#ThursThreads, week 85

Prompt: http://siobhanmuir.blogspot.com/2013/08/thursthreads-challenge-that-ties-tales_29.html

“Daddy daddy!” A blur of sandy hair, and my son flew past me, some wooden toy gripped in his short fingers. The toy caught in the Chancellor’s robes, and the man’s arm moved faster than I could have imagined, his hand locking around my son’s wrist, holding it tight. The Chancellor’s dark eyes bore in on my son, and the little boy froze, more surprised than afraid. Finally, his weighty gaze turned to me.

“How much is this one worth?”

“I’m sorry, m’lord – he meant nothing by it. He knows not to run in the shop.”

“Oh, I’m not angry. Boys will be boys.” He smiled, lips turning up in a grin which didn’t touch his eyes. “And I have a need for boys. You will be well compensated, of course.”

I tried to swallow, and couldn’t. A neighbor had sent his son to live in the castle, years ago now, and then disappeared himself one day. His shop was now boarded up. Most considered it haunted, and would walk circles around it.

It took every ounce of courage I had just to speak, and I had to tear my gaze away from his. “I’m sorry again, m’lord. He is not for sale.”

“Ah – so you will resist. I can just take him, you know. But I try so hard to be civilized.”

“Take him? But the king…he knows this shop, me. He wouldn’t.”

The Chancellor laughed, deep and dark. “King Joseph? You have no idea what he would do.”

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