Authors: Angela Dorsey
Tags: #pony, #horse, #angel, #dream, #thomas, #silver, #guardian, #dorsey, #joanna, #angela, #angelica
Silver Sky’s hooves sounded like a
heartbeat as he trod along the trail, making the forest seem alive.
The trees that lined the property edge grew close together, and it
was pitch black beneath their canopy. Joanna wasn’t worried though.
Robbie, Jason, and her dad had widened the trail, cleared it out so
that two ponies could walk beside one other. No branches would
sweep her from the saddle.
She inhaled the sharp scent of
pine, glad that she hadn’t gone straight home. What would she do
there? Watch TV? Read? Boring! Or at least boring by comparison to
riding a beautiful white pony along a forest trail at night.
Especially when that pony was Silver Sky. She bent forward to
stroke his neck. “You’re so awesome, Sky. And I’m so lucky! How
many horse crazy girls get to live on a pony farm?”
They rounded a bend in the
trail, and Joanna’s eyes tracked the lights through the trees to
her right – the neighbour’s house on the property that backed their
farm. She didn’t know Mr. Thomas, the man who lived there, very
His porch light was on and was
so bright that the house seemed even closer than usual to the fence
dividing their properties. Joanna pulled Silver Sky to a halt. She
hadn’t heard people talk about Mr. Thomas for a long time, but she
heard stories when she was young. Apparently, he’d once raised
racehorses on this land, but then had a run of bad luck and the
bank sold them all to pay his debts. Everyone said he was lucky to
not lose his land too. In Joanna’s mind, it was almost too bad he
hadn’t, especially with Robbie and her dad keeping their farm so
nice. Mr. Thomas’s land could look just as good, but instead, over
the years, she’d watched the buildings slowly collapse with
neglect. The last time she’d looked, only the house and one
dilapidated shed still stood. That was it. Sad after what the farm
must have once been.
She heard a thump and Silver
Sky’s ears whipped toward Mr. Thomas’s house. A hushed neigh
floated toward them.
Joanna tensed. Mr. Thomas didn’t
have any horses that she knew of.
Silver Sky snorted and tossed
his head, but there was no response. Had the soft neigh been a
trick of the forest, bending a whinny from the fillies so it seemed
to come from another direction?
Really, a horse at Mr. Thomas’s
place seemed ridiculous. Where would he keep it?
Silver Sky bobbed his head,
ready to continue. “Walk on,” murmured Joanna.
There was only one place to
stable a horse on the property – in the rickety old shed that
wasn’t remotely suitable for a horse.
Should she tell someone what
It probably wouldn’t do any
good. She could already imagine her dad saying that Mr. Thomas
owned horses long before she was even born, and certainly knew how
to care for them. Even worse, Robbie would laugh at her. And
besides, there was nothing wrong with Mr. Thomas having a
Unless the horse wasn’t safe in
could do. She could find out what the whinny meant. Tonight. If she
had proof a horse was in an unsafe situation, they’d listen to
Her dad’s silhouette was dark
against the lights of the barn as he walked toward the gate. “How
were the fillies? I was getting worried.”
“They’re fine. I just took the
long way home, through the woods.”
“Next time let me know first,
okay? I thought something happened.” Her dad reached the gate and
opened it so Joanna and Silver Sky could ride through.
“I will,” said Joanna.
“How was Sky?”
“Perfect.” She slid from the
pony’s saddle when they reached the front of the barn. “Thanks for
letting me ride him, Dad. He’s awesome.”
Her dad smiled and ruffled her
hair. “Not a problem, kiddo.”
Tango, I hear you. Yes, it is I,
Angelica. I feel your anxiety. Your nervousness. Someone you do not
know has just stepped inside your stall.
My dear, I am sorry I cannot come this
instant. All my energy is being used in trying to help Erin and
Talent, as they face Erin’s kidnappers. I cannot abandon them
You say the man does not seem unkind.
He speaks to you softly. He strokes your forehead, your neck, your
back, with a gentle hand? You say you are feeling more comfortable
with him now?
Tango, I do not wish to destroy your
peace, but ruthless acts can still be done with a soft hand and
kind words. As soon as I am able, I will come. Be wary of this
stranger until you are sure of his intent.
Until then, my dear, be careful.
At last, his beautiful Dancer was
standing before him. The man brushed tears from his cheeks. How
he’d dreamed of this day. How he’d ached for this moment when he’d
be reunited with his beloved horse. Now he would bring Dancer home
where he belonged.
The old man reached up and took the
horse’s face between his trembling hands. “I’m sorry I took so long
to come for you,” he whispered.
