Chapter 6

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

Acacia and Alexzander headed the group: Acacia carrying the still footsore Coco and Brutus; Alexzander the Falcon and her two fledglings. Henry rode on Rodger’s back swinging his tail. And somewhere ahead was Cecil, scouting as usual. Ramus followed behind keeping a watchful eye on them. 

They were headed toward the ruins.

Was Ramus’ decision the right one? Doubt plagued him. He didn’t like being a leader, he decided. The pain in his ageing limbs agreed; the pain in his heart did not. For his friends depended upon him.  

Ramus lifted his head towards the lightening skies. Daylight was fast approaching, the cool, gentle hues of yellows and oranges spreading across the horizon. And Ramus wondered. Would the light be their friend or foe? 

He stretched his gaze to the distant ruins. The closer they got, the larger the ruins became. What awaited them there? A place of protection? Or not?

And where was Cecil? Shouldn’t he have returned by now, informing them of the ruin’s suitability?

A sudden foreboding rippled through Ramus. He quickly glanced towards the forest.  Trees swayed in the early morning breeze; all appeared normal. He shot a look towards his friends; they were still trekking towards the ruins. Again, all normal. So why were his instincts warning him otherwise.

His nostrils flared as he drew in a large breath.

A new smell invaded his nostrils.

An old one hovered close by. 

“Snark,” Ramus whispered. 

His heart pounded as he slowly turned back to the forest. He froze, his mind locked by a fear he’d not known before. For Snark appeared at the forest’s edge looming larger than ever before. He stared at Ramus with flame-filled eyes, wild and hungry they were. And when he howled, the bloodcurdling sound chilled the air.

Snark took a slow, menacing step forward. As he did something unexpected happened. His limbs began shaking violently and he soon stumbled to the ground. 

What did this mean, Ramus thought? Was Snark still growing? Was he weaker while he was? Ramus didn’t want to find out. 

He quickly sped towards his friends. “Run,” he bellowed, “towards the ruins.” 

Terror cloaked them like a black, heavy blanket. With a heightened urgency, Ramus yelled again. “I… said… run… NOW!”

And run they did.

The ruins loomed alive; grey-stoned and large yet fragile with tall, crumbly towers and moss-covered walls. Ramus took the lead, noted the wooden bridge ahead held up by scraggly ropes, groaning and moaning as it shook in the breeze.

Instinct warned Ramus that the bridge wasn't safe. Instinct instructed him that he had no other choice. And where was Cecil?

The crossing was treacherous. Rotted wood fell away, ropes snapped and flailed. 

“Oh m… my,” Coco wailed. 

“We can do this,” Ramus yelled, trying to hide his own uncertainty.

“Yes, you can,” a new voice yelled back.

On the other end of the bridge stood a strange creature bearing branch-like wings on its head.

 Perched on its back was Cecil.

Comments

What a terrific chapter Rosemary. Full of movement and vivid description. The eye glided over the page. The sentences shortened as the tension grew and longer as there was bit of a lull but beautifully balanced and the end left us hanging....hurry up next writer!
Great chapter, Rosemary. When one reads a chapter as good as this one forgets this is an animal story meant for younger readers. Wonderful imagery and the tension is spot on. Terrific read. BTW looking forward to reading your latest novel.
Thank you Suraya and Ray. Been a while. Nice to know i can still do it. Ray i am hoping my second book will do well and that dont disappoint those people waiting for it. Very insecure of me but i guess we writers are always conscious of public reactions. Thank you
Rosemary, I have ordered my copy and know from the style and characterization that you bring to your writing I will enjoy the read. Looking forward to it.