A well thought of man learns to get over his fear.
|Jason put on a short-sleeve blue and white soccer jersey, combing his hair, brushed his shoes before leaving.
He picked up flowers on his way to the stadium for his girlfriend, Daphne. She was competing in a soccer match to determine what women will be invited to play on a regional soccer team.
Jason arrived at the stadium late and heard the roar of the crowd.
He sat in the stands and looked for his friend. She was on the field running down the pitch.
He leaped to his feet cheering as her team scored a goal.
After the match, he went to the sports bar/restaurant where the team always gathered after a match.
Jason greeted her and her friends as they celebrated boisterously. Handed her the flowers as she quickly hopped off her stool, giving him a hug, her blonde ponytail swaying across her back. Her fingers mess up his stylishly cut sandy hair to the whoops and hollers of her friends. Jason laughing good-naturedly used his hand to smooth it back.
As Jason talked to Daphne and her girlfriends, they looked over his lean form appreciatively. He was spot-on handsome, a stylish dresser, never wearing anything dirty or ill-fitting.
After an hour, he noticed Daphne on her phone, looked worried.
She was sitting quietly in a corner booth with some of her friends.
"Hi, you look worried. Anything wrong?" Sliding in next to her.
With despondent eyes, looked deeply into Jason's eyes. "Yeah, my brother's horse got out of the pasture he was keeping him in."
"That's too bad." Shrugging his shoulders swallowing.
Larry enquired concerned, "Does he know where the horse went?"
"Do you have to help look?" Donna put an arm across her shoulder.
Daphne collected her thoughts. "I have to help him. He still can't get around good after his accident." Avoid looking at Jason.
Fran looked out the window. "It's getting dark soon you know. How far do you have to go to help look?"
Daphne looked worried. "I know. The pasture is about twenty minutes from here."
"We can help look," Larry assured her.
Donna looked for her purse. "We should start now before it gets too dark."
Daphne looked at Jason, knowing he is friends with her brother. "Jason, can you come too? Burt would like it if you could be there."
Jason cleared his throat nervously with a sudden lack of saliva. "Yeah, sure I can." His face expressionless, prior intense hazel eyes looked drained. Knowing his date with Daphne just perished.
Daphne waved a hand gently. "Okay let's all get outta here."
They start leaving to get in their cars.
Jason gets in his car, waits until the last car has left. Trying to decide if he should follow them or head back to his apartment.
Donna looked in her rear-view mirror. "Don't see him, Daphne."
"I wasn't sure if Jason would come. Had to ask. Burt and he have been friends for years. But -." Her voice slowing,
Donna replied, "I know, Jason, can't be counted on at times."
Jason parked his car in a park, so no one would see his car at his apartment. He took out his phone and texted Burt, ‘Have car trouble. Can't help look for Domino.'
Received text back. ‘Ok understand.'
Daphne arrives at the pasture where Burt was, hurrying from the car.
"Hi, any luck?" As three other cars park beside hers. She notices other horses in the pasture grazing, toward the far side, but not Domino
Burt looked at the darkening sky. "No Tim and Nancy have looked and found a break in the wire at the far end of the pasture."
The pasture is over two hundred by three hundred feet of mostly low grass before it reaches woods, which goes on hundreds of feet more before reaching a barbwire fence that encircles the pasture.
"Oh my God! Not by the swamp?"
Burt nodded. "Yep on the other side of that spot, a swamp starts for a long way, before it hits the interstate." As her friends listen and realize the size of the area they had to look through.
Larry asked calmingly, "Would your horse just look for food and not go in the swamp?"
"Maybe he'll return once he sees the swamp?" Fran said hopefully.
Burt looks at the darkening clouds. "I hope but doubt it." Shifting his weight on his crutches which he got in a biking accident while riding with Jason.
As her friend goes to their cars for flashlights. "Have you heard from Jason? I wish he'd come help."
Burt shook his head. "Yeah texted me said had car trouble. I don't understand him at times." Gripping his handles tightly looks away.
Daphne's eyes flared. "I know he won't want to get his clothes dirty. But at least he could stay here with you, to show he cared a little." Rubbing Burt's shoulder as cars flashed by on the road behind them.
Tim said, "We can split up to search the whole pasture, may get lucky and find him in the trees somewhere."
Nancy scanned his face with concern. "We can stay in touch with flashlights and talking as we walk through the trees. He could be somewhere we didn't search?"
