Man, I’ve missed writing on this. I’m doing the Zoetic Press Write Like You’re Alive challenge this month, cranking out marginal first drafts to upload to their site. My goal was to write a short story every day, but I failed yesterday by only getting finished the beginning of a story. You can read last year’s anthology of winning entries by clicking on the side bar link under Published Work. I’m pretty proud of my story, The Hub, in it.
But, let’s get back to Sharna and Jackie, shall we?
Sharna was surprised by how tall she felt. It was as if she were using someone else’s legs, and she wasn’t quite sure how they worked. Lizabetta has bustled through a swinging door, and Sharna was almost smacked in the face as the door swung toward her. She giggled at her own clumsiness.
The kitchen was typical, and led to a narrow hallway that opened onto a room not much bigger than a bedroom. It probably had been a bedroom at one point, but now served as a stable. The smell hit her before the sound. Sharna was grateful she hadn’t ordered any food. Assorted animals and birds were kenneled together, and sure enough – a horse.
“I want him to look noble. I realize he’s not fit to ride on, much less eat, but he’d be lovely at the top of the stairs, wouldn’t he?”
Was she serious?
Lizabetta tilted her head and raised her eyebrows. “Well, go on. I’ve got the dinner rush coming soon, and I need to get started on the special.” She turned to leave.
“Oh, and be careful. He bites.”
Before Sharna could say a word, Lizabetta had swept out of the room and she was alone with the horse.
Well, at least there won’t be anyone to witness my failure, she thought. Other than the horse.
It was an elderly, sway-backed, white, knock-kneed thing. Sharna felt silly standing there staring at it as it slowly blinked in the straw-dusted light. She wasn’t much of an animal person, although the girls at the Mansion did take riding lessons. It was simply a way to be sure they could get away in an emergency more than anything else. Not every spell goes right, even when you are a graduate.
The horse lifted its head and dropped it again, picking up on her growing anxiety. Sharna was having trouble seeing straight at this point. Was she going to have to kill the damn thing first? She was gripped by a terrible sadness. The stress of the day swept over her, and she put out a hand to stroke the horse’s soft flank. It leaned in to her touch, and she found herself with both arms around its neck, sobbing.
(see you next Saturday!)