I woke up to a beautiful morning. The sun shone brightly through my window and its light danced on my skin. The birds sang their usual song as I breathed in the sweet aroma coming from the kitchen downstairs . . . Ha, I’m just kidding. That isn’t my life, even though I wish it was. My day actually started like this.
I woke up shivering in the darkness. The blanket I was given was incredibly thin, so it was basically useless. Before I could decide whether to grab my torch or begin my daily workout, my ears pricked up, catching the sound of footsteps. I listened, trying to determine who it was. The footsteps grew louder and louder, I realized the answer too late. The door burst open, and there stood my father holding a whip in his hand.
“Mallory Knight, what did I tell you about running away from home?” He asked, snarling.
“I don’t remember.” I snapped, even though I told the truth. He never said anything about running away from home, all I remembered from his dumb lectures was to never ruin the stupid family name.
“Maybe this might refresh your memory!” He yelled, whipping me. My arm was the victim this time, which I found strange since it was usually my back. Thankfully, I heard the song ‘Thunder’ coming from his pocket. He pulled out his phone and cursed.
“My time’s up,” He said to himself. He looked at me distastefully and threw a long-sleeved shirt at my head.
“Wear that.” He instructed. “It’ll cover your scars. Now, hurry up to school. We don’t want you to be late again.”
I gripped the shirt and almost ran out of the room. Before I could escape, my father grabbed my arm.
“Remember, don’t tell anyone about what we do. Not your friends, not your teachers, not even your school dog.” He ordered, his nails sinking deeper into my skin.
“I know.” I said, grinding my teeth. Like I had friends and teachers who like me. There was no point in telling everyone what my parents do, because they all know anyway. Even if I didn’t have my family background, I would still be harassed. I yanked my arm out of his grip and stormed out of the house.
As I walked towards my prison (AKA my family mansion) from another day at school, the pain on my arm had finally begun to ease up. I flashbacked on what had happened during the school day.
Let’s see: I was bullied (again), my lunch money was stolen from me (again), and the bullies had managed to beat me up (again). For some reason, it seems that I’m the one everyone hates the most.
Maybe it was because I was born on the unluckiest of days, on Friday the 13th, October 2013, at 13:13?
Maybe it’s because of my parents, who are drug lords and killed people for fun?
Or maybe it’s because I was a test subject for scientists, and they gave me wolf ears and a tail, turning me into a hybrid?
“Why do I have to suffer this pain?!” I yelled at the sky, the universe, to anyone who heard me. No response. I sighed in defeat, planning to continue contemplating life, until I noticed my surroundings.
Where was I?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I know this town and the forest surrounding it like the back of my hand, but I’ve never seen this part of the forest before.
I was standing in a beautiful winter wonderland.
Evergreen trees formed a large circle around me as snow fell gently onto them. Behind me was a magnificent waterfall, its water frozen solid mid-air. Strangely, the water on the bottom wasn’t iced all over, it was still liquid. The ground was covered in snow which was soft as a pillow. But what really took my breath away was the gorgeous and familiar-looking Pegasus (who was obviously a male) standing regally in the middle of the scenery.
I’ve always imagined a Pegasus as solid white with golden hooves but the winged horse in front of me was nothing as I imagined. His coat was glossy and flecked with ebony black, cappuccino brown and stark white. His black-like-the-night mane was being blown around by a breeze, but he didn’t seem to care. He stretched his massive wings and yawned (can a Pegasus even yawn?!). I saw hints of black, brown, beige, white and caramel on the underside of his wing. And his eyes were warm brown, like coffee. I realized with a start that this magnificent beast looked familiar because it looked like me.
My sienna-coloured skin marred with white scars and black bruises matched the Pegasus’s flecked coat. My once-long-and-glossy hair looked similar to the winged horse’s mane.
Is the Pegasus standing in front of me a horse version of myself?
Once I had that thought, I was certain that I lost my sanity. The Pegasus bent to eat something . . . gold as I tried to get a grip on reality.
This was all impossible! It’s June, so it shouldn’t even be snowing! Pegasi were extinct a long time ago and there couldn’t possibly be a horse-version of me!
But it is possible, because the evidence was in front of me. It finally dawns on me that instead of figuring out what’s possible and what isn’t, I should’ve been using the Pegasus to escape this horrid life I’m living! I eagerly looked towards him, meeting his eyes.
