The horsemen are coming. They always come. Now we can hear them, the galloping monsters thundering through wasted lands and out of the forest.


3. Fianna

Frost bit into my heart as I opened my eyes, feeling a breeze on my legs where warmth should have rested. I sat up straight, dragging my nails across the wooden table in fear as my scattered thoughts over-whelmed me. Brenna. She wasn't here. It was impossible that they could have come in without me hearing. Pelting from the small room, the chair clattered against the floor as I raced up the stairs, hoping, needing, wanting to find her hugging my father.

It didn't make sense, I knew that. I knew from the moment I closed my eyes something was up, something was going to change. But when I reached the room with the lone figure sleeping so peacefully I couldn't help but brake, but sob and scream her name over and over again until my voice was raw. I made a promise to protect her and I didn't. I fell asleep when I should have held her, should have fought for her, died for her. But I hadn't. And I couldn't go back and claim my little sister, my little angel.

Staggering outside, a final plea to see her sitting on our doorstep, I shaded my eyes from the beaming sun. A deserted street lay in front, silence reverberating around it's shabby buildings and wooden beams. I stood there for ages, just watching the darkness lessen and the bird's songs grow louder, more confident as the eerie feeling started to subside and people ventured out. It was weird watching, memories of days like this haunted my dreams when my old best friend was taken. I almost lost myself reminiscing, seeing the ghostly face of her mother, tearing at her husband’s chest.

I guess I handled it differently. I spoke not a word as I strode onto the road and walked to the corner where a book lay. Not any book, my book, Brenna's book. Where it was left, scattered across cobblestones. Picking it up gently, like it was a petal, so delicate, easy to brake. She was so young, my worry grew with each moment that passed as I thought of her naivety, her innocence, her trust. I had to make up for hat I had done, for letting her go.

Lifting up the skirts of my dress, I ran back inside, grabbing a bag, a knife, bread, blanket, water skin and stopped. I needed to prepare, I couldn't just fling rubbish in if I truly wanted to save her. She was worth more than a sloppy plan and a frightened girl's desperation. Taking a breath I walked back upstairs to my crying, lonely father. How could I leave him? I had to, I think he knew that when I walked into his bedroom and sat softly on top of his bed.

I waited as he sobered up, hiccupping away his grief. "I need you to help me, father. I will bring her back, I swear on everything I will."

Smiling sadly he sat next to me and took my hands in his large ones. "If anyone else said that I would never believe them. You're brave and smart and you love her like a mother. Of course I will. I'd be dammed if I didn't"

And so it began. Every day we wasted preparing, I lost a sliver of hope and gained determination at the same time. My father knew these lands better than anyone else. I had listened to all his stories all my life and now they were to be my guide book. Maybe if I had just ran out that day things would have been different, easier. But somehow I don't think I would have lived so long, somewhere in me knows I wouldn't have made it.

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