The following is a brief excerpt from Estell, my current Work in Progress. Enjoy!
Grendal nodded to Keln who stepped forward and removed a whip from his belt. Unwinding the thick cord, he pulled back and then brought his arm forward in a quick snap. A loud thump echoed through the small room as the whip connected to Mme. Roh's back.
“It is that same insolence and anger that has earned your nephew’s arrest. Now where is he?” Grendal peered around the small room as if he expected Estell to appear at any moment with an army.
“He is not here.”
“I can see that, woman. Where is he exactly?”
“I ain’t gonna tell ye. Ye’d hurt him.”
The officer signalled to Keln, who pulled back and whipped Mme. Roh again. She cried out in pain but stared, determined back at her tormentors.
“Will you tell me now?”
“I don’t ‘member where he be,” she muttered to the floor.
Grendal raised his hand and the whip fell a third time.
“Can you remember now?”
Mme. Roh pursed her lips together and didn’t answer. Blood red gashes streaked across her back from the force of the whip. In her seat, Estell cried bitter tears of anger and sorrow for her friend as she tried to flee the scene. Mme. Roh had only ever been kind to her, helping her in ways no one else could. She taught, fed, clothed, and loved Estell. She had made ‘Indy,’ a disguise that freed Estell from the ruthless gaze of soldiers and turned their attention on little boys. She had done so much and this soldier didn’t care.
Grendal was losing his patience with Mme. Roh. Estell bit her lip and closed her eyes, not wanting to watch the scene playing below. The worst was yet to come. That moment. The moment that lived with her day and night and prevented her from letting herself grow close to another being...