(Find the beginning here.)
She felt tiny.
She was bouncing uncomfortably, even if she was being squashed against a strangers body. The horse was moving fast and the rider leaned forward. His voice carried to her from above her head, deep and coarse, as he urged the animal to go even faster. She hung on to him, forced to wrap her arms around him if she didn´t want to go flying. His arm was no longer a safety belt around her back.
The insanity of her situation started to sink in and she twisted as much as she could without losing her grip. She couldn´t turn enough to see his face, but he was huge. When she was about to shout at him to stop and let her go, she was faced with what she could only assume was the reason he was in such a hurry.
At first it seemed like a dark cloud, but as it came closer she made out shapes and movement. It was a flock of large black birds, silently gaining on them with such accuracy it was clear what their target was. And soon enough, the first bird let out a rough cry and plunged towards them. It had barely moved from the flock when a few more mimicked its move and then the whole bunch was shooting down.
She reached for her knives, secured by her hip, but was stopped by the rider. He grabbed her arm and put it back around him as he leaned even further down, basically pinning her to the horse.
“Hold on,” he growled, muttered something and the horse broke into a gallop that seemed to be closer to flying than running as it´s feet barely met the ground. The birds missed their target but kept following them and she was about to point that out, somehow, when the rider added:
“Ravens are the least of our problems, it´s the dogs we need to worry about. The guys better have that damn tunnel ready.”
Her eyes widened, both at his warning and what he had said next. Who were ´the guys´ and what tunnel were they getting ready? Who was this guy!
A howl broke her thoughts and made her tighten her hold. It was followed by another howl and then a loud answer from the ravens, crying and screeching and barking at the…
Wolves. No damn dogs; Grey, big wolves on both sides of the road and clearly circling them. She was now certain the rider was a friend rather than a crazy, kidnapping murderer. She would´ve been a snack for either a flock of ravens or a pack of wolves had he not taken her with him on the run. Why she would even need to worry about that did not become a question at that moment, but how to get out of this on the other hand…
The wolves were creeping closer, new ones appearing as soon as they outran the first. Her heart was racing and she couldn´t figure out how she would defend herself if the animals got close enough to attack. She could reach her knives pretty easily, but what good would they do if the horse was targeted?
She was beginning to plan how to survive if the horse was brought down, being pinned to it and on her back was not the best position to take control of her fall, when the rider hissed „yes!“ and made a turn that was so sharp she could almost touch the ground and wondered how the horse even kept its balance. She didn´t see where they were going but she saw walls of rock and felt a gust of chilly air. They slowed down and the rider sat up straight, allowing her to move freely in front of him again. Tall walls of a narrow canyon reached for the sky on both sides.
She twisted to look in the direction they were headed, just in time to see a round opening into a dark tunnel and a few men on horses holding guns and flashlights. In a second, they were all inside and a solid metal gate closed silently behind them. Lights flickered on, a string of them running the length of the tunnel, fitted into the ceiling. The tunnel walls seemed surprisingly smooth and the floor, even if obviously dirt and gravel, was solid.
Her savior swung lightly to the ground and she immediately followed. Her butt was killing her and her back wasn´t in the best shape either. The other men followed the riders example, leading their horses further into the tunnel. She trailed behind, watching the little group with interest and wondered what the hell she´d gotten herself into this time. Fleeing from wolves and birds and hiding in a tunnel? And to where?
She couldn´t help but grin. Triplepeak?
(Find part 3 here.)