Get tangled and lost in a book!
You'll get out... eventually.
You'll get out... eventually.
Note: Old stories may not be continued, at least for a period of time
His face was swelled with a terrifying, eggplant purple color. “S-sir,” the sandy-haired boy stuttered.
Farmer Kalor turned his attention from me to him and gruffly said, “Well? What is it?”
“This boy was trespassing, I caught him,” he said. I was tempted to retort that he was sleeping on the job, but it wouldn’t really make much of a difference. I would just be getting him into trouble, and what good would it do for either of us?
Kalor looked back at me and his lips curled into a sadistic smile, “Now, let’s see. What’s the punishment for stealing? Was it death? Or was it one hundred whippings? Hmph. Whatever it is, I’ll make sure you get what you deserve.”
I gulped. The sandy-haired boy looked a bit pale, but obviously relieved I was the one in trouble, not him.
“Nasty peasant scum. Always robbing off of people who make an honest living. The mayor needs to take care of this,” the farmer muttered to himself, rubbing his eyes. “Aggh, robbing me of sleep too! Hey! You, boy! Do a better job! I don’t pay you for no reason, don’t I? If you let scum like this,” -he motioned vigorously at me- “get into this place, why should I hire you?”
I felt the boy’s grip on me clench and his face turned hard. He didn’t say a word.
“For Groden’s sake, what’re you standing there for?! Get moving - and take the little parasite with you!” Farmer Kalor barked at the boy. “Do you think I tolerate stealing? Do you?” He turned back to me. “And you! You’ll get what’s coming to you! Scum!”
The more he shouted, the less scared I became. It was obvious he couldn’t do more than turn me into the authorities and call me scum. Maybe if I could make a run for it…
Farmer Kalor began screaming at the other boy again. I managed to muster a bit of empathy because he looked absolutely terrified. But I shouldn’t worry about that. Imminent catastrophe makes conscience rot away. So when I saw the farmer’s attention off from me, I made a run for it.
Glancing back, he was still shouting at the poor sandy-haired boy. I figured I had at least five seconds before Farmer Kalor realized I was missing. I weaved through the cornfield, and soon enough I heard him rage, “PEASANT SCUM!”
Corn stalks were rustling as if a bear was rampaging through it. I heard loud footsteps and I knew he was hot on my trail. I dared look behind me and saw him only four feet away. He was running faster than I thought he could.
Of course, after I observed this, I stumbled on a small stalk. I didn’t fall, but I did lose the advantage of my head start. Curse those one-legged elephants.
After two full minutes of sprinting, I was exhausted, though I still kept on running. I was gasping for breath and Farmer Kalor was still in tip-top shape. He was hot on my heels by now, and suddenly, he lunged forward and grabbed my shirt, nearly ripping it at the seams.
“Nice try, peasant,” he snarled in my ear. Farmor Kalor put me down and roughly dragged me by the wrist. As we were walking out of the cornfield, he also grabbed the boy by the shoulder and steered him in the direction of the village, where the mayor lived. I was wheezing from sudden physical exertion, in no state to defend myself in the court.
It was a small town here, and all disputes and crimes were discussed in the large courthouse, which doubled as the city hall, the mayor’s office, the jail, and a lot of other legal things. The mayor’s house was on the second story so that if there were any important matters he could address it immediately. It was in the section of the town that had all the businesses- the general store, the farmer’s market, and the bakery. (Ah, the bakery… one of my favorite places to be… but more about that later.)
We walked in a line with Farmor Kalor in the middle and the boy in the back. I could feel his beady eyes bore holes in my head. I’ll bet he wished he could pulverize me right now so he wouldn’t have to deal with my “peasant scum” ways.
As we walked through the dirt streets (though more paved and not as dusty as the peasant roads) I could feel harsh judgemental stares from the other villagers who were buying fruits and such (yes, this early in the morning, or else all the good items would be bought already). I’m sure we made a sight: Farmer Kalor looking very purple and very mad, a lanky, sandy-haired boy trailing behind looking very nervous, and a scrawny child being dragged by the purple farmer.
We passed by street pedalers and eventually stopped by the giant building that was the courthouse. The entrance was lined with topiaries and statues of the gods, and the roof had gargoyles keeping away the evil spirits. The whole place was a remnant of what things used to be like before the plague struck. It was the only thing anyone put in enough effort to save. I couldn’t help but think of all the valuable money put into making sure the grass in front of the courthouse was green…
Farmor Kalor rapped loudly on the large oak door. I heard a faint voice shouting, “Teagan, be a dear and get the door!” Soon enough, it creaked open a little, and a girl about my age poked her head out of the crack. “Who might you be, and what brings you here?” she spoke in an elegant manner as if she were some kind of royalty. With the expensive silk dress that she had on, she might as well have been.
“I’m Farmer Kalor, this is…. Ah… was it Niles?” he gestured to the sandy-haired boy lazily.
“No, sir, it’s Nikolas-” the boy got cut off.
