Valiant: Knock Knock…The Sandman…The Gift…Part 29…

The time, the chances, the rhythm had
Aligned and set things in motion…There
Was no time to think or spare to reason.
Jon, Jona and Julianna stood staring in awe
And fright as the eerie-looking fireball
Streaked across the night sky leaving
A smoky trail in its wake. They watched
As it moved into the distance then made a
Thunderous sound as it crashed.

‘What is THAT?!’ Julianna cried out
As they saw a dark cloud rise from where
It struck.

From within the barn the animals began
To shriek and cry nervously. Jon tried
To find the words to say but he was
Overwhelmed by so much so fast, only
Instinct and his silent senses could direct
Him now as he simply shook his head.
Then his grandfather suddenly threw open
The door to the house and staggered outside
In his nightshirt seeking out what noise
Disturbed his sleep. He immediately saw his
Grandson with two strangers and called out,
‘Jon?! Who is that with you?’

Then from the left, voices began sounding
Through the forest…and then from all
Around. People were coming…

Julianna heard the voices coming from the
Woods and leaned to Jon. ‘The villagers
Are coming…More of those men!’

Jon swallowed fast. ‘We can’t stay here,
We have to go.’ He looked to Jona, and
The giant immediately understood then
Ran to retrieve Matthias.

‘What do we do?’ Julianna whispered hard.

Jon just let his internal guide take over,
Then lowered his brow and focused on a
Quieter view of the woods opposite the
Woods. ‘Just run, just go…’ He bolted
For the woods, ignoring his grandfather
With his sights set on the area past the
House…with Jona and Julianna right
Behind him.

His grandfather yelled to him angrily,
‘Jon, where are you going?!’ But his
Grandson disappeared from view with
The strangers before he could do
Anything.

Jon led them into the woods, the full
Moon casting a grim light on the
Ground through the trees…They ran
Until they reached a spot where the
Sounds of the voices faded behind them
Then stopped.

‘What is happening?!’ Julianna panted
As the three of them stood trying to
Catch their breath. She held her hands to
Her chest trying to think turning every
Which way about the woods watching
For movement.

‘I don’t know,’ Jon said. ‘This is too
Much.’ He swallowed again trying to
Think…then a gentle voice came to
His ear whispering the words, ‘the river.’
He blinked and squinted at this then
Nodded. ‘The river…we should go there.’

‘The wagons were not far from there.’
Jona said cautiously. ‘They may be safe
Now.’

‘To risk that?’ Julianna asked desperately.
‘You saw those people, they were on some
Kind of hunt. There was no reason in their
Eyes.’

‘But you said that you didn’t see
Everything there,’ Jon whispered as he
Watched the woods. ‘There may be
Something there…’

A sound then…trodding through the
Forest nearby…They froze and listened.
‘Horses!’ Jon said as he recognized
The weight and motion. His eyes
Wandered across the bush by his ears
And focused on the trees…They
Waited…

Suddenly a young man appeared plainly
Dressed, on horseback. He was slim, with
Brown hair and sat tall in the saddle of
Of a bay horse as though he tried to
Carry himself like an old man. And behind
Trailed three bridled horses with no riders.
There was no time to question it, Jon
Raised his right arm to catch his attention
And called out, ‘Hello! Can you help us?!’

‘What are you doing?’ Julianna whispered.

The young man stopped his horse and
Focused on Jon, nodded and waived then
Began trotting over to them. Jon leaned
Over to Julianna and Jona, ‘Look at him…
Those horses are from another farm…He’s
Bringing them home. He can help us.’

‘How do you know that?’ Julianna asked
Staring at Jon.

‘I just know.’ He said to her with a grin.

‘Hello there.’ The young man said as he
Brought his horse up close to them. ‘What
Are you doing in the woods this late?’

Jon calmed himself and smiled. ‘Can
You help us? We are in a hurry, we
Need to get to the river to see some friends.
It isn’t far…If you take us on your
Horses…’

‘On my horses?’ The young man
Hesitated, the gave the idea a grin.
‘Well, I suppose that would be alright.
I was going to pass by there anyway.’

‘Great. Thank you.’ Jon said as he
Nodded and waved for his friends to
Pick horses. He tried to remain as calm
As he could for this new stranger…

Then the young man noticed the tall
Dark-skinned man carrying someone
Unconscious. ‘What happened to him?’
He asked as he noticed the dark, wet
Shiny stains on his shirt. ‘Is he hurt?

Jon mounted a grey horse beside
The young man trying to dismiss
Giving too many details. ‘Yes, he
Was hurt. That is why we need to
Get to the river…’ Once he sat on
The horses’ back he turned to watch
Julianna and Jona climb onto their
Horses…grimacing as Jona struggled
To hold on to Matthias without causing
Him more pain. Then he took a breath
And turned back to the young man…
He could see his face more clearly now
In the moonlight. His jaw dropped and
Eyes bulged as the sight of his face struck
Him with shock. He had seen him before!
In that dreamy place with the tables and
The wall of lights…he looked just like
The one they called Jason.