“Aw hell naw, you ain’t getting’ your dirty claws on me!”
I was taken aback, did the Pegasus really speak?
“Yeah I did, now whatcha plannin’ to do, huh?” He glared at me before drinking out of a trough that clearly wasn’t there before.
“You . . . can read my mind?” I asked cautiously.
“Yeah, got a problem with dat?” The Pegasus responded, while getting a little cross-eyed. He had some sort of accent, like Kevin Hart, the backpack guy in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
“What exactly are you drinking?” I asked, as he was slurring his speech and stumbling over things that weren’t there.
“Beer, obviously! Ya even got a brain in there, ya burnt chicken nugget?” He said, snorting.
“Excuse me?” I snapped, feeling offended. “How dare you call me a burnt chicken nugget! Boi, have you even looked at yourself? If you were a painting, whoever painted you should either chuck you in the bin or burn you, because you’re not worth being called a piece of art, much less being framed.”
The Pegasus whinnied and retaliated with . . . you know what? I’m not even going to translate that. He used such strong cuss words that even I’ve never used, and I was infamous throughout the town for swearing every day. For your sake reader, I have replaced any swear words with #justice4loki (because Loki really deserves justice after what Thanos did to him in Infinity War).
“Listen, I just need a ride out of town, then you and I can part ways again!” I bargained, hoping the winged horse would cooperate.
“YA THINK THAT AFTA YA INSULT ME YA GET A RIDE, YA LITTLE #JUSTICE4LOKI!?” He exploded. “YA THINK THAT I’M A TAXI, YA MOTHER#JUSTICE4LOKI?! WELL, GUESS WHAT B-#JUSTICE4LOKI?! YA AIN’T NEVER RIDIN ON THIS HORSE UNLESS YA EARN MY RESPECT! HA, YA SUCH A LITTLE #JUSTICE4LOKI THAT YOU AIN’T GONNA EVEN TRY!” He continued to insult me and cuss at me, even changing the language.
“How do I earn your respect then, you half-witted, scruffy looking . . . Nerf Herder!” I huffed.
(Reference to Princess Leia, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
The Pegasus’s eyes glittered. “Fight me.”
Tension gathered in the air as the Pegasus and I assumed our battle stance. His eyes sparkled darkly, like he’s telling me to prepare my grave. For once, I was glad that I was the test subject for scientist, because they’ve given me wolf characteristics and abilities in the process. Yep, I’ve clearly lost my sanity if I was grateful for that.
We both waited patiently, wanting to see who’d strike first. But, given my nature, I couldn’t take it anymore. I sprinted towards him, gathering enough strength and speed to deliver a blow to his stupid horse face, but he swiftly moved to the side and I ended up shattering the frozen waterfall with my punch.
The horse whistled in admiration. “Wow kid. You’ve got more power in you than I thought. Not many kids that are only 15 can break a solid waterfall and walk away unscathed.”
“Well, I’m not like the other kids.” I snarled, picking up the icicles that resulted from the waterfall. When the Pegasus took another huge swig from the trough, I chucked the icicles like throwing knives at him. While he dodged them, I took advantage of the situation. I ran up to him and stabbed an icicle into his side, twisting it to get it in deeper. He whinnied and cried in pain as I attempted to escape, but I wasn’t fast enough. He hind-kicked me in the face and sent me soaring into what was left of the waterfall. It was probably karma. He reared up and stamped on the ground, feeling really smug.
“Tch, it’s gonna take more than that to defeat me.” He said smugly.
I licked my lips and tasted blood. I struggled to stand up, but I did it anyway. Looking at the stupid horse dead in the eye, I wiped the blood off my mouth. But I was surprised at what I did next. I laughed. It started off hoarse and deep, but gradually it grew clearer and louder. It scared me that I can actually laugh like that during an intense battle, but I continued to laugh. The Pegasus was shocked too, as he staggered backwards, away from me. It finally dawns on my stupid mind that the winged horse was afraid of me.
“W-What’s so funny?” He stammered.
“It’s just so funny to see the likes of you being scared of a girl like me.” I explained, wiping the remaining tears from my eyes.
He seemed to remember he had a reputation to uphold (what reputation?) because he stood tall and puffed out his chest. “I’m not frightened of you.” He said, but it was obvious he was lying. His legs were shaking, and his eyes darted around as if looking for escape.
