Round 2 of the Unexpected tale game (see what it's all about here.)
saw us writing with:
Paragraph 1 - Poor man, in a forest, during Victorian times
Paragraph 2 - meets a rich woman
Paragraph 3 - being trapped
Paragraph 4 - Fate is confirmed
This time we dispensed with the 100 word limit and just made it "a paragraph"
Edwin Carbolly shuffled along the forest path, dragging his foraging sack behind him. The gleanings were sparse at this time of year and Edwin feared for the health of his children. From the path he could see the wall that ran around the Earl’s parkland and he thought of the damaged culvert where the winding stream passed through. A man could squeeze through undetected at night if he were of a mind, and if his belly were empty enough, and his children sickening. From the broken culvert a heart pounding creep through the trees brought the trespasser to the rear of the walled garden, the rabbit hutches, the hatcheries and vegetable stores. His brother had passed that way and his brother had hanged.
Edwin shouldered his sack and trudged on through the trees. He had not walked for more than a few hundred paces when he became aware of the drumming of hoof beats. He moved off the track and waited, resting on a stump. Within a few moments two riders, a richly dressed man and woman, came into view dashing through the trees, laughing with exhilaration at their race. He stood as they neared, preparing to continue his journey, but the movement snagged the woman’s attention and as they passed him a low branch caught the woman across the chest. With a shriek she tumbled from her horse and crashed into the undergrowth. Edwin leapt forward with a cry of alarm and hurried towards her.
As Edwin neared the woman he could see that her face was scratched and her riding jacket badly torn.
“Are you alright, my Lady?” he asked, pulling at the brambles into which she had fallen. She gave a sharp cry as the tangled brambles tugged at a fallen branch into which her foot was unnaturally lodged.
He heard a bellow from behind him and as he turned he saw the man, his face twisted in rage, swing a stout stick. He opened his mouth in surprise, then the world crashed down upon him and went dark.
When he woke, his head throbbed and a stench of filth and corruption filled his nostrils. He sat up and the waves of nausea that convulsed him would have emptied his stomach if there had been anything in it. At last his head stopped spinning and vision cleared. He lay upon a hard bunk in a filthy cell with no other furniture. A tiny barred window high up on the wall showed that it was already twilight. Night would soon fall and he would be without light.
He hauled himself off the bunk and staggered to the door of the cell. He thumped on it and waited. After what seemed to be an eternity, with the light fading, he heard the scrape of a key in the lock. A large man in a peeler’s uniform, carrying a lantern, pushed his way into the cell, and shoved Edwin back onto the bunk.
“What’s all the noise about?” the peeler asked
“Why am I here, what is going on?” Edwin asked, a sick panic rising in his chest.
“Attempted murder of Lady Isabella,” the peeler said. “No doubt as a revenge for the just punishment of your brother.” He seemed satisfied.
“No! It wasn’t like that, you have to believe me,” Edwin said, fear and anguish cracking his voice.
The peeler looked at him unmoved. “Criminality runs in the family, mark my words.”
He moved back to the cell door and opened it again. “They will try you in the morning and you’ll swing by sunset,” he said as he closed the door behind him. The cell was plunged into utter darkness.
This is a fun way of stretching one's creative muscles, especially in a group of writers. It's fascinating to see the very different takes on the same basic ingredients!
Perhaps this is an idea for a blogfest - what do you think?