The Real Grattie Brina
Through the chinks in the trees, Miranda could see the light fading, and hurriedly searched along the pile of trees for a gap, somewhere for Theobald to slip through. If he could escape, then she might climb the trees, Manley might burrow under the wall and Malcolm might charge at the boars, bound over them and effect his escape, but she could see no opening through which Theobald might slip. Weariness and the Boars’ incomprehensible behaviour were weighing her down.
“Not encouraging,” said Malcolm quietly.
“No.” Continue reading
No Free Water
Malcolm was grateful for the grass. It was dry, stringy, dotting the barren ground in sparse clumps but it was grass. He chewed as he watched Manley burrow and surface.
“How is it?” asked Manley.
“It’s okay.” He knew the others would find little sustanence from it but he needed something to keep going. “What do you see?” he asked Miranda. They were two tree lengths at most from the trees now but he couldn’t make out anything clearly at that distance.
“Aspen and poplar, I’ve never seen the bushes before.”
“Any sign of our friend?”
“Should we go forward?’
“One of us should.”
“Miranda, we have nowhere else to go. If something happens to one of us, it might as well happen to all of us.”
“I’d prefer,” said Manley, “to stick together.”
“I agree,” croaked Theobald. “But please let’s get to the water.”
“Alright,” conceded Miranda, “I’ll go in front.”
Hurrying to follow, Malcolm watched Miranda speed forward toward the trees with Manley struggling to keep up. “What do you see?” he shouted up to Theobald.
“Trees and bushes. Wait, something moved.” Continue reading
Theobald saw the track first. He had woken dry as dust, his head bowed over Malcolm’s shoulder, staring absently at the ground, lulled by the rhythm of Malcolm’s gait. He saw it but it didn’t register at first.
“Malcolm,” he croaked.
Malcolm didn’t stop.
“Malcolm,” he managed to rasp, louder.
Malcolm stopped. “What?”
Slowly, Malcolm backed up.
“Okay stop.” Theobald peered down as hard as he could and cculd see something untoward but he wasn’t close enough. “Let me down.”
“This is important.”
Malcolm lowered his body and Theobald rolled off, his shell pranging against the rock. He was so tired of the pain. He clawed his way close to what he thought he’d seen and realized that he had seen it. There is was, right in front of him. A faint impression in the dust, three holes close together, shadowed by the evening light. At first, he didn’t know what it was. His heart started palpatating when he realized it was a hoofprint. “Malcolm…?” Continue reading
The Plains of Vastidity
Standing on the brink of the Plains of Vastidity, there had been no doubt in Manley’s mind. If he was going to die—which now seemed inevitable—given the choice he’d prefer death by Plains of Vastidity than by Lynx. He had imagined they might find another forest, but knew now how silly that was. Going forward was just as pointless as going back, but he hadn’t been forward before. So he trudged out into the flat emptiness, into the aborbing heat of endless rock. It was, he thought, a place of no earth, no water, no plants, nothing living, nothing breathing—no habitation. Soon, he knew, the only sign of life here would be the five—no, Rollo was gone—four of them lying dead on the parching rock in the middle of this nothingness. Well, it would be less stressful than being eaten. Continue reading
No Light At All
Into the shiny night,
the Star kill and maim,
His snout throbbed.
smiling and sucking
the slime and the scum
Where was he? He could hear birds twittering.
While the animals fled,
in terror and dread,
What was he thinking?
Leaving their heads,
And the dying and dead
Their wicked thrum…
Wicked thrum? That bark. The one with… he tried opening his eyes—then realized they were open. It was black. Was it night? What was the throbbing pain in his snout? He tried to touch it, but his front legs were too stiff. Continue reading