With a loud crash I fall into the stables. I stop to catch my breath before looking behind me to check for guards.
Then I hear the horses behind me. I turn around, they all know that I’m not supposed to be here. I know that they will wake up the whole castle if I don’t do something. I try to shush them and calm them down. They just become louder the more I try to quiet them.
I place my hand on one of the horses. Suddenly they are all quiet. It takes me a moment to realize what’s going on. I look around at the horses then back at my hand. It’s admitting a soft white light. I examine it for a brief moment. A strange sight, for sure.
I take my hand off the horse to get a better look at the light but it quickly dissipates and then disappears.
I sit on a large stack of hay in the corner of the stable where no one can see me. The horses surround me as if they are still mesmerized by the white light. My eyes grow heavy. It took a long time to get here and now I can finally relax. I close my eyes and drift off to sleep.
I wake up and look around. It’s midday and the horses are all laying down in their stables. They seem to notice me as I wake up but luckily they are too tired from neighing at me before I feel asleep to do so again. I don’t want to leave. The stables are warm and I’m still tired.
Despite that I get up and grab my things. I can’t afford to leave them here in the stables if something goes wrong.
I walk around looking for an easy entrance. Finally I find a servants’ entrance. I look around but no one is here so I walk in acting calm despite my racing heart.
Then the smell of warm bread fills my nostrils. I locate the smell to be coming from the kitchen. It doesn’t take me long to find the kitchen and look inside. A couple of servants take the bread off a fireplace which is acting as their oven since ovens are invented yet. They turn around and I duck hiding behind the wall. The servants leave out a different exit.
Seizing my chance I run to the bread and put the entire loaf in my basket. I also wrap it up in paper. A plate covered in grapes catches my eye next. I stuff the grapes in my basket and run out the servants’ entrance.
This would be my first heist of many. Hopefully next time I’d be able to grab more than bread and grapes.
When I get back to the stables I decide to split the bread and grapes into thirds. One for each of the three days I’ll live here in the stables. I happily eat my third today which is one third of the bread and 12 grapes.
Quickly I decide not to steal tomorrow since they would suspect me faster. There’s not much to eat but I’ll grab some more nuts from the woods tomorrow.
To pass the time I take out my notebook and continue writing. I write diary entries, stories, I even doodle in between paragraphs. I’ve completely exhausted the use of some 20 pages. The sun begins to set and servants head to their quarters for early sleep.
Once they are all asleep I take a walk through the woods. I have to walk everyday so I get used to hiking from one place to another everyday. This walk is the first time I feel calm and at peace since I got here. The soft sound each time I take a step, the cool late day breeze, the familiar smell of wood.
Right now, I’m not worried about witches or guards catching me. And I don’t want to think about them. I understand why both of them live so close to the forest. It helps them get their mind off their troubles.
It’s almost pitch black now. I should head back. I turn back to the castle then I hear a rustle in the branches. The same one I heard the first night I was here. A shiver runs down my spine. I back up and look around.
“Who’s there?” I yell into the darkness.
The rustling continues and I grab a nearby stick as a weapon. I look behind me and there’s still no sight of anyone. I turn back to the noise and hold out my ‘weapon’ hoping whatever is making this sound will just leave and I won’t need it.
“Come out,” I demand, “Now!”
The rustling gets louder and presumably is coming closer I back up. I can barely see anything in front of me. A tree hits my back and I fall to the ground, cornered.
Then the rustling stops. A bright, white horse steps out from the branches. Not one of the castle’s horses. No saddle, armor, rope, satchel or anything. It’s a wild horse. It must be lost like me. I get up and slowly approach the horse. My steps are soft and quiet. There’s no sound coming from the castle, the horse or me.
I reach out to pet the horse. At first it backs up but then it comes back. The horse feels soft, and I can feel it breathing. It needs help, just like me.