The young man saw Jon’s expression
And cocked his brow. ‘Are you alright,
Friend? No worry, there is nothing like
Horse power to get you where you need
To go…I was bringing them home for
My father. They are great stock.’

Jon thought quickly of the strange
Coincidence, but saw no reason to
Question it now. ‘Thank you for helping
Us.’ He simply said.

‘You know, you look familiar…’ The
Young man started to say before shaking
His head at it. ‘It’s funny, I wasn’t even
Going to come this way, I have no idea
Why I did…There was this owl…and a
Flash of light…’

‘You saw the fireball?’ Julianna asked
As she brought her black horse up beside
Them.

‘Is that what it was?’ The young man
Asked. ‘I thought it was a falling star…’

‘A falling star?’ Julianna asked. ‘Maybe
That is what it was?’

‘I have been wanting to see a falling
Star all of my life.’ The young man
Said. ‘I have been waiting for a falling
Star to come…to make a wish…to guide
Me.’

‘A wish?’ Jon asked as he watched the
Woods.

‘Yes, you know…’ The young man said,
‘That’s when you make your wish. You
Never heard that before?’

‘No, I don’t think so.’ Jon said as the
Words struck him strangely. ‘We should
Go…it’s getting late…’

The young man nodded and moved his
Horse onward, the others immediately
Followed. ‘My name is—’ He started to
Say when suddenly the horses began to
Neigh and sway, and then shuffle
Unsteadily. ‘What’s wrong with them?’
He wondered.

Jon looked to the others. Then his
Eyes instinctively shot all around.
Sounds, breaking wood in the brush,
Heavy movement. Something BIG was
Making its way through the forest
Nearby. Somehow, he focused on a
Dark spanse of the woods to the left…
‘There…’

‘What is it?’ Julianna whispered
Nervously as the horses grew more
Anxious, moving waywardly until
They finally came to a standstill…
Their ears twitching as their heads
All began turning to the left to
The source of the noise.

‘What’s wrong with them?’ The
Young man asked curiously. ‘Wolves
Maybe?’

Branches continued to break in the
Woods, growing closer and closer
Then silence fell. The horses reacted
First with shrill cries as they started
To rear and stomp at the ground. Then
Jon saw it…This immense shadowy
Shape, something like a bear but not…
More sleek, yet still powerful. The figure
Seemed to be angled on two legs, yet
Moved on all four. He had never seen
Such a thing before.

‘Bear?’ The young man said with
Peculiar doubt.

Then this enormous thing let out a
Deep echoing grunt and the horses
Leapt into a run beyond control. Each
Of them clung to their horse as they
Were at the mercy of their strength and
Speed now. Jon’s horse took the lead
Though he gave it no commands. He
Could only lean into the animal and
Nervously watch as it ran hard, its
Hooves pounding at the ground on and
On.

‘What is happening?!’ The young man
Exclaimed.

Jon turned back in time to see the
Huge shape leaping and racing in
Speed with the horses through the
Woods…crashing through the brush,
Darting between trees as if its size
And weight meant nothing to move
It so fast.

‘What is THAT?!’ Julianna shouted.

‘That’s no bear!’ The young man cried
As he saw the creature jump over a half-
Fallen tree and still keep its speed. ‘No
Bear does that!’

On and on the horses ran, and still the
Mysterious thing kept its pace with them.
Its form occasionally revealing a full
Shaggy coat of dark fur and glowing red
Eyes in the light of the full moon. ‘It
Is NOT slowing down!’ Jona yelled.

And the creature then began letting out
These awful snarling sounds that
Labored with its effort to chase them.
It just sounded full of rage and hunger.
This only made the horses run faster
And faster…which encouraged the
Thing to run faster and faster too.

Jon began to fear the thing might
Actually, follow them all the way to
The river…When there was a terrific
Blinding flash of white light that
Filled the entire woods. All at once
The whole world seemed as though
It were a white light…And when it
Passed, the horses were still running.
But as Jon looked at the trees behind
Them they were all covered with
SNOW! And then the horses slowed
Down as suddenly they were racing
Through snow, kicking up waves of
Powdery white…Things seemed to
Slow down…Jon looked over to where the
Thing had been chasing them, and it was
Gone!

‘Snow!’ Julianna cried out. ‘My God,
Its snowing? What is happening?
How could that happen like that?’

A strange sensation filled the air, a
Heaviness, a surreal quiet out of tune.
The horses began to slow their pace
Even more, every movement seemed
Too slow…as snowflakes fell like
Star dust beneath a starry sky and a
Full moon that didn’t seem to change
At all.

Jon watched his breath pour out of
His mouth like a fog in the freezing
Air as breathed even deeper. He looked
Up to see the stars past the gentle
Flurries that fell all around them. And
Then again, the bright flash of light
Came, blinding them briefly before
Fading and releasing them. And when
It passed, as the horses came to a quiet
Stop…Jon blinked and took another
Deep breath looking to the woods
All around. The snow was gone now…
And buds were on the trees and bushes.
The air smelled of SPRING!

