My apologies for getting this to you a day late. Life happens. ;D
FREDERICK: 6th character from the left.
Phrase to include: “Wow. I didn’t think that would work.” “Neither did I.” “It was your idea!” “So?”
Frederick smiled softly and settled down for sleep. The others were already in varying degrees of sleep. The embers from the fire burned low and cast a soft glow over the campsite. He shivered slightly and scooted closer to the little bit of heat the emanated from the coals. The smell of acrid smoke and musty wood filled his nostrils. He pulled his book closer to himself. He never let it get out of reach. He hugged it to his stomach as he curled on his side and closed his eyes.
He had gotten the book from the old priest who had raised him. He had been found alone beside a busy thoroughfare when a babe, scarce two days old. The priest had found him on one of his journeys between the towns of his jurisdiction. He had been freezing, with nothing more than a scrap of cloth to ward off the winter cold. The priest, Father Michael had taken him up in his cloak and carried him to the Vestry where he and his maiden sister had shared the responsibilities of raising the boy. Frederick had grown up with very few children companions, spending his time with the old woman in the garden and kitchen and with the old man in his study. He learned many lessons in the ways of plants and cookery, but what he loved most was unlocking the mysteries of the ancient texts that he learned to read with the Father. Learning of the God-man Jesus who came to earth in the form of the created in order to take the punishments for all their sins. He felt it his mission to teach others of the way to heaven. But it was hard for him. He had always been quiet and unpretentious.
He had met this group while out for a good cry after the Father had gone on to his reward. A tear came to his eye, just thinking about it. He had been growing slower and had been sleeping longer, but Frederick had not seen his death coming. Father Michael passed on into glory quietly in his sleep. His sister, Martha, who had helped raise Frederick had died the year before. Frederick had been all alone and while he knew he should be happy for the two who had treated him as a loved one, he felt sorry for himself and missed their quiet comforting presence deeply. He had gone out to the woods outside the village to be by himself. He had ended up crying and it was then that Liam and his group had stumbled upon him. They had been frightened at first for fear that he would tell anyone about them. But when he had assured them their secret was safe with him, they had asked him why he was in the woods and he had told them his story. Liam had nodded and stared into the sky as if in deep thought. But it was his sister, the young, pretty and small girl who had asked him along. She had looked up at her brother for a second, then back at him with eyes that were large and full of compassion.
“Would you like to come with us?”
He had thought for just a second and then made probably the first impulse decision he had ever made in his life. “I would like to very much.”
He had packed a few things that night, only taking what was his. The bible that Father Michael had taught him how to read, his coat, some clothes, blanket and a little food that they had left in the kitchen. He had joined the group of misfits who were traveling through the countryside and avoiding small towns in order to not be seen and taken back to their previous homes. Their first night had been their first night without a match. They had run out and it just so happened that it was the coldest night of the year thus far. He had offered to try to build a fire using a way he had learned in books.
He rubbed two rocks that he had searched intently for over a small bed of dry tinder. After several unsuccessful tries, they sparked and the bit of tinder sputtered. He blew softly on the tinder and a small flame rewarded his efforts.
“Wow. I didn’t think that would work.” The boy named Jack who had a bit of an attitude commented, sounding hesitatingly impressed. Frederick was not sure why but he felt drawn to Jack for some reason. Perhaps it was because when he looked at the boy he seemed all tough and bristly, but he felt that there was something underneath, some reason for the boys strong and impenetrable wall.
“Neither did I.”
“It was your idea!”
“So? I still wasn’t sure it would work. I was hoping it would anyhow and I am glad it did!”
Jack had flopped to the ground beside the slowly growing fire as Frederick slowly added bark and bits of wood, then larger pieces as the blaze grew higher. “I’m glad it worked too. You know, you’re not so bad.”
Frederick smiled at the memory, sleepiness starting to swirl it into a dreamlike story in his head. He should let the sleep come. The would need to travel far tomorrow. And morning would come sooner than he would wish.
I hope you enjoyed this prompt!
By God’s Grace,