Welcome to this week’s Tuesday tales, the blog where select authors post scenes from their current works in progress for you to enjoy. This week’s word is MAD. Lots of room to work with that one. I’m continuing with The Price of Courage, book two of my Canadiana series.
Last week, Lucien was about to open the door to the storm cellar. Here’s what he found. Enjoy!
Makeshift torch in hand, Lucien grabbed the metal ring and pulled the door open.
He glimpsed into the darkness and gasped as he made out three shapes huddled under a blanket.
“Have mercy, please. They’re only children,” a woman said in a language he recognized as a mix of Mi’kmaq and French.
“No one will hurt you,” he answered in the same patois. “We’re here to help. Yves,” he turned to the man behind him. “Bring in some wood and start a fire in the hearth.”
Yves nodded to Okwaho, and the men went outside, returning seconds later with kindling and logs. Using flint and tinder from his pack, within minutes, the man had a blaze going and the room grew warmer.
“It’s all right,” Lucien said. “You can come up now. You’re safe.”
When a child was hoisted up high enough that he could reach him, he did so and placed the shivering toddler on the bench near the fire. A second child made her debut, trembling as hard as her brother was. Both were in their nightclothes, their tiny feet in woolen socks.
A man had to be mad to treat children like this.
Fighting his fury at such an atrocity, Lucien removed his coat, bundled the shivering children in it, and left them on the bench where the fire would soon warm them.
He returned to the hole. “Madame, it’s your turn.”
“Hélas, I can’t come up the ladder on my own. I hurt my ankle when they threw me down here,” she answered.
“Move out of the way. I’ll jump down and get you. Okwaho, come and help me,” he said, before dropping into the root cellar.
Like the pantry, the place had been looted, crocks of preserves smashed and trampled into the ground. Traces of tiny finger marks bore evidence that the children had scooped up some of the precious jam along with the dirt under it. His stomach roiled and he fisted his hands at his side.
Slowly, a figure emerged from the darkness. The woman’s eye was blackened and her lip split. She held a quilt around her, but he could see the scratches on her neck and the edges of her torn blouse. She limped, favoring her left leg. One hand cradled her distended abdomen. Horrified, Lucien approached her. What kind of monsters could do something like this?
Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.