A young girl and her horse experience tragedy at the hands of a cruel father. 1605 words.
|"Annabelle! Here girl!"
Turning away from my grazing, I cantered towards Abigail, my favorite human in the entire world. Every day, she greeted me with a smile, usually with her long, blonde mane pulled back into a braid, and her aquamarine eyes sparkled in the sun. Today, though, something was different.
"H-Here girl! C-come get s-some. . . s-sugar!"
Gently, I took the sugar cube from her hand, relishing its sweetness, and I watched as those wide, innocent eyes glistened with tears. Her mane hung around her face today, just like mine, but her voice sounded different somehow. Gone was the resonant brightness that I looked forward to as we galloped together through the countryside. It had taken her sire, the cruel man with the whip, ages to let me and Abigail run alone. But I had had fillies of my own, fillies and colts that he had taken from me as soon as they learned to walk.
I remembered lying in my stall after they took away my precious brood, and I couldn't find the will to eat or drink. I didn't know where they took my babies. Had they killed them? Had they taken them to be turned into glue, just as Abigail's sire kept threatening to do with me? The sire kept throwing hay into my stall, and sometimes, he'd beat me with the whip if I refused to move.
One day, Abigail came out and sat beside me, running her soft, small hands through my mane. "It'll be okay, Annabelle," she had whispered as she held sugar cubes in front of my muzzle. Her touch had been so different from the sire's, and the sugar tasted sweet against the salt of her hand. "You were there for me after Mom died. I'm gonna sit right here with you, girl." She kept feeding me sugar cubes, one at a time, and slowly, I felt the love I had lost begin to fill my heart once again.
Soon, Abigail would sneak into my stall at dusk and pull herself onto my back. I began to rediscover my spirit, robbed from me when they took my babies, as Abigail and I would gallop, canter, and trot through the forests surrounding the pasture. She taught me to the jump the low fence that surrounded the area where I grazed, and she helped me remember how much I loved the sight of the setting sun, casting a friendly glow on the leaves of the oaks and maples as it said goodnight to the world. She helped me rediscover the exhilaration of feeling the soft, gusting wind flowing through my mane as we enjoyed the gentle sounds of rustling leaves and nickered in response to the chirps of the friendly night-crickets. I made sure she never fell, even when she dug her heels into my flank and yelled "Faster, Annabelle!" with her whooping and high-pitched giggles.
After that, Abigail became my filly. She became my world, and I waited every day until the time when she would come to me, grinning widely with her golden-colored mane bouncing against her shoulders. I don't remember how many of those late-evening rides we enjoyed before the cruel sire found out, but one night, when the stars had already made their slow apparitions into the inky sky, the grizzly haired man had yanked her off my back, causing her to cuff her shoe against my flank.
"IN THE HOUSE, NOW!" As Abigail scurried towards the derelict farmhouse, the sire pulled me by my mane into my stall, kicking me in the legs as he went.
"I shoulda shot you when Bev died," he growled. "But she wanted that brat to have her damn horse. . . " I could have refused to move, showed him who really was the parent of Abigail as I was so much larger than he was, but I didn't want my filly to suffer even more cruelty at the hands of her sire. I heard the barn door slam shut with a clang, leaving me in total darkness. I lowered my head, thinking of my own colts and fillies, and hoping that Abigail wasn't being whipped, or worse, turned into glue.
It seemed like years before I saw Abigail again, but she hadn't changed much when she appeared in my stall, smiling that gap-toothed grin. It might have only been days, but it felt like years. When you're certain that your fillies have been slaughtered, every minute feels like a year.
"Daddy said I can take you out riding!" she had squealed, galloping into my stall. "Well, he told me he didn't care what I did as long as I got out of his sight. . . " she had shrugged, "but I asked if I could take you out, and he waved his hand. I've missed you so much, Annabelle!" She had hugged her slender arms around my neck, and she offered me a sugar cube.
We went on many rides after that, enjoying the spring scents of wild blackberries and honeysuckle, and sometimes, she just stood beside me, gently brushing my mane as I grazed in the pasture. We learned from one another during those slow, sunshine-filled days. I learned to respond to her words when riding, and she learned how to let me rest when I started to get tired. I had learned those words as a young filly when men would take me out riding in a full harness and bit, but I hated the harness. Abigail never used any of those things. It made me so happy to see her each day, spending all of the days of spring and summer together.
I had never seen her so sad as I did now, and I felt a burning ache deep in my belly when I saw her frown. As I let the sugar dissolve on my tongue, I leaned down to rub my muzzle against her hair. I felt her shoulder shake up against my cheek.
Abigail climbed up the trunk of the nearby maple, showing the agility we had learned together. She settled herself onto my withers, and I felt her silky mane brush against mine as she rested her weight on the curve of my back. I felt the water from her eyes drip onto my neck.
"I love you, Annabelle."
I wanted to nuzzle her mane, but I would never let her fall. I nickered softly as she rested against me.
"Abigail, let's go! The trailer's here, and we gotta get movin'! NOW!"
The cruel sire was stomping toward us, his mane grizzled around his face. I felt Abigail's arms wrap around me tighter. I kept completely still, but I was scared. The sire looked angrier than usual, though he wasn't carrying a whip this time. Instead, he held a glass battle of amber liquid, which he tipped towards his muzzle.
"Daddy, no! I don't wanna move away! Why can't we take Annebelle?" I didn't feel Abigail shaking anymore, so I lowered my crest to let her get a better grip. She was my filly, and she was better off with me than her sire.
"Yeah, well, those assholes took our house, and trailer parks ain't gonna let you keep this here shit-maker. Hell, they won't let us keep our damn hounds! Now get off that ass, and get in the car, so they can load her up!"
I didn't understand much of the evil sire's words, but I knew he wanted to take my filly from me again. I remembered how sad she was when her dam died, and her sire only became meaner. I felt Abigail slide off of my back, landing deftly on her feet. The water in her eyes was gone, but her mouth opened like that man put a bit in her mouth. His bit for her was his words, his cruel words, always used to control and abuse her, and I knew Abigail was better off with me.
As I saw three men come towards me, carrying a harness bridle, I reared onto my back legs, snorting and squealing. They weren't taking me away from my Abigail.
"Whoa girl. Whoa there. . . " The bigger of the two men tried to fit me into the harness, but in my rage, kicked out, driving my heel into his kneecap. I felt the cracking of bone against my hoof and watched as the man collapsed to the ground, squealing as an injured thoroughbred would who was about to be turned to glue.
The other man backed away from me, and I trotted slowly towards my sweet Abigail, whose sire was twisting her elbows behind her with one hand as she screamed "If you didn't drink so much, Daddy, we'd keep our house!"
He let go of her arms and whacked his hand against her flank. When I heard her cry out, I felt a crimson hatred swell in my forehead, reflecting the angry setting sun. He hurt my precious filly. Now, I had to hurt him.
"NEIGH!" I screamed as I galloped full speed towards the evil sire. He pulled out a metal instrument, and pointed the barrel at my forehead.
"Hell, those folks won't pay me no money for a crazy horse, nohow!"
"DADDY NO!" I heard Abigail scream. I heard a deafening crack and felt pain much worse than the lick of the sire's whip against my forehead. Hot metal sizzled through my forehead, and my trusty legs gave out as I collapsed to the ground. As early nightfall edged into the corners of my vision, I heard Abigail scurry towards me, wrapping her hands into my mane.
"Annabelle. . . " she whispered.