The Black Riders

Honcho trotted along beneath me, the tap of his hooves echoing off the walls of the buildings on either side of me. The sound echoed, alone, in the still air of late afternoon.

I frowned, turning in my saddle to peer first left, then right. Where were all the people? Dry Creek was never going to be anything more than a small town, a stop for soldiers headed out towards the Southwest border, but it still felt alive and bustling compared to my home out on the ranch.

I thought back to the last time I’d visited, several months ago. There’d been some big fuss about a big-name bandit being caught, about to go up on the gallows. I wouldn’t have minded seeing that, but I had to get back to the farm, soon as I picked up the supplies for my da. Continue reading

The Forbidden Pages, Part II

Continued from Part I, here.

I stared at the faint, gauzy, illusory face floating in the air in front of me. I should have been scared, but astonishment pushed all other emotions aside for the moment.

“No way,” I gasped out, my words barely a whisper.

The face grew, sliding right out of the wall, moving through it as if it was no more solid than smoke. It grew into a small figure, with glowing strands of long brown hair cascading down over her shoulders, spilling over the short sleeves of a white dress, with a thick red ribbon tied around her waist. She floated out, a foot or two above the ground, out until her bare feet finally drifted clear of the wall. Continue reading

The Forbidden Pages, Part I

I crept down the stairs of the old house, wincing every time the old boards creaked beneath my tread. My uncle was fast asleep, but I knew that he didn’t sleep heavily. What if he heard the noise and woke up?

Finally, after what felt like ages of moving with excruciating slowness, I reached the bottom of the stairs. I slipped a hand into the pocket of my pajama bottoms, curled my fingers around the brass key that lay inside.

The door to the library, seven feet tall, loomed in front of me. I looked up at it with trepidation, wondering how much trouble I risked getting myself into. After all, my uncle never failed to remind me, on each visit to his house, that the library was off limits. He kept it locked for a reason, he insisted, even if he never divulged that reason to me. Continue reading