The Man With The Sword

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  • Published: 31 Jan 2017
  • Updated: 31 Jan 2017
  • Status: Complete
When a man with a sword attacks the castle Annabelle runs, but he catches up to her. He has been ordered to kill her, she doesn't know what she has done to deserve to be killed, but when the person who ordered her death shows up to watch, will she find out? And does she deserve it?

Entry for the One Shot competition.

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1. The Man With The Sword

She ran down the old cracked steps that lead from the second floor down to the outside, an old path that very few people knew about, just keep running, keep running, he won’t get you. Her foot steps were loud, she was past the point of trying to keep quiet, he was following her, she knew he was, she just couldn’t hear him, but he was there.

Reaching the bottom she swung the rusted gate open, flinging herself through it as fast as she could. She still couldn’t hear him, but she wasn’t going to stop, if she stopped he’d get her. She ran through the empty courtyard, as fast as she could, the lake glistening to her right, as if nothing was happening.

Had this been a normal night she would have sat out here, maybe Johnathan would have joined her, they could have had a little picnic and then they both would have read, or maybe she would read to him, he loved it when she did the different character’s voices. He was only ten, and although he could read just as well as her he still loved her reading to him, she refused to most of the time but tonight she would have agreed. But now she’d never get to read to him again, he was gone, right in front of her eyes, taken from her.

Her father pushed her into the hallway just after it happened. It was all crazy, everyone was either running around and screaming or frozen still, too scared to breathe. She knew this day was going to come, the letters she’d been receiving, the threats to her kingdom, what would have become her kingdom. She just didn’t think it was going to happen so soon.

Tears streamed from her eyes, she no longer tried to blink them back. When she did blink, her brother was in front of her. The sound of his body slamming into the stone floor. The red blood pouring from his chest. The sound of her scream echoing around the room. Her dad pushing her behind him “Run, through the passage, now! Go!” He said, and she listened, she’s been running ever since.

“Thought you’d got away?” She halted, he was there, ten feet away, bloody sword in his hand. She breathed in deeply, how had he gotten ahead of her? “It was you I was after, we both know that. Your poor father, thinking he was giving you a chance to escape, he just made you run for no reason. We both know you’ll never be able to escape me, why try?” It was getting dark, but she could still see the smirk on his face as he swung his sword around in his hand. “Got nothing to say?”

“What did I do to you? What did I do to deserve this?” Her voice, a mixture of anger, sorrow and pleading, asked, just below a shout.

He laughed, walking from side to side as if he had all the time in the world, which he did. “What did you do? Oh you did nothing, well nothing to me anyway. My friend however – well less so friend, more of an employer- now him, well you did wrong to him.” He cocked his head, “or so I’m told anyway. I don’t really ask for details, I just request payment and I’m on my way.”

“Employer? Who’s your employer?”

“Can’t say, sorry love, confidentiality is all part of the deal.”

“That’s alright, she’s going to die anyway, she should know who ordered her death.”  Another figure walked into the scene, “Long time no see Annabelle.” He walked towards her, stood right in front of her, and moved a strand of hair from her face to behind her ear, and gently wiped the tears from her cheek. She stood still, frozen, terrified by the face in front of her. He had a scar going from the top of his left eye down over his eye and to his mouth, but his piercing blue eyes weren’t hurt by it, they were still all Annabelle could look at.

“Daniel,” her voice barley above a whisper as she breathes his name, a name she hasn’t said in years. A wicked smirk slowly formed on his face, he wiped away one last tear and stepped back.

“I knew you’d remember me, I did worry the scar might make you take longer, but you were still quick enough for me not to get bored.”

“What-“ she swallowed, trying to keep the fear from her voice, “What happened to you?”

“Oh the scar?” He runs his finger over it, not even grimacing although it looked as if it would be painful. “Well that’s why we’re all here.”

“But I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t.”

“No, you didn’t do it, but you were the cause of it, or your family was.” He started to walk back and forth, seemingly calm, it was the calmness that frightened Annabelle. “See when I got taken, kidnapped from just outside this palace,” he pointed to her home, “I wondered ‘why me.’ Turns out Annabelle, the answer to that was you and your family.” He stopped at looked directly at her, she tensed. “They questioned me, ‘what is their weakness, what are the other ways into the castle’ when I kept telling them I didn’t know they didn’t believe me and kept hitting me. I didn’t know the answer to any of their questions, I didn’t know why they were asking me, but then after beating me every day for three months, something changed. They stopped, and I got taken to dinner with their leader.”

He started walking again, Annabelle hadn’t moved a muscle, worried that if she did the other mans sword would be thrown at her and go straight through her chest.

“The leader had decided that I really didn’t know anything, and instead told me the story of my father, a story she was surprised I hadn’t already been told, apparently it was common knowledge in that palace of yours and since her spies had seen me being around there so often they assumed I must have known and had forgiven your family.” Annabelle stepped back, she knew the story. “So after telling me this story she offered me a choice, train with them, fight with them, help them over throw your family, or leave the kingdom and not make it through the ten day travel and die. Since I’m standing right in front of you I don’t need to say which option I chose.” He stood still, all his attention on her, she stepped back, he stepped towards her, the distance between them not changing.

