The horses’ hooves made echoing ‘thunk-a-thunk’ sounds as they crossed a wooden structure. This close to the castle walls, it could only be one thing: a drawbridge. They rode through a dark archway that momentarily blocked out the stars. The horses feet clattered and skittered over a cobbled surface.
Panic spiked in her heart. Did this place have a torture chamber? Didn’t all the best castles have one? Oh, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
As the last rider cleared the drawbridge, she heard a steady tick-tick sound followed by a soft thump as the drawbridge rose and then closed behind them with a deafening, squealing crash. She jumped in fright, and might have fallen from the saddle had Anselm not tightened his arm about her waist.
“Easy, sweeting. ’Twas only the portcullis being lowered for the night,” he said softly against her ear.
Martha didn’t reply. She was trapped. Sealed in. Cut off from everything familiar. From all that she knew and loved.
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