Sunday, July 15, 2012

Victoria (21)

    “Jon,” said the woman, pleased.  “You’ve returned.”
    “Yes,” said the black rider, not unkindly.
    “And is this the girl you’ve brought back for our prince?” said she.  Aritka tried to seem resentful and shy, bowing her head and looking at the ground; but the woman grabbed Aritka’s chin and forced Aritka to look her in the eyes.  “Fortune!  A lovely thing she is!  I feel you will score well with this one, Jon.  Can you sing, prisoner?”
    “Yes, katinka,” said Aritka.  “I am well trained.”
    The woman pulled back in repulsion.  “Horrible Kinese language, if I’m not mistaken!  You’ll have to teach her not to use it for it will not please the prince.”
    “Thank you, yanna,” he said.  “You are right of course.”  He tapped two fingers to his throat and nodded sharply.  She took the signal and repeated, hobbling off.  Aritka stood silently, watching the stiff back of the black rider – Jon here – and listening to the tap of the woman’s cane.  When it had gone long out of earshot, the black rider’s sharp voice said, “Speak to no one.”
    Aritka wisely said nothing, and the black rider led her up the steps briskly, not looking back.  She followed him meekly, to the left and up the staircase to the second floor.  The windows were bigger than they first appeared and the black rider stepped effortlessly through the first one on the corner.
    They were met with another of those black squirrels.  It chattered and hissed but the black rider threw it a nut of some sort and the squirrel dove after it.  Then he scampered back and jumped up onto his pile of books again.  Beside the pile was a large, dark purple feather pillow.  Underneath was a large, circular, brown, faded rug, apparently woven in Jinaj fashion.  Because the room was on the corner of the building, there were four windows, which were all hung with dark curtains.  Otherwise, the room was dreadfully bare, and Aritka suspected this wasn’t his real home.

To Be Continued....

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