The Last Lantern

Chapter12 - Trussed Molly

@copyright Jean G Hontz 2009

 Molly burrowed down more deeply under the furs that surrounded her. The dream was not quite scary enough to make her wake up.  And the air outside her cocoon of a bed wasn't tempting either.

She wanted to go back to the dream, to see what happened, to understand what and who and why and to meet the handsome prince who'd... Suddenly she was wide awake. That wasn't a dream, that part, with the handsome prince who'd pulled her off her horse and then...

"Hush," some woman said, "she's awake."

The background noise of voices faded to nothing. Instead she heard the creaking of a carriage beneath her, the jingle of tack, a horse snorting and a hoof pawing at the ground.  They weren't moving at the moment though.

Then the carriage door must have opened because a blast of colder air hit her. She couldn't see, her face was up against the back of the carriage seat.  And she couldn't seem to move.

"We'll carry her up the back stairs," a male voice said. The voice sounded familiar to her. Not the handsome man, someone else she knew... It had a local twang and accent to it. If only she could know who..

Someone turned her and then the furs were ripped away from her face. It was the man who'd grabbed her looked down at her. His face looked fearsome to Molly now, not handsome any more.

"If you struggle, if you attempt to cry out, I'll punch you in the face and knock you out. Do you understand that?" 

Molly shivered, and not from the cold. The words weren't hissed or screamed at her. They were said with utter calm certainty. She nodded, angry at herself that she was so terrified she couldn't find a voice.

He got into the carriage and they traveled a little way, his arm resting on her body, then the carriage stopped again. The handsome man climbed out of the carriage and and then reached out to grasp her and all the furs together.  "Remember what I said. I wasn't charged with making sure you still had all your teeth when you were delivered."

"I.. yes," was all Molly could say.

He scooped her and the furs up as if she weighed nothing. He flipped the furs back over her face and held her so tightly she couldn't get her arms free. She could hear a woman speaking then, someone laughing, the handsome man's quiet, cultured voice, with an accent she couldn't place, and then the handsome man's tread on wooden stairs.

He walked down a hallway and then must have shouldered a door closed behind him, from the way his movements jarred her. He dumped her and the furs unceremoniously onto a bed. Despite the thickness of her swaddling, it hurt.

When she tried to wriggle out of the furs, only then did she realize they were somehow tied around her. She had very little freedom of movement, and instead she felt like she was in a cocoon.  Well at least she was warm.

The handsome man reached down and flicked the furs off her face. She blew fly-away hair out of her face and glared at him.

He grinned down at her. "I like my women feisty, but if you yell, I'll stuff a rag in your mouth. If you're thirsty or hungry I'd suggest you behave."

"Stop frightening her half to death, Donal," a woman's voice said. Molly remembered her as she came into her field of vision. She'd been at the tavern, at the Last Lantern, too.

"Please," Molly croaked. "Something to drink?"  Her throat was so dry she didn't think she could scream.

The woman poured some water from a pitcher that was sitting on the table near the bed.  Sir Donal propped Molly up and the woman put the glass to Molly's lips. She gulped the cold liquid down despite the pain of swallowing.

"Who are you?  What do you want of me?" Molly dared to ask when the woman removed the empty glass from her lips.

"We want you to be quiet and well behaved," Sir Donal answered with an easy smile.

Then Molly felt the world going away. Only too late did she realize they'd drugged her water.

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