January Jones

This is a short excerpt from a work-in-progress, January Jones. Hope you like it!

   "All right," January mumbled from between her fingers. "It all started when I was sitting on my living room couch reading a book." January straightened up and told him the whole story, beginning with the ball and ending with being thrown in the dungeon. She didn't leave anything out, not the chicken dance, not the dousing from Cinderella's sister, and certainly not the sandwiches. When she mentioned snacks, Lucas's eyes lit up.

    "Did you say you have food?" His fingers twitched, his eyes darted toward her backpack. He moved a step closer. Clang, scrape. The ball and chain around his ankle dragged across the cell floor. January slid closer to her bag. 

    "I have a few sandwiches. And maybe some cake." At the word cake, Lucas seemed to grow a foot taller. The light in the hall blazed brighter in a sudden breeze, illuminating his face. His eyes held a crazed look.

    "Did you say cake?" His voice cracked. "Real, actual cake?" Clang, scrape. January's heart skipped a beat. From her seat on the floor Lucas looked ten feet tall. She slowly reached over and put a hand on her backpack. Her breathing quickened. "Could I, could I look at it?" Lucas's voice was so quiet she had to strain to hear it. "I haven't had cake in twenty years. Please, could I just smell it?" At these words, he shrunk a little. His pitiful plea soothed the fear thrilling through January.

    "I don't think so," she said. Lucas reeled back as if she had dealt him a physical blow. His shoulders fell and he lost the crazy, hungry look. He sat down in the middle of the cell and looked at the floor.

    "I suppose you're right," he said. "It is your cake after all. You don't want this dirty, old thief smelling it. You probably don't think I deserve any cake. Not ever."

    "No, you misunderstand me," January pulled her backpack onto her lap and undid the top zipper. "And you scared me." Even now, her heart felt like a bass drum pounding in her chest. "I meant to say that we should eat it. You should share it with me."