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80 Word Flash Fiction
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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: June 3, 2016      Views: 83
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Catherin Elizabet Belle, also a pseudonym. She is retired. She enjoys living in Florida where there is plenty of sea, sun and sand.

Ms Belle enjoys her research and creating poetry, novels, and short stories.

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Chapter 2 of the book The Search
The Lady is lost.
"Cool Water" by Catherin Elizabet Belle
Lady Lenore wanders the forest in the dark of the night to find comfort.

The sleeping lady tired from her trek from the cabin and struggling to return hears not the clop of the horse's hoofs as a rider approaches through a hidden passage. The rider's attire that of a nobleman sits atop his steed proud and regal dressed in the finest velvets.

Dismounting tying his horse to the rail he approaches the door pushing it ajar peeks into the interior. As his eyes adjust to the darkness, he spots the person lying by the hearth. He notices the rough quality of dress of the intruder. What is he doing here in the forest in my cabin?

Entering, the stomp of his boots alarms the sleeping body. Who scrambles to their feet turning,fear written over their countenance hands holding the cloak tight around them, "Who are you?"

With a slight grimace removing his gauntlets, he responds, "My Lady, tis I should do the asking." Removing his hat he continues, "You are in my cabin uninvited; the question is why?"

I straighten to my full height of five feet four inches and demand, "Who are you?" in the haughty manner of the Lady of the Manor.

"I am Jonathan, The Earl of Fantasia, at your service." With that declaration he moves to the fireplace and soon has a fire blazing on the hearth. "Now, My Lady, who are you and what are you doing here? No more delay, answer me."

Edging closer, I sit on the corner of the hearth and with a sigh, "I am Lady Lenore of Black Shadow Castle."

He gasps with this news, "Woman do you know they are scouring the whole realm for you? How did you get here?"

I jump from the hearth ready to bolt, but where would I go. "Sire, I sneaked out of the castle for a few hours of solitude. Wandering further than usual I became lost and stumbled upon the cabin. Drinking from the pond I waited until dark and started back pushing my way through the trees and vines. With exhaustion I spent the night by a tree. More lost than ever, I retraced the trail I forged leaving the cabin." Sitting back on the edge of the hearth she waits for him to speak.

With a deep sigh he says, "Lady Lenore, I must return you to Black Shadow at once. Although, I will not be welcome it can't be helped. The Lord is frantic."

"NO! NO! You must not, it would mean the dungeon." Falling to my knees on the rustic floor of the cabin, "I implore of you, Sire, go away say nothing."

Moving toward me, he takes my arms causing me to rise, "My Lady, what doest thou mean?"

Placing my hands over my face a tear slides down my cheek, The knight places his arms on mine sitting in the chair by the hearth he kneels before me, "My lady, you must be in err, Lord Darwin searches as we speak."

Looking into his eyes, I haughty toss my head replying, "I'm sure that is what he tells his army; but my Lord of Fantasia, I assure you it's the dungeon or the convent."

"Calm yourself, Lady Lenore, when was the last time you ate?" Standing he walks to the door, "I have food on my horse, I will fetch it. We shall sup, then you will tell why you believe this to be your fate."

While Sir Jonathan is outdoors, I wipe my eyes and straighten my dress; parts are in shreds from crawling through the undergrowth in the forest; tattered breeches and leggings, hair shagging, and dirt smeared face, I am a sight.

Returning with his knapsack, he lays bread and cheese on the table and pours a tankard of mead bows gallantly and says, "Please, My Lady."

When I stay seated he places cheese and bread on a cloth holding it for me to take. I nibble the cheese and bread. Sipping the mead I feel warmth spread through my body ridding the inner chill that haunts me since I became lost.

Taking a sip of mead, "My Lady, time you tell me why you do not wish to return to the Castle of your Lord."

As her shoulders droop she begins, "The marriage not of my choosing, fostered on me by the Earl of Black Shadow who desires an heir and promised my guardian a tidy sum of gold and land for my hand in marriage."

"Why do you believe the dungeon or the convent is your fate?"

Blushing in embarrassment she replies, "I refuse his advances. Thus I am guarded all the time."

Standing he walks to the window staring outward then turning he says, "My Lady, I will be blunt! Are you saying the marriage is not consummated?"

With my head down I whisper, "Yes."

He walks to the hearth laying a log on the embers turns saying, "Yes, I can see the dilemma. You know he will not rest until he finds you."

Standing I pace back and forth across the room, "Oh, yes, my Lord! That is why I must get away. I only walk after everyone has retired, my lady-in-waiting always helps me and watches for me. This time, I wandered further than usual and found myself lost."

The lady is distraught I must help her. 'Not too many know of this cabin my private retreat.' "My Lady, perhaps for now you can stay here, few know the location."

"NO! NO! If I found it others will." Bowing her head she says, "You're kind, Lord Jonathan. I have nothing, no clothes, no food; only the pond for water."

A shadow crosses his countenance as he asks, "Is there one whom you trust?" Waiting for her to answer, he moves to the door.

"Oh, yes Sire, one! My lady-in-waiting, Lara, she has been with me since a babe. But how would you get to her?"

For a time Jonathan sits before the hearth then says, "Lady Lenore, I will go to Black Shadow Castle and offer my services in the search." Rising, "Come with me, My Lady, I know a secret place where you can hide until the search is declared worthless."

Hesitant, I allow him to take my hand leading me toward the waterfall.

As we approach a pile of rocks against the falls he stops, "Follow close behind me your back against the rock wall."

When he moves to slide under the water, I stop; again he takes my hand drawing me behind the cascading water. Inching my way forward I am a foot or two from the entrance when my foot slips and but for his quick wit catching me before falling into the pond I would have drowned.

As he holds me in his arms a fiery sensation spreads throughout my body, I'm sure my face blushes a deep ruby.

Standing there with this maid in my arms I find an unwillingness to release her. Her face radiant and rosy, do I dare kiss this charming and beautiful lady belonging to Lord Darwin? Aware of the temper of the man, I remove my arms stepping further into the cave lighting a candle motioning her to follow.

As we move further into the darkness illuminated by the dim glow of a candle that Lord Jonathan carries, we enter a cavern. When he ignites two or three scones on the stone wall, I am shocked by the things I see. Bear skins on the floor, table, bed, fire pit and a sizeable chest. "Sire, what is this? Whom does it belong?"

Frowning Lord Jonathan replies, "Tis mine, My Lady."

When he says no more I am curious what he does not tell me. Yet, I know if ask I doubt I'd receive an answer. I still my curiosity. "Will I be safe here, my Lord?"

Shivering from the wetness of my clothes and the chill in the cave, I wrap my arms around me. Lord Jonathan moves to a dark corner of the cave returning with wood to start a fire. Soon the cave is warm and my chill disappears.

"Lady Lenore, before I join the search I will bring sustenance for you. Fear not I shall return in two days." Taking his knapsack, he lays it on the table saying, "Until then this will have to suffice." Doffing his hat continues, "Until I return, my lady, stay inside the cave. Do not venture even to the falls."

Gazing at him for a moment I reply, "Yes my Lord, it shall be as you say."

The book continues with Aiding In the Search. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.
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