Authors: Angela Dorsey
Tags: #pony, #horse, #angel, #dream, #thomas, #silver, #guardian, #dorsey, #joanna, #angela, #angelica
A second whinny from Raven
brought her back to the task at hand.
“Hey, Ravie. Are you ready for a
The pony pawed at the stall
door. He seemed overjoyed that tonight she’d chosen him for her
midnight ride. Joanna grimaced. For weeks, he’d watched her take
Silver Sky, no doubt feeling rejected and abandoned as they rode
She opened the stall door and
slipped the bridle on his head, laughing in astonishment when he
opened his mouth for the bit, then clamping her lips shut. Poor
Raven. He wanted so badly to please her.
How could she be so cruel,
always choosing Silver Sky over him?
He was almost home, and there had been
no pursuit. Dancer was as fast as ever. His strides swallowed the
ground in giant leaps and his hoof beats were loud on the asphalt.
Good thing there was no one to hear their passing this time of
night. Only sleepy farmhouses, horses and cows already settled down
for the night in barn and field, and foxes thinking of ways to raid
henhouses. This late, the road was deserted and perfectly safe to
gallop on, although a little hard on the horse’s legs. Maybe he
should slow Dancer down.
A blast of lights! Directly in front of
them! Bearing down on them!
The old man jerked the reins and Dancer
rocketed to the side of the road. The car careened by with a squeal
of brakes. He tried to hear what happened to it, but the thunder of
Dancer’s hooves was too loud. The stallion was running flat out
now, as if he were in a race.
The man sawed on the reins. Somehow, he
had to bring the big horse under control! Pain stabbed through his
hands, elbows, and shoulders, making him gasp. But even worse was
the pain he knew he was causing Dancer and his tender mouth. And
yet he couldn’t slack off on the reins. Anything could happen then.
A slip on the road that could easily break a horse’s leg, or
another car could come around the corner. Without guidance, the
horse might run off the road and into a fence in the night. And
pulling on the reins kept the man steadier on the horse’s back. He
knew he couldn’t fall off. If he did, Dancer would be in far
greater danger, galloping with the leather slapping his front legs,
driving him on to further panic.
At long last the horse slowed to a
canter, then a trot. Soon afterward, he was walking. Finally,
stopped, he stood with head down, breathing heavily.
The man let him stand for a moment and
then, taking up the reins in his throbbing fingers, he turned the
horse around and looked back down the road. He couldn’t see any
headlights – but would he, after galloping around the corner?
In their headlong run, they’d also
passed the driveway to his house. He asked Dancer to walk back the
way they’d come and, before turning him onto the dirt lane, looked
down the road. No sign of the car. Good. It mustn’t have stopped.
The driver must be okay, probably just feeling lucky that he or she
had missed the horse.
He directed Dancer down the driveway.
Finally, they were home, all of them but Thunder. There was still
time for that. For now, he was tired, more tired than he ever
remembered being, and there was still so much to do to settle
Dancer into his stall. Surely Kathy would help. She was such a good
girl. Even after he’d been such a disappointment to her.
Raven had a spring in his step as they
rode to the gate. Within moments Joanna had opened it, reined him
through, and closed it behind them. The small pony was an expert at
the gate manoeuvre because he’d done it so many times.
Joanna asked him to trot, then
turned him toward the trail going through the woods. Soon she had
to slow him to a walk. Out in the open, the starlight had been
barely strong enough for Joanna to see where they were going, but
beneath the branches she was blind.
They walked and walked and
walked, and still Joanna didn’t see the lights through the trees
that would signify Mr. Thomas’s house. Strange. She’d expected to
see them minutes ago. Maybe he’d turned off all of his house
They rounded another bend in the
trail and there they were, not the bright porch lights this time,
but one barely illuminated distant window glowing faintly through
the trees. She pulled Raven to a halt. The pony snorted softly and
bobbed his head.
“Shhh, Ravie,” Joanna whispered.
She slid from the pony’s back, and leaned on his dark shoulder. The
heat from his body made her feel safe and protected. She could be
on his back in a jiffy if anything threatened. But nothing did. The
woods seemed empty.
