I was too exhausted to move as I watched the motorcycle turn, the wings flapping. Yes, flapping. The wings spread out wide on either side, golden and tipped with black. I watched the feathers catch the light as the cycle swept downward. Someone was riding the cycle, his hair golden hair streaming backwards.
It wasn't until he had landed that I saw the second figure gliding down as well.
"Maggie!" Edmond shouted and bounded into the tall grass. Soon I could only see his tail emerging at each leap as he charged out to meet her.
I tried to push away from the boulder and failed. I didn't even have the energy left to shiver and I wasn't certain how I kept my eyes open. I focused on the man climbing off the motorcycle that had landed a few yards away, the wings folding against the bright chrome surface.
Tall, thin, long hair falling back over his shoulders -- motorcycle dude. He could have ridden a flying surfboard and looked perfectly in place.
Maggie rushed past him and caught hold of me, magic spreading up over my shoulder and dulling the pain and maybe stopping the bleeding again. She was pale and her eyes large with worry.
"Why didn't you stay where I left you! We almost couldn't find you again!"
"Big wolves," I said, trying to pull my thoughts together. "Sheriff Creston. Unhappy trees. The frog didn't talk and the naiad didn't drown me. That's a win, right?"
And on cue, the wolves howled again.
"Davis!" Maggie shouted, turning to look over her shoulder.
"I'm here," Motorcycle Dude said. He put a hand to my forehead and frowned before he pulled back some of the cloth at my shoulder. Even with Maggie's magic, I felt the pull and a twinge of pain. "Can't do anything here. Let's get him on the cycle and head for my place. Fast."
"Yeah," she agreed. No one asked me. I wanted to rest until I heard the wolves closer again and decided resting somewhere else might be nicer.
Motorcycle Dude -- Davis -- gave a whistle and the motorcycle came closer, rolling over stones, the wings fluttering slightly. They had me on the seat before I could even gather the words to protest. Maggie grabbed up Edmond who gave a sigh.
"First a fish. Now a bird. When did I stop being a cat?"
"When you started talking," Davis and Maggie chorused.
I grinned. Edmond was already burrowing his head into Maggie's arm. Maggie, still holding on to Edmond, helped me settle better on the seat. Davis swung himself on behind me.
We took off immediately as the wolves bounded into the glade, some leaping at us as we took to the sky. I tried to turn to find Maggie and nearly fell until Davis caught tighter hold of me.
"Careful. Maggie is up. Don't worry; I wouldn't leave her behind. We don't have far to go."
Should I trust him? I had no choice. I looked down for a moment and watched the glade disappear behind another stand of trees. As we went higher, I thought I saw buildings in the distance in what appeared to be a haphazard array. The landscape directly below took on the design of a crudely-drawn checkerboard of fields and trees. I couldn't take it all in and decided to close my eyes instead. Everything moved in odd ways and I couldn't be certain if it was me, the world, magic. . . .
I slipped far away for the rest of the trip, only faintly aware of the roar of the cycle, the beat of the wings and Motorcycle Dude's arm around my waist, anchoring me in place. Safe, I supposed. The wolves couldn't get me here.
Unless they had wings. That seemed possible. I would need to ask.
When the cycle started to descend, I opened my eyes. Not far below stood a lovely cottage straight out of a storybook. The motorcycle dropped onto the neat grass and Davis immediately took me from the seat and started towards the building.
"Get the door open!" Davis shouted an arm around my waist as we stumbled forward.
A grey squirrel dropped from a tree and charged straight at the door, taking a prodigious leap and hitting it full force with all four paws. The door snapped open.
And then snapped back, hitting the squirrel who rolled away like a furry bowling ball. He quickly got back to his feet, shouted what was plainly a curse in squirrel speak, and charged again.
"Broom! Block the door!" Davis ordered.
The squirrel charged and the door snapped open while a broom moved inside, blocking it from closing again.
"Sorry," Davis said. "The door and I are having disagreements."
"Right." I watched the broom and the door with trepidation as we passed.
"Mark." Davis settled me into an overstuffed chair. My head spun and my shoulder ached. "I need to ask something before Maggie gets here."
"Yes?" I said, looking into his worried face.
"She doesn't know about your fae blood, does she?"
I stared at him, blinking. "What? What do you mean?"
He seemed to stop breathing as he leaned closer, looking me full in the face. "Damn. Hell." He glanced out the door, still held open by the broom. Maggie came down and Edmond leapt from her arms. "I'm going to do something extremely rude, and I apologize. I couldn't do this if you weren't so weak, but I think this is important."
"What --" I started, worried.
He put a hand on my forehead, cool fingers against my fevered skin. "Forget everything from the time we came into the cottage until now."
I blinked and looked around, startled. "Did I black out?"
"Yes," he said, but I thought his voice sounded odd. He stood as Maggie rushed into the room. "Keep your wings folded and sit with him. I need some supplies."
I watched him hurry away, wondering what I'd missed.
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:
And don't miss out on
for more fantastic quick reads
for more fantastic quick reads