The Devil's steeds
It was a dark night in the small town of Maylain. The moon was full and all was silent as the townsfolk got ready for the beasts to come. Mothers were quickly shoving their children inside the houses and fathers were helping to bar every door and window.
"They're coming!" Jade heard a man yell. She hurried to her house as quickly as possible. The windows of her house were already covered up with boards to keep the dreadful nightmares from coming in, but Jade was able to watch everything from a small crack in the wall. She lived with her elder brother in the small run down house. They had very little money so they could never get it fixed. Jade had just turned twelve the day before; she had long black hair, dark brown eyes and freckles dotted along her nose.
As she peered through the small crack she saw them run out of the forest and into the town. At first glance they look like regular black horses, but if you looked close enough you noticed the terrifying creatures had no bellies, you could see their ribs as clear as day and they had dreadful, sharp, dark blood stained teeth for tearing their food apart. The townsfolk called them the Devil's steeds. Every night on the full moon they would come into the town and eat chickens, sheep and even horses. On a very unlucky night they would catch a stray child or adult trying to finish boarding up homes. No one has been able to kill one; they just hope each night that they can scare them off. When the sun rises the beasts run back into the woods, because they cannot live in the sunlight. Every now and then, there will be an old or stray one that gets left behind and they explode in a shower of dust when the sunlight hits them.
Jade's parents were taken away by these fowl creatures when she was only two. The townsfolk did their best to help take care of Jade and her brother. Jade was unnaturally thin though, because they could afford very little food, but she never complained about being hungry. She knew her brother was working very hard in the market trying to scrape up whatever he could get and he was also just as hungry as she was.
Jade's brother ran into the house and yelled out her name to make sure she was safe inside.
"I'm over here, Max." she said, not taking her vision away from the crack in the wall.
Jade jumped as a large black beast reared up in front of her and hit the side of the house with its hooves, making the walls shake. Her brother came over and pulled her away and shoved her into another room while he lit a torch and stared at the wall, ready to run at any moment.
There was complete chaos outside as the beast neighed and the men in the town yelled shaking flames in the creatures faces. Jade stood behind a wall watching her brother, the beasts hit the wall again and Jade heard boards cracking under the strain.
She whimpered her brother's name.
One more kick and the wall came tumbling down and the two pitch black creatures came in through the hole they made. Jade watched in stunned silence as her brother tried to fend them off with the lit torch but eventually was bitten in the arm by one of the horses and dragged out of the house. Jade could hear his screams and heard the sound of flesh being torn apart.
"Max!" She yelled, tears spilled down her face.
She covered her mouth as one of the beasts came back in and spotted her. It beat it's hooves against the ground and its friend and it came running after her. She turned on her heals and ran as fast as she could towards the back exit of the house. She slammed the door just as one of them was about to get her and sprinted down the stairs not caring where she was going but just wanting to get away.
She ran straight into the woods that the beasts came out of and swerved around trees trying to confuse them. The deeper she got into the woods the more she started to stumble over vines and tree roots that stuck out of the ground. She quickly dragged herself up off the ground and into a tree and started climbing as fast as she could. She went up as high as she dared, out of the monsters reach and looked down at them. They neighed and beat the ground with their hooves in agitation and many more were emerging from the dense trees and circling Jade.
"Help!" she cried, but there was no response and she knew there wouldn't be one. She could see that the sun was coming up now from above the trees and knew that no one in their right mind would wonder into the woods now. Maybe along the edge, but not as deep as she had run. Jade sat on her branch hugging the tree, looking down at the beasts and cried. She was utterly alone now, her parents and her brother were gone, taken by these outraged monsters and the townsfolk were probably thinking that she too was dead. Jade waited for hours for the monsters to leave, but only more came. With each passing hour she saw how much more aggravated they became because a small child was able to outsmart them.
What do I do now? She thought to herself and just at that moment she saw a white figure emerging from the dark shadowy trees. To Jade, the creature was a complete blur. It darted through the throng of beats attacking, killing and frightening off many of them. Then it stopped and looked up at her. Jade stared back…
"What are you?" she said aloud.
It seemed like a regular white stallion to her, but it moved exactly like the Devil's steeds. Then she noticed, it is exactly like them, but why is it white?
Typically they are a pitch black color. Then Jade remembered something her brother had told her about the white ones.
"Jade, not all of them are black, you know." At the time she had laughed at him. "No, I'm serious; I've seen a white one, when our dad was still alive. He said that the white ones are much more gentle than the black ones. They don't live with the rest of them; the white ones are punished and banished from the herd. They aren't as sensitive to light as the others are and are much kinder."