“Anyways, this little buzzard was stealing meh crops, you see,” he motioned to me.
“Oh, is that it?” the girl sharply asked. “Well, my father is quite busy right now, but-”
“Who is this, daughter?” A large booming voice echoed in my ears. Now standing behind the girl, Teagan I assumed, was the robust frame of the mayor. I gulped and felt the boy next to me shrink. “Farmer Kalor, it’s been a long time. What may I do for you this morning?” the Mayor asked.
“This peasant scum over here was swiping my crops!” Farmor Kalor shook my arm. The Mayor looked down at me with a terrifying gaze that was very intimidating. I had heard a lot about the mayor and the power he had… he was scarier up close and in person.
“Come, we shall decide what to do with the boy,” he sternly said. He moved aside, and Teagan followed after him.
As soon as I stepped into the house of the mayor, the cool air fanned onto my face. I let out a sigh of content. It wasn’t a good thing that I was here, but I had to say, it was a very nice place.
“Don’t get comfortable, peasant,” Farmer Kalor growled into my ear. “Justice is coming for you, with an iron fist.”
I nodded fearfully and decided to take a moment to appreciate my surroundings. After all, I was in the courtroom, the most expensive place for miles, something that would surely and most hopefully never happen again.
My loafers were touching a soft wool carpet, that stretched across the huge main hall we were standing in. It reached smooth mahogany walls that climbed up to a high ceiling that met wood balconies and corridors above.
And all throughout the lavish house, as far as I could tell, there was a faint scent of freshly baked bread. I inhaled deeply and smiled. There were hints of cinnamon in the air too, and I savored every scent as if I was eating it. The only place where you could smell these kinds of things was the bakery, and due to my social status, I wasn’t allowed in there much.
Unless Racquel was there, the kind though a little pushy baker who would let me in and give me a slice of stale or burnt bread…
But I’m getting carried away. My point was that the room was incredible, and had definitely won me over.
“In here,” the Mayor said. I was roughly shoved by Farmer Kalor through an oak doorway and pushed into a hardwood seat. I looked around me and saw him and the other boy - Nikolas, I presumed - settling into soft cushioned chairs.
“So, why do you come here, in this dreary weather and at this time of morning?” The mayor settled behind his desk, pulling out a paper and dipping a feather quill into ink.
“Well,” began Farmer Kalor, and as he began to explain the whole ordeal to the impatient mayor, I zoned them out and thought about my unfortunate predicament.
So, Elliot, I thought to myself. How are you going to get out of this one? I didn’t trust Farmer Kalor’s description of the punishments I would have, but still… something bad was bound to happen. And if I’m not home by morning… my family… I couldn’t think about that. Not now.
The mayor and Farmer Kalor conversed for a short while, with much shouting and wild gesticulations from the farmer and the mayor being the center of calm. I heard the word ‘peasant scum’ being tossed around, but other than that I wasn’t sure what they were saying. Something about sentences? And service? At least I didn’t hear anything about whippings or jail.
The mayor’s daughter, Teagan, was standing next to the mayor, respectfully waiting. When I looked at her, she coldly stared at me.
The mayor stood up solemnly, and looked down at me: “We have come to a conclusion.” His voice echoed throughout the room.
“Elliot of Hawthorne Farm has been accused of thievery,” the mayor said. I wondered how he knew my name.
“The court has determined him guilty,” he continued. I squeezed the armrests of the wooden chair, really hoping the punishment wouldn’t be too heavy… please…
“He shall be sentenced to twenty-four hours of community service.”
I was astounded. Only a day’s worth of community service? Service work was rather hard and tiring but was a light punishment considering my status and what I tried to do. Farmer Kalor looked rather unhappy by the decision, but at least he was less purple now. Nikolas looked relieved it was all over. Teagan looked indifferent. As always.
“That’s the first part of the punishment,” the mayor said, his voice strict.
I choked on my spit.
“He shall also be required to give up half of his family’s rations to Farmer Kalor.”
Farmer Kalor wore a grin worthy of the goddess Reaper on his face. Of course. Giving up half our rations would practically be death- not only for me but for my whole family. My heart sank like a stone. Curse my stupid clumsiness. Curse my stupid risk-taking endeavors. If only I could keep on the right side of the law…
“Wait!” I protested. “Can it be a quarter of our rations? You see, my father-”
“Stop whining, peasant scum!” Farmer Kalor shouted. “Take your punishment!”
I opened my mouth to speak, but closed them, for I knew that I would only make my situation worse.
“Well, now. I have many errands to run today. You are all dismissed,” the Mayor said.
Farmer Kalor walked out the courtroom looking quite smug with Nikolas shuffling behind him. Teagan’s shoulder bumped mines as she walked past me, and I glared at her direction before finally following her out the door.
My mind whirled with thoughts of my family and rations. We usually barely had enough for two people, and now with half of our rations gone, we wouldn’t last a week.
And it was all my fault.
Kaylee C. (Cow Chron. and TSC)
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