The Lost Ones (The Veil, #3) by Christopher Golden Read Online (FREE)
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Oliver Bascombe paced his dungeon cell, wondering when his captors would decide to kill him and how they would do it. Public execution?
Swift murder? Torture? Or perhaps they would simply feed him to the Battle Swine and let those filthy porcine warriors bite off his head and strip the flesh from his bones.
In the two months and more since he had first been clapped into the crumbling stone cell with its iron-grated windows and heavy wooden door, he had come to understand that there were only three things a prisoner in the royal dungeon of Yucatazca could do to pass the time—imagine dying, imagine escaping, and work his body hard enough to hurt, just to remind him that he was alive. In all his life, Oliver had never been so strong. He could not escape the irony that despite all of his newly gained strength and discipline, he had also never been so powerless.
A stained sleeping mat was the room’s only comfort. Unless he was sleeping, he kept it rolled up in the center of the cell. With that out of the way, he could walk the perimeter of the room unimpeded by anything but the small sink and the hole beside it that was the closest thing he had to a toilet.
He didn’t have space to run; no way to get up any momentum in a cell twenty feet by twelve. The best he could do was walk and so he did that, swiftly and consistently, for at least an hour when he rose and another hour after dark. After dark, Oliver needed to keep his body occupied because his mind became busiest then, as well. Back in the ordinary world, he had always believed that there truly were things lurking in the dark, but now he knew for certain. In the world of the legendary, everything was possible.
No, more than that. Everything is real.
This morning, like every other, he knew the day had begun by the lightening of the cell from black to gloomy gray and from the passage of silent guards out in the corridor. The two small grated windows never received direct sunlight and offered no view of anything but stone and shadow. Beyond the outer wall of the dungeon was a slotted canyon built into the king’s palace by its architect. He supposed he ought to have been grateful for that little bit of light that allowed him to keep track of the passage of night and day, but Oliver had no gratitude in his heart.
In the absence of Frost—whom he suspected was alive, despite all evidence to the contrary—he had become a kind of winter man himself.
If not for the presence of his sister, Collette, and his fiancée, Julianna Whitney, in the cell across that stone corridor, he knew his heart would have become ice entirely. What saved him was the ability to hear their voices and catch glimpses of their faces through the grated windows in their parallel door. Instead of slamming his palms and fists against the stones, building callus, he might have rammed his skull into the wall and been done with life.