She led the black to the side of
the trail and wrapped his rein around a branch, then leaned forward
and gave him a long hug. How she wished she could take him with
her, but he couldn’t go through the fence between the two
She took the bag of oats she’d
kept balanced on his withers as she rode and dumped the grain on
the ground. Immediately, Raven dove into the pile. Picking up every
last morsel should keep him occupied long enough for her to make
her way through the narrow strip of trees, over the fence, and
across Mr. Thomas’s pasture to check the dilapidated shed. She had
ten minutes, maybe more, before he began to wonder and possibly
neigh for her.
She took her flashlight from her
pocket and turned it on. The beam was weak, but that was okay. With
the flashlight battery low, the light wasn’t too bright, and yet
she could still see her way through the trees. She wouldn’t need it
once she reached Mr. Thomas’s overgrown pasture.
Joanna gave Raven another hug,
then with her heart doing a quick pit-a-pat, she entered the
The house looked the same as when he
left. Kathy must still be asleep. Maybe he shouldn’t wake her to
come help him. Surely he could manage on his own?
But if he didn’t get her up, in the
morning she might be upset at him for not telling her about Dancer
right away. She was going to be so thrilled to see the big stallion
again – or at least he hoped she would be. She hadn’t been as
excited about the others as he’d expected. He still hadn’t figured
out why, but guessed it had something to do with Thunder still
being gone. Kathy didn’t know he was planning on returning her pony
to her and having the others around could be a painful reminder of
When he flipped on the light in the
shed, he saw Wings and Rocket Gal in the stable, just as he’d left
them. Rocket Gal whinnied loudly when she saw him, her voice
plaintive and irritated. Surely she couldn’t be hungry again. That
mare certainly could eat.
He replaced Dancer’s bridle with a
halter and lead rope, backed him into the corner, and tied him. If
only the stable was larger. With three horses inside, it was almost
filled to bursting. But he was sure he had stabled these three and
more in this building before. It couldn’t have shrunk.
And yet everything seemed different
Dizziness washed over him and he
staggered, clutching at Dancer’s mane. The big bay sidestepped but
the building was too small for him to go far and the man was able
to steady himself against the horse.
He was so tired. So confused.
Was this a dream? Why were there three
strange horses in his shed?
Maybe Cally could tell him.
The chestnut gelding pricked his ears
toward the door, then the black mare heard what the chestnut
already had. Someone was coming.
Cally? Had he awakened her?
Now the big bay was looking toward the
door with anxious eyes. It seemed such a nervous creature.
Hopefully Cally could explain to him why it was here. Why they were
all here. His head hurt. He didn’t want to think any more.
He tied the bay stallion as far from
the other two as he could, praying all the while that the three
wouldn’t kick each other while he was gone. When he left the shed,
he was careful to shut the door behind him.
At first he didn’t recognize the person
walking toward his house, but then the young man saw him and
changed direction to walk directly toward him. The clear night
faintly brightened the teenager’s face as he approached.
Had he seen this fellow before? Did he
Actually, there was something familiar
about the boy’s black hair, his dark eyes.
Hey, Mister, can I use your phone?
My car’s in the ditch and I need a tow truck.”
Abruptly, everything came flooding
back. Dancer. The car. At long last, he’d taken his horse back from
And he knew why this young man looked
familiar. He was Graham! How had he not recognized him sooner? He’d
dreamed this face, hated and despised this face for months now.
How dare Graham come here again!
Rage made his movements swift and sure.
He ran forward and shoved the boy to the ground.
What? Mister, I just need
Shut up! I know who you are!”
Crushing anger consumed him, giving him strength again.
No, I… I just… just let me go.” The
boy was fumbling in his pocket.
You’re not going anywhere! Not until
you pay for what you did to me!”
The man froze. Was someone else here
too? He glanced wildly about. No one that he could see. So who had
the boy been calling?
What was he holding in his shaking
hand? A necklace? So he was a thief too!
With one violent movement, the man
ripped the necklace from the boy’s grip.
No one’s going to help you now. No
Angelica or anyone else. I know you, Graham. You can’t fool me.
Finally, you’re going to get what you deserve!”
No, I’m David. My name’s David! I
There was no point in arguing, or even
listening. He knew what a liar Graham was. And if the fellow
started cursing, Kathy might hear. He couldn’t have that!
The man clamped a hand over Graham’s
mouth, and with superhuman strength born of long suppressed anger,
he dragged him toward the house.