It was a large empty room. There was a small window high on the wall, too high for her to reach. The floor was hard, cold, stone with a scattering of musty straw over most of it, with a small heap under where she lay.

She assumed it was daytime outside, judging from the small, but bright, amount of light the tiny window let into the room. Over the far side, she could see a heavy wooden door, reinforced with iron and studded with black-painted bolts. It looked like a serious door.

It took a few minutes of confusion for her to awake fully. The last thing she remembered was strolling down the road into the woods with a basket, heading for the place where the wild berries grew.

Now she was here.

She knew enough to know it was some kind of dungeon.

Delia wanted to call out, yell for help. It must be a mistake. She had never done anything wrong, not even that time Delia and the blacksmith’s apprentice, Tole, had crept away during the midsummer festival and gone moonlight swimming down at the river.

She did not deserve to be a prisoner. Delia knew this was not the castle dungeon either. Her Lord’s castle dungeons were below ground and had iron gratings in their roofs for light and air.

She did not know where this place was or how she’d arrived here. She did not know who had captured her and she did not know what they wanted her for.

She struggled to her feet. Her shabby dress was ripped and torn as though she’d been dragged through a thorn bush. Apart from a couple of scratches, one on her arm and one on her thigh, she was untouched and unmarked.

She thought about crying out again, but wondered whether being remembered would be worse than being forgotten in a place like this… whatever this place was.

All Delia knew was that it didn’t look good.

Then she heard the footsteps out beyond the heavy door, and she knew they were coming for her.


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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