Prompt: The notion was irrational, but when I became conscious of the fact it was already too late.
Special Challenge: Stars, space ships, planets, aliens, robots, fantasy
|Courtesy of talajbeg @ sxc.hu|
“What is the meaning of this?” Francis asked in his most grandfatherly voice.
“I’m sorry, Father Malloy, but I must ask you to de-robe,” the captain of the guard said as he stepped forward. “The prisoner escaped and you were the last person to see him.”
So much for Francis’ brilliant plan. Disrobing here would be immediate death for Jack and the gallows for him. It was unlawful to impersonate a monk. The robes were getting hot with Jack’s body heat radiating off his back and if Jack’s arms kept in that cramped position for too much longer he’d start choking Francis as well. Francis’ mind whirled with options of escape.
He could refuse and storm out. It was the death sentence for any man to touch a cleric. However, there was no law against shoving a spear through the belly. He chewed his lip as beads of perspiration trickled down his face. If only there was a way to shrink the number of guards they might stand a chance! Perhaps…
“De-robe? In public? That is sinful!” Francis exclaimed at last.
“You are required to comply while the prisoner is free.”
Francis heaved as holy-sounding a sigh as possible. “I don’t doubt your honourable intentions, my child. Perhaps you may search me privately?”
The captain considered it a moment and nodded.
Francis wallowed after him as a second guard closed in behind. They escorted him to the guardroom where the second guard barricaded the door. Francis counted four windows and a door presumably leading outside. That was their exit.
“Now, de-robe, please.”
Raising shaky hands, Francis loosed the hood and let it fall back. The guards gasped.
“You aren’t Father Malloy! You’re an imposter!”
Francis took advantage of their surprise by lunging for the captain’s spear while Jack unhooked his legs and arms from around his partner and tumbled out of the massive robes. Straw spilled after him until the billowing robe slipped off Francis’ scrawny body. Jack rolled to his feet and tackled the second guard.
“The prisoner is escaping!” the captain yelped as Francis backed him towards the door with the spear.
“Jack, open the door!” Francis ordered. Jack dealt his guard a knock-out blow and ran to jiggle the door handle. It was unlocked. As the guards in the courtyard rammed down the barricaded door, Jack and Francis slipped through the doorway and tore off down the passage. Footsteps and shouts echoed in the stone corridor behind them.
“Now what?” Jack hissed.
“There’s got to be a door some---Ahhhhhh!”
As Francis spoke, a trapdoor swung open beneath him and they tumbled down a flight of steps. He righted himself and shook his fist at the ceiling.
“That’s it, I quit!” he yelled and promptly walked out of the story.