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Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #582420
A story of a child being taught a lesson on how to take care of things.
Precious Things

The autumn air was cool and crisp. The trees were covered with the most splendid colors. It was a perfect day. The trees flew by in a blur as the blue sedan flew down the road. As the pavement ended and vehicle hit the ground a voice came from the back seat, “Mom, how much longer will it be?” The plaintive voice belonged to a small boy around age twelve with sandy blonde hair. “Only a little longer, Steven,” answered his mother back. On the other side of the back seat sat another boy, he was a year older with light brown hair. The older of the two, he sat listening to his music and not bothering anybody. The car rumbled down the road and then stopped in front of a large iron gate.

The gates were set into an immense stone arch. The once bright bricks had faded into blurred obscurity. The Arch was set into a wall that was at least six feet tall and topped by a row of rather sharp looking spikes. The iron gates were made with shapes set inside them, each side bearing the design of a rearing horse. Carved into the stone were the words, “Agate Estates est. 1840.”

Steven looked out his window and through the gates. Atop a rise sat a magnificent mansion. On either side was a large tower. Above the entrance was a colossal stained glass window, depicting horses grazing in a field. Ivy seemed to cover any available space on the front of the mansion. To the right sat a stable, the weathered wood adding an elegant beauty. The roofs of both the stable and mansion were of red tiles that still after years of punishment gave it a look of class.

The mother pulled an iron key out of her pocket and walked to the gate; she pushed the key into the keyhole and turned. At first, it seemed nothing happened then with a clang, the gates opened. She got back into the car and began to drive up the driveway towards the mansion.

Kyle the older brother looked up just as they passed the stable and his mouth widened. “That will be a neat place to explore!” he thought. Then the car stopped once more and they got out of the car. All three looked up mouths hanging open in awe at this magnificent building, and it was all theirs.

An hour later, the father arrived with U-Haul trailer and they began to unpack all their stuff. The house was already furnished so they did not have to bring any furniture. When they finished bring the boxes in and putting them into their right rooms the father took off into the nearby town to return the trailer.

It was getting dark so they decided to save unpacking for tomorrow. The mother went to the basement and found the fuse box with a flashlight. She flicked the master switch and the house lit up. The lights in the halls flickered on bathing the house in an inviting golden glow. In the dining room, crystal chandelier bathed the room in platinum light. The two children ran up the master staircase and into what was to be their rooms. Now there was only a bed a dresser in each but soon they would be able to unpack all their stuff.

That night at dinner the father began telling them, “I want you two to be careful you can explore wherever you want but if the floor looks cracked or anything like that don’t go there or ask me or mom to go with you, promise?” Both kids replied, “I promise!”

The next day Kyle went outside after breakfast to go explore the fields and the stable while Steven decided he wanted to explore the attic. The attic was huge it was as long as the whole house. It had lots of chests and boxes but only one really caught his eye. It was a small back box with a brass lock on it. He walked over to it and tapped it once. The box immediately sprang open revealing inside a small statute on a marble base. It was a horse, an Arabian to be exact. Carved in very intricate details and must have been very precious. He closed the small box and began walking away. He walked down the stairs and into his room; .He closed the door and took the small statue out onto his bed. It was very beautiful.

After he looked at it for a little while, he heard his mother call for lunch.

“So, did you have fun exploring today?” Their mother asked.

“Oh yes, definitely.” Both the brothers answered.
The mother smiled and continued to eat.

After lunch, it was time to unpack. Steven groaned as he walked up the stairs but he was done in only a few hours. But by then it was dinnertime. After that, the family went to the living room to watch some television. After a few hours, the two brothers were sent to bed. Kyle went into his room closed the door and turned his stereo on quietly. Steven closed his door and took the statue out again. He decided that tomorrow he would show it to his parents.

