Chapter 4 - Sable
What was her name? Where did she come from? Why did she say that we are going to die?
The desperation in the witch’s eyes haunted Sable. She heard her voice when she closed her eyes and felt her fear when she slept. She relived the events of that night over and over again in her mind, recalling every detail.
She did not blame the witch for abandoning her; it was the obvious thing to do. And yet—yet—deep down, the memory of it all left her bitter.
But what worried her the most was what the witch and the man said. Officer Reinhard. The Champion of Light? What did he mean? Sable was sure that it had something to do with her being held prisoner—they wanted her magic—but this raised more questions than answers.
Sable had concluded that breaking out with brute force was not possible. It would attract too much attention and there would not be enough time to run. The only way out would be by stealth.
The first step to breaking out quietly was to gather information. And the only way to gather information in a prison cell was through observation. And after seven days, Sable was confident that soon she would find a way out.
There were no windows in her cell, so she couldn’t determine wether it was daytime or nighttime based on natural light. But she had figured out a way to estimate if it was early morning or late night.
Her guards—stoic and silent as they may seem—were only human after all. During the first few days, they were tense and stiff, afraid to even breathe as they watched over her. But after a few days, they got used to Sable’s presence and began to relax just a little bit. The guards chatted among each other in hushed tones, and although Sable could not hear what they were talking about, it was obvious when they would yawn and long for sleep.
Based on this she was able to determine that it was either early morning or late evening, but she couldn’t conclude exactly which it was. Escape during daytime would be suicidal. A witch operated at night.
Judging by the temperature and humidity of the cell, it should be summer time and therefore days were long and nights were short. Which meant that the nightshift should be the shortest.
Based on this, Sable estimated that the beginning of the shortest guard shift was in the early evening and the end of it marked the beginning of a new day.
She also roughly determined the time based on the meals she was given; lunch and dinner were usually the same, but breakfast was almost always some hard bread with tasteless porridge. She guessed that the guards ate the same thing.
After another few days, Sable had a rough estimate of how many other witches might be imprisoned with her.
She knew from experience that standing for hours without moving was more tiring than walking a bit; in the first couple of days, the guards stood rigidly in their positions and did not move. But once they relaxed, they began to pace up and down the corridor, chat, and switched positions. There were usually one or two guards standing before her cell and so far she counted ten different faces for every shift. What were the other eight guards doing? She could hear their distant footsteps up and down the corridor.
Based on the events from several nights before, there was a high chance that there were other witches in other cells near her. And if every witch received the same number of guards as she did, then there should be four other witches.
The prison was quiet. Very quiet. When she guards did not chat, she closed her eyes and counted their footsteps. The furthest they walked was thirty steps in either direction of the corridor. Sable guessed that her cell was in the middle and that the corridor had a total length of sixty steps.
If she broke out, would she be able to run thirty steps without getting caught? The witch with the fiery red hair couldn’t do it. But that was because she had stopped to help her. If she was callous enough not to help anyone, could she have lived and escaped? Sable’s heart grew heavy with sudden guilt.
On the eighth night, Sable went to sleep with hope in her heart. She had memorized the routine and faces of the guards and gathered all the information she could. Guards were only human after all. The more relaxed they became, the more likely it would be for them to deviate from their routine—to make a mistake.
With that thought in mind Sable went to sleep.
She did not sleep for long.
A/N: First week of spring and caught a cold right away. Just my luck.