“I lay there, motionless, while the thudding of hooves passed in the lane, only yards away. The reek of sweat – of men and horses – drifted to me on the chill air. Harness jingled. Then horseshoes scraped on icy cobbles, a man’s voice barked an order. Creaking of leather, boots thumping upon the ground.
Now the horsemen had ridden past and dismounted in the stableyard, I risked raising my head an inch or two.
The flare of brands held aloft lit up the faces of stable boys and serving men hurrying to greet the riders. The newcomers threw their reins to them and raised their voices with more demands. The servants bowed and ushered the men towards the grand house beyond. Firelight played still in the windows of its great hall. As the newcomers mounted the steps to the entrance and were swallowed up in its shadows, I lowered my head once more. I had seen enough.
Turning with difficulty, I wriggled as quietly as I could across the spiked grass until I gained the safety of the chapel wall. I grasped its cold flints, dragged myself to my feet, then brushed my doublet free of dry clinging leaves before sprinting for the cover of the hedge, its dark line lurking far across the field. The frost-sculpted earth crackled beneath my boots…”
Six days to go…
Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK).
A third book in the ‘White Boar’ sequence, King in Waiting, is currrently available for pre-order and will be published on 17 September 2021, with the fourth, Sons of York, due out in 2022. Alex has also published a standalone timeslip novel for readers aged 10+, Time out of Time.
Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at: