Authors: Angela Dorsey
Tags: #pony, #horse, #angel, #dream, #thomas, #silver, #guardian, #dorsey, #joanna, #angela, #angelica
There it was, the barn. Now to get
inside and find Thunder. They had so many ponies here. Hopefully,
he’d recognize the white gelding when he saw him. His memory wasn’t
what it once was, but surely he’d know Thunder the moment he saw
him. Guilt had seared the pony’s appearance into his brain.
How happy Kathy was going to be when
Thunder joined the others, especially now that she’d rediscovered
her love for horses. So good to see the reblossoming of her
passion. He’d enjoyed seeing Dancer especially react to her care.
It was amazing how calm the big stallion was around her. She
definitely had a way with horses, once she opened her heart to
them. Of course, he didn’t blame her for being cautious to begin
with. After all, they’d been taken away once before. But now she
seemed the same loving girl she’d always been. And having her
Thunder back home would help her repair her broken heart even more.
He was the ultimate surprise.
But enough daydreaming. He needed to
concentrate on the task at hand, or he’d never find the pony. Then,
after locating him, he had to get Thunder away without being
detected. So many things to think of, and he was so, so tired.
“What about Grandpa? Shouldn’t we go
find him?” Cally asked, desperately.
“This might be our only chance
to find David before your parents come tomorrow,” said Joanna.
“Your grandpa would get in a lot more trouble if people knew he was
kidnapping teenagers too. Stealing horses isn’t as serious as
Angelica nodded. “Joanna is
right. Also, if a horse needs my help, I will know, and will go
quickly to their aid. If no horse calls, we will still go find your
grandfather as soon as David is safe.” She bent to look under the
Cally exchanged a look with
Joanna, her forehead furrowed.
Joanna shrugged in response. It
didn’t make sense to her either.
Quickly, they explored the rest
of the bedroom but found no more signs that David had been
“Now what?” asked Joanna,
plopping down on the bedside chair. There was nowhere left to
“Are there any more rooms that
might not be obvious, Cally? An attic maybe?” asked Angelica, her
words coming quickly.
Cally sighed. “I imagine there’s
a space up there, but I don’t know how to access it.”
“A basement?” asked Joanna.
“Maybe,” Cally said slowly, as
if trying to recall. “In the kitchen, there’s a trapdoor. I asked
Grandpa about it when I was little, and I think he said it was the
crawlspace under the house.”
Angelica rushed out of the
bedroom door, and Joanna and Cally hurried after her. When they got
to the kitchen, the older girl was standing in the center of the
room looking wildly about.
“I think it’s under the rug,”
said Cally, pointing, and Angelica flung the braided rug aside. A
heavy trap door, covered with the same worn linoleum as the kitchen
floor, lay beneath the rug. Angelica grabbed the rusty ring set in
the door and jerked upward. At first the trapdoor didn’t move, then
finally, accompanied by a loud shriek from the hinges, she was able
to raise it. She let it fall back against the floor, then knelt
over the black hole.
“David! David, are you
A rustling came from the hole.
In an instant, Angelica disappeared into the dark abyss.
Joanna looked at Cally. “Do you
have a flashlight?”
“We have candles.” She opened a
cupboard near the sink, brought out a candle and matches, then lit
it with a trembling hand. Joanna took the meagre light and moved it
low over the hole. A rickety ladder descended into the depths.
“Here, hold this,” she said,
giving the candle back to Cally. “Then hand it down to me when I
reach the bottom.”
Joanna was infinitely relieved
that none of the rungs gave way beneath her feet as she started to
descend. The ladder seemed to have no end. She kept going down,
down, while the square opening at the top got farther away, the
light from the candle more distant, less effective. This was a lot
more than a simple crawlspace. It was a cellar.
“You’re getting too far down,”
Cally called. “I won’t be able to give you the candle.”
But Joanna could see Angelica
bent over the ground below her now, despite there being no obvious
source of light. Maybe there was a window somewhere that let in the
moonlight? “It’s okay,” she called up to Cally. “It’s not as dark
down here as I thought.”
“Should I come down?”
Joanna jumped down beside
Angelica. It was then that she noticed the dark form sprawled on
the ground near the bottom of the ladder.
The dark form groaned. Rolled
“Joanna? Angelica? Do you want
me to come down?” Cally asked again, her voice shrill. Of course,
she wouldn’t be able to see them from the well-lit kitchen.
“No, stay there,” said Joanna.
“We might need you to phone for an ambulance.”
“Is he okay?”
“Just a sec. I’ll let you know.”
Joanna knelt beside Angelica. “Is he okay?” she asked, quietly.
Angelica merely nodded, her face
“My head.” David put one hand to
his temple, then tried to sit up. “Where am I?”
“Just close your eyes. Rest for
“Angelica, you came.” David
collapsed back to the ground. “I knew you would.”
Angelica looked up at Joanna
with golden eyes. “Joanna, can you go get the candle from
“Sure.” Joanna hurried to the
ladder, glad to have something to do.
Cally was waiting for her at the
top of the ladder, her eyes full of tears and her face alabaster
pale. “Is he okay?”