“Yeah, whatever.” I said casually, waving my hand at him. “Now, back to business.” I held an icicle in each hand and charged at him. He reared his front legs and charged at me. Before we could headbutt each other, I jumped up and landed behind him. He turned around, dazed, before realizing what I was going to do. I reached forwards, rammed each of the icicles into his sides and brought it towards me, slicing his skin and exposing flesh. He neighed and fell over to the side, staining the snow with red.
“Oof! I’ve Mcfallen! I can’t believe you’ve done this.” He panted, staring at me. “How could this happen to me?”
“You mad, bro?”
I could’ve left him right there and then, left him for the wolves to eat and for the vultures to peck at his remains. But since I was such a nice person, I decided to help him. I grabbed a sharp, curved icicle and yanked a piece of my hair from my tail, then I went over and knelt beside the dying beast.
“You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?” He said, like he knew it would come. “At least let me have my final drink from my trough, wouldja?”
“Oh! That’s what I forgot!” I went over to the trough and filled up my water bottle with booze then returned back to the horse.
“Ah, yes. Now, if you’d just put it towards my mouth . . .”
“Nope, this booze ain’t for you.” I said. “Now, hold still and eat some grass or something. This is going to hurt.”
Now, I don’t want to give you all the details, but this is basically what happened:
Pegasus: NO! NO! OH GOD THAT HURTS LIKE HELL!!
Mallory: Shut up! I told you it was going to hurt!
Pegasus: BRUH, ya never told me that ya were gonna pour my booze over my wounds, then SEW it with an ICICLE and your HAIR!
Mallory: Stop whining! My wolf tail’s hair is the strongest in the town! It’s even stronger than a fishing line!
Pegasus: I DON’T WANT NONE OF YOUR NASTY GERMS IN MY SYSTEM!
Mallory: AHH . . . Stahhp it! I coulda dropped mah croissant!
Pegasus: Ya had a croissant?! Lemme have some of that shi#JUSTICE4LOKI!
Mallory: Watch your profanity.
So, yeah. That’s pretty much how it went.
The Pegasus sat up and was drinking from his trough like normal. I washed his blood from my hands in the waterfall, which was strangely up and running again, not frozen.
“Uh, thanks for fixing me up, I guess.” He said awkwardly.
“Just doing my job.” I responded.
“What, killing a poor horse then fixing him up is your job?” He asked playfully.
“Yep, that’s my job – WOAH. NOICE.”
Where the Pegasus once was, there sat a teen guy drinking from a beer bottle who looked to be about my age. His messy, black hair fell over his warm, brown eyes which looked cheerfully up to me. He wore a simple shirt and jeans, which were a mix of brown, black and white. And if he stood up, he would’ve been slightly taller than me, and I’m tall.
He stared at me in confusion. “Is there something wrong?”
“What–Who-Why- WHERE is the Pegasus?!” I spluttered, making a complete fool of myself.
“Oh, schist.” He looked at his arms and legs. “Well, guess I changed again.” He shrugged like it was nothing.
I stared at him up and down. He looked really familiar, and he triggered a childhood memory that was probably hidden deep in the back of my mind . . .
“Keith?! Is that you?!” I demanded, eyes widening.
“Yeah, I’m Keith. Why do you ask?” His brow furrowed. “Wait, Mallory?!?!” He leaped up and pulled me into a bear hug. I hugged him back, enjoying the reunion with my long lost best friend.
“Wow.” Keith said, finally pulling away. “You’ve definitely grown since I last saw you. It was like, 10 years ago or something.”
Before I realized what I was doing, I had grabbed his hand and judo-flipped him onto the floor, then pinned him down with my foot.
“We all thought you were dead, Keith. I thought you were dead. So, if you ever, EVER, disappear like that again, you’re dead.” I threatened, tears forming at the edges of my eyes.
“‘Kay, point taken.” Keith coughed. I helped him up then slapped him in the face.
“And to think I almost killed you.” I muttered.
“Hey, don’t cry.” Keith said. He transformed into a Pegasus and beckoned to me.
“Wanna get outta this hellhole?”
I smiled for the first time in 10 years. “Oh hell yeah.” I climbed onto his back and we both soared into the open sky, into freedom.
“Hey, Mallory. Can I please get a waffle?”
“No. Eyes up front, horse.”
Mallory: Hey Keith, how can I understand you when you’re a horse?
Keith: What if I’m not the one speaking horse, maybe it’s you who’s speaking in horse.