Once again, you find yourself in flight.
Without hesitation, Jack had snatched up your hand and leapt into the air, taking you with him. With the wind at your backs, the two of you shot off your porch and in the direction that the black wisp had disappeared off into.
You’d be enjoying it a lot more if you weren’t scared out of your mind. What is it that you’re chasing? What would you find when you caught up to it, if you did? You can’t shake the ominous feeling as it sits in the pit of your stomach, weighing you down as you zip through the sky.
Jack’s head is darting from left to right in search of any sign of your target. You stop on a rooftop as he scans the area, squinting slightly.
“Aha! There!” He points and takes your hand again, a new flurry of wind enveloping you. You have no idea what he’s talking about. You can’t see a single blip of black moving anywhere amongst the houses.
Jack’s brow is furrowed as he concentrates on what you assume to be the mysterious entity, deep in pursuit. He uses the hook of his staff to latch onto lightning poles and flag staffs to assist him in making sudden turns, making your stomach flip. He pushes off rooftops on occasion, granting the two of you new bursts of speed. He must be having fun though, because his lips are curled into that familiar mischievous smile.
You follow his gaze, trying to catch sight of the black thing and obtain a focal point to get rid of your slight nausea. You see thick, dark trees on the horizon. The bad feeling gets even stronger.
The houses stop a few hundred yards from the forest’s edge. As you and Jack approach where the structures end and wilderness begins, you see what it is that you are chasing after.
It’s a horse. At least, it has the shape of a horse. It’s galloping at an incredible speed, one that would give a racehorse a run for its money. Its coat is odd. There’s no way that’s the usual hair found on your typical horse. It looks like…like sand. A mix of black sand with hints of deep violet and nighttime blue that gleams in the sun. The sand trails in thin lines from the creature at its hooves and hind leg joints, as well as from what appears to be its mane. Its coat isn’t smooth, either. It is pinched and mounded at points, swirling along its body, seemingly outlining its muscle structure. It looks behind itself briefly, showing you its glowing yellow-red eyes.
It knows it’s being followed.
It darts into the trees, and the two of you fly in after it. You weave in and out of thick tree trunks in your chase, Jack picking up speed and closing in on the creature.
You can’t help but notice that it is abnormally dark in this forest. Not a single drop of sunlight shines through the canvas, creating an artificial and eternal night.
The beast suddenly disappears into the shadows. After making a quick loop around the area where you last saw it just to make sure it isn’t hiding behind something, Jack lands the two of you onto the forest floor. He releases your hand as he takes up his staff with both of his, pointing it offensively in front of him.
“Jack,” you whisper, tugging on his cloak. You have no idea why you’re whispering. It just feels right. “I have a bad feeling about this. We should go back. Let’s leave it alone. It’s not our business.” Swearing that you heard a crunch behind you, you turn around, heart pounding.
Jack looks behind him at you, grinning. “What? You scared?”
You let go of him, irritation momentarily replacing your fear. “No! I just…”
He turns around completely to you, putting his hands on his hips mockingly. “Scaredy cat!”
You start to blush. “I am not scared! I just have a bad feeling!”
He pays no attention to you, his smile only getting wider. “Scaredy cat, scaredy cat, (your name)’s a scaredy cat!” he begins to chant in a singsong voice, pointing at you. He stands up straight. “Come on, man up a little! This is exciting!”
Seeing fear still in your eyes, he walks up to you and puts his free hand on your shoulder. “Listen, nothing is going to go wrong, all right? Not as long as I’m here to protect you.” He looks up at you, a warm smile spreading across his face. “Just believe in me. Okay?”
You nod and wipe away the tears that were threatening to form. “Okay.”
“All right then.” He stands once again to his full height, turning back around. “Stay close.”
The two of you begin to walk deeper into the forest, him in front of you. You can’t help but feel extremely safe despite your growing fear. There’s just something about him. You momentarily admire his broad, masculine back, your heart fluttering in response.
As you try to shake off the feeling, a loud crack comes from your right. Jack turns towards it, staff raised.
“Get behind me,” he says. You do, peeking around him for any signs of movement, senses on the edge.
You feel a chill run up your spine, as if someone is watching you very closely.
The next thing you know, you’re being lifted up by your collar and carried away at a terrible speed.