|Image by Richard Schofield via Wikimedia Commons|
They had taken him in the night, and thrown him in an old well. His bare feet slipped in the mud and loose gravel, so the young prince had to brace his elbows against the crumbling stonework to keep himself up. He hurled threats and insults up at his captors, who laughed and dropped offal on his head. Rotten slops found ways down his clothes, slid into his ears, and threatened to slide into his mouth.
“What do you want?” he cried.
The faces pulled away, and a man in black came to the well’s edge.
The man asked questions that the prince had no answers for, and at each failure, more refuse was tossed down the well. Within an hour, the prince was shoulder-deep. He tried pushing himself higher by bracing against the walls, but his limbs found no purchase on the slick rock. The questions continued from the man in black and the garbage was replaced with loose mud, weighing down his arms.
He was going to die. His lungs would fill with mud and rot. He would never rule. He would choke and gag and die alone in a pit. He screamed.
“Oh, your’re no use to us like this,” the man in black said.