A Knight in Central Park - By Theresa Ragan Page 0,1
thumps of heavy footfalls and clanks of armor made it impossible. “Grandfather,” she said urgently, “help me move the bed.”
Click. The box opened.
Grandfather shot her a gap-toothed grin.
The door creaked in protest when someone on the other side attempted to enter.
The tip of a battleaxe hacked through the door.
“Grandfather!” she shouted.
He came to her side. Together they grunted and heaved, pushing the bed a few inches at a time. Wood scraped against wood until the bed blocked the door, giving them a few minutes more.
His breathing was ragged from the effort. He looked deathly pale. “Is it your heart?”
“Nay,” he breathed out in a huff.
“I should have knocked you out and dragged you to safety whilst I had the chance.”
“You did right. You are a good child.”
Men argued outside the door. Then the axe sliced through again, sending chips of wood through the air before its sharp edge embedded into the hard wood of Grandfather’s bed.
Her heart lodged in her throat. May God have pity upon us.
“Here,” Grandfather said as he placed his cherished possession in her hand. “Take these.”
Alexandra gazed sadly at her open palm. She felt the urge to cry with fury and shame when she saw the source of Grandfather’s excitement...the dull, lifeless objects which had, in all probability, cost them their lives.
His ludicrous rocks.
He’d spent most of his life talking about the stones...so many stories, so long ago. According to people who knew him best, Grandfather used to be as sharp as King Henry’s blade and as clever as a fox. But that was before he gained possession of the stones.
Alexandra peered into his eyes. He looked so brave, so fearless as their world crashed down around them. She prayed silently for her siblings. Her sisters and brother had been thorns in her side since her mother’s death, but she would do anything to see them safely within their beds this night.
“Do not be afraid,” her grandfather said as he closed her fingers tightly around his treasure. “You remember what to do, child. Go in search of your hero...our hero. A brave, chivalrous soul who champions right against evil and injustice. A man who...”
“I cannot,” Alexandra said. Tears stung her eyes. Another crash on the door caused her to jump.
“Aye, but you can. Remember all I taught you.” He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. “Years ago you believed, Alexandra. Close your eyes and do not stop believing until you have returned with The Chosen One.”
Splinters of wood rained down around them.
“Believe,” he said loud enough to be heard amidst the chaos.
Alexandra shut her eyes. An absurd thing, bothering with these rocks in the midst of death, but what choice did she have? “Take me from this place,” she prayed, turning the smooth rocks within her fingers. “Give me the power before all is lost.”
Suddenly her skin grew clammy. No longer did she hear the clanking of armor or the loud thumps of an axe.
Beams of light darted before her. Her body felt weightless.
She watched with numbed horror as the room grew dim and small. This could not be happening. It was illogical.
A sickening wave of terror welled within as she reached out a hand and found nothing to grasp.
Desperate to return to her grandfather, she thought of the familiar...her grandfather’s old wooden chest, the hand carved bench against the wall where she and her siblings played games.
It was no use.
Even the light grew hazy and dim before disappearing, leaving her in darkness, gasping for breath, clawing at nothingness.
My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.
New York City, Present Day
A blare of a trumpet sounded, bringing Alexandra to her feet.
Strange, she thought as she glanced about. Not a trumpeter in sight.
Standing still, she tried to catch her breath which came out in cold white billowy puffs of air. Her hand fell to her chest where she could feel the steady beat of her heart. I am alive. Another moment and Sir Richard’s men would have barged through the door and mayhap killed them both.
She gazed at the stones in her trembling palm. Had these simple rocks truly brought her through time? Could Grandfather’s stories have been naught but the truth?
Perplexed, she realized there had been five stones before, but now there were only four. She scoured the snow-covered ground, finding nothing. Yet one stone was clearly missing.
Waves of terror struck her as she realized she was not in familiar territory. Where was she? What demons would she be forced to fight now?