Voleur de Mon Coeur

Voleur de Mon Coeur

Chapter V

The Hue of Morning's Pale Sky

The grey begins to fade,

As colour creeps from leaf to limb.

The light is slowly seeping up,

From beneath the earth's curved rim.

The sky blue strengthens slowly,

Glazed with hues of orange and red.

Slowly as the earth revolves,

The sun lifts up it's head.

Colours shimmer in the light

And shapes begin to unveil.

The trees and flowers separate,

With the dawn light rosy and pale.

The sun climbs higher in the sky.

It's light shimmering and warm.

All things now are clearly seen.

A new day has been born.

By-Jacqui Thornton

"Jack!" A voice called. "Jack Dawkins!"

The Artful's eyes opened at the sound and he weakly stood and narrowed his eyes to better focus upon the face calling to him from the other side of the prison bars.

"Come here lad", insisted the speaker.

Jack wearily made his way towards the figure and, as he beheld who was standing there, his heart jumped within his chest.

"Flannigan?" he whispered dryly, his voice still laced with sleep.

"Hello, boy," answered William. "Quickly, though, we have no time to lose."

Jack rubbed his tired eyes and tried to focus. "What are you speaking of?"

William glanced behind his shoulder then back at Jack, anxiety upon his features. "You are to be executed; sentenced to death this very night."

Jack's eyes widened and a cold horror filled him; he grasped the bars of the cell to keep from collapsing. His body began to tremble as he asked, "why?"

William lowered his head. "One of the prisoners here has told a fellow officer of the crime you had committed upon me. Stealing from a prison guard is a grave offense."

He again looked behind him and then looked at the quivering Jack. "I tried my best to persuade them to relieve your sentence but they paid no heed."

"W-who?" Jack whispered weakly, "Who turned me in?"

"I believe it was…" William searched for the name, "…Banks. Yes, Banks was the name."

Jack turned his head and looked down upon the sleeping form of Chester Banks. He felt rage fill his heart and an ultimate feeling of betrayal.

"I had no idea he hated me so much," he stated in disbelief. 'And to think' he silently thought, 'I chose not to put the blame of my crime upon him.'

"Lad," said William Flannigan, brining Jack out of his momentary stupor. "We must make haste, for I fear the time is soon."

"What do you mean?" Jack asked in bewilderment.

"You will have to strike me, lad. Take my place."

Jack could not believe what he had just heard. Was William actually going to set him free?

A feeling beyond his control overtook him and Jack looked at Flannigan with unwanted concern in his eyes. "What will happen to you because of this?"

William shook his head, "don't worry about me, Jack. I will tell them that I was merely doing my rounds about this level and as I was passing by your cell you reached through the bars and struck me, took my uniform and the key, and escpaped."

He paused and sighed, "It will be believable because it is exactly what you must do."

Jack shook his head. "I cannot accept this, my pride prevents me from using your help, much less, going by another's strategy for freedom."

"Would you rather die?"

Jack felt the horror return and he could once again feel death's dark hand reaching out to him, beckoning to his soul to follow.

"I-" Jack sighed in defeat. "I suppose I have no choice."

William nodded. "Right, well, hit me as hard as you can. Take out all of your frustration on me."

Jack gazed at the man who was offering him this chance to escape his confinement. "I will not say any thanks. Do not expect my gratitude."

Flannigan nodded, "I expect nothing from you, Dawkins."

Jack sighed and then, after a mere moment of hesitation, hit the complacent face of William Flannigan, sending him to the ground behind the cell door in a crumpled heap.

Jack knelt beside the fallen figure, took the keys that would set him free, and proceeded to unlock the cage of his confinement.

At the sound of the turning lock, Jack felt a glow of apprehension fill him and a joy that he had not known for many years.

He grinned then dragged the body of William into the cell. He stripped the man of his uniform, removed his own, then dressed himself in the officer's clothing.

He walked over to where Benjamin Givvins slumbered. "Goodbye old friend," he whispered. 'I shall truly miss you."

