The Red Hand Part 36

by Shane Migliavacca


The Red Hand Part Thirty Six Prison Break



My back aches from sleeping on the wood bench. Tenth sits, cross-legged on the floor, her eyes closed and her arms slack at her sides. She’s been like that for at least an hour or so. For my part, I’ve been lying here on the bench trying to think of a way out. That and waiting. Waiting. Waiting for her. Or waiting for somebody to come get us. Hagen likes playing this game. He made me wait in that cell back in Kuma Torth.

I study the scar on my hand. Another of Hagen’s games. I flex my scared hand. There’s a slight ache. Phantom perhaps. I can still see the energy blade burning a hole through its center. He had his fun. Wait till it’s my turn you bastard.

My lower back complains as I stand. I realize it’s not only from sleeping on that bench. It’s also from not peeing in god knows how long. My kidneys are gonna explode. There’s nothing I’d call a bathroom in this holding cell. Maybe we’re expected to just go on the floor.

I slide past Tenth on my way to the door, trying not to disturb her mediation. Hopefully she’s coming up with an escape plan. Wish she had some psychic powers, she could use ‘em to open the door. Thumping my head against the bars, I groan in frustration. Feeling the cool metal on my forehead. I really need to pee.

“Hello? Cook guy?”

The corridor outside is cast in deep shadows. Don’t these guys use the crystals to light this place? The cell is lit by a small crystal on the ceiling. But there appear to be none in the corridor. I stare into the blackness. Letting my eyes adjust. Beady eyes gleam in the darkness, staring back at me.

I jump back from the bars. “Holy crap!”

Griffin steps out of the shadow, like a grumpy revenant. “What’s this commotion?” He points his wood spoon at me. “Griffin is busy.”

Yeah, busy watching me. “I’ve…um, got to use the bathroom.”

“So? Griffin has his own concerns. Go if you have to.” He shrugs.

“Here? No. Isn’t there a place, I could go? You can go with me.” I do have to go, but maybe I could find a way to escape. Or at least get a lay of the land.

“No. Griffin will bring you a bowl. One Griffin does not want back.”

I watch as he walks away. Damn. Maybe I should try to seduce him? I shudder. No. Scratch that idea. Perhaps when he brings me a bowl, I could grab him. Force him to open the cell. Let us out. Of course, then what? Kill Hagen. Yeah, ‘cause that would end well.

Tenth stands. “Sister. The old cook isn’t going to let you out.”

“Back among us?” I ask, glad to have the company. “Were you meditating?”

“Communing with Isr.” She answers.

“And what did Isr tell you?” I say, a bit sarcastic. “Hope it was a way out of here.”

Tenth looks at me annoyed. “Serena, it does not work that way.” She sounds a little offended. “If you are angry with me sister…about what happened.”

I’m not mad at her. Wasn’t her fault. Hagen flexing his muscles. Putting us in our place. We were his puppets. Too many people on this planet want to control me. Put me in my place.

“I’m not. It’s just…we need to find a way out of here. And I really need to pee.”

Griffin returns with a couple bowls. Both filled with soup. Am I supposed to use one of these, afterwards? I thought he was bringing one for doing my business.

“Here. Here.” Griffin offers up the two hot bowls of soup. I reach for them, thinking about grabbing him by the arms. But, I look at the old cook and my heart betrays me. I can’t bring myself to hurt him.

I hand one of the bowls to Tenth.

There’s a metal clunk as Griffin hits the bars. “Here.”

He hands me something, a larger, empty, bowl. A bit dinged up. Well, I know what this one is for. It’ll have to wait till after we eat. For Tenth’s courtesy.

“Griffin heard you have visitor coming soon. Griffin hope they take you away. Leave Griffin alone.” The old lizard disappears back into the darkness. Ninja like.

A visitor? That doesn’t sound good. Tenth and I share a glance.

After our meal, I get Tenth to stare out the bars. Keeping a look out. I huddle in the corner and do my business. Finishing, I consider putting it under Tenth’s bench. She won’t mind, right? But my pesky conscience nixes that plan. Instead I nudge it under my bench with my boot.

“Are you done?” Tenth asks. “Someone is coming.”

“Finished.” I sit on the bench. Who’s coming? Hagen? I swing my feet back and forth as I wait. On the third swing, my left foot goes under the bench, hooking on the lip of the bowl. Pulling my foot away, I hear its yellow tinted contents swish around. An evil thought crosses my mind.

There’s the clip-clap of clawed feet on metal. Don’t think it’s Hagen coming. Good. 

Depending who it is that is coming, they’re about to get a rather nasty surprise.

I whisper. “Follow my lead.”

Tenth looks at me puzzled. “Your lead? What does-”

Before she can finish, they’re at the cell door. It looks like a red and blue lizard on the other side through. There’s the sound of the door being unlocked. Tenth backs away from the door.

I swing my foot back under the bench. Edging the bowl out with the tip of my boot.

The door opens. A short, brutish looking blue lizard stands there, behind him one of the red ones. He could make this difficult.

I smile a big, dumb smile. “Morning fellas. What’s up?”

They stand there looking at us. I just need one of them to come in here.

“You’re to come with us.” The red one says.

Tenth stands in front of her bench. Arms at her sides. She looks rather relaxed. Girl has a good poker face.

