Boots 14

Eric was asleep. Earlier he’d opened his eyes and given them both a wild-eyed look. Then, with a whimpered, ‘ooh!’ he’d nuzzled his head back onto her lap. His breathing calmed and his heart stopped racing. Eleanor stroked his head and relaxed. She looked at Mike and gave him a relieved smile.

“He’s going to be okay, I think,” she said.

“That’s good,” said Mike. “But he’s not out of the woods yet. We’ve got to find a safer place for him.”

“Why is there a bounty on his head?” She said this in a whisper, so Eric wouldn’t hear. Last time it got mentioned, he took off for the rooftop across the street.

Mike hesitated. He didn’t want to scare the unicorn again, or upset her. She was just a kid; she shouldn’t have to know about things like this. “Unicorns are rare. There are people out there who pay a lot of money to get hold of one,” he said.

Eleanor nodded. She continued stroking Eric. “Are you one of them?” she asked, without looking at him.

“Which them?”

“The Hell’sBats?”

He didn’t answer till she looked up at him. “I’m not,” he said, and noticed that this girl blushed a lot. Did that mean she still didn’t trust him?

No, thought Eleanor; he doesn’t look like a Hell’sBat. For one thing, he doesn’t glitter. There’s not one sparkly stud or chain on him, and the lack of shine on his leathers suggested he did not want to be noticed. There was something very sinister, very dangerous about the scruffed, unpolished dark look of him and yet ……

Mike stood up. “Stay here, and out of sight,” he said. “I’ll be back.”


part 1

Boots 14

Alenka Co

Stonebow, Australia

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  • JRGarland
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