Jack suppressed the feeling that threatened to emerge and then quickly turned and left his prison.

He turned, locked the door, and then took the first step onto the path of his future.

He had not time to revel in this moment, however, because he knew that time was against him, and so, he hastily ventured through the dark and narrow passageways of the prison.

His heart was beating wildly within his chest and his eyes were wide and alert, waiting for the possible and foreboding moment of his discovery.

Prisoners all around him reached out through the hundreds of cells, moaning and begging, pleading and wailing.

Jack felt no pity for them; his thoughts were solely on himself and the escape on which he was embarking.

Every minute of his exposure seemed to last an eternity; the long path that led out of this prison was beginning to cause Jack to feel vulnerable.

What if it had all been a trick? A trap in payment for what he had done to Flannigan? Had the man been sincere in his forgiveness?

He felt reassured, however, as he recalled the sincere look on Flannigan's face, and the truth within his eyes.

No actor could ever imitate that visage. No mask in the world could ever portray it so perfectly.

No one could pull the wool over the eyes of Jack Dawkins.

He focused on these thoughts to help shake off the waves of the foolish anxieties that were washing over his heart.

The feeling of an overwhelming excitement began to brew within his soul as Jack began to sense the end drawing nearer, the end to his slavery, to his hell cage.

He felt the anticipation of surfacing from the depths of this darkness; He sensed the relief from his binding chains and shackles.

To behold light once more, after a seemingly eternity of night, was nearly unbearable.

The dawn, the sun, were on the brink, finally approaching, finally within his grasp.

Suddenly, Jack could hear voices nearing from ahead, and he instinctively dodged into the darker shades of the shadows.

He heard them speak his name and listened harder.

His heart jumped as he realized that they were on their way down to his cell to take him.

He froze momentarily as he thought of how close he had come to death. Then, almost instantly, he comprehended that he had not yet escaped from it.

Time was growing shorter; they would soon discover his absence.

After their voices had faded, Jack moved more hastily and focused only on escape.

There was no more time for mulling over his many thoughts and confusing emotions.

He nearly ran, stumbling a few times in the dark. He felt that death itself was at his heels, chasing him, its bitterness waiting to devour him.

Finally, he reached the upper chambers of the prison, having cleared several levels of cells.

There was a dim light ahead and a small portion of the gloom he had felt for so long was lifted, clearing his head a bit more.

The prisoners here were not as those where he had inhabited. These were far less hardened, seeming almost like mere slaves, rather than law offenders.

They did not cry out to him, only humbly sat within their cages, sullen and emotionless, lost within their own misery.

Jack shuddered as he ran past them. They were even worse off than he had been.

They had probably committed no wrongs; these were the innocent criminals.

Morally right, yet humanly wrong.

The Artful hurried through as fast as he could, not wanting to gaze into the faces of these who were so wronged, afraid of the emotions that threatened to follow.

Jack knew that the guard that had gone to his cell had already discovered him missing, and were now chasing him.

Any moment now, he would hear their shouts.

"Hey!"

Jack looked up as he nearly ran into one of the guards.

"Where are you headed in such a hurry?"

Jack recalled that he was still wearing Flannigan's uniform and breathed a sigh of relief at this man's obvious blindness to his true identity.

"A prisoner 'as escaped." Jack stated breathlessly.

The man looked as if he had nearly fallen for the lie, but then narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

"I've been at this post all night and day, and I've see no prisoner run through here."

Jack felt a tug of impatience within him as he thought of the time he was wasting.

"I assure you, Sir, I know 'e's escaped. Three more of the guard have gone to check and are now returning in 'aste. My words are true."

This seemed to do the trick, and the man eased his stance. "Alright, then lets go inform the officials."

Jack looked behind him warily, aware that this heavyset man would slow him down considerably. "It would probably be best if you stayed 'ere at your post though, since the convict will probably be coming through 'ere, since 'e 'asn't already."

The man shook his head, "I've grown tired of standing here."

