Chapter 1

The ropes slowly cut into her grimy wrists like the blade of a newly sharpened knife, creating painful, raw gashes into her dusky flesh. Her dirty and bloody face showed faintly by the firelight. Her ankles were tightly bound and bruises could already be seen. Her head hung low on her shoulders and black locks of long-went uncombed hair were suspended in her face. Her chest rose and fell and her breaths came in shallow bursts. As she came to, she realized the reason for her discomfort-she was lashed to a towering gnarled tree.

She cried. Crying came as some relief to her.

But not much anymore.

Something stirred by the fire. It looked oddly like a undersized man. Her vision was slightly blurred and an uneasiness surfaced. She hastily tried to rid her eyes of all the weariness and discomfort she had experienced. It wasn't a man at all. It was a gnome, she realized. Small in stature, yellow tainted, leathery skin, beady amber eyes...yes this was gnome, she thought to herself. And by the looks of him, he didn't seem too friendly.

Her captor suddenly rose from his spot by the fire.

"Oh, shut up your crying," he muttered as he came at her with his fist raised.

All she could see was blackness.

All she could feel was blackness.

All she could think was blackness.

And the blackness almost seemed comforting. That was her last thought before she drifted off.

She awoke with an intense headache. She felt as if her head was slowly being crushed by some unknown force.

She didn't want to open her eyes, for the dark was much more welcome than the light of day. It must be day because she could hear birds and someone clanking pots and pans. She could smell wood burning and the aroma of food, which meant a fire.

She was ravenous with hunger, but the pangs in her stomach did not compare to her want and need for water. She finally opened her eyes, having to squint due the bright sunlight shining through the trees. Once she got accustomed to the light, she studied her surroundings. She found that she was in a small clearing that probably would have been enticing on nice summer's day had her circumstances been different. The air was thick and humid, the heat sweltering. She became more aware of her own sweat running down her back and onto her already stinging wrists. The drone of the birds' chirping made her head throb. It all made her want to go back to the blackness, where she felt no pain, and thought no thoughts.

She then remembered that she wasn't alone. She remembered...someone...hitting her over the head. That's when she noticed the gnome.

"Glad to see you're awake. Didn't wanna wait forever for you to get up," he said.

The pangs in her stomach reminded her of how hungry she was.

"Does your head still hurt? It should after what I did," he said to her as he slowly dabbed at the small cut on the side of her head. "I'm sorry 'bout that. It's jus' that my master's slaves were all about, and I could show no mercy to you, or I would have been labeled as a weakling or probably would have been killed." He glanced at her quickly and then decided to switch subjects.

"Are you hungry? I've got some breakfast, if you want it," he inquired.

She nodded slowly, not quite sure what to make of this gnome.

He could see it in her eyes, she was ravished. The ugly little gnome first got a scoop of fresh stream water out of small pail and raised it to her mouth. She swallowed hurriedly, her thirst quickly overpowering her fear of the gnome. Her eyes pleaded for more. He hand-fed her the rest of the food he made since she was bound to a tree. He sat down by the smoldering fire, thinking silently to himself.

"You know, I truthfully didn't want to do this in the first place. I hate it for you. It's jus' that I have orders from my master," he told her. "He will be actually quite happy that I captured you. I'm sorry, I really am. If I had a say in the matter, I'd probably let you go free."

The gnome stood up and walked behind the tree and began untying the ropes that bound her. He then untied her hands, but left her ankles.

"Can't let you be getting away, now can I?" he said.

She proceeded in rubbing her wrists to get the feeling back into them. She stared warily at her captor.

"Who is this master...your master you mentioned?" she finally managed to get out.

He seemed to be in his own thoughts when he said, "You'll see."

Very short...this was written forever ago. But I don't really plan on going anywhere with it. I don't think my brain has the capacity to make this one-shot into an actual story. Anyhow, I am kinda proud of it.


1/22/14- Updated; Eventually I will substitute something else for "she"...I know it's used a lot. :/