Nightime Lament

A snippet of an added scene for my novel

A guard rushed up to Vlad.  “You are needed,” he stated in a rush.

Vlad looked at Britta.  “I am sorry, your majesty, but duty — .”

“Calls,” Britta finished with more bitterness than she intended.

Vlad pursed his lips.  “Perhaps another time then?”

A flash of anger sailed across Britta’s face, quickly displaced by sullen acceptance.  “Perhaps,” she replied.  Yanking the tent flap open before the guard could reach for it, she disappeared inside.

Vlad’s bright eyes watched her go, even as he groused.  The guard had been late, yet there was still time for Vlad to reach the King’s tent in time.  He spun on his heel and ran.

Britta stood alone inside the tent.  A candle lamp hanging from the peak of the tent, swung gently, jostled by her sudden arrival.  A riot of shadows accompanied the lamp’s pendulum motion and the flickering candle flame.  Her hand seized hold of the lamp.  Stillness surrounded her.  For a moment, she missed Henna’s obligatory presence.  Of course, Henna was a fraud, and a malevolent one too — then again she was Britta’s fraud.  And now?  Nothing.  Tears slid down her cheeks as she blew out the candle — at least in the dark no one can see you cry.


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