The man who killed her family stuck the tip of his sword into the ground, leaning on the handle, waiting for the story to be over so he could finish his job and start the next one. The other two ignored him.

“I spent the past two years training with them, they taught me how to fight, how to kill, everything I needed to know for when our attack on the palace took place. Your family has wronged many people over the years, and for years these people had been forming a group to go up against you, meeting in secret, training, gaining information, biding their time before their attack. They really were a strong force, they were all sending you those letters, the letters telling you that this day was coming, that there would be a fight, their time was almost here.”

He took a step closer to her, she was too scared to step away, this wasn’t him. This wasn’t the man she knew, the man she had loved. “You’re talking about them in the past tense, where are they?”

“Oh their dead, all of them, last night, I killed them.” She gasped, the man with the sword smiled, impressed that the man in front of him could kill that many people. “You see, I hadn’t forgotten about how they had beaten me, almost killed me, trying to get information even though I kept telling them I didn’t know. No I hadn’t forgotten what they did to me. Those three months had changed me, I went in there a scared boy, and I came out a murderous man.” A smile played on his lips, Annabelle was terrified, how was he able to kill all those people he’s just one person. “But just before I did that I called this guy,” he pointed to the man who was now sitting on the grass, “See while I could take out all those people, getting into the castle without being noticed and killing everyone would be much more difficult.” He walked towards her, he got so close to her that their noses were almost touching.

“So Annabelle, I have one question for you, although I think I already know the answer,” his breath was warm on her ice cold skin, she swallowed a small gasp. “Did you or did you not know that your father ordered the death of mine?” His blue eyes weren’t as nice as they used to be, they looked cold, she could no longer tell what he was feeling.

“I knew,” she whispered, a tear rolled down her cheek. He slapped her across her face, her head swung to the left because of the impact, she turned back to face him, a bright red mark left on her face.

“I loved you,” he whispered, and although she could no longer read his emotions through his eyes anyone could hear the hurt in his voice, despite him attempting to hide it. “I had planned our lives, I trusted you, and you knew all along and you didn’t tell me.” Another tear rolled down her cheek, followed by another and that one was followed by more.

“I’m sorry,” her voice cracked.

“No, you’re not.” He scoffed, his eyes light back up, any hint of sadness in his voice had disappeared. “You’re just sorry I found out,” he stepped back, “Would you have ever told me?”

She hesitated, if I tell the truth he will kill me, but if I lie he’ll still kill me, there’s no way of getting out of this alive. “No,” she answered honestly.

He nodded, he expected that, “Do you know why he was killed?”

She sighed, “He was in love with my mother, he’d come to visit her when she was dying. My father overheard their conversation, Johnathan wasn’t his. Your father and my mum had had an affair, she got pregnant. My father didn’t want it getting out to the kingdom, and he didn’t want him trying to take Jonathan from the palace, so he ordered his death to prevent it.”

“Did Jonathan know?”

“Yes, when he was old enough he was told, he was told about his fathers death and chose to stay.”

“Then I’m glad he’s dead too. Out of all the deaths tonight the only one there was a chance of regretting was his, but if he knew, and chose to stay, then he deserved to go down with the rest of you.”

“Why did that man come here for me, why am I the one you’re after, why are the other deaths just extra deaths to you, but mine is the one that matters the most?” Accepting that there was no way out of this alive, that this was the last conversation she would have, had given her more confidence, she wouldn’t go into death being scared.

“Because even though your father ordered the death of mine, what you did was worse. You let me fall in love with you, and you knew the whole time what had happened to him, you knew what your father did, you even knew why but you never told me. You never even had the intention of telling me!” His voice got louder with each word, making Annabelle jump slightly each time, but she remained strong.

“If I had told you it wouldn’t have changed anything.”

“I would have known, that changes everything.”

“No one else told you either-“

“And I had them all killed too.”

“What happens after you kill me, what do you do then?”

“Ah well see, I won’t be the one to kill you, he will,” he points back to the man with the sword, who starts to get up. “See he’ll kill you, then I make it look like I tried to save you, I’m the hero, and I become the new King.”

“You’re doing all this for power?” She asks as the man who will murder her walks to be next to Daniel.

“No, I’m doing all this for revenge,” He answered honestly, a smile on his face, “The power,” he says tilting his head, “Well that’s just a happy side effect.” He pauses and gives her one last smile, his eyes bright again, “Kill her.”

The man with the sword rushes forward and stabs the sword straight through her chest and out her back, he pulled it straight back out as quickly as he’d put it in. Blood streamed down the rest of her body as she screamed from the pain, she fell to her knees, her hands flying to her chest, tears running down her face, her vision blurring as her life was quickly leaving her.

Daniel walked up to her calmly and knelt in front of her, placed his hand under her chin, and lifting her head up so their eyes would meet. “Goodbye Annabelle, tell father I say hello.”

She took her last breath and slowly her eyes shut.

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