The World beyond the Veil



Chapter 5: When in doubt, climb horse


Martin’s uneasy sleep was interrupted by the sound of something knocking on the window. Ignoring did not seem to make the sound go away. He pulled himself up and looked out the window. A creature was looking in. It was larger than him, could be pretty terrifying if moving swiftly towards you, and tasted reasonably well in a sausage. More commonly known as a horse. Martin had never been a huge fan of them. Outside, maybe, stories of knights riding on them.

This particular horse had a great fondness for looking at Martin and poking the glass between them. So great, in fact, it found it necessary to follow him from window to window as he moved through the cottage. The annoying part of it was not the constant, irregular poking sound it made, but the stare it seemed eager to drill into Martin. Who knew horses could get so intense?

Contrary to popular belief, procrastination did not seem to solve the problem in this case. After ignoring it for half an hour, Martin was forced to evaluate his current options. He could continue to ignore it as long as he didn’t test his sanity’s breaking point at the same time. He could try to chase it away, provided he somehow found the energy to do so despite his pain. Or he could, at least in theory, consider the possibility that the horse might be able to help him out of his current predicament.

After all, he was on a timer, and the clock hand was probably closing in on ‘be discovered’, if it did not reach ‘die from infection’ first. No matter who found him, he would get tangled in the police and possibly face a depressingly short life. Or he might be discovered by the very people he was running away from, in which case all his problems would end along with his life right there and then.

Despite his dislike for horses, he had to admit the thought of riding away from his problems somewhat appealed to him. Well, not all of them; he’d still need medical attention sooner rather than later. But avoiding calling in an ambulance might offer a diet-variety of a paper trail, at least if he could somehow come up with a reasonable explanation to how he had gone for an intravenous extra iron heavy diet. Or possibly extra lead heavy diet. To be honest, he didn’t actually know what bullets were made of, these days.

Any plan involving leaving on a horse would sorely depend on how well he could control said horse. As such, he needed to find out how cooperative the creature could be. Some cartoon or something had taught him that horses were fond of sugar. Seeing no harm in testing that out, he brought a bag of sugar from the kitchen out the front door.

For a creature so hell-bent on poking his eardrums out, it seemed surprisingly docile once it stood face to face with him. In fact, it seemed to wait for something. Testing the waters, Martin poured a small pile of sugar on his palm and held it out. As he already knew, he lacked certain horse-adoring genes. The tongue licking his palm could only be described as gross in his vocabulary.

Regardless of how much it seemed to enjoy the gesture, it straightened up rather than immediately beg for more. If this had been a dog, he’d either conclude that it was the most well-trained specimen of its kind, or completely brain-dead. He could not tell whether this was normal behavior for an equine beast or not.

Well, at least getting on would be a lot easier with a calm and patient mount. He noted that the horse was saddled, whatever that meant. Maybe it had escaped while being bound somewhere? For now, Martin allowed this coincidence to work in his favor.

With some minimal struggle and a decent howl of agony from his wound being uncomfortably stretched, he somehow managed to get his foot into the stirrup and raise himself up.

For almost the entire length of a second, his mind decided that this may not be so bad, and then it quickly corrected itself. The seemingly calm horse suddenly moved with surprising determination, as if it had gotten a call from its sick mother. That, in itself, wouldn’t be so bad, if not for the fact that Martin suffered a distinct lack of ways in which to healthily descend to the ground.

His minuscule knowledge of riding told him that he should grip and pull the reins in order to slow down the beast. Gritting his teeth, he gripped them and attempted to do so. Key word: ‘attempted’. Whoever had invented riding had forgotten to notify this horse of the rules. The strong horse simply yanked the reins back again, which caused Martin to almost lose his balance.

Okay, so he was in for a wild horse ride. What was the only sensible thing to do for a man unfamiliar with riding and in a state of jagged pain from every single bump? Hold on for his life. It occurred to him that the horse was probably fully capable of throwing him off if it desired to do so. The fact that it didn't gave a hint of a purpose. Maybe the purpose was torturing Martin to death, but it’d still technically count as a purpose.

A note from Ayeba

Proofreading by Eugene2k

About the author


  • Norway
  • The vaccine is the best invention ever

Bio: Family man, gamer, roleplayer and general-purpose geek.

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