“Is anyone there?”
Josef could not move. The blindfold was pulled tight. Rough ropes scratched his bound wrists.
“Do you know why you are here?”
The unmistakable accent answered every question for Josef. Fear began to spread through his body like wildfire. All the precautions he had taken had been for nothing. He was a fool to believe he could outsmart them forever.
Small tremors rippled through Josef’s bound hands and shook each staccato breath. The bravery, which was so strong only three days ago, had now vanished. All the stories whispered in the dark reminded him of what was to come. He refused to torture himself with those thoughts and turned his mind to the present.
He listened for his captor’s breathing, but could only hear the pounding of his own heart. He had heard countless tales of those who had been captured, and yet, not one ended happily.
“I know my words are worthless, but if you have anything good in you, please let her live.”
Josef expected to hear laughter, or even be struck for speaking, but a terrifying silence was his only reply.
All the proverbs and stories of death were not enough to keep him from her once he saw those eyes. He could almost hear the soft voice of his mother warning him that “to love a Forbidden is to love death.”
The soft sound of footsteps drawing near snapped Josef’s attention back to the world of darkness that now held him. He cursed himself mentally for flinching the moment he felt two hands come to rest gently on his shoulders.
“You have broken a sacred law for your own selfish pleasure and for that you will now pay.”
“Those who have not seen the face of a Forbidden could never understand why that is untrue. Once a man has beheld that unspeakable beauty, his life is lived for their pleasure alone.”
The laugh that escaped Josef’s mouth surprised him and shook loose the fear that held him. In that moment he saw his life more clearly than he ever had before.
“I will surely die today, but I have lived as few men can. I have tasted a secret fruit that your lips will never touch.”
The long scratch of a blade being pulled quickened his heart.
“I know now why I am here, but do you?”
The question hung heavily in the silence between them. For a moment, Josef began to hope again.
“I help men keep their deepest secrets.”
The blade sliced through Josef’s skin. His screams cut his torturer.
He would scream too. In his dreams. One word.
Copyright © 2012 Adam Drake
*Author’s Note: There is actually a something hidden inside this week’s story. A little secret of its own… See if you can find it.