I'm doing it again. Here's how it works:
Rachelle over at The Ink Loft paired each of the participants up. We give and receive a prompt, and then must write something from it under 1,000 words, afterwards critiquing the entries.
It's pretty awesome.
Here's the prompt I received from Sj:
And, my entry. I had to start it over several times, but once I tried writing it on paper it began to flow better. I'm rather relieved that I was able to finish it before the deadline. xD
The Thief's Blade
Mahati ran, sword pressed to her chest. She would not let it fall to the hands of soldiers. She would escape the busy marketplace.
She would escape them all.
Mahati grimaced. If only she could escape the accusations so freely thrown her way. She dared a look behind her shoulder. Four soldiers sprinted, barging through the crowds to get to what they were after: the prince’s sword.
Mahati threw her cloak's hood over her head, shielding her face, and ducked into an alleyway, spooking a crow. With one high-pitched screech he shot into the air, his beady eyes glaring at the chase from above. She took a moment to catch her breath and tuck the sword under her arm, squeezing it against her side.
Mahati flipped her braid behind her back and raced out of the alleyway, coming out besides a market stall selling wooden whistles, intricate designs carved onto their tiny form. Snatching one, she raised it to her lips and struck a tune.
Attention swung her way at once. Mahati welcomed the stares. Too often would soldiers pass by the obvious in search for the hidden. She closed her eyes, letting the melody rise and fall. A little boy clapped his hands to the rhythm, his sandy hair flopping up and down as he bounced on his toes.
She was a musician, and nothing else. A smile tugged on her lips.
Mahati opened her eyes.
A white horse clopped rough the crowds, coming her way. A uniformed soldier rode on top, eyes searching the crowds. Mahati tensed. She ended her song and gave a curt bow, returning the whistle to the seller, applause following. Then she was off again, running.
Mahati avoided a group of soldiers and shifted to the direction of the bustling people. I’m not a thief.
No, she was a lost and frightened little girl, separated from her ma.
“Mama!” Mahati cried. Her voiced raised a pitch as she wrung her hands, the prince’s sword safe from sight. A few sympathetic glances sent her way.
“Mama!” Mahati said again, hurrying through the marketplace. “Where’d you go?”
“Girl?” A hand touched her arm.
Mahati whirled around and stared into the face of a soldier. Her palms grew slick as she latched them behind her back, dropping her gaze to the ground. The sword under her arm shifted, threatening to reveal her true identity.
She was a girl without her mother. Nothing else.
“I’ve l-lost my mama.” Mahati sniffed. Two flashes of blue appeared to her right. Soldiers. Mahati stiffened.
“Can you describe what she looks like?” The soldier said.
Two more flashes of blue, on the left this time.
“Um,” Mahati squeaked. She glanced around. Soldiers seemed to be everywhere, forming, almost circling around where Mahati stood.
The sword slipped another few inches.
“Let’s see if we can go find her.” The soldier took Mahati’s hand, pulling her arm away from the grasp of the sword.
The soldier turned.
The prince’s sword fell from her cloak, and clattered on the ground.
Mahati dived for the weapon, but the soldier was faster. He grabbed the hilt, and held it at Mahati, eyes narrowing.
“You don’t know!” Mahati screamed, “The prince—he’s not the real prince. It’s an impostor. It’s not his sword!”
The soldier ignored her. “I’ve caught the thief!” His voice echoed, loud. Those who had not already drawn their attention to the scene now did. The market chatter stole away, replaced with whispers, words of “thief” and “sword” whisking into the air.
Mahati bent her head. The solider grabbed her arm, yanking her away.
The crow watched. He squawked once, blinked his crimson eyes, and then dashed away.
In her mind, Mahati was nothing but a musician, her song enjoyed by everyone. She was a girl, searching and yearning for a mother’s love. She was Mahati, serving for a greater cause.
But in other’s eyes, she was only a thief.
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- Katie Grace