Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 45

Slowly, Rhodri dragged himself out of darkness. His right arm throbbed unbearably, and every bone in his body ached. He was lying on a narrow bed in a kind of alcove. A candle flickered on an upturned chest next to his pillow, and between the folds of a curtain he could see the well-polished range of a workman’s cottage, with a kettle boiling over the fire.

He blinked. This was clearly not heaven, nor, indeed, hell.

He frowned, trying to gather his scattered thoughts. As he did so, his eyes rested on a woman’s dress, almost small enough to fit a child.

Rhodri pulled himself upright, his head clearing. He wasn’t dead. He must be in the Griffithses’ cottage. There was a younger sister, Bethan, who worked at the mill in Trefriw. He was in the bed used by her on her visits home.

His head swam. Carefully, he leaned back against the pillow. He became aware of voices above his head – Merlyn and her grandmother, speaking quietly. There was a creak of feet on the boards, followed by the sound of the grandmother being helped into bed. It was a peaceful, homely sound, the sound of families. Of the closeness of those who loved each other, whatever might come. It gave him a sense of peace.

“I promise I’ll wake you if anything happens.” Merlyn’s voice came from the door of Nain’s room. He heard her footsteps on the stairs, followed by a glimpse of her gown as she moved to and fro making tea.

Rhodri shut his eyes and deepened his breathing as she gently pulled back the curtain. Her hand was cool as it briefly lay on his forehead, checking the state of his fever. She placed a cup of tea on the table at the side of the bed before she quietly returned to the kitchen.

*  *  *  *

“Anything?” Merlyn asked, as she emerged from the curtain dividing the little alcove from the rest of the room to find the engineers returning from their fruitless chase of Harris.

“Nothing yet,” one of the older men said, stamping the mud from his boots. “Don’t worry, miss, we’ll stay here now and keep a look out until the soldiers arrive. I expect Harris and his men will be miles away from here by now, but we’ll keep a watch, just in case.”

“The soldiers are bound to be here soon,” David said reassuringly.

Merlyn smiled at him.

“I hope so. Nain can’t wait to go and see Taid. I could barely persuade her to try to get some sleep, and Rhodri should really see a doctor.”

“They’ll be here as fast as they can,” David replied.

Merlyn busied herself making tea. She was bruised and battered, but her mind was racing. There was no question of sleep.

An owl hooted outside. A fox coughed, each sound sending the quiet murmur of conversation in the kitchen into a listening silence. The men finished their tea quickly, each then taking a watchful station at a window, prepared for whatever might come.

Alan Spink

I am a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. I enjoy working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, I also write fiction and enjoy watching football and movies in my spare time. My one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.