Colin lounged in the shady corner of a roomy bamboo jail cell with a packed dirt floor. At least this place is a lot nicer than the last place I was arrested.
Movement outside the bars drew his eye again.
The cell faced the road which allowed curious villages to stop and look. Last time there were kids. The time before that there were some scowling old guys with crazy long eyebrows.
Who is it now—oh, it’s him.
The hooded priest was back.
Man, this guy doesn’t give up. Colin grinned apologetically but didn’t get up. “For the 20th time, old man—no, thank you. I’m perfectly fine being executed without your chants and beads and awkward good-luck dance.”
“Oh.” The priest’s voice was familiar and not because he’d stopped by earlier. “Then I’ll find some popcorn and enjoy the show.”
Holy… Colin stared dumbstruck. “Geoff?”
The imposter priest adjusted his drooping hood as his brother scrambled to the bars.
“I don’t know how they wear these things,” grumbled Geoff. “I’ve walked into at least a dozen walls, a half dozen lamp posts, and two horses.”
Colin’s agile personality quickly tore through shock, relief, delight and excitement until it settled in its default state of being stupidly tickled. He leaned a shoulder on the thick bamboo separating them, crossed his arms and smiled. “What, there weren’t any villagers out there to bump into?”
“In trying to avoid them I pretty much walked into everything else.” Geoff wasn’t the manly, tree-hurling, beard-sporting brother. On the contrary, he was the overly cautious third born. It was no secret that the irresponsible antics of his youngest brother, Colin, especially aggravated him.
“Colin,” said Geoff.
Colin’s smile stretched. “Yes?”
Geoff seemed to have a reprisal locked and loaded but it fizzled out. “Forget it.” He examined the simple padlock on the door. “Griswold and Uncle can make you regret life when we get home.”
This is crazy. Colin wiped his mouth to hide a grin from passing villagers coming and going from the local open air market.
Seriously, he thought. Of all my relatives to show up, he came. I’m surprised nobody came with him. Griswold, Tanner, Sean and Uncle ‘ve all saved my can a bunch of times because they’re rugged adventure types, but Geoff? He doesn’t like crowded trains or animals…
Colin watched his older brother fuss with the heavy lock.
Or germs or dust or encyclopedias not in alphabetical order…
Geoff nodded, oblivious of the pair of women immediately behind him with breadbaskets. “I can pick this.”
Hearing him, the women exchanged alarmed looks and hurried off.
Colin was too amused to care. “You?”
Geoff shot him a tart look.
“How’d you even get here?”
“Are you going to mock me or let me save your life?”