He whirls around, staff at the ready.
A stream of ice whizzes by to your left, narrowly missing you and whatever it is that is carrying you.
Jack takes to the air and chases after you, firing at your kidnapper at windows of opportunity. As the trees get thicker and the forest darker, he calls out your name and you call back in hopes of keeping track of one another.
He’s starting to lose you. You can now only catch glimpses of snow-white hair here and blue-glowing staff there in the darkness, his calls getting more and more distant.
Soon, you see nothing at all besides barely-visible tree trunks.
“Jack?” you call out the best that you can. “JACK?!?”
You begin to panic even more. Where are you being taken? What is going to be done to you? You struggle against the hold on your collar, reaching up to maybe pry apart the grip of whatever is carrying you away.
Your hand meets cold sand.
The creature snorts—much like your average horse—and gallops even faster. You feel yourself lift further off the ground. Looking below you, you realize that you’re flying.
This creature can fly.
Despite the height, you’d rather risk a few broken bones than go wherever it is taking you.
You struggle against it even harder, twisting, turning, and pounding on its snout. You can feel it start to get mad. It redoes its grip, biting harder onto your clothes and even pinching your skin. You yelp at the pain. You can just feel its sharp teeth sink into your flesh. You begin to black out, growing limp as it squeezes at your spinal cord.
In a final effort, you elbow the thing in its powerful chest, letting out a war cry. This must have caught it off-guard, because its grip on you loosens. You feel yourself suddenly descend. Knowing that this is your moment, you hit its snout one last time, twisting yourself as you do.
You feel it completely release you.
You tumble to the forest floor. You were only a few feet from it after you caught the creature by surprise. You’re able to stand up. Good, no broken bones, you think to yourself as you run through a mental self-check. Just a few bruises.
You look around you, senses on guard in case the thing comes back for you. You turn to face the slightest sound.
Come on Jack. Hurry.
In the pitch blackness, you catch a glimmer of night-blue sand and a fiery eye. You raise your fists, taking a ready stance.
I sure could use a little help!
The horse lands in front of you, eyes concentrated on you and hooves pounding the ground in anticipation.
You’re revving to go. You refuse to be scared any longer. “I’m not afraid of you,” you tell the being.
Suddenly, you hear a low, raspy, evil chuckle echo throughout the forest. You glance around you in search of its source.
“Not afraid?” You hear it mock you. It has a slight English accent. A subtle gust of wind blows beside the sand beast. You can just make out a solidified shadow of a tall, slender man stroking its mane. The same voice comes more focused from it this time. “Who is not afraid of nightmares?”
Nightmares? Is that what that thing is called? A Nightmare?
The man chuckles again, sending a chill up your spine. “Beautiful, aren’t they?” The voice becomes more directed at you. “You really should be afraid, you know, when you have the Boogeyman standing before you.”
You take a step back. You feel fear begin to crawl inside you. The Boogeyman? The one that hides under beds and represents all evil in a child’s life? The reason why you had to check under your bed and in your closet every night for monsters, the being behind your childhood fear of the dark?
“There’s no way,” you say under your breath. “There’s no such thing as the Boogeyman. He’s…he’s just a…a myth. You’re a liar!”
“Ah, but haven’t you learned in recent days that myths can be more than just words?”
Your childhood fears begin to come back to you. You start to shiver. You try shaking off the terror but are unsuccessful.
The Nightmare neighs.
“Careful,” the man warns you lightly. “They sense fear. It gets them riled up.”
“What do you want with me?” you manage to say, voice shaking.
“You’ll find out soon enough,” he replies definitively. “You’ll regret the day you ever got yourself involved with Jack Frost.” You see the shadow bend, as if bowing. “The name is Pitch, Pitch Black. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some preparations to make. I’ll let my precious Nightmare take care of you.”
Another breeze tells you that Pitch has left.
You face the Nightmare, feeling far less confident in yourself.
Jack, where are you??
The Nightmare charges.
“JACK!” you yell into the cold forest.
Just as the nightmare is about to come upon you, a blast of ice shoots in front of it, stopping it in its tracks.
“Hey, sandbrain! Over here!”
You and the beast turn towards the voice’s source.
You’ve never been more relieved to see Jack Frost in your life.
He seems to emanate his own light in the dark forest, his staff glowing like a blue torch.
The Nightmare begins to run after him, forgetting entirely about you. Jack takes to the air when it’s a couple feet away. “Haha, missed me!” It turns to face him again, beginning to lift off of the ground.
You whistle and throw a nearby rock at it, which somehow manages to hit it square in what would be its temple. “Hey, don’t forget about me!” It stands back on the ground, its attention now back to you.
You gulp. What have you just done?
A blue-white blast suddenly hits it and it becomes engulfed in ice, eternally frozen like an equestrian statue.
Jack lands, jumping up and down with his fist raised in triumph. “Got it!” He turns to face you, smiling wide. “We got it!”
You run to him and leap into his arms, slinging your arms around his neck. He drops his staff to hug you back. The momentum from your hug makes the two of you twirl around. You’re laughing in unison from joy and relief.
Your feet find the ground again, the two of you still giggling. Your arms still around his cold neck, you look up at him.
“Boy, am I glad to see you,” you tell him, smiling.
“I told you I’d protect you.” He presses you closer to him, leaning in, his nose less than an inch from your own. His is voice now a soft whisper. “Thank you for believing in me.”
And he lays his lips on yours in a tender kiss.