People Watching Challenge

One of my favorite blogs, A Momma’s View, recently wrote about People Watching (a hobby I too enjoy) and left a photo at the end challenging her readers to write a story about it. So, here I go:

An English lad was returning home from a small game hunt in the woods. He managed to grab a squirrel and a couple plump rabbits. He was happy as this catch would provide a better meal than the previous night’s, which was barely more than boiled water.

He was barely out of the woods, going over a small hill, when he saw five horses he did not recognize standing outside his home. Fear pumped through his veins as he thought of his mother and two young sisters inside with strange, probably violent, men.

He squat down amongst some foliage to survey the area and try to get a better feel for the situation. Suddenly he heard a scream from within. He had no time to think. He grabbed his skinning knife (which had become dull, but he’d have to make it work) and went around to a small window that he’d more than likely be able to sneak into, unnoticed.

He practically dove through the window and pressed himself against the wall peering around it and seeing only four large, cloaked figures stomping on the ground. His blood boiled and he silently charged, stabbing one in the calf and held the blade to another’s throat. “Back away!” He spat. The man he stabbed was wincing in pain, two were on either side of their fallen friend, staring at the young man, bewildered, he had a knife to the fourth…where was the fifth? “Where is he?” The young man yelled in panic as he darted his head back and fourth desperately searching for the fifth man.

“There is no fifth.” Said the man he held a blade to in a rather bored, yet slightly amused, tone.

“But…I saw..”

“A fifth horse?” Grunted the man he stabbed as he was helped to his feet. “That horse is for you, boy.” He winced as he put weight on his foot. The man looked gruff and angry, but after a moment burst into laughter and soon the other men shared in his amusement. The young man looked around, baffled.

A noise behind him made him turn which allowed the man he had a hold off to slip away and stand with his comrades. He saw his mother entering the room with his sisters following closely. “Mother!” He declared as he ran to embrace her.

“Edward, wha-” she looked at his bloody knife and scanned the room spying the man favoring one leg. “What have you done?” Edward stopped hugging his mother and looked at her, perplexed.

“What do you mean? I’m rescuing youm and my sisters.” The men began laughing again and his mother looked at him endearingly.

“Oh sweet Edward, we were never in danger.” She placed her hands on his face and smiled at him.

“But I heard screaming…” he was thouroughly confused.

“Your sister, Addy, knocked a candle over and the mat caught fire very quickly. I was startled.” Edward contemplated her words then details began to become clearer in his head. Thinking back now he recalled smelling burning straw and that’s probably why he saw the four men stomping on the ground. Fear began to release its hold on him and he turned back to the men. All four began to boom with laughter.

“Sir, I am so sorry about your leg. I thought…. I thought you were here to…to…”

“It’s ok, son. You came in to protect your family. It’s a minor wound, really. It’ll heal quick enough. But that fearlessness and selflessness is exactly why we’re here. You are your father’s son in nearly every way. He was a great and noble knight and I’m sure you’ll be just as great, if not greater, than he.”

“A knight? You want me to be a knight?” Edward was shocked and elated. He turned to his mother and looked at her with both joy and fear.

“It’s wonderful, isn’t it?” She gave her son an assuring nod. “We’ve talked over the details already. You will ride ahead with them. I need to settle a few things here and then your sisters and I will join you in the kingdom.” Edward sighed with relief. His prayers had been answered.

What he thought was going to turn out to be a terrible day had quickly become the best day of his life.

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