CHAPTER FIVE: A HORRIFIC ACCIDENT
“What?! Windwisp didn’t follow the rest of the herd?” Gemflight asked, her voice high pitched in panic. Honeyblaze gulped.
“Of course not, he can’t fly! And- and the worst thing is-”
“I forgot about him!” Honeyblaze whimpered.
Windwisp was Honeyblaze’s twin brother. He was always a lot smaller than the others who had been born at the same time as him, a runt, and he was unable to fly after he had lost one of his wings in a terrible accident when he was a weanling.
After he was grounded for the rest of his life, Honeyblaze and Windwisp’s parents had been so ashamed of him that they’d run away from Leaf Herd and never returned, leaving the very young and fiercely protective Honeyblaze to look after her brother alone. This was a much harder task then it seemed as Windwisp was forever taunted, bullied and looked down on in disgust from almost all of Leaf Herd. Some even wanted such a disgrace banished from the herd, even though it wasn’t really Windwisp’s fault he'd lost a wing.
Gemflight knew just how much Honeyblaze adored her twin brother. She would go to the Sanfrose and back to protect him, and now that she’d accidentally left him for the lives of most of Leaf Herd she felt she’d failed duties that a young filly like her shouldn’t have to have. Gemflight remembered the day of Windwisp’s accident…
The sun was beaming happily down on the steeds of Leaf Herd that fateful day, making their preened feathers shine and their splotchy coats gleam like new stars. With it’s comforting rays warming their backs, Gemflight and Honeyblaze cruised low over the content steeds, relishing in the joys of the wind ruffling their feathers and tickling their wings as they soared, necks flat.
“Flying’s such a joy,” Gemflight sighed dreamily to her reckless daredevil friend, Honeyblaze.
“Yeah, but nosediving straight at the ground’s better!” Honeyblaze nickered excitedly, a dangerous glint in her honey-gold eyes. Oh no. Gemflight knew that look.
“No, Honeyblaze, don’t do it!” she gasped.
“Too late!” Honeyblaze squealed as she gained height and then, ears flattened by the disturbed air colliding with her palomino face, her creamy mane whipping in the vertical gusts, Honeyblaze shot headfirst at the ground zooming quickly to meet her.
The shock was certainly evident on Gemflight’s face at Honeyblaze’s crazy dive.
Just in time, her best friend spread her sky blue wings wide, catching herself just before she hit the ground at that risky speed.
“You HAVE to try it Gemflight!” Honeyblaze insisted as she rose back up to join Gemflight in the blue sky. No. Way. Gemflight was just about to stubbornly refuse her friend when another hyper voice cut in.
“I will! I will!” Windwisp said with that same scary glint that his sister had when she was about to try something stupid.
“Okay then, go!” Honeyblaze told him. Without another word, the light grey skewbald colt dived manically at the ground below, copying Honeyblaze’s previous motions. All except for one. “
Spread your wings, spread your wings!” Honeyblaze screamed at her brother. But Windwisp’s dark blue flecked gold feathers remained clamped to his sides as if they had been permanently set there.
Horrified, Gemflight watched the colt hit the rough, hard ground at that sickening pace with a huge thud. Honeyblaze’s eyes grew bigger and bigger with horror and worry as she watched her brother lie motionless on the ground.
“No! Windwisp!” the palomino filly gasped as she plummeted towards the badly injured weanling.
“Ouch,” was all that Windwisp said, croakily and painstakingly, on the pair’s arrival. But it was more than just ‘ouch.’ This was bad, very bad.
“What hurts?” Gemflight asked sensibly, taking over from the terrified Honeyblaze.
“My wing, right wing,” Windwisp gasped through his agony.
“Can you lift it?” Gemflight interrogated.
“Well, not while I’m lying on it,” Windwisp said, always joking about, even in the most dire situations. Just like his sister. They managed to coax the colt into a more upright position, to find that his right wing was badly damaged and desperately needed attention my an elder with knowledge of healing.
“Stay here,” Honeyblaze said as she galloped off to find help. Gemflight realized that there was no one about.
Gemflight watched her best friend’s golden body speed away as she galloped off for help. Windwisp had fallen hard and fast onto compact earth, as it was the hottest season meaning the dry ground became hard-packed and the brittle dead grass chewed down to stubs. She hadn’t realized how far they had gotten away from Leaf Herd.
The two of them waited a while for Honeyblaze to return. They were both silent. What was taking Honeyblaze so long? Surely they weren’t that far away? Many minutes ticked by as Windwisp waited in excruciating pain. Gemflight guessed that his wing was badly broken, and that the damage could be permanent if he wasn’t seen to immediately.
Suddenly, Honeyblaze was visible, galloping hard out, almost as if she had a predator on her tail…
“Gemflight, look out!” Windwisp screamed. Gemflight leapt aside just in time to let Honeyblaze pass through. Honeyblaze wasn’t running like that for no reason. She really was being chased!
“Run!” was all that Honeyblaze was able to gasp, out of breath, to Gemflight and Windwisp. How long had she been running like that? Was there help coming? And how long could Honeyblaze keep up the pace. But one thing was certain. She needed to run. Hard and fast.
Her glossy black tail and long, luxurious mane streamed behind Gemflight as she galloped for her life. Her steel grey speckled white body moved rhythmically to the speedy as she dashed across the dry landscape, her dullened hooves pounding like her heartbeat. And then there was a scream, yet another one on that terrifying, dramatic day.
“Help!” It was Windwisp! He’d been slowed down by his smaller, runt legs and broken wing dragging agonizingly and uselessly behind him. The predator, of which species Gemflight took no time to notice, had caught him! They were in even deeper trouble.
Honeyblaze and Gemflight spun on their heels quick as lightning and raced back to help Windwisp. The grey skewbald was struggling in the beast’s drooling grasp, his already injured right wing bloodied in the sharp jaws. They tried to get it off him, but soon they both had stinging wounds as it flicked them away with it’s pointed talons lazily, it’s dinner already caught.
By taking flight and pummeling it from above, the two were finally able to ward the predator off. But as it slunck sourly away, their was something dragging along in it’s mouth. And there was only a sickening space where Windwisp’s right wing used to be.
Gemflight shuddered at the horrible memory. That was where all of Windwisp’s troubles, other than being a runt, had begun. And now, he was in trouble again with only Gemflight and Honeyblaze to save him. This time, Gemflight decided, they really would save him. They would get there on time.