Learning How To Run From Dangerous Murderers Guide

Submitted into Contest #54 in response to: Write a story about someone struggling to learn a skill that in no way comes naturally to them.... view prompt



Run. Keep running. My legs ache, trembling of exhaustion. Need to keep going. I can almost feel their cold, clawed fingers grasping my neck. That fear gives me a renewed surge of energy. Dusty roads lay behind me, and the thin, green line of the forest sluggishly came into view. Just need to get to the cool, safe island in this spiteful country. The bag on my back slows me down, but I mustn’t let go of it. The guys are depending on me. Sweat gleams on my forehead, my hair sticking to the back of my neck. I can feel the vibration of hooves a couple miles away, that are spurred on by whips and heels. Why am I in this situation, you might ask. Let’s go back a few years ago...when I wasn’t always on the run, and had a life…

I was thirteen back then. I was safe, had family everywhere around the globe. I didn’t need to beg. I didn’t even need to ask for food. It was already there, steaming hot. In a family of kings, it’s easy to have that sort of life. I got used to it, and it felt good. Technology was at its highest in our house, we got the newest recipes, we had friends everywhere. No one could take us down. We were respected. Mother, with her beauty and wisdom. Father with his magnificence, his blood and his power. Even baby brother Hugo, for his chubby cheeks, his cute gurgles. Me, I don’t see much that could have them respect me except for my heritage and parents.

I was a pampered poodle. You should’ve seen the dresses! Silk, dyed with glossy, priceless acid dyes of every colour. An emerald green peacock gown, a rouge ruby dress that could have flames flow out of the folds when you spun round, and not burn… I was a princess. No, I was a queen.

It was on June 16, 3082. We were out on the cruise Father had set up on Hugo’s 2nd birthday, when a group of filthy-looking men dressed in black appeared on the boat. We were on the deck, celebrating Hugo’s birthday with a seven layered cake, when Monsieur Gaston suddenly tumbled onto the floor, a gleaming, wet arrow protruding arrow in the nape of his neck. “Run! Aderu, Hugo! Run!” hollered Father. Chack. Mother was in his arms, blood running down her Nightingale of Kuala Lumpur dress, like rivers flowing from a pale, beautiful mountain. Red, I thought, like her dress. I rushed to Hugo’s high chair, and lifted him out. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he shrieked, “Mama!Mama!” I shushed him, and grabbing a bag, I shuffled into the laundry room to get changed out of my Danasha gown. But when I had taken it off and stowed it into a corner, I found that I had taken the wrong bag! This was the butler’s outing clothes. They were poor, but they’d have to do. I slipped them on, and put on the weird shoes he wore. They felt... comfortable compared to the glass slippers, the high heels I was used to, and the clothes were loose on me, unlike the rough, diamond robes and satin tunics I was used to having put over my head. I heard shouting from outside the door. I looked around the laundry room. It was  spacious, and there were many piles of neatly piled silk shirts and dresses on shelves. Hugo had stopped crying, and he started rubbing his eyes. I picked him up and started walking into a heating cupboard. These shoes didn’t make any clipclops as I walked, and they didn’t hurt at all. I tried jumping in them, and I felt light on the bowels of my feet. “When I get home, I’m totally going to get some of these,”I whispered to Hugo. Bangings on the door. Quick, hide, my mind was shouting. Quick, or you die. Where? I spun around, my gaze resting on the dumbwaiter. Yes, I remembered, yesterday I hadn’t felt well enough to get out of bed, and had rung the bell for the dumbwaiter. It   transported food into one’s bedroom in less than 5 seconds. I tiptoed to it, the hard, quickening, alarming beating on the door seeming to be the beating of my heart. I found a tray of untouched food inside. Probably for Mme Bustier, my aunt. She’d always been rather peckish at night, and since it was almost midnight, she would probably have been ravenously devouring the splendid truffle sandwiches and gold liquor right then, if she weren’t dead, of course. I swiftly stuffed the food trays into my bag: pickles, peeled mushrooms, rose gateaux, chocolate croissants, grilled bison ribs, rhino hinds and vodka energy bars were all put inside the food compartment (keeps things hot or cold depending on your liking.) CRACK. CLICK. We were inside the vast dumbwaiter (which is about the size of our nowadays 4 man tents) zooming up through the levels to my room. We were safe, leaving the laundry room that was now probably swarming with armed men. Safe, for a few minutes.

 Which, looking back, was probably one of the very few moments that I ever had a few moments to just catch my breath.

I make it to the cactus that looks strangely like a man with a bulbous nose. I feel my rattling breath combating against the heat waves that waft sleep into my eyes. I need to get to them. It’s important. Rising from my squatting position, I can see the wavering shadows of the cavalry that chase me. The eagle spins around me, like a careful observer, ready to take me down the moment I falter, the moment I show weakness. My hands are slippery, raw from the whip slashes I’ve endured.

You don’t know me. You know only a fraction of my life, and if you want to know me better, if you’re willing to risk your money on the roll of the dice. If you want to see the whole thing, read the whole story, all you have to do, is turn the page. It’s as simple as that.

                                       Just turn the page.

August 08, 2020 14:02

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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