Fiction logo

Content warning

This story may contain sensitive material or discuss topics that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vocal.

The Road to Nowhere

To make a villain series; Thelbe Jack: part 1

By Frank EnglishPublished 12 days ago Updated 11 days ago 7 min read
Top Story - May 2024
Who Killed Fredrick Atreicious?

Trigger warnings: Violence, Death.

"May the Sun burn your tongue out, woman," Fredrick's father screamed the curse into his mother's ear as their elegant little carriage rumbled along, its polished wood and gilded trim glinting in the torchlight. They had just left the small village of Saffron and were on an unnamed road to the capital for the Royal wedding. Fredrick leaned back in his plush velvet seat to escape into the passing landscape, but across from him sat the servant boy, a scrappy lad named Jack. Jack's eyes held a mixture of awe and fear, the kind that only a commoner could feel in the presence of nobility. Jack looked up and caught Fredrick's gaze, offering him a sad little smile before reaching into his pocket and retrieving a little caramel treat. This candy was no doubt stolen from the kitchen treat cupboard; if he was caught with it, he would be locked in the box as punishment.

Jack reached across, offering him the candy. Fredrick didn't want his pity. However, caramel was caramel, and Fredrick had a weak spot for sweets, so he took it. He popped it into his mouth and let out a sigh as it melted. Then he smiled at Jack, who nodded in agreement. For a brief moment, he was there, in the royal banquet hall, eating warm chocolate lava cakes and crispy pastries, but the carriage jolted to a stop. Fredrick fell out of his seat and onto the floor. When he managed to get to his feet, the look on Jack's face sent shivers down his spine. The color had drained from the boy's face, and his mouth was open in horror. Looking past Jack and out the window, Fredrick saw men coming out of the forest that surrounded the road.

At first, he thought they were demons rising from hell to steal them away. He thought their armor, gleaming as the fire flickered and danced along the iron, were large teeth. Their red robes looked like fire as they billowed out behind them as they approached the carriage. A scuffle could be heard out front, and Fredrick rushed over to the crack in the corner and peered out. His parents were on their knees in front of a commanding officer, his sword drawn. He yelled over the sound of the wind, starting to pick up and whistle through the forest trees, "Sir Simon Atreicious. For you and your family's slander against the queen..." The sound of Jack's screaming startled Fredrick as he recoiled around.

The door to the carriage was ripped open, and a guard crawled in and grabbed Jack by the arm. The boy kicked the man in the thigh, and the soldier backhanded the young man. Blood splattered out of Jack's mouth and onto the floor; the soldier grabbed him by the throat and pushed him into the seat. Jack struggled for air. Fredrick's eyes were still on the floor as he sat there, Focused on his father's old cane that had fallen to the floor when the carriage jolted. The crimson blood that speckled the hilt held Fredrick's gaze, so much so that he couldn't hear Jack weakly cry for help, or the clashing of swords as his father's own guards caught up to the carriage.

Then his mother's scream came through the static field, crystal clear. It rang in his ears as he reached down and grabbed his father's old cane, the one he had begged his mother to let him keep. He pulled the concealed dagger from the top of the cane—a pinpoint of a dagger his mother had complained might have been too dangerous for the then twelve-year-old Fredrick—and drove it into the back of the soldier's exposed neck. He bled like a fountain, but it was of no consequence to the boy as he rushed back to the hole in the carriage. His father lay mangled on the ground, blood draining from his side, his mother draped over him, clinging to him in his final moments. The commander looked up at the carriage and pointed, "Kill the boy!" The other guards began to head to the carriage.

"What do we do?" whispered Jack. Fredrick turned and just looked at him. His hands were shaking, his thoughts doing somersaults in his head. He thought about Jack, the trembling boy, his eye beginning to swell from the soldier's smack. He thought about his mother and his father, dead on the road. Each thought brought the guards closer to the back of the carriage, closer to discovery. He thought of his father's secret trunk under the seat, the one he used when he caught more fish than he should have. He thought about the commanding officer, the indifference in his eyes when he shouted to kill the boy. His heart was pounding; he thought he might vomit. Jack reached over to grab Fredrick's shoulder. "I'm sorry," Fredrick ripped the dagger from the soldier's neck and plunged it into the heart of Jack. Jack recoiled, and Fredrick pushed his weight against him, pinning him to the seat until he stopped moving.

