My horse trembled behind me as I pushed it to the absolute brink of exhaustion. He took another step and his legs collapsed underneath him, taking me down with him.
I rolled off, groaning in pain. I scrambled to my feet and hurried over to my horse's saddlebag. I pulled out a small package and stuck it into a pocket in my skirts. I also grabbed my bag of supplies. I ran my hand over my horse's head as I murmured, "I'm sorry, Princess."
My pace was nearly a run as I left Princess behind. I willed myself to slow down to a fast walk, just in case I came across another traveler on the road. I kept my head down and just kept walking as my mind went over and over the events of the last couple of days.
The village I had lived in all my life was very poor. We were serfs to Count Doofen, who was a cruel master. We grew crops in the fields but we didn't get to keep hardly any of the food.
Even though I was thin and sickly, I was cursed with a beautiful face. The Count recently did a ride through of our village and I had the misfortune of catching his eye. He brought me to his castle and did unspeakable things to me. I endured it because I felt I had no other choice.
It wasn't long before I was with child. The Count longed for a son and I knew if my child was one, I would become his wife. I prayed for a son because I knew it would make both of our lives so much better.
But when the midwife told me I had borne a healthy baby girl, I wept and could not be consoled. I was allowed to keep my daughter for several years but it was recently she was taken from me to live in my old village.
I tried to console myself that at least my parents would look after her, but I felt so much pain that my child was forced to live the same merger existence that I had to deal with. I just tried to keep living until a few days ago.
News reached the castle that a plague had been spreading through the countryside like a wildfire. My entire village perished, including my daughter who had just turned ten years old. Outside, I pretended to grieve and move on. But inside, I was aflame. I had to get away from the count, from this life. I was fueled on by the fact that I was newly pregnant.
I made a plan by beginning to gather supplies. On the night I made my escape, I stole a valuable necklace in the thoughts of selling it once I got far enough away. Even though Princess, my favorite horse, and I had made a clean getaway, I felt like there was a host of people behind me.
As I walked, I began to feel a flush rising up my neck. My steps slowed and I found that my whole body was starting to feel very heavy. I ended up having to stop and sit with a tree at my back. My eyes began to feel heavy and finally I fell asleep.
I died peacefully on the side of that road, from the same plague that had killed my daughter. I couldn't run away from the trouble I was in or from my life. But death was something of an escape for me.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Tara Roberts challenged me with "You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far. - James Baskett" and I challenged The Lime with "All She Needed Was A Good Beating"