To those who frequented it, Eduardo's watchmaking shop, nestled in the Trades District of Burgos, always smelled faintly of light oils and metal alloys. Although not flowery by any stretch, it was a relatively pleasant scent. The shop was an orderly place and Eduardo could always quickly find the correct fine-toothed gear or delicate spring to repair a customer's timepiece.
But this evening, the odor of fear and desperation pervaded and one cabinet that held many small drawers of parts had been knocked over with most of the contents strewn across the floor. Three grim men surrounded the figure in the chair whose hands were bound behind the back of it.
After thirty minutes of the wildness of mortal fear, Eduardo felt strangely calm, even giddy. Perhaps it was his blood pressure falling or the withdrawal of adrenaline. He still knew he might likely die soon and his thoughts were now on another.
His sainted wife had been gone for five years now but had left him with their little girl; his darling Angelita. Although still a child, she was growing and no longer the babe he often pictured in her mind. At the age of nine, she was his caretaker as much as he was hers. She kept their rooms above the shop perfectly clean and had good, solid meals ready for him at the appropriate times. An expert at fixing his clothing, she even brought in a little extra money on her own with some embroidery.
At the moment, Eduardo hoped that the girl had heard the commotion here and had fled their apartment to summon the authorities. Even if it was too late for him, she would be safe with the police.
The serious men in long cloaks had visited her papa twice in as many days. Not that he had done anything wrong - no, he was as honest and law-aiding as he was gentle. But apparently he had heard or seen something that the authorities representing the Prosecutor-General of Castile himself needed Papa's knowledge to put some very bad men away in the limestone prison islands that dotted the Northern Castilian coast. That Burgos was the capital city of Castile made the proximity to these most high officials quite close.
But the men here tonight were different. Certainly, they were not from the government and the girl was sure that they worked for the bad men who were now endangered by her humble father. She had considered running for help, but she didn't want to abandon her dear papa. Remaining hidden, she tried to move closer to hear what was being said.
The paper on the floor, thrown from a drawer when the cabinet was tipped, was a wrapping for a glass watch crystal. Thinking it was only a scrap of paper, she stepped on it only to produce an audible crunch.
Like the others, Vargas was on edge which was why he heard the muffled sound of the glass breaking. As one, he and his men the nosy watchmaker all turned toward the sound and saw a young girl with long dark hair staring like a cornered rabbit. Her eyes, as dark as her hair, were huge in her pale face as she saw each of the men's faces.
"Lita! Run!" Eduardo cried, no longer caring for his safety.
"Get her!" Vargas shouted to his men before he drew his stiletto across the watchmaker's neck.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
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Changes last made on: Monday, April 30, 2018