Life Without Life

Chapter 23:

As the sun shines through the canopy of the trees, Matthew lazily awakens from an uneasy slumber in the Western Mountains. Surveying his surroundings and finding that Timothy is no where to be found, he starts to become alarmed. If he does not find Timothy soon, the Sheriff's guards will!

Getting up, he peers through the trees, searching aimlessly for any sign of Timothy. He begins to walk away but as he takes a step forward and looks at the ground, he notices the items he had kept secret from Timothy earlier. Yes, he is the one who stole the items from her treasure chest after the house had been boarded up.

Picking up the items from the ground, he recalls back to the time he was at her house. Before he had ventured into the Western Mountains in search of Timothy and Josette, he had visited the Berkeley home. Going back there brought back memories of a different kind, those of contentment and happiness, not evil and chaos.

The house, boarded up, reminded him of the past that once belonged to him, for now the present and the future belonged to some other force beyond his control. From the moment he placed his hand on the doorknob, he vowed that whatever happened from that day forward was just a part of fate's plans for him and that everything that occurred would be for the best.

When he opened the door, his eyes had jotted from corner to corner and were finally laid to rest upon the chest. He followed his instinct and strolled over to the chest, searching aimlessly for some sort of key to open it with. Reaching above him on the mantle, his hand embraced a shiny, silver key. Clasping it in his hand for quite some time, he finally decided to unlock the chest.

He shivers out of the daydream and heads for the palace, thoughts only on finding Timothy. Quickening his pace, as if someone is in close pursuit of him, he finally reaches the palace gates. Racing up the palace steps, half hoping and half wishing that Timothy is there, he gives the order for the doors to the great hall to be opened.

Once opened he is in total surprise. Standing before him is Timothy, shackles upon his wrists and a guard standing on either side! Just as he is crossing the threshold of the great hall, he gets a glimpse of Timothy's face before he is brought down to the dungeon.

"Father, who did you just sentence to the dungeons?" he asks curiously.

"Matthew, where have you been all this time? My guards have found Timothy but not Josette. To my utmost dismay, he was found with Katherine! Do you understand this?!"

"Father, what are you talking about? Where is Katherine now? Down in the dungeon chamber along with Timothy?"

"Katherine has run off to the East Woods in search of Josette. I have sent her to retrieve our betrothee."

"Father, you do not understand the impudent choice! Katherine will slay Josette if she finds her! I must go after her!"

Matthew departs in a hurry, eager to reach Josette before Katherine does. He unties his horse from the stables and saddles up. Riding as speedily as possible, he ventures out of the palace gates, toward the East Woods.


chapter 24