2,700 words on Green, to 5,300 in this first draft mss.
I was awoken by words I did not understand. The maggot man had opened the door of my cage and held a plate with some fried dough twists and slices of yellow fruit I did not recognize. He spoke again.
“You utter the tongue of demons,” I told him.
“I will speak to you in the language of your new home,” he said, “except at need.” He shook his plate at me, then repeated whatever he had said before.
I did not want to come out within reach of his hard slap, but the dough smelled good and the fruit looked sweet enough. My stomach had other ideas, though. I followed its growling out into the room.
“Eat,” he said in my words. “Then we will go find our boat.”
I fell to the dough, which tasted every bit as good as it had smelled. Likewise the fruit, which was sweet and fleshy and sour all in a single mouthful. It was as fine a morning meal as my father had ever made for me.
When I had finished my food I looked to see that the maggot man had gathered up a fat leather satchel. He held out his hand with the green twist of silk already around his wrist.
I could have fought, and perhaps I should have. I do not know what good it might ever have done. Still I am fighting to this day, so perhaps I never stopped. That day my curiosity overtook my anger as I willingly bound my hand to his. Decent food and a weariness of fighting were all it took to break my spirit to the maggot man’s desire.