The Open Window of the Closed Chamber

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A piece of coursework I did for English where I attempt to interpret a Robin Hood scene as I see it

A dark-haired man the sheriff called Guy pulled my hair, using more and more strength every time I screamed out. The damp, heavy air of the dungeons of Nottingham castle were weighing me down and it felt like the walls were closing in on me as he beat me, as he hurt me.

Suddenly, somewhere in the darkness of the corridor, leading to the upper levels of the castle, I heard the clank of keys and the opening and slamming of the heavy oak door. The sheriff was here. His shallow footsteps echoed in the corridor and soon I could see the dark, squat silhouette of the Sheriff of Nottingham. The short man signalled to the guard and the barred door was opened for him. Now there was nothing to separate us and he was only a couple of feet away.

I could hear his determined breath as he stood there. A couple of minutes passed and all I could feel then were his eyes boring into me. But he was not a man who liked to wait. He was itching to find out what the antidote to the poison was. And so he started his questioning, first without using strength, then swiftly shifting gear and developing a bad mood, commanding Guy to hit me from time to time.

“Well?” he finally said in an shrill voice, punching my cheek with a gloved fist. “I don’t have time for this. Guards! GUARDS! Get her up into the count’s chamber. Now!”

His own guard, one who was still faithful to the old sheriff and consequently Robin too, had poisoned the sheriff’s visitor and was now hanging for it. And I was the only one in the castle at the moment that could save the poisoned man.

But I did not get arrested by chance. As an old friend of Robin’s, I agreed to cause trouble in order to gain access into the fortress and stop the count from passing on what he knew to the sheriff. Our plan had succeeded so far. I was now handcuffed and being dragged to the chamber where the traitor was spending his last painful hours. Again and again I got smacked across the face for ‘lagging along’. Obviously I realised that going just a little slower wouldn’t help speed up the count’s death since he still had at least two hours if the poison was the one I thought it was, but it gave Robin longer to turn his plan into action.

“Guards! Door! DOOR!”

The guards, like loyal hounds rushed to open the door to the chamber, as their master commanded. The door swinged open to reveal the dying turncoat. He was refusing to speak until he got treatment and kept on murmuring twisted phrases to himself – the litany of a dying man.

I stood there and faced away from the count.

“Well?” the sheriff was slowly starting to lose his patience.

I, on the other hand, calmly lifted my hands and signalled to him that I could not work with them bound. A flash of cold edginess flickered in the sheriff’s beady eyes but he nevertheless commanded the guards to unbind me.

“Now,” he said with sanctimonious charm, “here are the herbs, mortar, pestle, hot water; enjoy!”

And with a bizarre smile he left me in the room with half a dozen guards and a dying man. Enjoy, indeed. I took a few petals of belladonna and some other herbs and after crushing them in the mortar, I added some of the hot water. Then, as slowly as possible I filtered the mixture into a little glass bottle and called for the sheriff. I had now made the antidote and all I could hope for was for Robin to hurry...

Now I saw the big door open once again and the sheriff entered, clapping like a child, and stood by my working place, inspecting my work.

“Well done, sunshine, but I hope you do know what is to happen to you if this doesn’t work.” Then he came closer and whispered in my ear, “you’ll be my entertainment for the evening – you’ll hang like a rag...without a hood.”

Then, clearing his voice he said in a loud commanding tone:

“Well? Do your little sorceress,” there was so much hatred in the last word that I felt physically ill.

Still, I took the bottle in my hands and started uncorking it. I stopped and held my breath in prayer and then, as I opened the bottle, it smashed in my hands. The arrow landed less than an inch from the sheriff’s foot.

“Good job, Yvonne. Now, everyone, be still if you please!” Robin’s voice was noble and proud as he climbed through the open window of the chamber and held dead aim at the sheriff's confused physiognomy.

Submitted: October 21, 2011

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Julie March

I really enjoyed this. Like I've said on other Robin Hood pieces, I'm quite a geek. Just out of curiosity, which version of the legend was this based on? I know there are many.

Thu, July 5th, 2012 8:59pm


You could've asked something simpler cuz I actually have no idea. It's just that throughout my childhood I watched lots of Tv stuff on him including some BBC series. But at the end of the day I think I just created my own thing

Sat, July 7th, 2012 7:49am

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