His father had told him not to ride alone. The boy, Fleance, knew he mustn't stray beyond Birnam Wood. But as he galloped from the castle, he felt free and alive. The sun was shining. The mare was warm beneath him. The wind blew through his unruly hair. The mystery of the heath called to him. He rode beyond all advice.

Then something darted out of the heather. His mare was startled. She reared up.

 

Fleance lost his grip and fell. He landed hard on his left side. The mare bolted into the mist. He was left stunned and lost.    

He tried walking, but his body twisted away from his legs. He was in such pain he had to stop, then crawl. Mist gathered around him. He dragged himself over heather and rock.

Unforeseen, the black mouth of the cave appeared before him. Once inside, he lay on his chest crying and cursing.

At length, weariness of the pain and self-pity lulled Fleance into edgy sleep.

 

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