Jade began to make her way down the tree. She got to a branch just above the odd white creature and held out her hand as a test ready to pull it back and climb up again if needed.
The creature nudged her hand with its nose and neighed. She climbed the rest of the way down and stroked its long white mane.
"I don't suppose you know the way back to town do you?" Jade asked it.
It snorted at her and lied down. She laughed, "I didn't think so." She sat down next to it and looked around for a group of trees that looked familiar, but it was no use, everything around her looked the same. She stood up and walked around for a bit looking for tracks that could possibly lead her back to the town. It took her a while to make out any clear paths though, because the monsters had come from many different directions. Eventually she just gave up and followed some tracks randomly. She didn't know whether she was going in the right direction or not, but she figured that it was probably still a good idea to keep moving. The odd white horse continued to follow her through the woods which made Jade feel kind of happy. She felt much safer with him following her. Although she never tried riding him, because she was afraid she would break him even though the townsfolk all know they are much stronger than they look.
It started to get dark again and Jade started losing hope of ever getting back home. She climbed up into another tree, just in case the black beasts came back, and tried to sleep. It took her a while to fall asleep though. She could tell that the beasts were hunting again tonight.
Somehow Jade was able to fall asleep though because she woke up just as the sunlight began to barely peek through the trees. She hopped down from the tree and noticed that the white creature was gone.
She began to walk a little more cautiously through the woods hoping to get back home. After about an hour of hiking through the woods, she came across an opening and ended up in a meadow. In the center of the meadow was a large oak tree and around it sat many thin white horses.
She gasped, transfixed by their beauty. Unlike their black relatives who seemed to attract darkness and give off a dark sort of light that made them look even more ominous and unearthly. These white creatures appeared to give off a much more radiant white glow that made you feel terrified and happy all together.
She backed away into the shadows of the trees a little as one of the creatures got up and ran toward her. It stopped in front of her and whinnied. She walked out of the woods and stroked the horse and followed it back to the oak tree. The other creatures seemed to pay no attention to her. They didn't appear to care who she was or what she was doing there. She watched as a couple of foals played in the meadow and couldn't help thinking of her family and her home.
It began to get gradually darker and Jade found that she was also having a little trouble breathing, as if there was a choking shadow coming upon them threatening to swallow her up. Then she saw three black beasts emerge from the woods. The two foals stopped their playing and ran to their mothers and the rest of the white creatures stood up threateningly.
The black creatures reared up and neighed calling more out from the woods. Jade felt something nudge at her arm and saw one of the white creatures looking at her. It lied down as if telling her to get on its back and she did. Then it took off with her, away from the black monsters. They exited the clearing and into the woods just as the first white horse fell to the ground dead, killed by one of the black beasts.
At least six black monsters pursued Jade as she and her white steed ran through the dense trees in a desperate attempt to escape. As they ran through the trees branches and twigs snagged on Jade's clothes and scratch her face making long painful cuts.
The white horse stumbled over some vines twisted on the ground and fell over throwing Jade a couple yards away from him. Jade heard something in her arm make a loud SNAP sound and felt a searing pain shoot up her arm. She screamed and tears filled her eyes. She pushed herself up off the ground and looked back at her fallen steed. The black monsters were smashing his skull into the ground and then they turned on her and began their pursuit again.
Jade took off running, the trees began to get considerably less dense and it had become much easier to run, although the ominous black beasts gained on her every second. The tears pouring out of her eyes and down her face made it considerately harder to see, but she refused to stop. She heard the pounding of the monsters large black hooves against the forest floor and the aggressive neighs from them.
Suddenly she saw a faint light, like that of a town only a little further ahead of her, all she had to do was keep running for a little bit longer, but she couldn't force her legs to move any faster. She knew that soon the beasts would be upon her and she would be killed in the same violent and agonizing way her parents and brother were. She cried out as she felt the jaws of one of the beasts catch her shirt sleeve and sink into her arm and rip a large chunk away. She blinked as blood sprayed her eyes and fell to the ground only a few feet away from the opening.
She screamed as the monsters came to her kicking and biting at her. She heard voices, very distant sounding voicing and saw a light the color of a flame coming from the direction she was heading for. The kicking and biting and painful ripping of flesh from bone stopped and she was left there in a bloody pile as the people of her town surrounded her crying and yelling words that never reached Jade.
She knew by the looks on their faces and the pain all over her body that it was bad and there was no way to save her. She saw them mouthing a word over and over to each other that she figured was doctor, because moments later the doctor came and he made a face that confirmed what Jade and the townsfolk thought. She was going to die.
Her eyes began to blur so she closed them and slowly the darkness swallowed her. As she passed the pain subsided and her being was no more.