“A Picture is Worth a Thousand words.” That’s the saying I’ve heard for years. After becoming a writer, I always have wanted to take a picture and write a thousand words based on it. So, yesterday I was looking at my Writing Inspiration Board, and decided right then and there, I would do it. Kind of as a way to get me more excited about getting to writing that day. So, viola! This is what I came up with.
Why did I agree to this? This question pounds through my mind like the hoof beats of the horses ridden by the men chasing me. I run blindly down the overgrown, forest pathway. My side aches for me to stop my run, but I must keep going. The darkness is closing in, and I hold back a smirk. Perfect. I know this forest like the back of my hand. I will be able to find my way in the bitter night. The men chasing me will be forced to head back. A search party will be sent out in the morning, but by then the child and I would be long gone.
I chance a peek from the path to the child clutched tightly in my arms. He lies asleep. Wrapped tightly in my brown blanket; completely oblivious to what was happening, or the risks of this escapade. Unfortunately, I know all too well what’s at stake.
I duck quickly avoiding the thorn branch protruding into the pathway, and nearly trip over a dead tree trunk fallen across the trail. Mist is falling heavily, making the way clouded. I need to get off this path to find a safe hiding spot. I cut off the path into the fern covered forest floor.
Dodging the trees blocking my way, I bite down the urge to climb one of the mossy trunks. If it was just me, I could find a strong enough limb and swing to different trees till I was out of sight. They wouldn’t know what happened till it was to late. But with the baby in hand, I couldn’t possibly chance dropping him. Anyways, by the time it would take to climb a tree with this bundle, my pursuers would apprehend us.
A branch smacks me hard in the face, causing me to stumble backwards. The right side of my face is cut, and my cheekbone throbs having taken the blunt of it. I land hard on the ground, but manage not to drop the child. Trying to ignore the pain stinging my face, I look at the messy bunches of blanket scrunched in my right arm.
The baby whimpers, and I suck in my breath. Not only am I being chased by around ten men with weapons, but now I have to worry about if the baby will start crying. If there hadn’t been money involved with this deal…. I growl, and grit my teeth.
I’m knocked back to reality when the sound of horse hooves pound louder. Closer. I look around in a terror. That’s when I see it. A small opening in a rock not five feet away. I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t been knocked to the forest floor. It is close to the ground, and nearly hid from view by ferns, but it looks just wide enough for a person to fit inside.
I skid to the opening and shove the bundle inside. Through the heavy mist, I hear a man bark orders to the others. Trying hard not to kick the restless bundle, I hastily slide into the small gap. The rock surrounding me feels slick, and the ground is a dirt and gravel mix. Making an unpleasant resting spot.
I position the baby to where he is in front of me, and I huddle him into my arms. If he would start to cry, my body would muffle the sound.
Peeking out of the small gap, I can see my pursuers. They all wear black cloaks; their hoods hide most of their faces, and swords hang at their sides. I do a quick count. Nine. It is then I notice another man in a scarlet cloak ride up behind the others.
“Keep moving,” the red cloaked man bellows to the nine men. The men nod, and urge their horses forward.
A smile flickers across my face, and I laugh silently as they all ride onward. Careless guards. Once the hoof beats fade away into the darkness, I wait a few more minutes before sliding out of my hiding place. Rain is starting to drizzle down through the trees, and I reach in the crevice for the infant.
The baby looks up curiously with wide, brown eyes. I would think he is cute, if I hadn’t already agreed not to become attached to the thing that could mean my death. I arrange the red satchel given me to hold him on my back, and slide the baby into place. The leather strap weighs down on my shoulder, and scratches at my neck. I rearrange my shirt collar so that the leather strap is under it, and doesn’t add as much pressure on my throat.
The baby curls up, and rests his head on my back in a resting position. Trying to push back my unease at this baby’s mannerism, my eyes flicker over the shadowed area. Making sure no men were in sight, I noiselessly dart back the way I had come. All I had to do was follow the moonlit path, and meet the peculiar woman who had hired me. Then I could get the money promised me, and be done with it. The baby will be gone, and I’ll be rich.
Once on the correct path, I avoid the shafts of light filtering through the trees from the full moon overhead. Thorn bushes protrude from the side, threatening to tear at my coat, and I hear night creatures moving quietly in the undergrowth.
I creep noiselessly down the path through the night. By the time the first colors of sunrise appear on the horizon, I’m even more eager to get this over with. I stop a few feet away from the clearing assigned to our meeting and peer into it. Rays of sunlight shine brightly through the trees illuminating the large space, and glimmers off the dewdrops on the clearing’s grassy floor.
Seeing no one in the clearing, I step into as if to announce that I’m here, but no one greets me. The forest lies in silence except for the harmonious chatter of birds.
Shading my eyes, I glance towards the sun. I am right on time. Perhaps the woman is running late. I can give her half an hour. I bite down angrily on my lip. She has to show up.
I sit in the edge of the forest, hid from view, but where I could see if the woman arrived. It is two hours later; I know she isn’t going to show up. A sense of dread fills me as I pick up the baby. His curly, dark brown hair falls across his forehead, and his big, questioning eyes peek up at me. They are innocent. Trusting even. I tear my eyes away, scolding myself for my momentary liking.
It’s just a stupid baby. I can leave him in the woods, and never have to hear about it again. He will either die, or the men would find him. I sneak another look at the baby. A small smile graces his lips.
I’ve heard that a baby’s smile is irresistible. It’s then I realize that it’s true. I can’t bring myself to leave him to die. I glance around the area, before I start the hike to my hide-out. But this time, with even more caution. Because now I, a robber and a thief, am fully responsible for the kidnapping of the Crown Prince of Kaestina.
TADA! That’s what I see when I see that picture. So, what do you think? Love it? Hate it? Please comment your thoughts! :D *nervously bites nails*