Herveus a hers to save.., p.2
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       Herveus - A Hers To Save Short Story, p.2

          
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CHAPTER THREE

  The Night had fallen. A different kind of beast haunted the city at night. He rushed through the darkness. The occasional hand reached out to grab him. His panic made his legs move faster this night. Boisterous shouts and calls carried on the wind from the taverns he made sure to avoid. Dogs barked and men argued. His side hurt with each laboured breath. He had a destination, he ignored it all.

  A candlelight in a small dirty window gave him optimism that the old woman had not retired to bed yet. Not that I care if she has. Small fists banged upon the old yellow wooden door. “Help please.”

  A crack opened, one brown eye staring back at him. “Stop that racket boy. I'm old not deaf.”

  Herveus bent over, gasping for air. “Please. My sister's in need of a healer.”

  “You got any money, lad. My services ain't free ya know.” Her beady eye looked him up and down. Doubt clear to see.

  He reached into his pocket and held up the hard earned coin. She squinted, before a wrinkled hand shot forward, grabbing it out of his hand. “That'll do nicely. Wait there.” She vanished back inside.

  Panic seized him by the throat. His heart galloped. He lifted his hand to knock again when the door wrenched open. Dressed in black, a small bag clutched to her chest was his hope. Herveus's nostrils filled with the smell of herbs. He could only name but a few, lavender being the strongest odour. Sneezing, he wiped the snot from his nose.

  “We don't have all night, show me the way boy.” She moved her arm, indicating for him to get moving. The old lady shuffled along. Eyes watched them from the shadows. You never bothered a healer though he thought, you never knew when one would be in need of their services. Maybe that is what I should become. A small nervous chuckled escape his lips.

  “Find something funny boy?” Her hand reached out whacking him on the back of his head.

  “Ow. No, I don't,” he replied while rubbing the sting away. The lights from the houses fade as they reached the boundary of the city. Cobbled streets gave way to dirt roads. The barns shadow stood alone, overshadowing the surrounding area. The menacing silence, causing Herveus's heart to leap in his chest. He bent down to remove a loose board.

  “I ain't crawling in no mud, boy.” She huffed out a breath of air, lifting her nose in the air.

  “Okay.” He stood, prying away several planks of rotten wood. “That a big enuff hole for ya?”

  “Don't ya get cheeky with me,” she said, swatting him on the arm. “ I suppose it will have to do.” She bent, squeezing through the gap he had made.

  He heard a gasp and rushed to follow her. Hand over her mouth, eyes wide stood the healer. Why isn't she helping. He took a small step forward. The moon shining through the chinks in the roof blanketed his sister's unmoving body. Eyes closed, she looked even smaller. The whistling chime of her breathing forever hushed.

  “I'm sorry boy, we're too late.”

 

  CHAPTER FOUR

  The chorus of the birds singing in the morning lets Herveus know time was still moving. Three days he lay there, staring at his mud-stained fingers. His sister rested in a shallow grave next to him. He didn't even care that the old lady had kept the silver coin he had taken a beating for. “For my trouble,” she had said.

  His limbs ached and his tears had run dry. Even the animals that came to the stream to drink had stopped being bothered by his presence. Maybe if I stay here long enough, I will sink into the soil. A growl snapped him out of his dark thoughts. His head snapped to the side, eyes widening. A mangy dog approached Herveus. Teeth bared, hair stuck up along its back. The skin stretched over nothing but bones.

  He reached forward, hand grasping a thick branch. The dog pounced, sharp fangs gnashing. Herveus rolled away. Undeterred the dog sprang again. Swinging the stick, he missed. “Arr,” he screamed. The mongrel latched onto his arm. He lifted the wood again, this time his aim was true. Blood dripped down his arm as he held the weapon in front of him. “I'm not easy prey,” Herveus stated. The hound yapped one last time, before retreating.

  I can't stay here alone. He plucked a yellow flower and placed it on the mound of dirt. “Goodbye, Emmeline.”

  He wandered the city. His small feet taking him to the one other place he had felt safe. The noises reached him first as he slipped in unnoticed. The chime of steel meeting steel. Then the smell of copper and sweat. The warrior's muscles flexed as they battled one another. They may only be training, but the royal guards meant every swing. That will be me one day, then nothing will hurt me again.

  So lost in the movements within the circle, he didn't even notice anyone approach. The shuffling of feet gave away the intruder. Herveus looked to his left. A boy stood there. His blonde hair shone in the sun and the silver buttons upon his sanguine blood tunic gleamed. Herveus looked away. “What ya want?”

  “You do know you are not meant to be in here.” The young man's lips quirked up.

  “So what. You gonna tell on me?” Herveus sneered back.

  “No. It will be nice to have some company for once. My Father makes me observe the guards train. I find it rather dull.”

  “Huh.” Herveus gave the lad a closer look. “What's ya name?”

  “Prince Dayton at your service.” Prince Dayton gave a mock bow. “What about you?”

  “Herveus. I don't need no stinking prince as a friend.”

  “How about some food? I often raid the royal kitchens, the cook loves me.” The prince looked up with eager eyes.

  “Okay.” Herveus shrugged his shoulder's.

  The little beggar boy followed the heir to the royal castle.

  The End

 

 
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