Crime Suspense Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

“Did you see this?!” Manon slammed a leaflet onto the table before she sat down. “This wandought thinks he can do whatever he pleases.”

The young woman sitting next to her gave the leaflet a quick, worried glance. “I understand that you’re mad, but he is still the king. If anyone hears us…” “No, Colette, she’s right!” The last fellow at the table had picked up the leaflet and just received the news written on it. “Someone should really just take his neck and crush it until all the air in it has left.” Colette sighed. “I understand what you mean. But complaining about it won’t do anything for us. He still lives on, no matter how many death wishes are sent his way.”

Manon reclaimed the leaflet, fixed it to the wall and threw her hunting knife at it repeatedly beyond when the text on it was entirely unreadable and parts of the paper sailed to the floor. That was the moment it struck her. “You’re right, complaints won’t change a thing.” A confident smirk overtook her face. “But actions will.”

Colette shot up from her chair which clattered on the stone floor. “Manon, are you implying we should… You know?”

“Yes, let’s kill this lubberwort! Everyone knows he’s an arrogant moron who does not care about his people. This new ruling makes his death only more wanted. No one will miss him. Besides, your father delivers to the palace sometimes, does he not? He can grant us access to the inside. If anyone can pull this off, it’s us.”

“You’re crazy! Blaise, say something!”

The young man remained silent for just a moment too long. Eventually, his gaze locked with Colette’s. “Someone has to put an end to this before more people die because of this man. Someone finally has to do it.” Colette stared back with big eyes, mouth open. The room was silent for minutes, or at least it seemed like it.

“Colette, your father might be next if we don’t do something. He’s a healthy man, surely he’s already on their lists.” Colette’s head flicked over to Manon. Her face was still coloured in disbelief but the source of it has changed. She thought about her father now, Manon presumed. She made sure not to show it but a feeling of pride welled up inside her, now that she found a way to convince her friend.

“Alright, fine.” Colette sank back into her chair, defeated. “So what is that brilliant plan you two have? I hope you don’t just plan to sneak in and then improvise.”

Blaise took out a piece of paper and a lead pencil. “First of all, we need some proper weapons. Manon can just sharpen her knife but the two of us need to get something too. Something small but deadly, so it’s easy to hide and stealth with. I will see if my father has some daggers laying around in his workshop. Colette, you need to convince your father to smuggle us into the palace. I’ll trust you know how to do so.”

“I can try. But you two should know, my father is very loyal towards the crown. If you truly want to do this, you should not mention to him what we want in the palace.”

“Understood. And once we’re in the palace…”


Infiltrating the king’s palace was easier than it should be. After Colette’s father brought them all in, hidden within a crate of stupendously red apples, Blaise led them through the dark storerooms on the ground floor. The throne room was simple to spot from the outside of the palace but from within it was even more obvious where to go. The most pompous and well decorated corridors – filled with painfully saturated carpets, outdated suits of armor and paintings of past regents that to Manon looked quite ugly – all led towards the audience chamber and the golden chair with the sacred man sitting in it.

King Louis received many visitors that day and the hall was full of guards, so his executioners hid behind heavy curtains and marble statues until the sun fell beneath the horizon. Many generals, knights and mercenaries came to report on recent events and their plans for the future. From where Manon stood, she could only understand a fraction of the words but she concluded that the king wasn’t so much directing his subjects but that he rather just listened and gave them free rein in their crimes. It made the wait even more painful.

Finally, the king retreated into his royal bedchambers. His last appointment had been cut short for some reason Manon didn’t overhear. Not that she cared. One silent look at her comrades and she followed their mark and his guards through the shadows, trusting that the others would follow. She had often heard people claim ‘money does not stink’ but after spending half a day behind the most expensive piece of cloth she would ever come across, Manon was inclined to disagree. It smelled of dust, neglect and traces of dying chemicals that were never properly washed out because it is so large and thick.

A few minutes after the king had entered his chambers, a servant came to deliver his royal dinner. His last one. The guards stepped aside when he entered and left but the door never found itself unprotected otherwise. Colette looked at her co-conspirators who hid together with her in a dark corner under a spiralling staircase. “And now? You two scholars better not tell me your enlightened plan did not take into consideration that he would be guarded the entire day.”

“Of course I knew there will be guards.”, Blaise responded. “Have you seen what the servant brought him for dinner? For a king, that was merely an appetizer. Another one will come soon with more. And that’s when we take over.”

And so it happened. When the second servant passed them, they pulled him aside and covered his mouth before he could round the corner and come into vision for the guards. He was gagged with a piece of cloth Manon took from her sash and stripped of his clothes so Blaise could put them on. They were a bit too slim but not so much that the guards would suspect anything. The poor servant was tucked behind a curtain in a particularly dark and dusty corner. Manon and Colette hid under the cloth that covered the food cart and Blaise pushed them towards their goal.

The guards had started chatting to one another in the meantime but stopped immediately once they noticed the cart approaching. Manon felt them stopping right in front of the door and silence filled the room for an uncomfortable length of time. Then she heard the guards’ partizans scraping against each other and the wooden door opening. The cart was moving again and the texture of the floor changed from stone to wood. They were in the royal bedchamber.

“Ah, took you long enough.”, Manon heard the voice of the king. It was now sharp and clear like the blade of her knife. “The dish may better not have gotten cold.” “It should be. Cold like the bodies of the people who lost their lives because of you.”, Manon said to herself. Only then she realized she did say it out loud and her target could hear her.

“What is going on? You better explain yourself befo…” Manon jumped from her hiding spot and quickly covered the king’s mouth with her hand before he could alarm the guards. “You heard me right, King Louis of Dauphin. You know why are here, don’t you? It’s your time to pay the price for what you did to our land.”

His voice was muffled under Manon’s hand but also by his fear. His whole silk and fur covered body was shaking. She was relishing in that moment. “I don’t… Leave me in peace, you… scoundrels.” Manon made a disgusted huff as she pressed her knife against his throat. “In peace? You? Of all the things you could have suggested. I should let you die a slow, bloody death.”

“Manon, calm down!” Colette had since emerged from the cart as well. “This is insane. We can still stop this.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! We’ve come all this way, how would we turn back from this now?”

“You can leave him alive and force him to change his course.”, Colette pleaded and shot a helpless gaze at Blaise. He however was just standing there and let Manon live out her bloodlust. “You don’t actually think that would work, right? We can’t hold him accountable to that. He knows our faces. As soon as he’s out of our reach, he will set up his soldiers to execute us.” Colette didn’t respond.

Manon turned her attention back to the captured king with a mad grin scarred on her face. “If that is decided, any last words, little lordling?” A few moments passed and Manon felt his mouth open once more. But before any sounds could leave his throat, she opened it with one swift slice of her blade. Blood spat out of the man’s mouth and neck against Manon and onto the floor. While his body was still shivering, it lost all its strain and dropped onto the dark wood of the floor. Within seconds, he was dead.

Manon looked down at him in disbelief. She did not expect to get this far, yet here she was. Here they were. In a kingdom with a dead ruler and no heir. In a land riddled with hunger, disease and war. Hoping for help, she looked at her friends. Blaise’s eyes were as empty as hers probably were. Colette’s face was splattered with the most vile disgust as her gaze sliced into Manon.

“So, what now?”

February 23, 2024 22:04

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.