The Girl in Cell 3 (Triple Witching Hour)

Every day SABLE talks to her knight in shining armor, EREN. She says sweet words, tugging at his heart, hoping to steal it. But there is always a barrier between them - a prison cell door. EREN has struck a deal: keep her locked up and his little brother will be out of harms way.

Her cell is inescapable and her placement on death row rises fast. She aims to seduce him and have him break her out. But when truths and lies become one, can she deceive his heart without breaking her own?

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59. Chapter 58 - Marcus

Marcus finished his shift and left the barracks as fast as he could.  Without stopping, he marched home. He did not stop to greet the people he usually was so kind to, he did not stop to buy a bit of wine and cheese, he did not slow down to take in the languid evening air or the soft sounds of the evening. As though he were running away from something. He headed straight for the inn where he had rented a room. He did not hear the greeting of Anna the barmaid, nor the invitation to have some supper. He lay on the bed with his arms covering his eyes, his breathing heavy. 


Svenja’s golden gaze would not leave him. The sensation of her kiss. The scent of her breath. The softness of her skin. 


What to do.


She frightened him. It was the first time since his intrepid youth that he felt this way about any woman — and a witch at that. Now he understood why some knights said that a man’s greatest weakness was a woman. If a woman could make a man’s heart beat fast, then he’ll so easily crumble. And once he crumbled, she could command him as she wished; he’d think about her, sing about her, write about her. 


But there was something he could do about these feelings. He took three deep breaths and recalled the words from his training. 


Never forget that we are your true brothers—your brothers in arms.


Yes, those were the words that rang true to his ears. 


But they no longer felt true in his heart. 


His bit his lower lip. What to do. 


A knock on the door. Marcus did not answer. It opened anyway. 


“What’s wrong with you?” It was the barmaid, Anna. She was wiping her hand with a wet towel, her blonde hair tied into a loose pony tail for the evening shift. Marcus peered at her and for a moment her eyes scrutinized him. Her expression changed. A knowing look spread across her face. Then a bitter smile. 


“Come and eat something, at least.” 


Marcus obeyed. He came downstairs with her and sat down. He glanced left and right. Something was wrong. It was far too quiet for an evening like this. There were a few drinkers sitting here and there, but for the most part, the establishment was empty.


Anna brought him a plate with roast pork and mashed potatoes with a single fork. No knife. He never used it anyway and she knew it. She knew everything about him and in this moment she wished that she couldn’t read his face like a book. 


She sat down next to him. She said, “Eat”. 


Marcus picked up the fork. “Why is there no one here?” 


Anna sighed. “Haven’t you heard? And you are supposed to be a knight stationed at the barracks!” 


Marcus shook his head, his mouth full with food. 


“We are going to war.”


Marcus swallowed. “We are already at war.” 


“This morning they announced a new offensive.  They say that every knight will be sent to the front line and it will be greatest battle ever fought. And that isn’t even enough!” There was not excitement, but only weary contempt in her voice. “The King’s Pride Army is calling for every man to volunteer. And every man wants to join the greatest battle of all time. That is why we are empty tonight.” 


“So they are all...”


“They are all at the barracks around the city, standing in line, signing on for duty.” 


Marcus took a gulp of ale. “If that is true, then I will be headed to the front line soon; it is my duty as a knight to fight and to protect King’s Pride.” 


Anna gaped at him with disbelief. She scowled and chopped his head. 


“And die for what? Your king won’t remember your name — you have never even met him! Your superiors might remember you — but so what? They don’t care about you.” 


Marcus said nothing.


Never forget that we are your true brothers—your brothers in arms.


He stared down at this plate. He wanted to tell her about the oath he took. The duty he swore to execute until his final breath. But he knew that all of that would fall before Anna’s thunder. Why was she angry, he wondered. She seemed strange ever since she came to his room. 


“You have family left, am I right?” Anna asked. 


Marcus nodded faintly. 


“If you die, then there is only one person in this whole sorry world who will care,” Anna folded her fingers together and after a moment of silence she said, “your wife.” 


Marcus looked up and blinked. He had no wife.


“I am a selfish person,” Anna said. “Ever since I had to live on my own, I had been a selfish person. I always take what I want.” 


She grabbed his face and kissed him with a ferociousness he had never felt before. She forced her tongue into his mouth, her hands feeling his hair, his neck, his back. It felt entirely different from the kiss he had shared with Svenja; Anna was like a wild fire, exuding desperate determination, the bitter bulwark of a survivor who had to face the world on her own. 


Their lips separated. 


“Anna “ 


Anna stood and turned her back to him. Her shoulders trembled. “I know,” she said. “I noticed when I saw your face. There is another woman, right?”


Marcus averted his eyes. Not a woman. 


Anna put her hands behind her back. “Well,” she breathed out. “A kiss is good enough for now.” 


She ignored the curious gazes of the other guests and retreated to the kitchen even though she had no orders. 


For a long time, Marcus sat the table in stony silence, his eyes gazing into a different world. 


Then, he stood. He had a plan.

 

 

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