Wordcount: 439 words
One Small Step for Man
“You want us to what?” Moonstar stuck his head over the fence of the corral and gave her gave Wendy a less than enthused glare. “Didn’t you have enough fun playing in the river the first time?”
“If you’ve got another way to get us to Five Sheep, I’d be more than happy to take suggestions.” She finished currying the bits of the Black that Riley couldn’t reach and gave him an affectionate pat on the shoulder. The stallion pretended to ignore her and she pretended that he hadn’t just been making contented grunting noises when she hit the itch behind his right shoulder. “It shouldn’t be that bad, chances are we won’t find anything.” But those were real life odds, not storybook odds and somehow she doubted that they’d be able to skip ahead on this one.
“It’s sort of gross.” Riley made a face, “I mean, people don’t look so good once they’ve been in the river a while. They go all fat and really stinky.” She paused as all three companions turned to stare at her. “What? I had a cousin that drowned once. Really stinky.”
“Well, ah– good to know?” Wendy worked the last of the shed hair out of the currycomb and waved the brush at Moonstar. “You want a go?”
He snorted, “I’m not a horse.”
“Ah, of course, magical companion animals never get dirty.” She rolled her eyes, but tucked the brush away into one of the travelbags. “So immaculate wonder, other than an apparent dislike of getting your hooves wet, is there any reason we shouldn’t join the search?”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to just go wandering off–” He glanced over at Riley and the Black, twitching an ear back and looking disturbingly unsure of himself.
“I’m sure the story can catch up.” Which was the problem, wasn’t it? Because if the story didn’t follow them up the river… she squashed the thought before it could turn into a full-blown panic. There was still a part of her that insisted this wasn’t real, that is couldn’t be real, but that voice was only a faint echo now. Ever since she’d gotten into the river everything had taken on weight, as if the choices she made now were somehow more important. If that wasn’t the story, then she didn’t want to know what it was.
“So are we going then?” Gray wandered over to the corral, grinning as Moonstar’s lone companion in the ring headed for the opposite end of the pen.
Wendy looked at Moonstar, but the unicorn just snorted and began ambling over to the corral gate. “I guess so.”