This story is by Page and was part of our 2021 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Henry whimpered as his first memory was internal darkness when he woke up, always that deep darkness. He rubbed his sore eyes, quickly realizing a finger was missing. His sword hand… Slowly his memories came back, Henry had most likely been kidnapped by his enemy while he’d been asleep.
Logan had cut off his little finger not long ago to see if it would grow back, to understand the curse better. “Logan… Are you there?” What if he was left here to die again?
Logan’s lab had been so bright and modern, the opposite from the prison he’d been condemned to for hundreds of years. But now, all there was, was darkness and the small space. He was confined to, guessing it was a crate.
The crate groaned as if a weight was lifted off of it. Steps echoed; the crate muffled the sound slightly. “You’re alive.” Logan didn’t sound disappointed, but it seemed like he had reflected a lot during the time Henry had been dead.
At first, Henry laughed and brought his hands to the lid. He pushed up and quickly cried out in pain as he felt a sharp pain running through his body, coming from his untreated wounds. “Why so surprised?” Henry reacted to Logan.
By the sound of it, Logan was walking in circles around the crate. Their usual encounter with Logan was more equal and often less painful for Henry. “Two days have passed by,” Logan said flatly. But it had never hit Henry how long it would take for him to come around again, every time he had died by an animal… Something soft touched his skin, with a gulp he reached out and felt the soft creature move and squeal.
“Zounderkite! Why would you…” Henry flinched back to the wall of the crate, there were rats inside this box with him. “Let me out of here before I…” He gulped again, terrified of the memory from when he had gotten the black plague himself, remembering the pain. The horrifying moment when he had realized he had the symptoms. These people in the 21st century don’t know what had truly happened when it spread across the world.
“What the hell does that mean?” Logan said confused while he stood still to think about it.
Henry didn’t have time to think, there was no way for him to escape this hell. “I’ll tell you if you let me out of here you fustilarian.” He yelled, using every curse word he could remember using in his younger years.
Logan sighed loudly enough for Henry to hear. “I have no clue what either of those words mean.” He heard Logan grumble, “But… Are you really that afraid of rats?”
“What do you think? Rats were one of the reasons the black plague killed so many… They’re disgusting! So, you fucking clotpole. Let me out of here.” It was enough for Henry to remember the filthy streets of the big cities, with rat infestations all over the place, now he had to relive those memories as well.
“Hmmm… I’m not sure I like your language.” Logan said and Henry couldn’t help but smirk for a short second. “So, Sir Henry… You have quite the creative swearing.”
“Creative isn’t what I would call that,” Henry remembered the day he’d been freed from his dark prison, only a few years ago. How different everything had been. The clothes had been like nothing he’d seen before. At first, he had thought of sorcery after seeing a lamp getting lit from the flip of a switch. He barely understood what they said either.
“Okay…” The lid of the crate cracked open inch by inch, Henry was determined to push it open regardless of the pain. The light of a grayish warehouse blinded him, and he yelped as he was lifted by his short dark hair. “I’m curious about what you said to me, but I’ll stop for now, it’s not every day I have an immortal knight to test my experiments on.” Henry reached to fight the grip Logan had. But stopped as the infection of the flesh wound caught his eye. No way Logan would care enough to treat it.
Henry suddenly remembered a vial with a reddish liquid, it had tasted so bad that he’d choked on it as Logan had forced him to drink it two days ago. “That thing you made me drink… It felt like I was being burnt at the stake” Henry’s head got fuzzy as he remembered the pain when the fire had licked his body. The people stared at him burning like it had been some kind of entertainment. “It’s still one of the worst ways I ever died in my life.”
“Good, but you weren’t supposed to die.” That terrified Henry, a mad scientist was the last thing he’d wanted to deal with. “So now tell me exactly what you called me.”
Henry smiled, trying to feel as confident as he did fighting Logan almost every night. “To simplify it for you, it means idiot and time waster. It’s all pretty harmless.”
“Do you want to die?”
“Please, make it permanent this time.” Henry had attempted suicide more times than he could count. If Logan only would use his magic to break Henry’s curse, he was the only one with the knowledge of how to.
“Just shut up, can you do that?” Henry nodded. Logan dragged him into a hallway, the terror he felt was close and deep. Logan muttered annoyed when Henry fell to his knees.
Henry couldn’t help but remember his fellow knights dragging him from his childhood home, seeing the glare the priests gave him. Being condemned to a fate he couldn’t escape. Desperately he looked back at his family, away from the dark cave which would be his prison. His father looked at Henry with disappointment in his eyes, his mother and sister didn’t even look at him. He was forced into the darkness, had been stripped of everything. Locked in by a giant stone block.
Henry fell to his knees again, looking up at a sturdy metal door, it filled Henry with dread. Logan opened it, and behind the door stood a freezer. Henry flinched back, swiftly Logan forced Henry up to his feet only to kick him into the freezer. “Don’t leave me here.” The cold air penetrated him, “I’ll…”
Logan covered most of the doorway, stopping Henry from escaping. “Freeze to death? Most likely. You got to be familiar with death by now.”
“Immortality is a bad joke.” Henry snarled, and tried to get up to his feet. “I know that you hate me. All I want is for you to break this curse. Maybe another…” A gunshot echoed through the small space, Henry fell to the floor, warm blood flowing to the floor.
“Huh… Good luck with convincing me to do that.” Logan said calmly while putting the gun away. Henry was finding it increasingly hard to breathe.
“Log… Logan, please…” Henry reached out to Logan while trying to hold back a scream. He whimpered and shook in distress, not only caused by the cold air of the freezer.
Logan grabbed him to drag him further in. Cuffed Henry’s hands behind his back. “I hope you enjoy the rest, sir knight. Maybe…” Playfully, Logan stepped on Henry’s hurt leg and leaned some weight on, drawing a scream out.
Henry bit his lip. “May… Maybe… I can think of… Every friend I lo… lost. My family who watched a… as I was taken.” Logan’s ancestor hadn’t treated him like this, the catholic church had only been the guardian of his prison… But Logan was a monster, no one deserved this hell. Henry hadn’t imagined this though. “Plea… Please… Haven’t I suffered enough?”
“No,” Logan said and walked back to the doorway. “You slaughtered peaceful people for the life of one, you wanted a mage dead because of self-defense. You…”
“I KNOW!” Henry screamed, with eyes filled with tears. Shivering, he felt his strength grow weaker. “I… I was blinded by grief, the mage had killed my friend. I shouldn’t have killed those defenseless villagers, the children…” He gazed upon Logan. This mage had no right to do this. Logan was only a descendant of the mage who had cursed him. Henry had been left for dead. Dropped off a cliff, the same day he’d been cursed. Every day after that had been confusing and scary, he’d been looked at as a threat. Just like the mages.
“I’ll consider your request after I have all the answers I seek.” Logan smiled, Henry didn’t want to be a lab rat. Before this, he could plan for himself, but now… His fate was up to someone else. Again. The door closed with a thud, darkness surrounded Henry. A sob escaped him.
How long would he suffer for a boy’s mistakes?