“Food. The guards didn’t give much food, not enough to live on and not often and most families couldn’t afford to feed a relative in the cells. A rat provided liquid from the blood and nourishment from meat.”

“Gross!” Jill’s boyfriend said.

“So, they just sat in their cells?” Joshua asked.

“No, they were often taken out of the cells for the amusement of the guards or punishment from the magistrate.”

“What did they do?”

“The prisoners were whipped, caned, tortured in any and every way possible or they were killed. Most didn’t survive a beating. The cuts became infected and that’s usually how they died if starvation didn’t get them first.”

“How sad,” some of the women said.

“That sucks.” Joshua said plainly.

David laughed. “He’s kidding. It wasn’t that bad and it wasn’t like that with the nobility at all. The nobility cared deeply for the lower people. They were the backbone of the society after all. They would want to keep the workers happy so they would produce.”

Madison saw Ephraim’s jaw clench. “You really believe that, don’t you?”

“Yes, I’ve studied it for years.”

Ephraim released her hand and sat back. “You’re the expert.” He picked up his fork and continued to eat. After a minute everyone else returned their attention to their plates. She could tell from their expressions that they trusted and believed Ephraim.

She looked down at her hand. It felt very warm. She could still feel the hot path where his thumb caressed her skin. Her entire hand tingled from his touch. What was it about this man?

David could hold her hand and all she felt was discomfort. She didn’t like his touch, but he was polite and attentive. If she was honest she'd admit that he was a little arrogant. She knew from some of her own research that Ephraim was correct. The justice system back then was inhumane.

Everyone ate, but kept looking back at Ephraim, hoping he would talk again. Joshua leaned in. "Are you okay?”

Ephraim forced a smile. “I’m okay.”

“I believe you, you know,” Joshua said in a loud whisper.

“Thanks. Eat your vegetables. I heard your Grandma made a chocolate cake.”

Joshua dug in. The boy loved cake. Ephraim ate slowly and kept his eyes down. Madison noticed Grandma watching him. She looked worried.

“Joshua, I was planning on taking your sister to Boston next weekend. The museum is holding an exhibition on nineteenth century art if you want to come. It depicts what life was really like back then if you want to know.”

“No, no thank you. I was hoping to go fishing again with Ephraim.,” Joshua said without looking up from his plate.

Ephraim nodded, keeping his eyes on his plate as he pushed his food around. “You’re always welcome to join me as long as your Grandmother and Madison say it’s okay.”

“Why wouldn’t he ask his mother?” David asked, looking confused.

Madison opened her mouth to answer, she really needed to tell him the truth, when the door to the dining room opened.

“I’m so sorry I’m late. One of the other bartenders called in sick and….David? What are you doing here? Crystal is looking everywhere for you!”

“Who’s Crystal?” Joshua asked.

David opened his mouth and then shut it. All eyes moved between David and Candy.

“Crystal is David’s girlfriend of course. She works with me at the, er..club.”

All eyes fixed on David. Candy walked around the table, oblivious to the change in the room.

“Oh, before I forget, she told me that if I ran into you tonight to ask you to pick up more diapers for the baby.”

Chapter 6

Ephraim dropped his fork onto his plate. He leaned back in his seat, keeping his eyes on David. David fidgeted in his seat. He was sweating profusely and looking around nervously.

“Everyone, leave now,” Ephraim said in a cold level voice.

David stood up.

“Not you. Sit down.”

“What’s going on?” Candy asked, sounding confused.

“Why don’t you stay, Candy?” Ephraim’s voice was gentle, but everyone knew it wasn’t a request. It was an order.

“Okay.” Candy sat down in the seat Brad vacated. The men threw David a glare as they left the room.

“I want to stay, too!” Joshua said.

Without taking his eyes away from David, Ephraim pulled his wallet out and opened it. He pulled out two fifties. “Since it’s my fault that no one was able to finish this lovely dinner that your grandmother cooked I’ll treat, go order enough pizza for everyone.”

Joshua looked at the money in his hand and back at David. He wanted to stay, but pizza was pizza after all. “Can I get a meatball and mushroom pizza?”

“You can get whatever you want,” Ephraim said. “And if you keep everyone out of here then you can even keep the change.”

“Cool!” He ran out of the room, leaving David, Ephraim, Mrs. Buckman, Madison and Candy alone.

David started to stand up. “This is just a misunderstanding that’s all….I swear….I…I’ll just be going,” he stammered.

“Sit down, now!” Ephraim roared. Everyone jumped. David practically fell back into his chair.

Madison’s face was bright red. She’d never been so embarrassed or felt so used in her life. Part of her wanted to run, but she needed to find out who this man was. The man she considered giving herself to. Oh god, she wanted to curl up into a ball and die. This was so humiliating.

“Mrs. Buckman, if I promise to answer all of your questions later will you leave the room now? I promise to handle this properly.” Still he looked at David.

Her grandmother sighed and nodded. She trusted him to handle this situation the same as any of her other problems. “Thank you, Ephraim.”

“Come on, this is just a mistake!” David pleaded.

“Candy, I have a few questions for you and then you can leave as well, okay?” Ephraim asked.

Candy looked confused, but nodded. “Do you know this man?”



“He comes into the club most nights. He lives with Crystal and they have a baby. Why? What is going on here?”

“Where does he work?”

“A bookstore.”

“Did he go to college?”

Candy laughed. “Are you kidding? He just got his GED last month.”

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Pyte/Sentinel Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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