ThaththornsGuy and Mark Lawrence are having a 300 word flash-fiction competition. I took time away from the fae to cobble this together.
The tunnel was damp and thick with the stench of rot. She lifted the hem of her nightgown higher, exposing ankles that she would never have dared bare in the daylight.
“Why would he come here?” she asked again, hating the way her voice sounded. It was the voice of a little girl. Not of a woman almost fifteen.
“I was just told to fetch you, Young Miss. Keep you safe. We don’t want you vanishing like your sister did. Do we, Young Miss?”
Reacher’s breath was hot on her neck, she hadn’t realised he stood so close behind her. His breath stank of stale ale and the food that must be trapped between his twisted teeth. There was a reason they called him ‘Reeker’ behind his back.
She shuddered, hoping it would pass for a shiver in the light of his lantern as they turned another corner in the sewers. Had things gone so badly she needed to hide in these drains? Reacher was a long-trusted servant but why not send a guard? Someone who could actually protect her?
The lantern light slipped past her to play over the rusted grate blocking their path. A blanket lay bundled up against the wet stones.
“How do we get through?” She asked, looking back at Reacher. His face seemed so alive all of a sudden. A light shone in his eyes that she’d never seen before. Excitement? Fear?
“Don’t worry, Young Miss. I’ve a key that will sort you.” His words shuddered out, riding on breath moving too fast for the words to find purchase.
The knife parted her throat so easily, like a hand stroking silk. She slumped down beside the blanket, the skeleton underneath suddenly so clear.
“All men are liars.” Her mother’s words, suddenly so true.