By Ekta R. Garg
Prompt: His guards had sworn to keep him safe.
The man paced, fighting the craving to lash out at the servant who had just brought the news.
“And you’re sure no one is left in the castle?”
The servant ducked his head. “No one, sir.”
“You’ve confirmed this?”
“I saw them fleeing myself. From the rampart. I used my own spyglass, so I know what I saw was true.”
The man punched his hand with his fist then winced at the stinging sensation the punch left. The servant’s eyes flitted to the door of the room, and the man saw the gesture. He rounded on the servant.
“What?” he asked. “Are you eager to leave me too?”
The servant straightened his posture. “No, sir. I took an oath to serve, and I will.”
He stepped within a foot of the servant, forcing the young man’s head to tip back so he could stare into the underling’s eyes.
“If you don’t fulfill your oath,” he said, “I will make sure you regret it.”
The servant gulped and shook his head hard, babbling about all the ways he would keep his word. After several moments of his effusive speech, the man banished him for the rest of the day. He yelled that he wanted to be left alone to think.
They said they would stay, he thought for the tenth time since hearing confirmation. They promised to protect me. Now who will make sure I don’t make a mistake? Who will make sure I don’t harm anyone?
Who will protect me from myself?