Friday, October 30, 2009


Ranee made it to the first tree at the same time she heard dogs barking back at the keep. She hoped it was from the dogs fighting over the pastry she had thrown for the dog that met her when she was leaving. She did not have much time to wonder what the sound meant. She took one brief moment to catch her breath, then went into the forest, trying to hide herself among the shadows. She knew her way well from the many times she had hidden from her father's wrath. It would not take her long to reach the stream she would enter to hide her scent from the hunting dogs.

The loss of the pasties was a hard blow to her morale, making her feel lost at the very beginning of her escape. She would not eat anything until tomorrow evening. She tried to think of a plan while she made her way to the stream but nothing came to her mind. She had no real idea of where she could go. She had rarely gone anywhere other than the area around her home. She would not expect any of her father's serfs to take her in and shelter her. That would be too dangerous for them all.

There were blue berry bushes near the stream where she was going to enter it. She took the time to eat several handfuls of the sweet fruit before stepping into the cold water, rushing water. She knew that if she went upstream she would reach the keep of their closest neighbors. Normally, she would avoid going in that direction but she thought her father would expect her to go in the direction where fewer people would be so she would go towards their neighbors but skirt around their holdings, staying far enough away to avoid them but close enough to confuse anyone following her.

By the time she reached their neighbors' holdings, her feet were numb and her legs were tired. She stepped out of the creek where the women came to wash their clothes. She needed to find somewhere to hide herself very soon. The sun would be breaching the horizon soon. She would hide in the wash house. The smell of the aging urine would be strong enough to mask her smell. A day of discomfort would be a small price to pay for her freedom.

Ranee crept up to the building. There was no lock on the door because no one would want to steal anything in the building as it only contained barrels of urine fermenting in the building with no windows. While the liquid was valuable for bleaching the woolen garments everyone wore, it wasn't valuable enough to take. Not to mention the foul stench. Ranee almost threw up when she first went in.

She covered her mouth and her nose with her shawl. She made her way to a back corner and scrunched down behind a large covered barrel of piss. There was enough room for her to lie down. She rested her head on her bundle. It was warm in the shed so she needed no cover. Despite the horrible smell, Ranee fell asleep from her exhaustion. It was Sunday, so she knew no one would come here today to do any washing. Only the most necessary work was done on Sundays and washing was not one of the chores that needed to be done. She slept all day, not stirring until a mouse ran over her out stretched hand resting in the straw covering the floor.

She couldn't bring herself to eat in the shed. The smell was too bad and made her stomach queasy. Ranee squinted through the boards of the building and saw no light outside. She rose from the floor and crept through the dark room. She knocked into one of the barrels and a wooden bucket fell to the floor. Ranee stood still, holding her breath for several heartbeats. When she heard no other noises she continued more cautiously towards the door. When she reached it she edged it open and looked out.

Full night was upon her and no one was about. All was quiet and still. She left the shed and went around the corner and stepped into another body. She was grabbed around the waist and a hand was clamped over her mouth. She couldn't see the face of her captor but she could tell the person was a man who was much larger than she was.

She was dragged back to the bleaching shed, and pulled inside. She struggled to free herself but only ended up getting herself thrown to the ground, the wind knocked from her lungs as the body of her captor covered hers, his hand never leaving her mouth. Ranee attempted to kick the man or knee him in the groin but he wove his legs around hers so she could not move. She tried to open her mouth enough to bite his hand but his hand was so large it kept her jaw closed shut. He was so heavy upon her she could not breath.

Ranee tried shift her head around to loosen his grip but only succeeded in getting a look at the door to the shed. She saw a flicker of candle light and the face of a woman in the door way. Ranee grunted at the woman for help but the woman only fled when she saw Ranee covered by the male bulk. Ranee's eyes must have given some warning to the man because be looked away from her for a second which was long enough for Ranee to get her mouth free and she began to scream with all of her might.

"Stop screaming," the man said into her ear. "You will get us caught."

Ranee just continued to scream.

The man got up from her, grabbed her while she kept screaming and slung her over his shoulder. She stopped screaming when his shoulder made contact with her stomach but she soon was back at it. The man smacked her on her butt which surprised her into silence.

"Thank God," he said. "They are bound to find us with all of the noise you are making."

"Good." Ranee manged the one word between the jolts of her ride on the man's shoulder.

He came to an abrupt halt and Ranee found herself swaying on her feet looking into the face of her captor. She saw fire light dancing in his eyes. He spun her around and she was facing a group of men with torches, her father in the front of the pack.

"We have found the kidnapper," said the Margrave, "and found your prize, Baron."

A man a good two heads shorter than her father stepped forward with his torch held in front of him. He came within an arms length of her, wrinkled his nose and stepped back again.

"She stinks," he said. "Where did you two bed down, cousin? A pig sty?"

The man behind Ranee stepped forward into the light.

"We did not bed down anywhere, Surat." The Baron's cousin moved closer to his relative. "We just bumped into one another."

"Liar," said the Margrave. "Who is this man, Baron?"

"This, Margrave Uradel, is my cousin, Hyd, and I am not surprised he has tried to kidnap my bride."


weirsdo said...

This one seems very gothic.

Sandi McBride said...

Shades of Barbara Cartland, very well done so far!