In the hole, Ned could hear the jailors and their scratchy personalities above, bickering in their dimly lit quarters. He was uncomfortable in the cramped surroundings, but drifted in and out of sleep. The rawness of his skin sores ensured he never slept for long.
Ned was in pain when he was woken by the wooden panel being lifted. Light streamed inside. The boy blinked as he was lifted out of the hole. Bleary-eyed, he was dragged to a standing position, but collapsed. His legs felt weak. Pushing himself onto his knees, a raised head was all he could muster. The thuggish side-kick jailor narrowed his eyes. He was a tall, bony man and had scars down one side of his face. With a wooden club in one hand, he swung wildly and connected with Ned’s face. The boy slumped on the stone floor and his head fell back. He could just make out the darkening corridor to the cells as his eyes rolled shut. Numbskull shuffled forward and checked if the boy was alive. There was shallow breathing.
“Oh well done,” Numbskull said, giving his subordinate a withering look. He prodded the man in the chest with a stubby finger. “And how do you propose we get the boy to feed the other prisoners now?”
“Did you see him looking at me? The kid was asking for it,” Side-Kick replied with a smirk.
“Just put him back in the hole and you can feed the prisoners now,” Numbskull ordered.
Ned was not sure what happened. All he knew was he woke up in darkness and could not even stretch his legs out. He tasted blood. Dazed, he shifted onto one side and tried to get comfortable. He felt leaden, but managed some sleep.