Walks without Annette turned into jogging sessions, followed by running broken with intervals of hard exercise: push ups, stretches and crunches to keep him limber, made harder by the dark hood. Every time he adjusted to the new routine, he would hear Annette order something new to the guard that only spoke to give him an order. First there were weights on his ankles and wrists, and then one day she joined him for his daily walk with an enormous wooden yoke, with swinging buckets attached by metal chains.
One length of rope looped around his arms and wrists bound him to the yoke firmly, and held his arms out in cruciform position. Even before he saw the rocks piled up in the buckets he knew it was heavy. Two servants had brought it to Annette and dipped their heads politely before gratefully grunting the yoke to the ground and taking their leave.
Standing, Adam could walk forward at a snail’s pace, the buckets swaying slightly. Annette had the picana in her hand, its orange plastic bright, but not out of place among the countless, vibrant layers of gaudy flowers that were in bloom for late summer.