The others nodding, looking at Tim and Nancy to help lead them around the pasture.
Tim asks Nancy to take the women and start searching from the left side of the pasture.
Tim will take the men to the right spreading out and meet in the middle. Hopefully finding Domino somewhere in there. Keep in touch with cell phones.
Daphne looked at the clouds. "It's getting darker. Before it gets very dark let's try and see if we can find Domino."
As the others walk through the pasture, Daphne checks the other horses making sure Domino wasn't one of them.
Daphne hurried after her friends before they reached the far side of the pasture and entered the tree line together. The maples and oaks blocking out light the further they walked in the woodland.
Using flashlights', they walked as quickly as they could through brush and trees until they come to where the barbed wire turns. They mostly gathered together by then, stopped at times to call for the horse and listed for any sign. With only the whisper of the wind to hear in return.
It was completely dark by the time they met by the break in the barbed wire. The rotten fence post with barb wire still attached laying at an angle.
Fran pointing her flashlight down the slight embankment. "Looks like he went down there." Her flashlight pointing to disturbed dirt, hoof prints went down the slope.
Daphne put her hands to her mouth yells into the dark. "Domino . . . Domino . . . Domino."
They all stood quietly listening.
Tim said, "Nancy and I went down there and walked following his tracks."
Nancy picked up. "There is some solid ground down there where we lost him in the brush."
Burt looked as a car parked behind him.
Jason looked around. "Hi sorry I was late. Any luck?" looking at the overcast dark sky.
Burt shook his head. "No. Didn't think you'd make it. You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Jason sounded jittery.
Burt looked at the far woods. "They've been over there awhile. Haven't heard anything." Nodding toward the dark woods.
Jason shifting on his legs. "Maybe he'll turn up in the morning."
Burt looked uneasy. "I hope so. There's a swamp on the far side of those trees. Then if he makes it through that, the interstate is after the swamp." Gritting his teeth noticeably.
They see lights coming through the woods.
Jason said hopefully, "Maybe they found him?"
"I hope so too." Burt looked eagerly.
As the people got closer.
"No luck, we tried Burt," Tim said.
The group went through the pasture's gate gathering around Burt and Jason.
Daphne notice Jason as she neared the entrance, diverts her eyes, not saying anything to him.
"We'll start again in the morning if that's okay with you." She looked directly at Burt ignoring Jason.
Jason turned away, seeing Daphne intentionally refusing to recognize him.
"I know. Thanks for trying guys. He'll be fine." Hanging his head as Daphne holds his arm walking him to his car.
Her friends never look directly at him. The others get into their cars leaving Jason alone by himself in front of the pasture to return to their homes tired and drained.
Next morning Daphne and Burt are up bright and early, riding in her car to continue the search.
As they turn into the pasture's entry, they see some of the other horses near the gate grazing on the grass in the pasture.
Other cars arrive. Once the others are there, they leave Burt at the entrance and start walking toward the woods.
"There's something over there," Larry said pointing at the beginning of the tree line. The others look at a horse grazing on grasses.
Daphne is the first to say, "That looks like Domino." As they hurry toward the Pinto, he picks his head up looking at them.
Daphne hugs Domino and the others gather around him patting him.
Daphne and Nancy grab his halter leading him back out of the woods.
Burt was looking as he first noticed movement in the far trees.
When they clear the tree line, he sees Domino, he jumps up and down on his good leg, swinging a crutch over his head.
Once they get to him Burt looks him over. "He sure is dirty. Where did you find him, the swamp?"
Daphne patting Domino's neck. "He was in the brush not far inside the woods."
Burt hugs Domino then his sister. "I can't thank you enough. Thank you." With tears in his eyes as well as in others.
Larry was patting Domino. "Looks like he got some cuts." Pointing at Domino's legs.
Burt and Daphne look closer.
"Yep looks like barb wire cuts. I better call Dr. Stag." Pulls out his cell phone calling his Vet.
At an Immediate medical facility in town. Abrasions on his face arms and legs treated with an antibiotic ointment after being cleaned up by the nurse.
"This tetanus shot should take care of any problem you might have. How did you get those barb wire punctures by the way?" The nurse stuck his arm with a needle, looking at his ripped dried mud-encrusted pants, blue and white soccer shirt.
"Helping a friend. Didn't see the wire when I went through."