Waking Up

This is a scene from my current NaNo.  Dermot has just been captured by my antagonists.  It was partially inspired by a phrase prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (Sorrow was like the wind).


Dermot moaned softly as he came back to himself.  He was aware of many things in rapid succession.  He was wearing clothing that was not his own.  He was stretched out on a bed in a room that was both darker and smaller than his own bedroom.  He was completely alone.  His head ached and he had a horrible taste in his mouth.

Swallowing thickly, he pushed himself upright and surveyed his surroundings.  The room was windowless, with only the cot on which he’d been sleeping inside it.  He frowned at the soft cotton tunic and trousers he wore.  They were plain and serviceable, but he’d never seen them before.  Someone had changed him into the clothing.  Who?  Where was his clothing?  Where was he?

He gasped as he remembered the rush to beat Reardon to the office.  He’d meant to warn Lieutenant Clancy.  Was his superior all right?  He swallowed again and slipped off the bed, only to sit back down heavily when the door of his cell opened.

“Finley,” Reardon said, his voice low.  “I see you are awake.  Are you prepared to work?”

“Work?” Dermot repeated.  He shook his head and then shrank back as Reardon strode towards him with purposeful steps.  “I’m sorry,” he breathed, as the man raised a hand as if to strike him.  He squeaked when Reardon caught his wrist and pulled him to his feet.  “I just… what work?  What do you want of me?”

Drawing him towards the doorway, Reardon said, “You are here for one purpose, Finley: to serve me however I determine you should.  You will cook and clean and do whatever else I determine that I need you to do.  Is that clear?”

“Aye, sir,” Dermot said.  He released a shuddering breath as Reardon dragged him through a maze of corridors and down three flights of stairs.  Finally, they were at the entrance to a large room that could only be a kitchen.  Reardon shoved him through the opening.

As Dermot stumbled into the room, he heard Reardon say, “Put him to work, Hannah.”

A shudder swept through Dermot and he glanced around.  A petite woman peered around the edge of a counter and smirked at him.  “It’s about time they got me some decent help,” she snapped.  “Ordering me about like a servant… honestly, I tell you.”  She broke off and then stepped completely into view.

Dermot blinked at her, taking in the vibrant red hair and pointed ears tipped with black.  She had four fox tails swishing behind the fabric of her skirts.  Ducking his head, Dermot said, “G-good day, ma’am.”

“I’m Hannah Kriemhild,” she said, her ears flicking.  “We’re supposed to make this place livable, assuming you’re at all skilled that shouldn’t be a problem.  Find some water and you can get to work washing the breakfast dishes.”

“Aye, ma’am,” Dermot said, blinking.  It didn’t take a genius to realize what she’d meant when she’d told him to find water.  He was meant to craft it by illusion.  His ears pinned as he began to scan the room.  Where was the most likely place to find water?

“Try not to fret too much, Derry,” Hannah said, her tone suddenly gentle.  “Around here… sorrow is like the wind.  It’s constant and something you live with, but it’s seldom overwhelming.”

Dermot gave her a wry smile.  “Thanks for that,” he said, nodding.  He strode over to a cupboard and smirked.  “What an odd place to hide the water pump,” he said.

“An odd place indeed, little one,” Hannah said, rolling her eyes.  Both of them knew better than to question Dermot’s find.


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