Excerpt: Scene II, Act III of Novella—by me

This excerpt is not a stand-alone scene. However, I haven’t shared anything in nearly two-weeks, so, I thought, why not share today’s work, raw and unedited. Read the story from the beginning by reading this post first:

            Ishaq panted against the wall. The men screamed their prayers.

He shouted,“SILENT.”

They collected themselves, their breathing relaxed, and with unexplainable death, now, no longer imminent, the party started scanning the room. The air was thin, and their torches were barely embers. Ishaq scraped forward in the dark. The men were transformed into floating mouths. Their eyes veiled beyond their torches’ reach. Then he crashed into onyx eyes. Inches from his face, suddenly, out of the black, he snagged himself and his head found stone.

            Everyone squeeled at plates made of gold and bronze plates tumbling to the floor. The event relit fires-of-greed in the diggers’ eyes because any proper robber knows the clanks of treasure.

            “Was that gold or silver?” A dizzy Ishaq heard someone shout.  

            “A leopard,” he said.

—End of Chapter—

            Ishaq walked through the first-opened-gate back in Thebes. Bes avoided eye contact with the guards. An elderly tax collector appeared to brood over ordering them searched. They had filled their wagon with sand, and that, Ishaq did not forsee, would attract attention. There is plenty of sand on both sides of the wall. The thought, Ishaq could see, was painted on the man’s brow. They were fortunate when the old-man started to raise his hand, a dispute, further down the line, interrupted him, and saved them.

            The days passed slow. Four walls become cells of madness for those in hiding. Ishaq emerged the evening of the fifth day. His supplies wore out, followed by his spirit, and he went to market as if he had been there every day. He confused many shopkeepers with inventions of old-conversations whenever a guard was near. He considered this the right decision when, buying tobacco, he heard a temple priest tell a guard captain to follow anyone purchasing with gold or bartering jewels, plates and Ishaq quit listening when Nefari tugged his arm.

            “Oh, where have you been hiding?” she said. “I just left our magistrate’s house, I told him to put out the word to find you.”

            “Why would you do that?” he said.

            “Why? It isn’t like you to disappear. I thought,” Nefari hesitated. “I feared you were hurt.”

            That night he dug up the gold he hid, in the earth, under his pillow. He sneaked through his city’s quarter’s shadows. Hidden under the rampart’s shadow, Ishaq spotted the priest he eavesdropped from earlier. Two men emerged into moonlight. Their daggers shined. These men weren’t temple guards.

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