The four of them brought the horses
To a stop and looked at each other
In confusion. Their faces expressed
Their wild shock as they began to
Examine the forest blossoming with
New green everywhere. Even the
Horses twitched and grunted eyeing
Things as they could smell the change
In the air as they calmed down from
The run. The aroma in the air was
Clean and fresh and new…

The young man seemed to sit limp in
His saddle as he turned to Jon in a daze.
‘The forest…’ He mumbled.

Jon nodded as he eyed the woods with
Disbelief. His mind couldn’t even put
The words together of what had happened,
He could only surmise who and what
Was behind it, but said nothing.

‘But…it was fall.’ Julianna said with
Bewilderment. ‘The leaves were
Changing color…’

‘And the snow.’ Jona added as the
Giant sat smaller somehow on his
Horse, cradling the unconscious
Matthias with great care.

Jon brushed the melting snow flakes
From his sleeve as he felt the air.
There was still a chill, though not
Like before. This was different. ‘It’s
Spring.’ He said as he reached out
With his senses. ‘You can just feel
It in the air…’

‘How can it be spring?’ Julianna
Asked. ‘It can’t be…’

‘It is.’ Jon said. ‘You can feel it
In the air. It feels like April.’

‘April? WHAT?!’ The young man
Laughed. ‘That’s crazy. How could
That happen, how could time
Move like that?’

‘You saw the snow.’ Jona quickly
Said. ‘That flash of light.’

‘The lights?’ Julianna asked fast
With a desperate tone. ‘This has
Something to do with those lights…’

The young man eyed them carefully.
‘The lights? You have heard of them?
People have been talking about strange
Things…Have you seen them?’

‘Maybe it has something to do with
That fireball.’ Jona said looking to
Jon.

‘Maybe.’ Jon replied cautiously. ‘Or
To spare us…or move us somehow.’

‘You think it saved us from that
Thing?’ Julianna asked. ‘Whatever
It was…’

‘Let’s get to the river.’ Jon suggested.
‘We can talk there. That’s where we
We’re going…Let’s see what’s there.’

There wasn’t much to argue, so on
They went. The strange journey had
Brought them farther than they knew
And it wasn’t long before they reached
The meadow that Jon knew all too
Well…beside the river that was now
Full of fresh thick growing grass.

At the meadow, the night sky
Seemed to open up with a broad
Clear view of crystal-like stars. A
Welcome sight after what just happened.
But it was here the strangeness
Resumed as the four of them came
Upon another change. They came
To find a small circle of wagons
Camped beside the river, much
Smaller than Sara’s camp…These
Were gypsy wagons that Jon recognized…

‘Where is everyone…the camp, all
The wagons?!’ Julianna exclaimed not
Understanding at first. Then she quickly
Recalled the slip in time…

As they rode up to the wagons, two
Figures emerged from one, lit by
Torches and candles. A man and
Woman moved to the firepit in the
Center of their camp studying the
Unclear newcomers as they drew
Closer.

But Jon saw their faces in the light
And recognized them first. ‘Mira…
Baja.’ He whispered. ‘I know
These people.’

Dressed in a gold and magenta dress,
With her dark curly hair tied
Back with a red scarf, Mira took
A torch from the fire pit and held
It high and approached the
Strangers. She leaned out and
Squinted, her eyes focusing on
The man on the grey horse
With golden hair. ‘Jon?’

‘It’s me!’ Jon called out as he
Brought his friends and their horses
Closer. ‘Hello Mira.’

‘Jon?’ Baja laughed as he stepped
Up close to join his daughter. ‘What
Are you doing here?’

‘You won’t believe what just
Happened!’ Jon said to them as he
Hopped down from his horse and
Walked over to them with a
Relieved smile, his friends following
Soon behind him.

Mira looked to her father uneasily.
‘I told you something felt strange
Tonight…That light in the sky…’

‘You saw it too?’ The young man,
Newest among them, asked eagerly.
‘The falling star?’

‘Falling star?’ Mira asked curiously.

Just then another man ran out from
Behind one of the wagons wearing a
Crocheted hat and his shirt mis-buttoned.
He cried out pointing to the night sky
Above. ‘Look! There IT IS AGAIN!’

Mira and her father turned fast
To look up at the stars as this
Triangular shape, a pattern of lights,
Moved slowly high in the distance…
Almost appearing as it was heading
In their direction.

‘Father, there it is!’ Mira said nervously.

Julianna took a step closer to Jon
Watching the triangle with her
Eyes bulging. ‘Jon…what is happening?
Do you have any idea?’

Jon simply shook his head as he
Watched it with eerie fascination as
Well. ‘I have no idea…’ Then he
Swallowed fast. ‘But whatever it is,
It feels like something big is going
To happen…something big is going to
Shake soon.’

Valiant.

One comment on “Valiant: Knock Knock…The Sandman…The Gift…Part 29…

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