The Great Clock outside strikes twenty seven times. I am lying in bed, but now I fling off the blankets and jump to my feet. A horde of birds with dark purple feathers circle my head and scratch at my face as I hurriedly dress, cawing:
“Mind your manners!”
I fling open the door and hit the blue grass running. Down, down, down, up, up, up. I don’t even take a breath until I reach the castle grounds.
Suddenly I trip on something hard, and fall forward on my palms. I turn around to see what it was. “You terrible little thing!” I shout, smacking the rock. It apologizes nicely, and I jump back up and skip three steps.
Now I am in the courtyard. I hear a giggle from somewhere behind me. “Logan! Where are you going?” Asks a cheery girl’s voice. I turn to look at her, frowning. As I watch, her ears crawling up on top of her head and grow taller, like a rabbit’s.
“Nowhere you need to be.” Says another voice darkly. Her braided hair becomes a snake that coils up and hisses at me.
A sigh. “I suppose you’re right. You have my permission to go.” Says the other.
I go further. Six hops to the east, four steps to the north, nine skips to the west-
Then I stop again. What is it this time?
The castle un-ages before my eyes. The sky becomes gray and a whole crowd of people materialize. A platform builds itself in the middle of the courtyard, then a wooden post on top of it, and lastly, a noose dangling from it. As if by some invisible force, I am pushed forward and towards it.
He reunites with his past self easily. The old thoughts came rushing back, and suddenly he knew why he was here.
No, this can’t be. It simply can’t be happening…
The crowd was too loud, the lights too bright, the horror too great. He stumbled blindly, feeling lost and alone.
It’s something in the air that makes them all go crazy…
Through the haze he looks up and sees the executioner fit the noose around the neck of a woman. She looks directly at him and screams his name, her eyes pleading with him. The confusion is replaced by blind desperation as he rushes forward.
But it is too late, and by the time he flings himself on the platform she is hanging.
And Logan’s mania comes crashing down.
He undoes the noose, cradling her body in his arms and closing her eyes. The crowd is cheering at her death while he weeps at it.
“Well, that was quite the show. Two star-crossed lovers finally separated by the impenetrable barrier that is death.” Godwin says, climbing up to stand over Logan. He is followed by his two daughters, Mania and Dementia, who giggle and whisper amongst themselves.
“You ordered this.” Logan said, sounding detached. “Why?”
“She wasn’t one of us, Logan. You can’t be with a foreigner, much less a traitorous one…” He replies as the flashback fades and the madness returns.
“Logan? Are you listening?” Demands a voice in the present. I nod with my head bowed, and hear him smile. “Good. I need you to deliver a message to my brother. I’d like him to come and visit with me, catch up, reminisce about old times…”
“It will be done, my lord.” I say, bowing. There is no wife executed at Godwin’s command. There is only my loyalty to him, and that is all that matters.