Dancer pulled away and cast his gaze
nervously about. He didn’t remember his former owner. But it didn’t
matter. He would, given time. After all, they hadn’t been apart for
that long. Mere weeks. Or had it been months? He wasn’t sure
The man slipped the bit into the
horse’s mouth and the headstall on his noble head. The leather was
stiff – that must be why the bridle seemed too small. With
throbbing fingers, he forced the leather to bend enough to
unbuckle, then rebuckled the headstall so it was bigger. That was
better. Dancer looked more comfortable now.
The man undid the catch on the stall
and led the stallion out, then down the barn aisle. He’d come in
through an open window, but with the horse there seemed only two
ways out of the barn – massive double doors on either end of the
barn aisle. He would use the double door closest to the parking lot
and road, but even then their getaway would have to be quick if
they didn’t want to be seen.
At the big double doors, the man undid
the latch and pushed with both hands.
Alarms blasted around them! Dancer
reared up, then jumped back, his eyes wild.
Steady, boy. Steady.” The man
followed the horse as he skittered backward, deeper into the
The grooms would be there in a minute,
maybe two at the most. He didn’t have time to panic. Other than
leave Dancer behind, there was only one thing he could do, and he
had to keep his head about him if he was going to succeed.
The man led the horse back to his stall
at a trot. As he suspected, the stallion calmed immediately. He
felt safe in his stall. Using the upturned water bucket, the man
slid onto the shiny bare back.
Let’s go!” He dug his heels into the
Dancer leapt forward as if he were
coming out of a starting gate. The man managed to turn him just
before he ran into the wash stall across the wide aisle, and then
they were galloping toward the doors he’d already opened.
Within moments they were outside,
racing down the driveway and onto the road – and not a single soul
in sight to witness their escape, despite the alarm. They were all
too slow. Even Graham. Ha!
As they galloped around a corner in the
road, the alarm stopped. Distant shouts ricocheted through the air.
But the grooms were far, far too late. No one had seen him, and the
man was sure the sound of the alarm and subsequent shouting had
covered the sound of Dancer’s hoof beats on the asphalt. And on the
road, they would leave no tracks. The grooms wouldn’t know where to
start looking for the horse.
If only Graham was the one who found
the stall empty. Then it would be up to him to tell Williams that
Dancer was gone. That would be perfect. He’d give almost anything
to see Williams’ face at that moment: the dismay, the fear of being
But he needed to stop fixating on
Graham and Williams. Not only was petty revenge beneath him, but
also it had nothing to do with why he’d done this. He’d taken back
the magnificent Thoroughbred stallion because Dancer was rightfully
his. And this time, he would never let him go. It was that
The night was cold and clear. Stars
gleamed overhead as Joanna lowered herself carefully out her first
story window. She landed among her mom’s planted daisies, poppies,
and marigolds with a gentle thump.
“Noah,” she whispered, hunkering
down beneath her window. She had to let the dog know she was there
before she started wandering about. Otherwise, he might bark before
recognizing her, and wake up her parents. “Noah. Here boy.”
Snuffling in the dark. It was
he. Or at least she hoped so!
There was no light from the
house behind her – she hadn’t wanted to risk leaving her bedroom
light on – and the black lab was invisible in the night.
Something warm and wet touched
her hand. He’d licked her!
Silently, she scratched the old
dog behind his ears. He wasn’t much use as a guard dog any more,
“You stay home and guard the
house, Noah.” She rose to her feet. “Now, stay. Stay.”
Slowly she backed away. The dog
Joanna heard him groan and
smiled. He must have lain down. Ever since he was a puppy, he’d
always groaned whenever he plopped to the ground.
“Good boy. Now stay,” she added,
even though she knew he wouldn’t need the reminder. He’d probably
still be lying there when she got back, hours from now. She turned
and hurried into the night.
The barn was closed tight.
Joanna slipped in through a side door and grabbed a flashlight that
was kept there for emergencies. A chorus of whinnies greeted her,
and she smiled. Surely, they didn’t all think it was breakfast
time. It was amazing how much ponies focused on their stomachs.
“Ravie,” she said in a singsong
voice as she approached her pony’s stall. His whinny was deep for a
small pony. Across the barn aisle, Silver Sky whinnied to her as
“Not tonight, Sky. Sorry.” In
the stall beside Raven’s, Silver Belle greeted her as well. Joanna
stopped to pat the mare on her neck. “I’m glad you’re feeling
Her foal, Silver Chime, leapt up
from her soft straw bed. Joanna laughed when the filly thrust her
head over the stall door to be petted. She was such a beauty, and
one day would be a champion, just like the other ponies raised on
their farm. What she liked best about this one though, was her
personality. In fact, this filly was a lot like her sire, Silver
Sky – energetic and athletic, with a quirky sense of humour. Joanna
always wanted to call the filly Crime instead of Chime, because she
was constantly pestering the other foals, trying to get them to