“Both of us?” I stall. “Or just one of us?”

Red points at me. “Just you. Lord Hagen wishes to see you.”

“Oh, must be serious. Am I in trouble?”

My stalling seems to be working. Red looks frustrated. He’s probably used to people jumping when he barks at them.

Tenth decides to intervene. “She’s not going anywhere without me.”

Does she know what I’m planning? Is she helping me stall?

The red lizard pushes the blue one forward. “Enough! Go, bring her along.”

The brutish fellow steps into the cell, one hand on his sword hanging at his hip. He gives Tenth a look of warning as he advances towards me. 

Now or never. Could still just go with them. See good old Hagen. No need for trouble.

Yeah. Fuck That.

The blue guy, annoyed, takes me by the arm, pulling me up. I stumble, on purpose. As I reach down to steady myself, I grab the bowl. In the next second the blue guy howls in surprise and discomfort as I splash him in the face with the bowl’s contents.

I see Tenth not hesitate. Springing into action she leaps out of the cell. Attacking the red guy before he can draw his sword. I whack the blinded brute over the head with the now empty bowl. One. Two. Three. Four times.  

He lashes out blindly. Trying to catch me with his claws. Knocking the bowl from my hands. I feel the claws just nick my left arm. A hot trickle of blood streaks down my arm.

I grab him by one arm and the back of the head, ramming him headfirst into the wall. He lets out a groan before slumping across the bench.

Tenth and the red guy are struggling out in the corridor as I leave the unconscious blue warrior behind me. They trade blows back and forth. Tenth appears to be holding her own against him. Got to end this quick. I take the fallen guy’s sword. Heading towards the two.

Before I can join the fray, red moans in pain and falls to the floor. Emerging from the shadows is Griffin, holding his big wood spoon. Now broken, from hitting the red warrior over the head.

“Blast, Griffin loved this spoon.” He looks at it regretfully. Shaking his head. Before chucking it over his shoulder.

“Why are you helping us?” I ask.

The old cook scratches his head. “Too much noise. Griffin never gets any peace. You two go.”

Tenth and I grab the red warrior and drag him into the cell. We take his keys and sword before locking the cell door.

Tenth puts her hand on the old cook’s shoulder. “What of you?”

“Maybe with you two gone, Griffin can get some rest. They won’t bother with me. They think Griffin fool. Not loyal to crazy madman. No need to worry about Griffin betraying you. Go. Go on.”  

“You have much honor, old one.” Tenth bows to him.

“Thanks.” I hug Griffin tight, making him try to squirm away from me. As I let go of him, he makes me think of Maebh. “Listen, Griffin. You haven’t seen an old woman around here? Kind of like me? Has one hand?”

Griffin furrows his brow. Tapping a finger on his chin. “Griffin remember old one. One hand, yes. She was here. Took her to city they did. Griffin liked her. Very quiet.”

I smile, there’s a chance maybe. Maybe she’s alive. I hug Griffin again.  

This time he manages to get away from me. “Go. Go. They’ll be looking for you soon. Griffin has much to do.”

The last I see of Griffin as we hurry away down the corridor, is him picking up the broken spoon off the floor. Shaking his head.



Making our way upwards, through twisting corridors, avoiding warriors and crew members going about their daily routines. We have the swords we took from the warriors. But neither of us are itching for a fight.

We stop for a moment in a deserted section.

Tenth scans the area. “What’s the plan sister?” 

“Find a way off this thing.”

Tenth rubs her brow. “I should have known.”

“We’ll think of something.”

Farther up we hear a loud humming noise. As we make our way closer to the source of the humming, we spy two guards outside a large archway. Both were blue skinned warriors. A bright glow coming from within the room.

That humming sound. I have a pretty good idea what’s making it. And that glow…I think I know how they’re keeping this thing up. Now I have a plan.

I whisper to Tenth. “You thinking same thing I am?”

She nods. “Yes. We have to get in there.”

“Shall we?”

We creep forward. Sticking to the shadows. As we close in I learn why they don’t have it well lit.

“Hey!” One of the guards hollers. 

They can see okay in the dark.

Tenth lunges out of the shadows, running the closest guard through with her blade. The farthest away of the two hesitates for a second, before deciding he’d be better off fleeing. I take off after him. Running past Tenth, following this asshole down a long corridor. He can out pace me, my only chance is…

I throw my sword like a javelin. It hits him in the leg, tripping him up. It doesn’t stab him, but that wasn’t the point. He goes down and I close the distance between us. Grabbing my sword from the floor, I go in to finish him off. Before I can make the kill, he draws his own sword. Great, I going to have to fight this guy.

He gets to his feet, grinning. “Think you can take me?”

“Well, I don’t know? Who was running like a scared little hatchling?”

He lets out an angry war cry and runs at me. Swinging at me. I parry his blow. He hammers at my defenses. Repeatedly swinging at me. Forcing me to Keep my guard up. Keeping from getting any offense in.

Then the warship lurches to the right. Sending us both into the wall. We both struggle to our feet as the ship seems to descend a little.

Being a little smaller then him, I manage to pull myself up faster. Using it to my advantage I run him through. There’s no time to play fair.

The ship is going down fast. We’re going to crash.



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