It’s been two weeks since my lessons with Sage. Her absence has me worried.
“Hand me that jar of crow feathers, Maura.” My mother points to the shelf against the wall.
I hate being in her witchy work area below the house. It smells musty. Plus, I sense death. Like as though she has secret places hiding prisoners away in one of her locked up rooms. All the doors to them are sealed with dark magic, so, I wouldn’t be able to peek anyway. I never hear any sounds coming from the other side, but there is a sense of fear.
“Maura,” my mother cries disrupting my thoughts. “I do say you have been a million miles away the last two weeks. What has gotten into you?”
You. You have distracted me, and I can’t wait to leave this place. “Nothing, I was just trying to remember this spell you’re teaching me,” I lie.
I glance at all three doors briefly before asking, “What do you hide behind there?”
She scans in the direction of my stare. “Food.”
“If it’s food then why do you keep the room locked?”
My mother smiles. I don’t like her expression. “Well,” she says, while grating the skin of a carrot into the bowl of mixture, “some of the groceries might try to escape. We can’t be too cautious.”
“I don’t understand.” I squint, is she saying what I think she is?
“Perhaps it’s time I show you. Food is hard to come by around here. You know, with the constant wars going on in our part of the world, we need to eat.”
Walking to one of the three doors, she hums, picking the middle one. Her palm glows a bright emerald, before waving it in the air to release the lock. Opening the door, she adds, “This is where we keep the livestock.”
I listen, but don’t hear any animals, instead, moans of people gasp, and mutter words, crying out for help. Dirty knotted hands, slip through the cell bars on either side of the chamber. “I’m so hungry,” one voice calls. Another cell next to her, cries, “Please, let us out.” He jerks at the bars but fails to free himself.
My throat goes dry, and I need air, but it’s too late. We’re deep in her little jail cubicles for me to turn back now. Besides if she found out how I really feel I might end up in here myself.
My mother throws the carrot she was peeling through the cell bars of the woman asking for food.
The prisoner scrambles backwards looking for it on the dirt floor. “Thank you.”
One detainee catches my eye. His eyes a bright blue and his hair as white as a winter’s day. I’ve heard about people having this strange appearance, but never have I come across any.
My mother notices me staring. “Ah, I see you have met Arik. Son of the famous Princess Isobel Deagon and Sir Gavin Storm.
“Mother, you have kidnapped the prince?” My mind reels that she would have such balls to pull this off. “Do you know what they will do to you when they find out?”
She sneers. “Perfectly aware.” She tilts her head staring at him. “And they don’t have the power to defeat me. Besides, I’ve done my homework. They won’t ever find him.”