Six days. I’ll have to relive everything in six days.
I press my heels into Finn and ride faster, past the castle’s lake, the courtyard, past my memories of my thirteenth birthday. The wind streaks through my hair, and I pick up speed. Soon, the tension in my muscles relax; the fresh air pushes away my emotional bog. I breathe deep. And I’m free.
Until the walls of the castle greet me, pulling me back. We trot along the barrier, just Finn and me. Like it’s been since I can remember. Riding him has been my security blanket, and even at seventeen, it soothes me. No matter what’s happened. My dad’s disapproving face suddenly flashes in my mind, and I lose my concentration slightly, slipping from my seat. I shift back, but the tension I left behind at the castle creeps its way back.
“You still like me, right boy?”
Finn answers me with a toss of his mane. I smile. At least his view of me didn’t change four years ago, when I turned thirteen. When, like every other thirteen-year-old, I celebrated my birthday with a Naming ceremony; stood in front of a Reader and read the meaning of my name, the meaning that would determine the rest of my life. It was meant to be wonderful. It was meant to mean a transformation.
Instead, it meant none of that.