Chapter 10 - Sable
Her name was Alisa and she was dying.
She could barely stand and speak—a bundle of sickness. Sable knew that if she left Alisa like this, then she would die soon and then any break-out plans could go ahead.
But Sable had no break out plan. She was simply glad that there was someone with her. She took it upon herself to take care of this sick witch.
She requested sponge, towels and hot water from the guards—and to her utter surprise, she received those items promptly. It must be because of the new Senior Officer Galloway, Sable thought. Maybe he wanted her to take care of this sick witch. Maybe he wanted for her to try breaking out so that he could punish two witches at the same time.
What a wicked man, Sable concluded.
Regardless of her suspicions, Sable got to work. She pulled the sick witch out of her dirty rags and wiped her off with the sponge. She requested two sets of new clothes and only one set arrived. It was as though Galloway was telling her that his kindness only applied to sick witches.
Sable ordered one thing after the other: fresh fruits, red meat, white meat, vegetables, hot porridge and hot soup.
She received all of it. The somber air of the cell filled with various delicious smells. When Sable closed her eyes, she could almost believe that she stood in the middle of a marketplace, the scents of hundreds of stalls mixing with the chaos of transactions and bargaining.
When she opened her eyes, she was still in the cell. Back in hell.
She feed the sick witch with the patience of a mother. With her head on her lab, she slowly fed her porridge and mashed up fruits and vegetables.
Bit by bit, strength returned to her face. Her gaunt cheeks regained their color and she gained the strength to speak properly.
“My name is Alisa,” she whispered with a faint smile.
They both knew that they would be friends for as long as they lived.
Taking care of Alisa reminded Sable of a time before prison. A time when she lived together with Claire. A time when this little girl, just barely old enough to walk and cast spells, tried to cast healing magic that was in the domain of the divine. It was a time when she could give her love without restraints and be loved in return.
“I have to find Claire,” Sable thought. Break out of prison, find Claire and then—then return to how things were before.
After two weeks—at least Sable thought it was two weeks—Alisa was strong enough to eat without her help. Her body was still thin, but her dark blue hair had regained some of its lustre. Which meant that some of her magic had returned.
Then one morning, or perhaps it was evening, Alisa asked: “Who is Claire?”
Shocked, Sable did not answer her. How did Alisa know this name? Was she a spy who was sent to her cell to find out her secrets?
“How—how do you know that name?” Sable asked.
“You murmur her name in your sleep.”
Sable felt a pang of shame; what had she become? To grow suspicious of the only companion she had in this godforsaken place...
“It’s all right,” Alisa smiled gently. “I understand.”
“No...I’m sorry,” Sable said. “Claire is...she is my sister, my younger sister. We were separated many years ago and…it’s a long story, but before I was captured and put in this prison, I had found her...and now I’ve lost her again.”
Sable wanted to say that she wanted to break out of prison—to avoid the deathly fate of the witch who was captured during her breakout attempt. But she stopped herself.
She felt ashamed for her suspicions, but she could not ignore it.
Sable knew that Alisa knew what Senior Officer Galloway had said before: if one witch tries to break out, both witches will lose their lives.
What would Alisa do if she knew that I wanted to break out? Will she report me? Will she sell me out? Can I trust her?
If Alisa thought that breaking out was an act of folly, then she would not be willing to risk her own life for it—no, she would stop any attempt at freedom. Better to live in capture than to die while running for freedom.
The door at the end of the corridor opened. The smell of food washed in.
“It is lunchtime...or dinner,” Alisa said.
The sound of hard boots on the stone floor, marching in unison. The flickering of the torchlight.
“Yes, let us eat.”
A/N: And it is the start of another week.