Almost without thinking, Fredrick returned his dagger to his cane and positioned the soldier's body over Jack's. He drew the soldier's dagger and smeared it in blood before placing it on the floor near the soldier. He opened the secret latch beneath the purple velvet seat and crawled into the small trunk. The lid barely clicked to a close when the sound of the guards swearing filled the air. "Aww, not Davo." The sound of Davo's body being dragged out of the carriage made Fredrick ill. He had to stop himself from gagging when he heard a sickening thud as the soldiers let the man's body fall to the ground. Fredrick peeked through the little crack but was met by the cold, unblinking eyes of Jack, his sacrifice. "At least the brat is dead," a voice deep and venomous said, "Drag him out and let him be with his mother and father. The Butcher will be here soon."

"The Butcher," the soldier repeated, a tinge of panic in his voice. "Yes, Commander Voss." "Her Majesty has arranged for a statement; she wants this whole road red with blood," was the last thing Fredrick heard as Jack's body was dragged out of the cart. Fredrick didn't move, didn't cry, he didn't make a sound for hours. He barely breathed until he could no longer hear shuffling outside, and the crickets settled in for the night. He just lay there, eyes open, the line of his mother's favorite lullaby replaying in his head. He held on desperately to the sound of her voice softly singing.

"Hush now, my little one, close your eyes,

Where the river's gentle murmur sighs.

Amongst petals soft and Thelbe's embrace,

Find safety here, in this quiet space."

When the young man opened the trunk and slowly raised himself out, he fearfully stared out the carriage door. He stepped out of the trunk and moved towards the door; he peered out, and the sinking feeling in his chest returned. True to his word, the road was blood-red—the Butcher had divided his family into sections and spread their remains up the road towards Saffron for nearly half a mile. The dirt squished under the man's shoes, and he no longer knew if it was his mother's, his father's, or even Jack's blood soaked into the earth. They were dead: Simon Atreicious, his father, a court judge for the council; Marybell Atreicious, his mother, the loving and dignified wife; and finally, Fredrick Atreicious, who despite his scrawny frame, killed a Sun Guard before his life was taken. The thought sent shivers down the man's back as he walked down the road to nowhere.

The innkeeper banged on the door to room 3A, frustration straining his voice. "Mister Jack! Check-out time was an hour ago, Mister Jack." A breeze blew under the door, carried in through the window left open moments earlier by a young man in rather fancy clothes, who was now on a carriage to the next town on his list. The young man pulled out a pocket watch and checked the time, tapping his cane against the floor anxiously. Then, the sound of a melody played outside his window as the carriage trotted down the road. The man's gaze fell on the driver outside, who made no indication that he heard the slightest noise.

Then again, another melody, this time louder, coming from right outside the window. The man popped his head out and looked around; the city of River-Heights was waning in the distance, and the fields that separated them rolled like a sea. The sound came from inside now, and the man rushed inside, his knuckles white as he gripped the handle of his cane. Sitting across from him was a man who appeared to be in his thirties. He had light blonde hair and charming emerald eyes; he slowly placed the flute he was holding onto his lap. "Why, hello friend," the man's voice was deep and soothing, with a playful resonance. "My name is Toby." He reached a slender arm across and extended his hand for a shake, a playful smirk spreading across his face. "We have been looking for a man with your," there was a slight pause before he almost sang, "talents." His eyes glanced over to the bag that sat on the seat next to the man, slightly ajar, revealing gold suns stolen from the innkeeper's safe. His blonde hair fell slightly over, revealing his pointed ears. "And what do they call you?"

"Jack," the young man cleared his throat, "Thelbe Jack." Thelbe reached in and tightly took the elf's hand. "It's a pleasure to finally meet the man who's been stalking me." The elf's body began to convulse as volts of electricity rushed into his body. The elf fell to the floor, and Thelbe removed his glove, tossing it out the window. It left a small trail of smoke as it soared out. Toby groaned as ropes were fastened around his wrists. The cart rode along, its driver, paid extra for his discretion, stared straight ahead, making no indication of hearing anything.

Young AdultShort StorySeriesFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Frank English

Writing is my passion and boy do i have some stories to share! if you like any of my work please leave a like or a comment. Subscribe if you wanna stay up to date as i have a lot planned. you are all wonderful!

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

Add your insights

Comments (5)

Sign in to comment
  • Anna 3 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story! :)

  • Suika game 9 days ago

    I usually watch them to learn something new and then play for fun; if you're looking for a good knockout game, you should give it a shot. Make the boys think they're smarter than you do.

  • Margaret Brennan10 days ago

    wow, great writing. had me riveted.

  • Enjoyed reading your story.Great job!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.