“He’s talking, so that’s a good
sign. We’ll be able to tell more when we can see him clearly.” She
held out her hand for the candle. The flame jumped and trembled in
Cally’s shaking hand as she gave it to Joanna. “Everything will be
alright,” added Joanna, sympathetically. Cally was a wreck – but
who could blame her? It must be harsh to think your grandfather
could hurt someone.
“Promise he’ll be alright?”
“He has to be.”
Carefully, she descended the
ladder, her descent much slower now with the candle in her hand.
With her feet finally on solid ground, Joanna lowered the candle to
look at David.
The teenaged boy had dark eyes,
and seemed about average build and height. Dirt smudged his face
and his black hair stuck up all over. A dark line had dried on his
face – blood from his head. But other than that, he looked okay.
His face was relaxed and not too pale. He even smiled up at
“Do you think you can climb the
ladder?” Angelica asked, taking her hands from his head.
“Sure. I feel a lot better.
Thanks.” The boy rose to his feet. “I’m David,” he said to
“Thanks for rescuing me, both of
“Do you remember what happened?”
“I was driving late last night.”
He looked at Angelica. “You remember how I always wanted to be a
vet? Well, I was accepted at the University and so I was on my way
Angelica touched his arm.
“That’s wonderful, David.”
“Thanks. Anyway, I took a detour
to visit a friend and left his house late. I was driving back to
the highway when I came around a corner and almost struck a horse
and rider galloping down the middle of the road. I swerved just in
time, but my car went into the ditch.”
“It was Tango and Mr. Thomas
that you saw,” said Angelica. “He is the man who later captured
“Too bad I didn’t know that when
I came here to ask to use his phone.” A shiver coursed through
David’s body. “At first he was okay, acting a little confused, but
okay. But then he seemed to recognize me and he became furious. He
kept calling me Graham, and dragged me off to his house, then
pushed me down this hole. He’s strong for an old guy.”
“You hit your head when you
fell,” said Angelica. It wasn’t a question.
“I must have. I don’t remember
much after that. Once I thought I heard a girl’s voice come from
above, though. Was that you?”
“No. You must’ve heard Cally.
She’s upstairs. She’s Mr. Thomas’s granddaughter.”
“I tried to yell when I heard
her, but the pain knocked me out again. The next thing I knew, I
was looking up at you, Angelica. If you hadn’t come…”
“I will always come when you
need me,” said Angelica. “Though I am sorry that it took so long to
find you. But now, we should go. Mr. Thomas could be back any
When Joanna raised the candle to
light David’s way to the ladder, the cellar was further
illuminated. The dark space was freaky, like something out of a
horror film. Shelves of filthy jars and cans lined the walls, boxes
were piled everywhere, and some large, sheet covered lumps sat off
to one side – or at least Joanna thought they were covered with
sheets. They were so dusty she couldn’t be sure.
“I’ll be happy to get out of
here.” David quickly climbed the ladder. He must be feeling a
“I can take the candle and will
follow you up the ladder,” said Angelica to Joanna.
Joanna handed the tiny flame to
Angelica. They hadn’t needed the candle at all really, so why had
Angelica sent her up to get it? She started to climb. To keep her
occupied while she helped David? To stop Joanna from worrying?
In the kitchen, David introduced
himself to Cally, then asked her where the bathroom was. Cally
blushed as she gave him directions, and David hurried down the
“So we have more information,
Cally,” said Angelica, placing the extinguished candle on the
counter. “The name your grandfather called David.”
“Graham. I remember now too.
That was the name I heard Mr. Thomas yell,” said Joanna.
“I’ve heard Grandpa talk about a
Graham before,” Cally said. “But I don’t know who he is.”
“He would be a man from your
grandfather’s past, I think,” Angelica said. “Someone who possibly
looks a bit like David.”
“My mom told me a story once.
Maybe that will give us some clues. Years ago, Grandpa raised
racehorses, and he had a long run of bad luck where none of his
horses won anything. He tried everything, but even his best horse,
Dancer, lost every race right at the worst time. Grandpa went broke
and all his horses were sold at auction.”
“I heard the same story,” Joanna
“But there’s more you probably
don’t know. Mom said that later, Grandpa became certain that
Dancer’s groom was really working secretly for another farm. No one
believed him because there wasn’t any proof, but I guess Grandpa
suspected because Dancer never lost a race after that. He became
really famous actually, and made his new owner super rich.”
“That’s not fair,” Joanna
“Are you saying that your
grandfather believes the man who bought Dancer paid the groom – I
suppose his name was Graham – to sabotage Dancer’s races?”
“Yeah, so he could buy Dancer.
Grandpa wouldn’t have sold him if he had any choice. But as I said,
there’s no proof.”
“But I think he’s right,” said a
Angelica, Joanna, and Cally
turned to see David standing in the doorway, his hair under control
and the dirt and dried blood gone from his face.
“And yes, he thinks Graham is
the groom that drugged his horses so they wouldn’t win any races,”
David added. “The old guy accused me of a lot of things as he
dragged me to the house, like that I was bragging to others about
what I did. He said that Williams, the guy who bought Dancer, paid
me off to get rid of me, so I wouldn’t accidentally tell the wrong
person that we’d contrived to steal his horses, but now that he’d
finally found me he’d make me confess to the police what Williams
and I really did.”