Welcome to day 8 of the Advent Event! Please share this event with your friends. The more anthologies we can sell, the more money we can raise for the National Down Syndrome Society.
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Here’s a look at the next two stories:
“The Good Page” Part III by Ryan Larsen
Podevin ran, unaware of the tears that flowed down his cheeks. The dark, abnormally warm September air rushed past him as he went, and he had to swerve out of his way to avoid buildings and other obstructions. The bell for matins had tolled only moments past. He prayed to God that he would not be too late. There had been murder enough, as of late—all known supporters of Duke Vaclav.
When Agnes had come to him minutes earlier, had told him of the plot she had overheard, he had tried not to believe it. If he had not been there at the death of Ludmila, he probably would not have believed it. As it was, he now ran to save the life of his duke. His innocence had been robbed from him that horrid night so long ago.
The dark streets of Stara Boleslav were unfamiliar to the page, and he only vaguely knew where its solitary church was. At one point, he was forced to pound on a random door, asking directions from the sleepy and startled occupant who opened it.
Light had begun to creep up the horizon before he saw the spire. He heard shouting.
Podevin rounded the corner of a large building next to the church. What he saw and heard chilled his blood. A hundred feet from the church steps, Duke Vaclav—a sword wound on his head—wrestled with his brother, trying desperately to take away the younger man’s blade. Two men, one large and the other small, stood nearby, both trying to pierce the duke with their own steel.
“Csta! Hnevsa! No!” Podevin yelled this as he closed in, not caring that he had no blade of his own.
“The Good Page” Part IV by Ryan Larsen
“I went to the cave of the Wanderer,” Podevin said, his ancient limbs creaking as Strachkvas sat on the chair, leaning forward intently to hear what the prisoner’s soft voice said. “He told me I could stay there for as long as I wanted, so I did, even long after he left. I think he was there for only a year after I began living with him. He offered to let me go with him when he left, but I didn’t have any desire to travel. I told a few people—merchants, mostly—about Vaclav’s death, and I think most of them believed me. I never saw Agnes again.”
With these words out of his mouth, Podevin slumped down, looking more dejected than ever.
“After a few years, I gave up all hopes of ever seeing anyone I knew again. Mostly I hunted for food. I was almost arrested the last time I came into Prague, and that was more than twenty years ago.”
“Why did you allow yourself to be caught?” Strachkvas asked, finding that his throat was dry. These were the first words he had said throughout the prisoner’s story.
A bitter laugh came from the man. “I’m getting old. Besides, it has been a long time since I confessed my sins. Tell me, Father. Am I absolved?”
The priest thought for a long time, his mind going over what this man had said. He found no guile in him, and although he knew that the man would be killed regardless of what Strachkvas did, he had the strong impression that the man truly was innocent. Strange, as he had shed the blood of a man.
“Yes, my son. I forgive you. And I believe God does, too.”
And here a look of one of the prizes:
Janet Olsen: “I plan to send them a few cheap neighborhood gift ideas (Can of pringles “Have a poppin’ good holiday season, things like that) So I just need to know what day and the address of the winner so I can get that out.”