Story Title: The Boys from Witless Bay
Author: Pat Flewwelling
Equine Combatant’s Name: unknown
Starting tomorrow our new combatants will be:
A Mother Unicorn’s Advice for her Daughter
Riders in the Sky
Excerpt from “The Last Ride of Hettie Richter” by Cat McDonald:
Hettie chased after them. At first, the running was easy, and she could hold the riders in her vision as solid earth flew by beneath her. Her breaths carried in the scent of the nearby creek, bloated with summer heat and rot, and thick, wet summer air coursed in and out of her.
But step by step, they drifted away from her. She bruised her feet on stones in the road, struggled to fill herself with air, wore her knees out, and still the riders drifted away. Hettie only managed to keep up with them—screaming until she had to choose between screaming and running—until the crossroads where her family’s lane met the main road.
There, at last, hats and heads disappeared around a corner, shrouded by thick greenery. Without that fixed point in her vision to focus on, she collapsed. A pain leeched out of her knee to the rest of her leg, her ankle rolled under her, and she toppled to the ground, knees first, in a wheel-rut.
“Damn you,” she whispered through the wreckage of her voice on heaving, desperate breaths, “damn you both. Walk tall in heaven my ass.”
Dirt wedged its way under her fingernails as she tried to force herself back up, and brutal sunlight beat on her back. The rage that had drawn her out of the house still pressed on her insides, squeezed against her stomach. She fought for every breath, and coughed bitterly as her burning lungs failed each time.
She coughed and choked. The burning rose up inside her, past her heart, under her ribs, and into her throat as a huge, solid mass. Another cough brought something thick and warm up to touch the back of her throat. She gagged as it slithered out over her tongue and fell to the earth in front of her, a huge black-red fleshy lump about the size of an apple.
As she watched, it soaked into the ground at the crossroads. Spit and iron-tasting bile dripped over her teeth after it, and she sat there shaking for a few moments, confused and cold and slightly hollow.