Here is my attempt at the second challenge from the 3 a.m. Epiphany Blog. The rule was that you had to write around 500 words in second person imperative i.e. Do this, wait here, go there etc.
For those of you familiar with the world of my book, I welcome speculation about what this obscure piece is in reference to. I wrote it in an attempt to get my head around a scene coming up near the beginning of book two, so if you want to avoid any possible mini-spoilers, you are forewarned.
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Do it now!
Don’t look back. Don’t think about her. Don’t wonder what happened. You don’t have time for sentiment. Just go.
Listen. Focus on the sounds, the smells. Hear the twittering bird, the woman singing out in the garden as she pulls up weeds. Avoid her, she’ll turn you in, they all will. Remember how much they fear you and keep out of their way.
Sneak along the outer corridor. Stay away from the sweeping broom and the scent of baking bread. Ignore your rumbling stomach.
Don’t you dare feel sorry for yourself.
“Hey, you, stop right there!”
Run. Keep your hands out. Crash into walls and pick yourself up. Don’t let her catch you.
“Here, come this way.”
Let him sweep you off your feet and hide you in a broom closet. Press so close against his chest you can hear his pounding heart. Feel the fear in him, mirroring your own. Hear the footsteps pass you by and breathe again.
“Let go of me.”
Push away. Make yourself some space in this cramped little cupboard. Don’t make too much noise.
“Thank me for saving you.”
Listen to his rough, teasing voice. Remember how he pretended to be shy, back in the Palace. Remember his honesty and how much you respected him for that.
“Tell me what you’re doing here.”
Wait for his reply.
“Come with me, it isn’t safe here.”
Pull away from his touch. Consider your options. Remember people tried to kill you. Remember what she sacrificed to send you here, so far from anywhere.
“Explain how you found me.”
Feel his hand close once more around yours, rough, but warm. Let his confidence give you strength. Trust him – you don’t have any choice.
Now go. Creep out of the cupboard and run along the corridor. Let him lead with his seeing eyes and his knowledge of this strange place he calls home. Climb the stairs to the roof. Feel the wind on your face and in your hair. Sweat when it is gone and all you can breathe is hot, muggy air that smells of spice. Keep moving. Stay low. Don’t forget that others have eyes to see, even from far away. Take a leap of faith, just a little fall. Land in dirt that reeks and turns your stomach sour.
Forgive him, when you’re feeling generous. Until then, keep going. Wonder, as you run, why a rich boy like him was sent to snatch you from the temple, to run across rooftops and roll in horse manure. Ask him, when you catch your breath.
“Wait until we arrive. Believe me, it’s a good story.”
Shiver as the air turns cold. Turn one last corner and hear the creak of a gate before climbing another stair and slipping inside a warm little room. Collapse on the seat he has offered and let your world spin as you struggle to readjust. Smell the cinnamon and musty blankets and something else – something sweet. Take the fruit he offers, even if you don’t know how to eat it.
“Just bite it.”
Don’t blush at his laughter. Slow down, don’t let him know how hungry you are. Order your stomach to stop making such impolite noises. Wipe the juice from your chin with your sleeve – there are no maids around to tell you off. Try not to let your disappointment show when he doesn’t offer more.
Hear the telling intake of breath. Wait for his question to form.
“Tell me why you run from an Order that should be protecting you.”
Admit what you did. Remember the way you stood up to them… And how you lost control. Tell him you’re alone – that you can never go back. Trust him to understand.
“Let it all go… You’re safe here. Ask me for anything and I’ll do what I can to get it for you.”
Take your time. Think about his offer. Make your words count.
“Hide me. Let me disappear.”
Embrace him and let the tears fall where they will. Fall asleep tonight and dream of a different life. Forget the ones you’ve left behind.
Forget this war.
Let them fight it without you.