The next morning Steven woke up and opened his door, it seemed that his brother had already left. He was carrying the statue in his hand and walking down the stairs when suddenly he tripped. The statue flew through the air to land suddenly at the foot of the steps. When it hit the ground, the statue smashed into a million pieces. The base was all that was left. He began to cry a little but he did not want his parents mad so he went and got a broom and a bag he swept the statue into the bag and ran up the stairs back to his room.

He closed the door and plopped onto his bed, this was the worst possible thing. The statue had been beautiful and he knew that his brother would have loved it. Now it was just dust. “Maybe something would be in the box,” he thought. He went over to the box and looked inside, their lay an old looking piece of parchment. “That hadn’t been there before,” he thought. He picked it up; it was blank on both sides. He took it and the box over to his bed and laid it down. He was just staring when suddenly words began to materialize on it from nowhere.
It read, “You have broken something precious…it cannot be easily replaced…you need to be taught a lesson…how to treat other peoples’ things. A tooth for a tooth an eye for an eye…I should destroy something you find precious, but I am not cruel. Take the bag and this piece of parchment to the field near the stables this is where it shall begin.”

Steven immediately considered just not going so the punishment could not begin but then he thought better. It had already been done by magic so it could be worse if he did not go. He grabbed the bag and the piece of parchment, and went down the stairs and began walking towards the stables.
Kyle was looking around the field it had fallen fallow. The fences had pieces missing and the field was almost completely weeds, the stable was still in remarkable condition. Steven had reach the stable and looked at the parchment. It read. “Read these words, ‘Eqqus, Solamnis, Nordira, and Pareceus’.” Steven muddled through the words and when he finished the bag containing the statues dust flew open. The dust flew out of the bag and flew into the field to where Kyle was standing he looked up just into time to see the dust fly down at him. It began to swirl around forming a vortex. It became a whirlpool, light seemed to bend into it making it completely black. The vortex stopped spinning and beam of light shot out of it and flew into the stable it hit a small green crystal set into the stable wall in a bright flash of pure white light the: stable, field and fence became brand new; in the pasture stood a beautiful but very startled looking white Arabian horse.

Steven was speechless he had not know what to expect but this was certainly not it. His brother was a horse. This was what most children hoped for, their brother disappearing, yet they did not really want it. He ran to the house.
“Mom! Mom, something happened to Kyle.” He yelled
“Don’t you remember honey; Kyle is away at camp for the summer.” His mother answered. His jaw literally dropped. This meant that the spell changed his parent’s memory so that this would work. He ran back outside to the stable and picked up the piece of parchment. It now read, “You have three weeks if you can take care of your brother then all will be forgiven, if not well…he will remain his current form.” Steven looked at his brother the horse. He realized that for all this he really did not know how to take care of a horse. He picked up the piece of parchment and said,
“I don’t know how to take care of a horse?”
The parchment then read, “I will take pity and help you I will give you direction but you must do them yourself.” Steven nodded at this.

The parchment soon had directions on it like watering, feeding, cleaning, and how much time outside and inside. He went to the other side of the stable and found it stocked with hay and grain. Luckily, it seemed that it was set up so that he would just have to do the work. He took the parchment and placed on a clipboard that was hanging in the stable.

For the afternoon, he had to set up the stall. He walked over and found only one with a door and looking inside he found a pile shavings and two buckets. Outside was a shovel he took the shovel and got to work spreading the shavings. After his finished, he took the buckets one read and one blue and hung them on two hooks that were set into the wall. He went back and checked the clipboard now it said to fill the blue bucket with water. He went back to the stall and noticed a hose coiled nearby. He picked it up and placed it in the bucket. There was knob on the nozzle, he twisted it, and water began to pour into the bucket. After he finished he looked outside and the sun had moved fairly far across the sky. He did not realize how long he had been working. He lifted his sleeve and wiped his brow. It had been hard work but he did not really seem to mind it.

“Steeeven, come inside for lunch.” He heard his mother call. Before leaving he checked the clipboard and everything needed to done so far was done. He walked up to the house, walked inside, and sat down at the table.

“Did you have fun today, Steven?” His mother queried.

