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The shadows of the buildings in town began to grow long as the sun sank to the west. The guards, having grown restless, milled around the inn and took turns dozing. Ben sat, ever looking for an opportunity to escape but found none. A commotion in the street roused the guards and they resumed their positions around Ben. One went to the window, opened the shutters, and looked into the street.

“What is it?” asked the squad leader.


“Just a bunch of lumberjacks,” replied the guard taking his seat beside Edwin.


The lumberjacks—Ben didn’t count, but he guessed a couple of dozen—came into the inn and made several people give up their seats so they could sit in various groups together at the same tables. The people didn’t seem to mind, and acted like they knew most of the woodcutters. Ben turned his attention away from the crowd in the inn and retreated into his own thoughts.


“Hey Rudyard,” one gruffy looking man yelled, “get out here and bring us some food!”


The innkeeper came into the dinning area from the kitchen carrying a barrel of ale on one shoulder and balancing a tray of wooden mugs on the other.


“How you boys doing today?” asked the innkeeper with a smile.


“Aw, fine and shiny,” replied the lumberjack.

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Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020  —  Bill Snodgrass