The Final Hour

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Emergency Flare

I walk over to where Rayla and Isaac are standing.

“How’d it go?” Rayla asks.

“It went fine, he wasn’t mad, he just wanted to know why I did it,” I explain.

“Wow, from how he sounded last night, I thought he was going to give you a big punishment,” Rayla adds.

“Don’t look now but here comes Matt, waddling like a duck,” Isaac jumps in, looking behind me.

“If he’s smart he won’t try anything,” I comment, not turning my head.

Matt, Jonah, and Henry walk past us giving me nothing but dirty looks. As they walk away, Aaron walks towards us.

“Hey guys,” He says, waving at us.

“Hey,” I say, smiling slightly, happy to see him.

“I see you slept in,” He comments.

“Yeah, I usually get about 7 or 8 hours of sleep, that’s why I don’t stay up very late,” I explain.

“Well, do you guys want to go on a ride maybe? I mean Amara and I have gone on one, why don’t we go on one as a group?” Aaron suggests.

“I’m down,” Isaac comments, looking over at Rayla, whose face was nervous.

“I’ve never been on a horse before,” She says, nervously.

“That’s okay, we can give you a crash course. We will help you tack up first though, we’ll teach you that later,” Aaron adds.

“You made me tack up Bandit myself!” I say jokingly.

“Well, we had a day until our ride, we wanna go today,” Aaron explains, shrugging and smiling.

“Jerk,” I say, smiling, and playfully punching his arm.

“Hypocrite,” He says, pulling me in for a tight side hug.

“Alright you two, you guys are more cringy than we are,” Isaac comments, smiling.

We walk over to the horse pen and I tack up Bandit, Aaron tacks up Milo and Harley, and Isaac helps Rayla with Paloma. After a few minutes of Rayla riding around outside the pen with Isaac leading Paloma around, we mount up and head towards the gate.

We walk down the driveway and begin making our way down the road.

*****

The four of us ride down the road and make our way into the woods. Following a small trail. Aaron is in front, I am behind him, Rayla behind me and Isaac in the back. The path widens enough for me to pass Aaron. I look ahead and there is a tree covering the path.

“Aaron, do you think Bandit can make it over that tree?” I question.

“Most likely, he might be skittish about it though,” He answers.

“Well, hold on, stand to the side, I’m going to see if I can jump it,” I say

turning Bandit around, making the space between us and the branch larger. I turn Bandit back around towards the tree.

“I don’t know about this Amara, you’ve never jumped before,” Aaron persuades.

“I’ll be fine,” I comment, urging Bandit to a canter. We move towards the tree, the distance closing with his ears a forward. Within 3 feet of the tree, I feel his feet lift from the ground and we jump over the tree. I lose my balance slightly but I manage to stay on. I look back and see the 3 of them all in shock.

“Wow, not going to lie, I expected one of two things, either you fall off once he took off, or he stops not wanting to go over it,” Aaron comments, still in shock.

“Well, not going to lie, I thought the same, but inside something told me it was going to be fine,” I say shrugging, rubbing Bandit’s neck.

“Well, I’ll give it a try on Milo,” Aaron comments, backing away from the tree, and then cantering towards it, soaring over it. As soon as Milo makes contact with the ground, Aaron is halfway off of Milo.

“Oh my god, Aaron are you okay?” I holler towards him.

“Yep!” He says, trying to wiggle his way back onto Milo’s back.

“You sure man? You almost fell off and that would’ve hurt quite a bit,” Isaac jumps in, following behind Rayla as they go around the tree.

“Yeah, just kind of got the wind knocked out of me,” Aaron explains, finally being centered on Milo.

“Yeah, maybe just leave the jumping to me,” I add, laughing slightly.

Suddenly, a bright red light shines from the direction of the camp. “What’s that about?” I ask concerningly.

“I’m not sure, the last time that happened was when we were attacked by The Walkers. We should head back, Rayla why don’t you ride on the back of Harley and I’ll pony lead Paloma,” Aaron suggests.

“Why?” Rayla asks, nervously.

“Well we need to get back quickly unless you’re comfortable with galloping or at least cantering on your own, you’re probably going to want to ride with Isaac,” Aaron comments.

“Well, how do I keep myself from falling if I ride on Paloma,” Rayla asks.

“I grab the mane with the reins and do my best to keep myself balanced,” I jump in.

“Okay, let’s do that, seems the easiest,” Rayla comments.

“Let’s go then,” Isaac comments, urging for Aaron and me to start leading. We canter through the trail and we make our way onto the road.

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