Excerpt from The Journey

My good people, I have just received news from these fine soldiers, that the king will be holding a ball for Crown Prince Joshua in the next couple of days.” He paused. He was trying to make sure that he could get his lie out without alarming anyone. He then looked back at Hugo, who was standing behind him with an evil look on his face, and piercing eyes that screamed: “IF YOU DON’T FINISH, YOU WILL DIE!”

In order to avoid death, Thomas put on a big smile and continued, “That being said, they would like for all the young eligible women preferable between the ages of 17 and 18 to come with them back to the castle tonight. If you would please get your daughters ready for the trip, the carriages will pull out soon. That is all.”

After he had finished speaking, the people rushed home, in order to get their daughters ready for what they believed would be a blissful occasion.
Thomas slowly backed away from the balcony and into the room, letting the door shut behind him. In that moment he felt lower than a slave in the castle. All he wanted was to open up that door and tell his people to run. But from what? This man had yet to give him an explanation as to why the king wanted these girls, and his gut was telling him that whatever the reason was, it couldn’t be good and he should avoid asking anymore questions. However, his duty as the town mayor and own guilty conscious was eating away at him like a virus of some sort, that could only be cured by asking the one question he knew he shouldn’t.

In the mist of Thomas’ thoughts, Hugo joyously walked over to him, with that same look on his face. “You’ve done well Thomas.”
Hugo replied while placing a hand firmly on Thomas’ shoulder, as if they were friends who hadn’t seen each other in years.

Thomas looked up at Hugo as if he were a baby lamb separated from its mother and Hugo was the predictor lion just waiting for and opening to kill his prey. Thomas knew he was going to die, it was only a matter of time before Hugo or one of his men took their swords and ram it through his chest. Still, Thomas needed to know, he couldn’t die without learning the reason for his death, so against his better judgment  Thomas spoke, “Why are you looking for girls; when it is the traitor that you are after?”

Hugo smiled. He then took his sword and ran it through Thomas’ chest. “That is none of your concern.” He said, as Thomas fell to the floor dying with the sword still in his chest.

As the blood oozed out of him, he couldn’t help but think about the last words his wife said to him. She had told him that he was going to be a father again and this time she believed it to be that boy that he had always wanted. Her face was the last thing he wanted to see before he died, smiling back at him and joining him in the afterlife when they were older; however, that dream was no more. He would never get that opportunity, nor would he ever see the face of his unborn son.

As the noise began to fade and the room became dark, Thomas looked over towards the soldiers standing by the door. The younger one seemed familiar, only Thomas couldn’t place his face, and his words couldn’t escape his lips.

Suddenly the room with dark and Thomas was lying on the floor dead with a sword in his chest; eyes still staring at the young soldier with the same curiosity they had when he was alive