Here it is Ladies and Gentlemen! The next chapter in the story-Fistful of Snow. Just thought we’d add some mystery and go to Leandra’s P.O.V. 😉 Can’t wait for Eliza’s? Neither can I :D. Well, kept you waiting long enough–enjoy!
Leandra stumbled into the damp, dark dungeon hall. “Women to the left, men to the right,” proclaimed a guard in a monotone voice, using his sword to demonstrate. Somehow Leandra found herself moving along with the silent crowd of prisoners massing into the passageway. “Ella!” Marianna pressed heavily on Leandra’s arm, squeezing her hand tightly. “Here, I have something for you,” she quickly placed a tiny burlap piece into her hands. “What is it?” Marianna looked confused, fingering the rough cloth.
“Just wait and see.” Ella quickly smiled before being forced into a cell. She turned around at the last moment to see her sister peering over her shoulder, large blue eyes wide. Opening her mouth, Marianna mouthed ‘bye’ as another guard dragged her away. “Bye…” whispered Leandra, entering into her own barracks.
A tall young man stood in front of her, a sheaf of paper balanced on a board in his hands. “Leandra Ella Marie Johnson.”
“Age and date of birth.”
“Eighteen years of age. October 1st, 1625.”
“Fine. You may leave, Bed 21. Last room, last bed on the right.”
Nodding politely, Leandra made her way down the straw-covered floor and surveyed the area. The cells were split into three rooms, separated only by a doorway. On the either side on the room were three rows of bunk beds, each with the ends facing each other. She seemed to be the first person here, as none of the other beds were full.
Sighing, Leandra sank down on her bed, staring across to the other side. Why am I here? She asked herself, mentally tracing the nails in the bed above. Feeling a bit silly about that question, Leandra shook her head, Because of my faith. Feeling weary all the sudden, she fell back and stared at the ceiling before drifting off into blissful sleep.
The command was firm yet quiet, and all the room shuffled, moved pillows and got ready to face the day. Blinking tiredness from her eyes, Leandra sat up wearily. Turning to her right, she soon saw that the other bunks were now occupied. There were eleven other young women rolling over and shifting their feet, some whom Leandra did not recognize.
“Prisoners complete daily tasks.” The young man from yesterday stepped into the room, his eyes sweeping the room. He examined the women and counted the heads, then turned to leave.
He stopped in his tracks and looked at her, “What do you need?”
“Well, I’m new…can you inform me on the daily tasks?” Leandra clutched her hands together nervously, pulling them behind her back.
“Ruth will inform you. New attire issued tomorrow for prisoners 1642-1643.”
“From now you will say ‘yes sir’, understand?” His ice cold blue eyes seemed to penetrate her very being. Leandra bowed her head slightly, “Yes sir.” Nodding, he walked down the pathway and out of the cell.
A collective sigh of relief seemed to enter the room as the man disappeared out of sight. The women soon busied themselves tidying the room, while a thin young woman approached Leandra.
“I’m Ruth.” Her words seemed slightly sardonic as she tilted her head, “New?”
“Yes.” Leandra twisted her sweaty hands, watching Ruth’s narrowed eyes. “Come on then.” She walked briskly down the pathway, sending straw blowing in thin tuffs. As she came by, some girls gave her sidelong glares and tossed another handful of straw where they walked.
Feeling guilty, Leandra made sure to step carefully on the pathway, giving a smile to working girls. One older girl stared sullenly back, her face drawn into an unreadable expression.
“Don’t stand around,” Ruth snapped, never once looking at Leandra. “Yes ma’am.” She turned and followed her into a large walk-in closet. “Everything we use to operate this prison is here.”
The supplies were hung on the wall:several sets of worn blankets, some extra pillows, bales of straw, one broom shoved hastily in the corner. Several dust rags stood in a pitiful pile on the highest shelf, torn and dirtied with use.
“You can start by sweeping the entryway.” Ruth thrust the broom into Leandra’s hands and swept past her, “Don’t talk to anyone.”
“Alright…” mumbled Leandra, going over to what she supposed was the entryway. She began sweeping the threshold of the cell door. There was very little to sweep, and she soon began looking for something else to clean.
“Clean the attic.”
Leandra turned to see that same sullen girl slowly sweeping the floor, staring down. Glancing sideways at her, she turned around and began walking into the next room.
“Very well…” whispered Leandra, looking for a ladder to reach the attic.
The attic was musty and dark, a morbid feeling cursing through the chilly place. Leandra coughed, covering her mouth as she tried to see for the thick dust. Blinking rapidly, Ella stood shakily to her feet and walked slowly across the unstable floorboards.
There was next to nothing in the wide but low-roofed attic, save for a few scarce trunks and some boxes. Leandra swept harshly along the floor, sighing at the sentiment that she was getting just about nowhere with all the dust.
Finally the floor was mostly clean and Leandra straightened her back to take a long breath as she cleared her mind. Thinking of how long they might be stuck here with no escape frightened Ella to no end but she knew that faith was called for in times like this.
Sucking in a last inhale, Ella grabbed the broom handle once more and resumed cleaning, taking into account the rather large spider webs on the ceiling above her. She brushed the straw end of the broom along the corner of the roof, sweeping away the cotton-like material of the spiders’ homes. A lone brown spider fell to the floor and Leandra watched it scurry away. She knew what the little creature felt like, trying to make sense of a new place. Taken from it’s home.
Leandra was confused, her broom had gotten stuck in a loose board of some kind of ceiling above her. What was this? Ella pulled hard at the broom and it came loose from the nail. She frowned, a board had come loose above her.
Grabbing the ladder once more, Ella positioned it underneath the loose board and climbed upwards. Pushing at the wobbly piece of wood, Leandra tested the strength of the other boards. She was able to push aside the second wood piece and the space was large enough to fit through. Ella could see light emanating from the hole. What on earth? Leandra thought. She had never heard of a ceiling above an attic.
The little alcove was too short to stand in but wide enough for Leandra to crawl inside. The sunshine coming from outside illuminated the little area as she moved across the boards on all fours. A box was fitted tightly into one corner and would not have been visible if not for the sun shining just right on it. Leandra paused for a moment, considering whether or not to look inside. She knew that the Father must have planned for her to see it because if not than there would have no way she would have spotted it.
YAY! Another chapter! Now let me go start on chapter 3! Okay.