1 year ago 🍟 for day 14, 2019 with 729 words.

Catacus Black. Two birds with one stone.

I thought I'd try to kill two birds with one stone today. I promised @Carmen L Clark that I'd write about the character that has been in my head since the age of 8 and put it up for all to see. I also rather liked the look of @Jeff Stolz 's prompt to "describe a character in the context of the place without writing anything directly about them. In fact, write as if the person is not even present during the time you’re writing about." Hopefully, I've managed both. The character from my head is Catacus. The character I'm describing...well, maybe we'll meet them someday? Feedback is always appreciated.

The room they’d taken him to was little more than a glorified prison cell. The walls were thick and made of stone, with barred windows set high enough that the average person couldn’t reach them, even if they were athletically inclined. Two single beds were crammed into either corner, which made him pause as the ghost of a shiver radiated down his back. He could still feel the cold of the guard’s gauntlets between his shoulder blades. He hadn't gone quietly into the stone prison. That, at least, he was proud of.

Two beds meant two people.

They were to his left, looking cold and entirely unwelcoming. To his right, stood a small dresser. It had a mirror set atop it, and it was tall enough that Catacus could see his entire torso, as well as his face, within it. He moved closer and curiously ran his hands over the three small objects set neatly upon the wood. There was a hairbrush – simple in design, but upon closer inspection, the handle appeared to have been carved from some sort of ivory, and there was a delicate, almost invisible, image of a kitten scratched into its head. A small silvered mirror lay next to that. It had a more detailed tree leaf pattern set into it, and whoever had made it had clearly worked for months to ensure that every leaf interlocked in just the right way.

He could feel the embossing underneath his dirt-encrusted fingers when he lightly touched the surface, and the overall effect took his breath away. Doing his best not to disturb the precious few items, he let his hand drift to ghost over the last, and largest object there. At first, it looked plain enough. It was a simple black box. However, upon closer inspection, Catacus could see that the stone had been polished, either by wear or by hand. He could almost make out his own face in its lid when he looked down upon it. He hadn't ever seen a material like it, and as he held it in his hands, he turned the shining lid this way and that, watching as his reflection warped ever so slightly. Fascinated, he moved on. Opening the box cautiously, he raised it to eye level to better look inside. He remembered the kind of things his mother and sisters would have kept in boxes like this. Powders and dust that would puff up at him in clouds; along with jewellery that he never really saw the point of and bottles full of scents that made him sneeze. None of his other family seemed to mind them. He hadn’t understood for a long time why that was, but when he was five, his Mother and Father had sat down to explain everything.

Catacus looked down into the now open trinket case and choked back a sob.

It had been three days since he'd last seen his family. They weren't coming to get him. He sucked a deep breath into his lungs and felt the air calm him. He could hear his Father's voice reminding him to deal with what was in front of him. "You can't change the past Catacus, only learn from it. What is here and now is what matters."

He hadn't really understood it at the time. He did now.

Now, he was here; trapped in a room where mysterious black stone was carved into boxes that held bandages, threads and needles. What kind of a place was he in that the owner of the box could prise a dressing as highly as an ivory hairbrush and a silver embossed mirror?

dreamer

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By Sophie Clark 🍟

I am the author of three books, the last of which, Blindsided, was made with the help, love and support of the Write Together users. (And can be found at all major retailers.)

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