Have a taste of this illustrated short story, read the excerpt:
A downpour washed the dark pointed roofs, old cobblestone roads and woods surrounding Rivercrook. The strong wind shook the plants and carried away their yellow leaves. It howled at windows and doors, scaring infants and their mothers. Lightning flashed around the town’s monuments and sculptures, distorting stone faces and casting twisted shadows.
On the old cemetery road there was not a soul to be seen, yet the shadow-play of the storm made the graves seem to dance without rhythm or grace. Soon there came a wagon, pulled by two horses running for their lives and tormented by the lashes of a mad coachman; only a mad person would dare to travel in such conditions.
Inside the wagon, in complete darkness, a lady held tightly to the bench. Her breathing was shallow, her heartbeat so strong she could feel it in her throat. The wagon rocked terribly and threw her belongings in all directions.
The wagon hurried along that road and then took an exit onto an earthy countryside bridleway, narrower than the roads across Rivercrook and much darker, as the trees grew tall on each side and formed a natural roof of branches and leaves. The only light the coachman could count upon was the faint reddish-yellow glow of his lamp. He knew they needed to make their way along the bridleway to the clearing. It wouldn’t take too long, but still he lashed the exhausted horses to run even faster.
They were almost there when the dying light flickered one last time. Now there was nothing but the darkness amidst the trees. The coachman saw the clearing when it was illuminated by lightning. Once they crossed it, it wouldn’t be long until they reached their destination, just a day or two more of harsh travel.
The terrain was uneven and soaked, making it difficult for the horses to stay on course. The storm obscured the moonlight and the frightening flashes were now resting in the clouds so the travelers could not see where they were going. The coachman was forced to slow the horses against his will. He had a calling, a duty to fulfill, and it could not wait any longer.
But the powers of nature can go with you or against you, and that night, despite having come so far – already such a great victory – nature was indeed against the struggling man. All it took was a slide of the left-hand horse to drag the other horse and the entire wagon with it, down the soft, muddy cliff that gave into the river. The horses, the coachman and the lady struggled against the darkness and the waters.
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