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Chuck felt like he’d die if he got hit again, his whole body ached, and he was sure he’d broken a rib or two when he thrown across the playground. He moved over to where Tommy was laying on the floor, thinking if he could just get him to the outside then the horse would disappear. He couldn’t hear Fiona shouting at him, he couldn’t hear the horse approaching, he couldn’t hear his own footsteps. He didn’t even realise he was surrounded by silence. He could feel the vibrations of each step echoing through his body, but there was no noise.
He also didn’t realise how much he was stumbling, falling forward and moving his feet to stop himself from tumbling completely at the last second each time. It was like he was half-asleep, not quite understanding the world around him. He was just completely focused on reaching Tommy.
He was completely oblivious to Fiona, who was dancing around the horse and trying to keep its attention away from Chuck. Every time the horse turned to attack Chuck she threw more spells at it. Everything she could think of. Fire, ice, water, wind. None of it seemed to stop it for more than a few seconds. It also made the horse a lot angrier with each hit. The flames were growing brighter and brighter. Its eye sockets were ablaze.
Forgetting about Chuck, the horse turned to Fiona and flew at her. She jumped out of the way, only missing it by a split second. Fiona turned around as soon as she landed and threw more water balls at it, thinking that it must be the best way to deal with fire, but it she was sure it was just acting as fuel for the flames.
The horse flew up into the air, hovering above them and looking down at Fiona. It roared and started to shoot flames out of its mouth to the ground, chasing Fiona around as she ran through the courtyard. All her instincts were telling her to run away and get out of the playground. Tommy would be safe, the horse wouldn’t hurt him, and then come back with backup. The trouble was, Chuck would definitely be dead straight away. If she was with another true whistler, then this would be easy. It was Chuck that was making everything a mess. As she dived out of the way of more fire, she cursed Arthur in her mind. Other than being able to see the magic, what could Chuck do. If he had the ability at one point, he was too old to actually utilise it. He was just a walking time-bomb. Either waiting to get himself killed or others around him while they kept him safe.
Maybe Arthur didn’t realise how useless he’d be, she thought. No that can’t be it. Arthur never did anything on a whim. Everything was calculated. Everything was a strategy. Chuck was there for a reason, and that would become clear in the future just as everything else that Arthur had done had become.
The horse landed and charged at Fiona. She dived to one side, and it caught her legs as she did, which sent her spiralling through the air. She bounced off the ground, letting go of her knife as she did. The horse turned around and started charging towards her. She rolled out of the way, jumped up, and looked for her knife. Without it she was as good as dead. It hadn’t gone far, but the horse was coming around for another run at her. She moved as quickly as she could, narrowly avoiding the horse, but feeling pain race down her leg. Looking down, she saw that the flames from the horse had burnt through her trousers and burnt her skin. Her leg was bubbling, but at least it wasn’t still on fire she thought.
She ran as fast as she could, avoiding another pass from the horse, and found her knife. She wasn’t trained in healing, but still used a spell to pour water down her leg, the pain was growing unmanageable, and the water just added to it. Once more the horse turned around and started towards her. She had to keep moving but couldn’t find the strength in her leg to move quickly enough.
Fiona knew that her chances at dodging another attack were beyond slim, so instead she raised her knife high, and waved it in front of her back and forth as quickly as possible. Walls of ice shot out of the ground, raising high into the air. The horse still broke through them, getting close and closer, but Fiona had a second to move out of the way. She created walls in every direction, making herself little paths to move through, dodging the horse as it approached. It was quick, but couldn’t turn quickly enough, and the walls slowed it enough for her to escape.
All while Fiona was tackling the horse, Chuck was making his way towards Tommy. He almost fell several times, but he made it over to the boy. He was in a complete trance and completely still, apart from shallow breaths. Chuck knelt next to him and became aware that he wouldn’t be able to carry Tommy to the street. He would probably just fall over straight away. The world around him was still quiet, but there was a muffled noise coming through. He noticed Fiona fighting the horse, diving through ice passageways, and moving as quickly as possible. He could tell that she was struggling and didn’t know what to do. This was his fault, he knew that. She wouldn’t just leave him to die, which is the only way she could save herself. Chuck looked down at Tommy and in that moment, he hated him, he hated the damage and death he’d caused.
“Wake up!” he shouted louder than ever before. Louder than he thought even possible.
The boy’s eyes shot open.
To Be Continued…
Part Nineteen will be available next Friday! Don’t forget to subscribe to never miss a post: