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from Ralph and the Prince by Jo Hawk

Copyright © 2019 Jo Hawk

Tonight, We Will Not Die

Ralph had lost track of time. Every muscle in his body screamed. He struggled to maintain his precarious position on the horse’s back while keeping the Prince’s unconscious form from tumbling to the ground. The black stallion broke his pace and Ralph allowed him to have his head. They both needed the break.

The punishing ride slowed to a steady stride, and he shrugged his shoulders, allowing himself to relax. Stretching, he felt blood seep into hands numb from holding the reins in a death grip. The horse blew air through his nostrils and Ralph copied the animal’s actions. As his mind cleared, he counted. Three times they had completed a circuit. Moving at the fastest pace he dared, he alternated from a canter to a trot and a walk, conserving their strength.

Deciding he could use the exercise; he slid his right leg around and jumped to the ground. He landed hard on stiff legs, and stumbled, clinging to the saddle and the prince so he wouldn’t fall. He cursed, forcing his limbs to move.

“Where are we?” The Prince’s voice was groggy, muffled in the horse’s mane.

“We should be getting close,” Ralph lied.

The Prince lifted his head, turning it towards Ralph, but the movement made him heav...






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