Jack glanced back gain impatiently, anxiety growing with every idle second. "Look, we've got to 'urry."

The man pondered and then smiled. "I have an idea. You take my post for me and I will tell the officials, that way its fair for the both of u-" Jack landed a heavy blow to the man's nose, sending him staggering back with widened eyes.

"Y-you're the convict?!"

Jack nodded with a grin before hitting the man in the jaw, kicking him in the chest, and then releasing the final uppercut to the chin, sending the man to the ground in a bloody mass.

Jack wrung his hand briefly to soothe the throbbing before stooping to grab the man's pistol and then continuing his run through the many chambers.

He highly doubted he would really use the weapon in his hand, due to the fact that he had never murdered anyone. However, if someone happened to threaten his only chance at freedom…well, there was a first time for everything.

He would be willing to do whatever it took.

It was not long before Jack began to hear the shouting, echoing in the distance behind him.

He breathed deeply as he prepared for what would, possibly, be the most challenging part of his mission.

Quickening his pace, Jack winced at the knots beginning to form within his sides, and at he screaming protest from his burning lungs.

The long corridors began to steadily brighten, and Jack persistently ventured toward the welcoming light.

He presently reached a door on which was written, "the officials' floors, 40 ft. below city surface." However, though Jack couldn't read what was written, he recognized the inscription 40ft.

Jack smiled slightly, 'only 40 more feet to ascend.'

He cautiously opened the small door and caught his breath as he peered inside the dimly lit room to see a handful of officers around a large oval table, playing at cards and drinking spirits.

There was a large hearth in one corner, and assortment of bunks in the other, and, directly across the room, another door.

Jack stepped inside the dimly lit room, hoping to stay inconspicuous, moving as silently as was possible to the opposite side.

He had nearly made it when a voice suddenly called out to him.

"Hey! Lad! I've never seen your face around here!"

Jack turned reluctantly. "I-I'm new."

The man looked him over before chuckling, "are you afraid of us, boy?"

He motioned to the seat beside him. "Come, sit with us. Have a drink or two."

Jack shook his head. "I can't, I have to go."

The man waved him off, and then turned back to the others. "Lads these days, something's gotten into them."

Jack turned and quickly opened the door. He was then faced with a long hall, with multiple doors along the length of it.

Sweat began to break across his features as he looked up at each door sign in confusion.

He did not know how to read or write and, so, he had no idea where any of the doors might lead.

He took a deep breath and tried the first one; it was locked.

Jack then proceeded to try each one until he finally found one that opened. It led to a staircase and Jack smiled. "As long as I keep heading upward, I should be going in the right direction."

He ascended and was then faced with two more doors, one that had a fancy text upon its face, and the other none.

Jack entered the one with no text and encountered another flight of stairs.

Legs aching, and lungs bursting; he hastily ascended these as well, which took some time, as these were particularly lengthy.

He finally reached the top, out of breath and in pain, then stumbled through an archway and turned the corner to see another handful of guards walking towards him.

"What are you doing here?" they said briskly, "you belong in sector 3 with the lower officials."

Jack used every last ounce of energy that remained in his body and ran past them, not wanting to deal with any more interferences.

"Stop!" They hollered form behind him, "Hey!"

Jack ignored their shouts and headed fir the grand double doors ahead.

He thrusted them open and rushed through, wincing as he was faced with another, set of concrete stairs. However, as he looked up he could see light above them.

The light burned his eyes, searing them with its foreign essence.

Despite the ache that was now present within his head, Jack did not wait for his eyes to adjust to the unfamiliarity, but smiled and warily ascended the flight of stairs.

He tripped on one, falling to his hands and knees.

Jack panted heavily as he struggled to pull himself back to his feet, and then weakly walked up to the very last step.

He caught his breath, and then pushed aside a small cellar door, emerging from the bitter darkness.

He stepped onto the cobblestone street and then, opening his eyes, he looked up to see the rosy hue of early morning's pale sky.

A/N: please submit many reviews. Lol. Encourage me!