By the Right Hand

A/N: This week’s update is about tension! Desire plus danger. Please enjoy!

Dave’s stomach grumbled uncomfortably. He’d gotten away from his parents despite their many warnings, and now he was on the verge of tears. They’d told him it was a dangerous country, nothing like home, but he’d felt safe and had wandered off. And now he was more hungry than he’d ever been before.

It didn’t help there was food everywhere around him; tempting him. He’d found his way back to the market place and everywhere he looked there were piles of fruit, chunks of meet and lines of fish hung up. Perhaps if he took some, he could convince his parents to come back later and pay for it. He was sure they’d understand. He hadn’t had anything since that morning, and now the sun was quickly closing in on the horizon. Surely thievery could be excused in a situation like this.

A quick glance at the closest merchant. He looked quite occupied trying to convince a young lady to buy his food. A quick intake of air, a hurried decision and Dave’s hand flew out and closed around three chicken skewers. Success!

He spun around on his heel and started running, not getting further than a few steps before a meaty hand closed around his upper arm.

What do you think you’re doing?” An angry voice demanded, and Dave turned around in fear. The merchant had caught him and he looked furious.

Dave tried to explain. He stammered that he’d gotten lost and his parents would surely pay later, but the man merely snorted in contempt.

“Don’t you think I’ve heard that story before?” he said, before lifting his hand, ready to strike.

Dave gasped in horror, before releasing a sigh of relief as the merchant’s hand was caught in the air.

“What’s going on here?”

It was one of the guards Dave had seen walk around the market place – his father had pointed them out for him – and Dave had never been so happy to see another human being in his life.

“He tried to steal from me,” the merchant explained, still with a firm grip on Dave.

The guard sent him a quick glance. “We’ll take care of him,” he said, yanking Dave away from the unpleasant man before dragging him with him.

Dave started to explain his predicament as they went, but the guard only let him get a few words in, before a hit sent Dave to the ground.

He looked up in shock. He’d never been hit before in his life, except playful fights with his friends. The entire right side of his face was burning in pain, and Dave struggled to hold back tears.

“In this country thieves gets their right hand cut off,” the guard told him, dragging him to a wooden block.

“What?!” gasped Dave, struggling in panic. His strength was nothing compared to the guard’s and within a couple of seconds his hand was forced down on the block, and the guard was raising a dagger.

Dave screamed, blood pumping through his veins as he tried desperately to yank his hand away. Then the dagger swung and Dave’s left hand reached out and caught it. Dave screamed again, this time in pain, as the blade of the dagger met the tender meet of his unprotected hand; blood seemingly fussing out. Still he kept his grip on it, knowing the consequences would be dire if he let go.

His eyes met that of the guards, and reading the fury in them, Dave knew he had to act fast before the guard got over his shock.

He forced his hand to close tighter around the blade of the dagger, pushing it upwards towards the guard. The guard stepped back in shock, releasing Dave shortly.

Dave immediately took off in a run. He only had that one shot. He’d had to get out of there.

Now his slim size was an advantage. The guard might have been physically stronger, but Dave was more agile as he kept running, ignoring the throbbing pain in his hand to the best of his abilities.

And then; there.

A street he recognized. A sharp turn and he knew he was only a couple of blocks from the hotel. From safety.

A quick look back revealed that the guard was still after him, and Dave ignored the shocked looks of the tourists as he got closer to the hotel.

Finally; safety.

It was pure luck that the porter recognized him despite his dirtied appearance, and with a last look back Dave left the world of danger and entered the doors that let to safety.

Later, when Dave’s hand was being wrapped in gaze, and the doctor told him of the exercises he had to do in order to not risk losing the ability in it, he contemplated the world he’d left behind, so different from his own.

He’d certainly never dismiss that difference again.

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