(Continues from Cold by the Floodgates)
Are you strong enough to be my man? A woman asked in a song accompanied by a guitar. I turned in my saddle seeking the source of the singing. Through the falling snow, another world revealed itself between the slanting flakes. I saw the ghost man whose soul had sheltered me for a time. The woman asked her question again, and I nodded. My nonliving friend was strong enough. I made the sign of remembrance and touched my fingers to my forehead, lips, and heart. You’re on my mind, my lips and my heart, my spectral friend. Peace be with you.
Maybe he heard my goodbye. He pivoted turning the window and my view. There stood Jason between two demonic smudges. I gripped my hungry sword. A pale mist dripped off my scabbarded blade salivating for a taste of demonic flesh. A world separated us. My ghost friend was on his own. The wind rose, confirming my supposition, and its invisible hand rubbed out the image closing the window I’d used to view him. I blinked snow-caked lashes.
The scene faded leaving a question behind. I rubbed my temples, tried to order my thoughts, but the chaos refused to sort itself out. My mind was full of disconnected images. Cities made of impossible substances rose and fell leaving their metal bones behind. I shook them away. Shayari had two cities and neither one employed steel girders. Why would they when rocks were plentiful?
“Are you okay to ride? These dispatches have to reach Idrin.” Jase waved the leather scrip stuffed with paper and lined with oiled skin.
I hesitated. There was something wrong. My heart pounded a warning. I scanned the area. Other than stunted trees clinging to the goat trail winding through the mountain range, I saw nothing to warrant any unease. I refocused on the man holding out the leather satchel. His blue surcoat proclaimed him a guard.
What was the matter with me? Running dispatches was what I did. After all, I was the sole Guardian with a cantankerous unicorn mount. On Alescue’s back, I could reach my ornery cousin and his garrison in half the time of a regular courier. Apprehension assailed me again. Yes, I had a named sword but other than owning an impressive name, my sword conferred no magic skills or spells. It was a pretty chunk of luminous crystal with a killing edge. But I felt a terrible need tugging me towards the horizon. Snow blinded me hiding all sight of ridge and my friends beyond it.
“Take them. Idrin needs these. They’re urgent.” Jason shook the satchel. His eyes begged me to take the missives and go, ride the hundred miles to my cousin and not look back. Why was he trying to keep me away and from what?
I opened my mouth to ask, but a vague memory surfaced silencing me. In it, a man in a dove gray suit plummeted surrounded by a constellation of glittering glass shards. I blinked the image away. It had come from the time I’d shared with the ghost in the other world. A place now lost to me since the portal had closed.
I opened my mouth a second time, but her song resounded cutting me off. Are you strong enough to be my man?
I read the answer in his eyes,
skimmed the lies twisting his tongue.
Betrayal had broken loyalty’s ties.
We were recreational allies
when profit cries
and money rains from the skies.
But why separate me from my allies?
Why send me a hundred miles as the crow flies
to meet my demise?
Find the earlier parts of this series here.
If you missed a part, worry not. This will be available from Amazon in 2017.
The adventure continues tomorrow.
For the November Notes Writing Challenge hosted by Sarah Doughty of Heartstring Eulogies and Rosema of A Reading Writer.