“Yeah, lots.” He answered. His mother placed a sandwich on plate and a bowl of soup in front of him.

“What have you been doing all morning?” His mother asked. Not sure if the spell would explain him having a horse he spoke carefully,

“I was just playing in the stable.” His mother looked at him and then asked,

“Have you taken care of the horse?” Steven breathed a sigh of relief and nodded. He began eating not hurrying but not too slowly, because he wanted to go back down.

After he finished eating he almost ran back down to the stable, he went and looked at the clipboard, it did not have anything to do until it was time to bring the horse in. It then occurred to Steven that he could not call his brother Kyle now, it would seem too suspicious. “What could I call him…?” He thought to himself. “I’ll go and try a few and see what he likes!” This seemed like a good idea as he said it aloud. He quickly walked outside. When he got to the fence, he said,

“What do you think I should call you? Moon, Spirit, hmm… maybe…how about Haze?” At this Kyle, the Horse snorted.

“Okay sounds good from now on I’ll call you haze,” Steven said. This seemed to work for everyone. So with that finished he walked back to the house. He sat down to watch some TV a little while later he fell asleep.

When he woke up the sun was beginning to set and he rushed out through the door before his mother could even say a word. He went down and checked the clipboard. It explained how to bring Haze in. First Steven walked tot eh stall area and opened the stall door. On the outside now sat a halter and a lead line. Steven walked out through the stable to the indoor fence gate. He opened it and entered, closing it behind him. Haze stood on the other side of the field; he eyed Steven very carefully watching his every move. Steven walked slowly towards Haze who stood still the whole time. Then when he was only eight feet away, Haze took off at a trot, kicking up dust behind him. They continued this dance for about fifteen minutes. If a horse could laugh, Haze was doing it. Now it was dusk and Haze had had his fun. He allowed Steven to after a few tries to buckle the halter into place and attach the lead line. Steven led him into the nice clean stall and closed the door. Now it was time to feed. Looking at the clipboard, he learned that he was supposed to give Haze two flakes of hay and one scoop of grain. This is how it went for the next couple of days then the stall needed to be cleaned. Directions once again appeared along with a shovel and wheelbarrow. This took him a while but when he was finished, he realized it would not need to be done for a few more days at least. This was his daily schedule pretty much. On the third day of the second week, a new event took place, for the first time it rained. This of course meant there was mud, and lots of it. This of course made haze very happy. He rolled the whole day. When Steven brought him in, he could not tell if there was more mud or horse. So he checked the clipboard and it now explained cleaning. When Steven entered the stall room now there was a grooming set laid out neatly and a set of lines and clamps to hold the horse in place. Steven brought Haze out and put him in place. Haze was at least dry since it had quit raining which helped a lot. Steven started with a currycomb and started to clean the mud off, after that, he used a brush to clean the dust off. A metal comb helped pull the kinks out of his mane and tail. Finally, he used a hoof pick to clean Haze’s hooves.

Now he ended up grooming Haze every other day. Mostly too increase his workload that was set by the clipboard and because he enjoyed it. The rest of the two weeks went very smoothly. On the last night as he cleaned the stall a last time and groomed haze of the last time a storm was brewing in the sky. When Steven checked the clipboard a last time it read, “Good Job.” With that, it began to burn and in a few minutes was nothing but a pile of ashes. A streak of lightning struck Haze right then in a brilliant flash, the stable was once again old and dilapidated and Kyle was now standing inside a stall. Everything was back to normal, except now Steven missed taking care of Haze. He returned to his room and looked on his bed to find the statue sitting there, brand new; looking like it had never been broken. Underneath it laid a note. It read, “If you really miss your horse take this statue to the stable tomorrow at noon and place it in the stall.” Overjoyed Steven went to bed that night but could not sleep a wink. The next day at noon he took the statue to the stall and placed it in their. As the clock struck twelve, another flash of bright light filled the stable. Then there was a horse standing in the stall.

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