Wednesday, November 2, 2011
A Halloween Story, Part 8
The other riders began to arrive and the thundering of oncoming horses began to lessen. From her hiding place, Ria couldn't be sure of how many horses were there. Twenty? Fifty? Were there more? She couldn't be sure. The black horse was still plowing through the woods seeking her. Every so often, the rider would call out in frustration "I know you're here!"
The group parted and from their midst emerged a rider who must be their leader. His horse was as large as any of the others, but the saddle was of a much better quality. It's suppleness shone in the increasing moonlight. He had two lamp carrying riders on either side of him.
"Balfour! What are you doing?"
Balfour immediately stopped his search. "I smelled a human, my lord." There was the sound of muffled laughing from the group.
"Of course you smelled human, you half wit! There's a housing development on the other side of this median!" the leader thundered. "Get out of those woods and get into your position!"
The leader addressed the other riders. "Did you recapture that black cat?"
"No my lord." the other three riders answered almost shamefully.
"No matter, we're sure to come across another one along our ride." He turned to one of his lantern bearers. "Give the signal to assemble. We have far to ride before the moon is at it's height."
The lantern bearer pulled a goat's horn from his tunic and blew. The sound was nothing like a horn and yet indescribable. It made Ria shiver. The original four riders assembled into a column of two, and began riding forward. The other horsemen began riding behind them, also in columns of two, except for the leader who was still flanked by his lantern bearers.
The procession seemed to take hours to pass. Ria didn't stir until the sound of the last horse hoof had faded away. Then she cautiously got up, slowly, still listening, in case one of the riders had stayed behind without her realizing. Ria turned on her flashlight and scanned the woods, looking for the black cat. It was nowhere to be seen.
May-be Reagan had had enough of being outside by this time, Ria hoped. For herself, she had had enough of the woods for one night. She made her way to the dirt road and started to walk home, still listening for the sound of horse hooves.
When she was near home, she hear her name being called. "Ria? Ria!" called her younger sister Katie.
"I'm here!" she began to run toward Katie's voice.
"Ria! What were you doing in the woods on Halloween night? I'd never go in the woods on Halloween night!" Katie gave a shudder.
"I was looking for Reagan."
"In the woods? He was in the shredded paper box next to Daddy's desk. It was like he dug himself down into the paper. He's never done that before. I wonder why he did it tonight?"
I'm sure I know. Ria thought, but she only said "Hmmmm......." as they climbed the steps of the back deck and entered their house.
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