a long time ago-draft

She spotted them again: two riders, armored in green and white, mounted on gigantic horses on the shoulder of the county highway, nonchalantly waiting for traffic to clear. Drivers and small children were staring. Their mounts regarded the passing cars with mere mild interest, though the black one did lower its head, nostrils flared, to inspect a flattened armadillo.
Nina pulled over and waved at them. The green rider made some comment to his companion, who inclined his head, nodded, smiled faintly. They ambled over.
The effect of their presence was not diluted by sunlight. They seemed larger than life because they were.
Nina stood on the runningboard, steadying her elbows on the half-opened door. which put her almost level with the withers of the white one’s horse when he reined in beside her. The green rider leaned on his saddlebow and looked her up and down appraisingly.
She tried to ignore it.
“Madam,” said the white knight, inclining his head formally.
“Are you heading in or out?”
“To the snake farm?”
The green one straightened.
“State troopers just raided it, and there’s roadblocks all around, all the way to Clayborne.”
“How do you know this?”
“Police scanner,” she said: a nice, solid truth to hang a statement on.
“I see. What have they found?”
Nina involuntarily wet her lips with her tongue. The words still stuck. “The coroner’s gone out there.” The catch in her voice was good verisimilitude. The lump in her throat wasn’t. “Tell me something,” Nina said, when she could, into his polite silence; and proceeded at the nod. “—Carl Corey. Have you found him? Or anything about him?”
“We found traces, but nothing of him.” The white rider said. “Is he your—friend?”
Nina had been expecting that. She shook her head instantly. “I just need his help, that’s all.”
“Whether we find him or no, he will be in no position to give it.”
“Monsters are killing people,” she said. “And he’s the only one who can do something about it.”
The green rider drawled, “It is not difficult to kill monsters. One swings a blade or fires a bullet.”
“The ones who tried that are in the hospital.” Nina said; then loaded the punch. “My brother is one of them.”
The white rider hesitated.
“They might die. And those things are still out there.”
“I will tell you to look somewhere else for your help. The ‘good man’ Corey is no hero.” He did not seem to move, but it was as though the great gray horse came alive under him.
Nina’s teeth clenched. “You said you wanted to save him.”
The white rider steadied his mount, a hand on its arched neck. “That time is past.”


Author: leighbrackettsland

Student. Reader. Watcher. Dabbler.

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