With the guards I walked and stumbled through more stone corridors. More prisoners called out and reached for us, but more and more were shrinking back from the bars. I stole glances while we walked.

A man so still and shrivelled lay sprawled in the centre of his cell. He must have never gotten up from where the Guards threw him in. I thought he was dead, until he gave a raspy cough and shaky hand movement in my directions. Torchlight flickered over his features as we passed, and the resemblance to my father was scary. With a face that lined and sunken, his eyes appeared to be floating in a sea of leathery creases.

A woman no older than me sat huddled in a ball, rocking back and forth, muttering nonsense to herself. She looked up as the torchlight flickered into her cell, one eye blue looking at us, the other brown and looking at the wall beside her. I cringed unintentionally, the guards laughing at my reaction.

I stumbled up the stairs, guards pushing and shoving. The light began to change, hitting my face with warmth. My first glimpse of the outside in weeks. How I missed the blue skies and green grasses, how I had longed for even a glimpse at barren ground. I could see the gate dead ahead, wooden doors held open, portcullis up.

Freedom. Suddenly the word had new meaning.

I was jerked suddenly to the right, away from the gate and towards a small courtyard, barren except for a simple wooden structure. I dug my heels in, refusing to move another inch towards the gallows. My resistance was pointless.

The End

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