Henry RunsMature

The floor seemed to buckle and writhe beneath Henry’s feet as he ran, and more than once he had to catch himself on the wall to keep from falling.

                He’s right, you know.  You’re nothing but a coward.

                He stumbled down the spiral staircase, his soles clattering loudly on the uneven stone and sweat flowing down his face, stinging in his eyes.  It would be an exaggeration to say that he didn’t know why he was running—He’s right, you know.  You’re nothing but a coward.—but it was true that he wasn’t quite certain.  He was entirely sure that no one was following him, so there was really no reason to it.  Except that

                you saw how he was looking at you.  He wants you dead!

                that Seymour had looked at him with such fury that he felt certain that he would be coming after him, that he was going to kill him for what he had done to Seoc and

                coward, coward, naught but a coward, aren’t you?

                yes, he would be coming for him.  That’s why he was running.

                Run, run, run for your life, you coward, you murderer!  Is that Seymour de Winter behind you, coming to take you down, or is that your guilty conscience?


                Well, which is it?


                What say you, coward? Which is it?


                It’s rude to ignore a question, you know.  What say you, coward? Which is it?


                Well, madman…? It’s rude to ignore a question, you know.  What say you, coward?  Which is it?


                Oh, looky looky!  Lord Henry Thomas Mantoux Edmund has gone as mad as a bloody loon!  Watch him run, run, RUN!  Watch him run his feet off, watch him run his heart out, watch him run right out of his body and watch him run away from himself!  Better a mage than a madman, eh?  What do you think your father would say to a mage AND a madman!  He might just jolly well come back from the grave in his wrath.  Wouldn’t that be a sight!  What?

                Henry tripped over his own feet and went sprawling, skinning his palms on the floor of the corridor.  He tried to scramble to his feet again, but his legs were shaking so terribly that he couldn’t manage it.  After a moment, he tipped over onto his side and adopted the fetal position, clasping his bleeding hands over his ears in an effort to block out the tirade.  But it came from inside, not out.

                “Henry!  HENRY!”

                He uncovered his ears and opened his eyes to find his brother bending over him, shaking him by the shoulder.  “Si-Simon!” he sobbed.  “Help me!  He-help me!”

                Simon took his twin into his arms and rocked him gently.  “Shh…It’s alright, it’s alright.  I gotcha.  Tell Snake to leave you alone.  It can’t hurt you, not if you don’t let It.”

                “Help me…!”

                “It’s alright,” Simon repeated.  “It won’t hurt you.”

The End

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