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Don’t Look Back – by Isabelle
Dulcilla glanced back anxiously, her heart beating madly as she ran. Her friend, a dark-haired man, was running behind her a little ways, leading a small pony. Dulcilla breathed in relief. Good. He made it… He was safe… mostly. A limp slowed his movement, but he nonetheless soon caught up to Dulcilla.
He handed the pony’s reins to Dulcilla, continuing to run at her side. “Here,” he spoke urgently. “Mount as soon as you’re far enough away and then ride to where it’s safe. You know where”
Dulcilla’s eyes flew to his limping foot. “You’re hurt… How will you run all that way…?” She placed a hand over her mouth in horror, realizing there was no way he could. “We’ve got to mount now!”
He shook his head. “If we mount now, then we’ll be spotted and caught easily. We have to wait until we get to the mountains” He gave Dulcilla a small smile. “I’ll be fine”
Dulcilla searched his face worriedly. After a moment, she hesitantly nodded. She trusted him at least this much…
Suddenly a shout sounded from some way off. Dulcilla’s companion flicked his head back to look. His eyes glanced briefly behind him before they flickered back to Dulcilla. “Ride away like I told you as soon as possible, Dulcilla, and I’ll meet you” He slowed a little. “Go in a different direction from me” His expression was urgent. “Hurry!”
Breathlessly, Dulcilla ran faster, turning a different direction, and leading the pony with her. The last sounds of her companion’s voice reached her as she ran: “Ride, Dulcilla, and don’t look back!”
Dulcilla mounted quickly and rode. But, despite her friend’s warning, she could not help one last glance back. She looked back just in time to see an arrow tip burst through her companion’s side. Scarlet spilled through his shirt, and he crumpled to the ground noiselessly.
Dulcilla forced herself to look away, a sob rising in her throat. “No…” She whimpered, still riding as though the wind were behind her.
And they rode on – she and her pony – Dulcilla not daring again to look back, still broken up from the first time. Tears streamed down her face freely.
Somehow, though, she made herself look back again, despite her knowledge that there was no way her companion had made it. And yet, despite this knowledge, it still felt like an arrow to her own side when Dulcilla’s eyes could not find even one living soul anywhere behind her.
Suddenly, as though spooked by something, Dulcilla’s horse whinnied loudly and reared up. She fell, and all went black… That was all that Dulcilla could remember. It had been almost a year now since she’d come here – a fruitless year of trying so hard to remember who the man was, why she’d been running, what had happened before it, and so many other questions. Dulcilla was half-beginning to believe that it was only a dream, and that it really had never happened at all. But then, that face… His face… She knew it… somehow.
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