The Chosen, Chapter 1B

Wolf (the name she had given herself at the age of eleven after joining Yungen’s company) did not struggle against the guards as they led her from the cart. She was bound, unarmed, and outnumbered; escape was hardly possible. The guards led her to a locked iron gate, the entrance to a stone building at the rear of the courthouse; the building had a narrow corridor beyond the gate, with three small cells on either side.

The interior was dark, and reeked of urine and excrement. As the guards led Wolf to the furthest cell on the right, she heard a voice call from the dark.

“Please, tell me this one’s interesting.” The voice was female, and sounded weary. “Not ’nother damn drunk.”

A guard opened the gate to the third cell, as the other pushed Wolf inside; the door clattered close, and the guards commanded her to stand with her back turned against the gate. Not seeing the point of resisting, she obeyed, and a moment later felt her binds being loosened and removed.

“Being careful-like with this un, eh?” The guards exited the building without acknowledging the voice.

Her eyes adjusting to the darkness, Wolf looked around the small cell. High on the wall opposite the gate was a small window, the late morning sky casting a small rectangle of sunlight onto a dirt floor that reflected little light onto the walls. In the far right corner, a small privy hole; along the left wall, a narrow bench. And that was all.

“Won’t get no bread, no water ‘fore tomorry morning.” The voice was coming from the cell next to Wolf’s. “Court’s in session, day after that. Usually in the morning, get it over quick. Probably give me a fine, same as last time I told the constable to piss off.” The voice cackled to itself. “Wha’ever they decide t’do with you, be better than sitting around here.”

“Wouldn’t be sure about that.” Wolf rubbed her wrists. “They hang people for robbery.”

“Ah.” The voice sounded impressed. “Kill anyone?”

Wolf snorted. “You seem to be taking quite an interest in my case.”

“Just passing time, is all.” The woman in the next cell shuffled her feet. “If’n it’s murder, ‘fraid you’ve got yerself a date with the gallows. But if’n it’s just robbery, might send you to work at the penal colony.”

Wolf sat on the bench. “Think I’d rather hang.” She waited a moment for another question, but the tired voice grew silent, leaving Wolf with her thoughts. No longer struggling against her captivity and temporarily resigned to her current condition, she allowed herself to relax, and let her mind recall the events of that morning.


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