He didn't wish to leave; he had no intent on trying to escape. It would have been so easy – just a pull of the rusting links chaining us down, a twist of the bars loosely set in place to keep us in…but in the end, despite escape being so easily within reach, it was that devilish upturned line below his nose that froze me in place.
Jake and I were business partners (if you could call what we did a business). It was simple work without pay…at least, not from a direct employer. Jake and I were our own employers, our own employees, and our own customers. But when he reached into that old man's coat pocket without first checking his surroundings, Jake and I were immediately put out of business by the king's soldiers. Is stealing really so wrong when, in the end, it all buys the same loaf of bread? Only difference is the mouth it feeds.
As I said, it was my full intention to leave as soon as I could. I wasn't ready to rot away in this stone box no bigger than a blacksmith's workshop; the walls ran with a sort of greenish water, sticky to the touch. Or was it bluish? It was hard to make out with only the moon and a few shafts of light beneath the heavy door to aid my sight. Anyways, the stench was enough to drive anyone out of that horrid prison…but it was Jake's intention to stay, foul smell or no.
That smile…only once before had I seen that smile: When his dearest Elizabeth was taken by the plague, leaving him with all her possessions, including the small fortune her father had set aside for her. Of course, he squandered it; took him less than a month, actually. And without the money to run his farm sufficiently…well, you can probably guess what happened from the look of him now. But oh, that smile…it was as monstrous as the cave which now trapped us, with rusting snakes about our ankles, the rats scurrying in the shadows, laughing.
I knew not what plan Jake had brewing in that Neanderthal head of his. Surely, no one would want to stay in a place so secluded from the outdoors, with only the rats to warm you; where you were fed only once a day the king's leftovers (at least, what the pigs were not able to finish); where you only had the company of a single man, as condemned as you…but then again, for a man like Jake, such a place was probably Paradise.
How I wished to escape; the guards would not return again until tomorrow night with more rations. I wanted to leap for joy at how easily we could escape; just a few tugs and a couple twists! …but his smile, it twisted my heart, tugged at my soul. It made me stay.