In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.
Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.
Be sure to tag #writeworld in your block!
“I’m not here to help you,” she hissed at him. She felt obligated to say it because of the way his eyes had changed when she had entered the room. Hopeful. He had looked hopeful.
The door clicked shut behind her. And then she heard the lock turn. That made her blink.
He was tied to a chair, gagged with a cloth and he looked as if he needed help. He asked her the question with his eyebrows.
“I’m your guard,” she explained.
She was annoyed with herself. She had spoken to him first. So, to look more professional, she checked that the windows were locked. It was a pointless gesture given how well trussed up he was but she did it so that she didn’t have to look at him. Not for a little bit longer at any rate. He was dangerous they’d told her. And he looked it, you know? Even tied up. It was something about the way he held himself. She felt nervous and it annoyed her.
The chair made a tiny creak noise and she had to look at him. He was shifting his weight. Was he trying to test it?
He did it again, the squeak slightly louder this time.
She stood in front of him. “Hey! Stop that.”
Another looked question.
What was she going to do?
“I’ll hit you.”
He blinked slowly. And then he did it again. A challenge.
She lifted her hand in front of his face... but she couldn’t hit him. It dropped. Pointless. She had failed at the first hurdle. She couldn’t even follow up on her threat. She was the worst guard, ever.
He worked at it. Endless flexes of his body against the ropes. Heels pushed into the floor and spine arched up against the ropes. Forcing the back of the chair away. A decade of strain in as many minutes. He did it over and over. Sweat on his forehead, he blinked it away and his breath was forced through his nose.
She watched, with a glance towards the door, every minute or so. She wasn’t helping but she wasn’t stopping him either. How long could he keep this up?
His head lolled forward, body slumped.
Was he asleep?
She cleared her throat and he jolted awake. Their gaze locked and she didn’t look away. His eyes - he looked trapped.
“They’re going to kill you.”
A slow blink. Yes.
“In the morning.”
Another blink. Yes.
“Why?” A pause. “Sorry,” she added when she realized that he couldn’t say.
He shook his head. The gag had moved a little but it was tied so tightly that it pulled at his mouth. She knew why they had tied it so tight. They’re frightened of him.
She didn’t say it out loud so she was confused when his brows lifted.
“Me?” she guessed.
“Why choose me?”
“I don’t know... it was my turn?” That sounded like the question it was.
He rolled his eyes.
“Don’t be rude.” She folded her arms and turned her back on him.
But he’d made her think.
Why was she guarding him? She wasn’t exactly known for her brutality. There were others who would have loved to be in the room with him tied up. They had to have known she’d be no good at this. And if he was so dangerous why hadn’t they killed him the first chance they got? Why stick him in a cell?
She rounded on him. “Why do they want me dead?”
He tilted his head.
“That’s it. Isn’t it? You’ll escape and kill me in the process. But why me?”
He lifted his chin at her.
Against her better judgement she tried to undo the gag.
“Too tight.” She slid her fingers under the material just behind his ear where his hair was soft. It shifted a little. She put her other palm against his head to hold him still and she yanked at it.
He made a snort noise that sounded amused.
“Shut up,” she snapped.
Another yank and it loosened enough to slide. Once it dropped a little there was enough room to pull it out of his mouth. Her hands on his face. Wet material. She wiped them on her skirt.
He gulped in some air. When he could manage he rasped out his thanks.
She’d actually helped him. She really was a bad guard.
“So,” he checked, “you, dead, why?”
“I asked you first.”
“I know. I’m a girl.”
“Help me, Toby. And I’ll help you.”
“You could just kill me.”
“Yes.” A pause. “But I won’t.”
“Why not?” Not that she wanted him to kill her; it was the principle of the matter.
“I’d give you my word.”
“Right.” She frowned. Could she trust him? “Did they ask you to give your word that you wouldn’t escape?”
He grinned although it seemed to hurt his mouth to do it. “No.”
A longer pause.
“Toby?” he checked.
“The door is locked.”
“I’ll have to untie you for the door lock.”
He’d probably break the chair eventually and she’d still be locked in the room with him. At least he was on her side. Or said he was. She was so annoyed with herself. Fancy letting them talk her into this, and locking her in, and with no food or water. Not even a weapon let alone a key to the door. She was just too trusting.
And she was trusting him.
She looked at him.
He was waiting for her to think it all out.
“You’re safer with me,” he pre-empted.
“I’m not so sure.”
“Stay here and the odds are that they'll hurt you, maybe even kill you, and say I did it anyway.”
“That’s happened to you before,” she guessed.
And it was her. The sacrificial item. Dropping to her knees she started to work at the knots.
“You are coming with me,” he said.
“I’ll slow you down.”
She snorted when he didn’t even try to deny it. “I’ve never travelled.”
“I’ve only travelled alone. Come anyway.”
“I’m not leaving you here.”
Oh, boy. She was well and truly in the fire, now. She looked up at his face and he smiled at her.
“If they want you dead, then I think you just might be the most valuable thing in this village.”
He was dangerous, all right. He knew just what to say. No wonder they had gagged him.