Friday, September 14, 2012

Twin Desires Pt 6

Katrinna is trouble with a capitol T.  How one girl can find so much trouble is beyond comprehension.  With this week's harrowing excitement, will Justin come to her rescue?
Twin Desires
Chapter Six
Macie Snow


I groan and look up at the sky. Night was falling, but tired as I may be, Justin would not allow us to stop. Of course I would not voice my complaints. I understood that Adrinna was being rushed away even as we slowly worked our way through the forest. Volos, on the other hand, had no such urgency as he continued to voice his complaints.

“My men cannot protect you if they are tired. We would be a hindrance at best,” Volos implores, begging Justin to stop with his unspoken words.

“We cannot afford to stop. Your men have more rest than us. She is holding up better than you seem to be,” Justin says, nodding my way while glaring at Volos. I duck my head as a slow blush rises to my cheeks. “I cannot help but question if you are really helpful to us at all, considering all you seem to be able to do is whine.”

Volos snaps his mouth shut and glares a Justin, blessedly silent for the time being. I silently thank Justin, though his words might have been a tad too harsh, for the silence.  I knew Volos would start complaining again shortly.
Zypher huffs and I rub his neck, running my fingers through his silky mane. After the mad dash out of the castle, I’d hardly given the poor stallion more than a half hours rest, and it was obvious the horse’s strength was starting to wane.

Behind me, Volos released an exaggerated sigh.

I groan and turn in my saddle. “Stop being such a baby and just sleep in your saddle. Justin has some rope that you can…”

The words die in my throat as I stare in horror at the dark figure approaching us from the sky. The bird was huge, and mean, if the gore hanging from it was anything to go by. The sun setting behind it provided little light to see details, but I knew something bad when I saw it. And this was bad with a capital B. Raldyn, the rider bringing up the rear of our group, smirks at me, obviously thinking I was gaping at him.

“Justin?” I call our nervously.

Justin groans. “Not you too!”

I can only gape as the huge bird closes in on our group, black talons stretched towards us.

Ajax, the rider directly behind me, sees the horror in my face and follows my gaze. His face pales as he shouts, “Run! It’s a Deathraptor!”

Suddenly, all the horses are running, spurred on by instinct. The bird screeches, likely upset that we had noticed its approach, and startles Flinn, who leaps forward, running even faster. Justin scrambles to tighten his grip on the reigns, righting himself before he falls to the ground.

“Into the forest!” Volos yells. “It can’t go into the dense trees!”

The gypsies swerve to the left, leaving Justin and I to go right. Our horses crash through the underbrush as the bird chases Justin and me, knocking aside branches as it tries to find a way into the trees. Branches rain down on us and we urge the horses to go faster as a river comes into view. Flinn races across, Justin urging her to go even faster, but Zypher hesitates, launching me into the river.

“Justin!” I scream as the current pulls my head under and drags me along. I kick my way to the surface, and when I break through to the surface again I see that the current had drug me nearly fifty feet away, and was swiftly pulling me further downstream.

“Justin!” I scream, coughing out water. “Help!”

Justin yanks Flinn to a stop and gapes at me in horror before urging Flinn down the bank of the river after me. I look around, searching for a tree branch, a rock,  or anything to grab a hold of and slow my rapid flight down the river. But nothing useful is in sight, and I spot the Deathraptor circling above me.

“Justin! Look-” I gasp as the current pulls me under, right as the giant bird dives straight for my head.

The river tosses me head over heel, and I twist, trying to fight my way back to the surface of the water and breathe. I kick my legs, aiming towards what I assumed to be the surface, but end up being bounced against the riverbed. I claw at the water, hoping to grab hold of something, anything to get my bearing. The river offers no mercy as it pounds me against its rocky bottom. As my lungs burn, begging for oxygen, I claw at the murky water. Miraculously, I find myself clutching what seemed to be a rope. As the line went taut, from holding be back from the rivers relentless pull, I feel a sudden jerk and my head is pulled free from the river.

I gasp in the sweet oxygen as sound bombards my eardrums. The Deathraptor was screeching, circling some trees on the riverbank where I could vaguely make out Flinns hind flank as I was pulled from the river. The gypsies were on the opposite river bank, shouting and generally making a ruckus as they tried to distract the Deathraptor from Justin.

I groan as I’m pulled onto the bank, bruises already forming on my shoulders. Letting go of the rope I drag myself towards the relative safety of the trees, and lean against the nearest trunk sighing. Gasping in great gulps of oxygen, I soon hear someone running towards me from the woods. I tense, reaching for my dagger, but relax when Justin comes into view.

“Katrinna!” Justin cries in relief, falling to his knees a foot away from me. “Are you alright?”

I sniffle as water drips down my nose, and my bottom lip quivers. Why did he always stop a foot away from me? “I’m fine,” I sniffle. “Zypher stopped is all. I didn’t- didn’t do anything. He just…” I take a deep, quivering breath, trying not to burst into tears as the shock sets in.

“It’s okay Katrinna,” Justin whispers, staring at me intently, his hands clutching at his knees, knuckles white. “You’re safe. Everything’s okay.”

The Deathraptor screeches overhead and Justin winces.

“Well…” Justin starts, but I cut him off by flinging myself at him, throwing my arms around his neck.

“I almost died!” I cry out in hiccupping sobs. “I couldn’t find the surface, I couldn’t do anything it just- And I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t think and I couldn’t do anything!” I cry out.

Justin nervously pats my back as I sob into his shoulder. But our moment together was brief, as from across the river we hear a loud, panicked scream.

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