Girls Horse Club Blog

Nightmare: Chapter 13

Published by • Jan 22nd, 2010 • Category: Fiction, Loft Book Club Favorites

by Findabhair Blacksgote, age 14

The cream-colored stones making up the wall were of an impossible size; gigantic squares that must have been the size of a small house, and weighing who knew how much. The wall was so high the people standing on the top seemed to Fiala’s eyes to be miniscule dolls. Even though she was standing on the top of a hill, she couldn’t see over the wall.

An intricate gold-coated gate inhabited a space in the wall; stone to it’s left, it’s right, and above. The gate was open just now, but Fiala couldn’t see beyond it; it was too far away. The sound of bells floated with the wind, she could barely hear them, but they were there.

The elder three men seemed to be taking it in stride, but Evan seemed as dumb-struck as Fiala.

Ava was more interested in the stalks of sweet clover growing on the side of the road. Fiala wondered if the Nightmare could hear the bells.

“Come on then,” said Bain, stepping down the hill.

Fiala gingerly followed. The sheer enormity of the wall awed her; it seemed to be demanding all her attention, like a large, pushy horse. This wall was much bigger than any horse she had ever seen, however.

Maybe because of it’s size, the wall was much farther away than it seemed. They didn’t reach it until dusk. The doors were still open, but the guards warned them that they closed at dark.

It was like stepping through a portal; one second Fiala was standing in the countryside in front of a gargantuan mass of stone, the next she was in a painting, or in one of Grandmama’s stories.

The cobblestone streets were hard under her feet after weeks of earth; she felt almost claustrophobic. Houses as large as her own loomed over her; people were talking everywhere — shouting and laughing, singing and gossiping. And the smells! Bakers were kneading dough to rise during the night, people were selling baskets of flowers left, right and center, and there were entire buildings dedicated to making food, like the common room in the inn back at the village. And so many colors — cream stone dominated, but there was every shade of brown and sable, lots of reds and blues. Greens and oranges were few and far between.

“Welcome to Stargate,” Jan muttered. “Stay close or you’ll get lost.”

Fiala fearfully stayed by Jan’s shoulder. A group of street dancers tumbled past her, somersaulting and twisting, smiles on their face. Fiala watched them as long as she could. Everything was different, even the air. It tasted warm and cultivated, not like the mountains at all.

“There’s an inn!” Evan pointed out a large, wooden building, simple wood architecture, and no paint. The sign read Stargate Inn. How imaginative.

“Let’s see if there’s any space,” Bain suggested.

“Do they have a stable?” asked Gareth.

Fiala craned her neck. To the left and behind the inn was another building. “Yes, I think they do,” she said.

The Stargate Inn’s owner was tall and broad, with a red face and a button nose, a very typical innkeeper. He showed them two empty rooms, and told them which stall Ava could use. Fiala waited a bit to take Ava there so that no one would see her large bat-wings, which weren’t at all conspicuous.

After a hot dinner, Fiala retired to her room, changed into clean clothes and promptly fell asleep, grateful for a bed as opposed to the ground.

« Previous Chapter Next Chapter »

Editor’s Note: Nightmare was first published at GHC in the former Loft Book Club, and was a finalist in our monthly Judge for Yourself competition in January 2007.