“Anne! Anne! Are you okay?” Rose asked, shaking me hard.
I took a deep breath in, there was no blood, heads and the only bodies were my sleeping friends. I sighed and nodded, “I am now, just a really bad nightmare.” I looked around and saw Alyssa was missing, I panicked, “Where’s Alyssa?” I asked.
Rose smiled, “Outside, waiting for you.”
I thanked her and snuck outside. The wolves howls were louder but I let them pass, nothing would scare me now. “Hey Lissa,” I greeted Alyssa with a pat on the back.
She turned, the frightened expression on her face turned to a relieved one. “Thought you were someone else, having a bad nightmare?” She asked.
I nodded, “Yeah, did I talk?”
“Sorta, more like whispered, you okay?” She asked, she seemed genuinely concerned so I smiled, it wasn’t her body I’d seen in the whirlpool.
“Yeah, I’m fine now,” before Alyssa could ask another question I explained my dream to her. She didn’t interrupt the entire time I spoke. “I know that we didn’t see Erin or Ruth die, not even all those other Guards but my gut says they’re dead.” I paused, “Like Katherine.”
We hug each other for awhile when the wolves howls get louder and they burst through the trees. Alyssa runs inside and wakes everyone up. While Lily dismantles the tent, Josephine packs everything up and hurries off to get the horses. Rose checks the wind again, according to her, we’re still downwind. The smell of the wolves is horrifying. I can feel my dinner rising in my throat and by Lily and Alyssa’s expression I can tell they’re thinking the same. Josephine comes over with the horses and we get ready to mount when the wind changes direction.
I hear the wolves howl and we quickly jump on our horses, kicking them harder and harder so that they can stay ahead of the wolves. Like everything else in Cittá, the wolves were the size of the horses, and just as fast. But our horses were Guard horses, so they were faster. One wolf leapt towards us and missed. At some point, I take the lead, then Josephine does. Once we are in the trees I slow KitKat down and twist on her back to see where everyone is. Lily and Alyssa were right behind me and Rose was far back. Her horse was in the jaws of three of the five wolves while Rose was struggling to hang on. We locked eyes with each other and she shouted something.
“Run!” She shouted again and again, over and over.
I turn away and kick KitKat into gear. I take one last look back to see Rose in the jaws of two wolves, the moonlight reflecting off her pale skin making her look already as a ghost. I locked eyes with her pale blue ones and she smiled before the wolves tore her in half. I tried not to look at her horse, who was being torn apart by the other wolves in the pack and I galloped after Josephine, Lily and Alyssa. Weaving in and out of the trees.
We galloped non stop until we reached another clearing. Josephine checked the map, we were heading in the right direction thank god. “Where’s Rose?” She asked, looking at me mostly.
“Um,” I didn’t want to answer, realising that I was the only person who saw what had happened to her and her horse. “The wolves got them, her and her horse,” I answered, not wanting to give any details. I could just picture my dream now, Rose’s top and bottom halves floating around the whirlpool along with her horse.
Unintentionally we all lowered our heads, Josephine was the first to speak up after a few minutes of silence. “We can keep heading in the direction we’re going and we’ll reach the outer houses of Quartiere Recinto, I used to live there so we can get refuge with my parents, but our horses might be a problem. Are we going to keep them and take them through Il Anello or not?”
“Well, I for one think having our horses with us would be a good idea,” Alyssa answered, “We can get to Polvere quicker and if danger arises we can escape faster too.”
Josephine is nodding but Lily shakes her head, “As much as I want Gingie to stay with us it’s too hard. We should just set them free and go our own way.”
“My parents got through without horses, so can we,” I agreed, “Lily’s right, horses are too hard to have with us, we should set them free.”
We canter along to the edge of the forest, by midday the outer houses are in our sights. We dismount our horses and I stroke KitKat’s shoulder. “Bye girl,” I whispered, then I slapped her rump. She, along with the other horses took off towards the Prato. I forced myself not to cry as I walked across the meadow where Lily, Josephine and Alyssa were waiting.