Have fun writing! Finish the Story contest 1- Escape by Moonlight

The Finish the Story Contest is here! A reminder of what this is all about: https://catherinelbyrne.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/have-fun-writing-finish-the-story-contests/

 

Escape by Moonlight

Finish the Story contest 1

Please finish this story within 1500 (that is one thousand five hundred) words and send your entry via the form at the bottom of the page. DEADLINE: 21st January 🙂

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Escape by Moonlight

The black stallion’s hooves pounded the gravel track, sending stones flying up in showers as he galloped through the clear summer night. Clinging to his mane, Carlotta urged him onward, onward, faster and faster. She must get away from the peril she’d escaped in the last hour, she must!

The path led deeper into the wood, thick brambles clutching at the horse’s legs, and overhanging branches threatening to knock his rider unconscious if she didn’t stay alert.

At last they reached a clearing where Carlotta pulled up, allowing her faithful steed to rest, the breath snorting through his nostrils gradually slowing.

“We’ve done it, boy.” She patted his sweat covered neck, the ring on her third finger glistening in the moonlight. She wanted to rip it off but that would waste time. Instead, she climbed slowly off Arturo’s back and led him to a clear stream, tinkling over the rocks and he drank deeply.

Then he lifted his head, ears flicking. Carlotta strained her own ears. Was that the faint sound of barking dogs, getting closer? She leapt upon the stallion’s back and urged him into a trot, his tired legs moving stiffly.

They trotted into the trees again and she looked for a place to hide. Oh thanks be to God—a ruined stone farmhouse stood to the left. Most probably the scene of a battle between the loyalists and the rebels, but no time to think about the reasons why. She pushed Arturo into a canter and they rounded the corner of the wall.

There stood a man, a broad brimmed hat pulled low over his forehead and a shabby long coat buttoned tightly round him.

Carlotta pulled Arturo’s reins so sharply that he stumbled, and the man leapt forward and grabbed them.

“Easy boy,” he murmured, and glared at Carlotta. “You shouldn’t do that to a horse.”

“We have to hide.” She climbed down from her faithful stallion and led him to a doorway, then peered to see what was inside the room.

“Careful.” The man followed them silently. “The roof may fall on you.”

“Anything’s better than what I’ve escaped.” She led the horse into the dark, rubble filled room just as the baying of hounds grew very loud. “Come in if you’re a friend, don’t if you’re an enemy.”

“I’m neither, thank you.” The man followed her into the room and removed his hat, then the shard of moonlight streaming through the glassless window fell on his face. Carlotta gasped. How had she not recognised Javier, even after all these years?

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