimson stains had disappeared like magic.

“Thank you,” Avalin bowed her head, beginning to unlock her chains with the keys.

Jonathan saluted disappearing into a cloud of smoke, leaking himself out of the prison cell. The mechanisms in the cuffs unlocked, Avalin quickly removed them and the ankle restrictions. When she was finished, she grabbed hold of the scythe staff, smoothing the wood with her fingers. Avalin smiled, standing up confidently with the weapon in hand. She twirled it above her head and around her slender body with ease.

“I’m ready.”

 

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