Benjamin grasped onto the reins as best he could. The wound in his stomach burned. Benjamin had never felt such a pain before. He flashed back to the time he had gotten stung by a hornet as a child. The bullet in his stomach felt like that, only a thousand times worse.
He glanced around as best he could. It was dark in the forest and he couldn't see much through the trees. He clumsily swung his head to look behind him. His shooter wasn't in sight, but Benjamin couldn't tell if he was lurking farther back, waiting to strike again. He straightened back around, the burning sensation in his stomach shifted into a sharp pain. Wincing, Benjamin gingerly touched his wound. It was sweltering. He removed his hands, slippery with blood.
A shout echoed from behind him. With a deep breath, he urged his horse to go faster. The reins were slipping from his grip. Benjamin felt a drop of water land on his face. He looked up. Another drop fell. He sighed. The rain wasn't going to help.
The pain in his stomach was getting worse. One of the reins slipped from Benjamin's grasp. He lurched for it, pain exploding in his stomach. The slippery pieces of leather slid through Benjamin's wet fingers.
With a groan, Benjamin dug one of his heels into his horse's side. His horse's gait didn't improve much. He glanced backwards. There was nothing behind him but trees. A strong wind pillaged the trees of their lives, and whipped Benjamin's hair around his face. To his right, a wolf howl echoed through the trees. Benjamin urged his horse to keep going.
He could feel his horse losing traction on the slick forest floor. Benjamin grasped his horse's neck as well as he could. A low hanging branch swooped down out of nowhere; Benjamin flattened himself against his horse's neck, but instead of stopping, his horse skidded through the mud and wet leaves. Benjamin clawed at his horse's mane. He grabbed a fistful of bristly hair, causing his horse to buck. Pain exploded as Benjamin slid off the horse and tumbled to the ground. He heard his horse above him nicker, and Benjamin quickly rolled out of the way, as he saw two hooves land inches from his face. Benjamin let out a low groan, as he watched his horse thunder away into the forest.
Using his elbows, Benjamin weakly propped himself up. Pain gnawed at his insides. Benjamin knew that if he didn't get his wound cleaned soon, it could become infected. Sometimes, infection was worse than the bullet itself.
Benjamin slowly crawled towards the nearest tree. He could feel the cool mud ooze underneath him, as he reached for the tree trunk and pulled himself towards it. With a loud squelch, his boot popped off, pulled away by the mud's miry fingers. Benjamin couldn't see it through the murky rain, and he didn't have the motivation to retrieve it.
He used the tree's knurled skin to pull him to his feet, trying to ignore the burning in his abdomen. He paused for a second to catch his breath, before tentatively lifting his foot to take a step. He slowly lowered it; the feeling of the mud squishing in between his toes made him shudder. This time, Benjamin raised his booted foot, and brought it down into the mud. He let out a sigh of relief. One step, he thought. Surely the others could be as bad.
Benjamin was wrong. With each step, the pain in his stomach exploded; his stomach was hot to the touch. It reminded Benjamin of harvest time, when his father would roast a pig. Benjamin could never wait to eat it, and always burnt his fingers on the hot skin of the pork.
Focus, he told himself. Benjamin looked around. He had no idea where he was. What if he never found his way back? Benjamin shook his head. "Think, Benjamin," he said aloud. "Find shelter." He doubled over, taking a deep breath. The rain poured down, chilling him. He could barely see through his own soaked hair covering his face. "Find water." Benjamin looked up at the sky, and laughed, his body aching his pain, as he shook. "Never mind that." He reached for the nearest tree trunk and leaned against it. "Or a person."
YOU ARE READING
In the wake of a revolution against the all-powerful queen of Iltany, Benjamin Mathers is an up and coming member of the rebel army, who, after the death of his brother, starts a spy ring to gather information on the Queen's Rangers, but ends up rea...