Threats

Salvation: Chapter Six

Gadreel felt his consciousness fading from him again with the light of the day. He had grown accustomed to the feeling every night, assuming the work he did during the day made it worse. The light in the sky would become dark, then his eyes, and before he knew it, the day would return. But that night was different.

A rough touch brought him back to consciousness, tucked into the corner of the cot. The low but threatening voices came with a shove to his side, pulling him away from his repose on the creaky platform of wood. “Up, freak.”

“It is… not daylight yet.”

“Get up, and keep your mouth shut,” Arthur’s deep, restrained voice was forcing him to attention in the darkness. It was only the embers of the dying fire that cast a light that night. The big man’s silhouette stood out against the glow.

Before he could shift himself upward, the thick gnarled hands tugged him up by the edges of his vestment and dragged him out into the yard. The clothes upon his legs met with the dew-soaked dead grass, lapping up the cold liquid before he was tossed down helplessly onto his side.

Through the cover of clouds was the glow of the moon, shining just enough light upon the others, the big man and two of his underlings. “What are your desires with me?”

Arthur sneered and huffed at the question. “Let’s have a chat about that, huh? There’s somethin’ unnatural about you. Those little things dangling from your back? What’re those?”

Gadreel sat up and rubbed his hands together, scraping off the sticky mud. “At one point, they were wings. That which all those of my kind bear.”

“That, I thought so,” The big man nodded. “My friend here was made to clean up the mess you made of them, all that fine, white plumage. Thought it was a bird, but instead it was a man. The feathers, they grow back?”

“In this form… I cannot be sure,” Gadreel shook his head slowly.

“That form?” Arthur grit his teeth, “Your words don’t make a lick of sense. Howsabout if they do grow back, can you fly?”

Gadreel imagined standing up, but something about the three men standing over him made him decide the opposite. “In this form…”

The big man leaned down close to his face, one hand on his shoulder with the other curled into a fist. “I don’t care to hear about your forms. They must have plucked you for a reason? To keep from simply flapping yourself over the walls here? If you can fly, I will make you aid me in getting out of here.”

“The possibility of all things aligning in such a way is unlikely.”

Arthur pushed himself up, tired, and began pacing about Gadreel in a circle. “I’d say the same for my chances of them letting me out as a free man. I need to get out. I’ve been here long enough… but waiting for you to sprout new feathers is something I’m willing to wait a little longer for.”

“You simply desire escape?”

“I’ve heard your words of salvation,” Arthur said, head shaking. “I don’t see any other way of making good on that sort of promise or whatever.”

“You are mistaken, sir.”

Arthur stomped loudly near his back. “You’re brave to say something like that to me. Here, a promise in return. I will make sure that they don’t lay their hands on you again while we await your wings to sprout again.”

“Your desires are clear, but I believe these men who keep us behind these walls will not make an escape easy.”

“They won’t havta’ know,” Arthur shook his head furiously, “As long as you keep things to yourself. From that Piers bloke the most.”

“Your ideas are intriguing. I shall focus myself on this task the best I can. But you must temper your expectations.”

“I don’t need your nonsense words. Just a word to let me know you understand what I want from you.”

“I understand.”

Arthur looked at the others, nodding his head. “Good. Get back to bed before they notice any of us up.”

Gadreel stood after the others departed and made his way back to the bunk alone, but soon found yet another person whispering to him in the dark. “What did they want from you?”

“Piers?”

“I was going to interrupt, but luckily it seemed like they only wanted to talk.”

“Yes. That is correct.”

“He must have wanted something from you.”

Gadreel almost spoke, but he remembered the words that the big man had said. Keep things to yourself. The desire to utter words that weren’t true entered his mind; a lie. Instead of speaking, he turned over and held his lips pursed together, awaiting the sound of Piers losing interest and turning back over.

“I can understand if you don’t want to say anything. But I wouldn’t agree to do anything for him. He’s not the kind of person you want to play around with. None of us are, to be honest. That’s why… we’re in here. But I won’t keep you awake any longer.”

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