There was a grimace, a release, and then pain.
Kerin stared at the dagger hilt protruding from his chest and slumped down against the cell bars.
“You’re a liar!” Kerin wheezed, his chest cavity already filling with blood.
“How so?” asked the guard from the other side of the bars. “I said I’d release you from this cell if you told me where you’d hidden the letters.”
Kerin shifted around and stared at the chain around the guard’s neck.
The guard glanced down, “Oh this?” He stifled a laugh as he lifted the chain to reveal a large, iron key. “I could open the door if you wish, but I doubt it would make little difference. Your fate was sealed the moment you took those letters.”
There was a groan, a cough, and then dizziness.
“But we had a deal,” Kerin whispered, his body felt detached.
The guard leaned in. “Isn’t it ironic that the man whose letters you stole blamed me – the guard – for losing them and not the petty thief who took them? So, whilst you were safe in your little iron cage, it was I who faced a death sentence if they weren’t found. Truth be told, until you gave up the location, you were making a deal with a dead man; and dead men have nothing to lose.”
Kerin spun with as much speed as a dying body could muster and grabbed through the bars. “You’re right; taking those letters did seal my fate. I knew I’d never leave this cell alive. So, it was you who made the deal with a dead man.”
A look of panic broke over the guard’s face. “So, they’re not…..”
“Like you said; dead men have nothing to lose.”
There was a grin, a splutter, and then darkness.