Authors: Angela Dorsey
Tags: #pony, #horse, #angel, #dream, #thomas, #silver, #guardian, #dorsey, #joanna, #angela, #angelica
Halfway across the field, Joanna
looked back, and gasped. Silhouetted against the lights from the
distant house were two figures, a man and a girl. Joanna dropped
down into the long grass, pulling the teenager down with her.
Had they seen the two running
Hopefully the lights from the
house were too weak this far out in the field.
Please make them turn away.
Please make them go back to the house.
She squeezed her eyes
Please, please, please.
She’d give anything to be back
in her own woods with Raven right now. Or in her own bed, Raven
safe in his stall. But then what would’ve happened to this strange
As long as Mr. Thomas and the
girl turned toward the house, she’d be glad she came, Joanna
decided. But first they had to turn toward the house.
Thank goodness for this girl. The man’s
grip was iron strong. I would not have been able to wrench free
without my light surprising him. It was too much at once – the
healing of Tango’s legs, then the glowing. I would not have had the
strength to run alone.
But this girl was there, ready to save
me. A miracle. I am forever grateful to her, and to the forces that
brought her to this shed at my needful time.
I see the two behind us, scouring the
darkness with their eyes, but do not feel their gaze. We are hidden
in the night. For that too, I am grateful.
This girl is brave. She could be a
great help. I wonder if she will return with me, when the man and
his granddaughter have gone to their rest, to help me search for
David. Once I am no longer weak. Once I have been rejuvenated.
Beside him, Kathy said something, but he
didn’t catch what. He strained to hear movement from the strange
creature he’d almost captured. She’d looked like a sixteen or
seventeen-year-old girl, but he knew she wasn’t. She was something
else altogether. Something not even human.
She’s gone, Grandpa. You should go
How could he? He couldn’t leave the
horses with that creature about. God only knew what she’d do to
I can stay with the horses if you
No.” That thought was even more
unbearable. If something happened to Kathy, he would never forgive
But Grandpa, I can take care of the
horses. Really. I’m sure that girl won’t be back, so I’ll be okay.
And you need your rest.”
Why do you call me that?”
Grandpa.” He yawned. He was so
tired, he could hardly think straight. Maybe she hadn’t called him
Grandpa. Maybe he just imagined it.
See? You’re so exhausted that you’re
forgetting things.” When he didn’t answer her, she added, “I’m sure
the horses will be okay if you lock their shed.”
He perked up at this. Kathy was right.
He could sleep soundly if the stable was securely locked – and if
she came inside with him. He wouldn’t leave her unprotected again.
Though he couldn’t remember why…
What crazy dreams he’d been having!
Graham walking into his yard? That would never happen. A teenaged
girl attacking the horses? How silly could he get?
Kathy seemed almost too relieved when
he told her he’d try to get some sleep, throwing her arms around
his waist and hugging him fiercely. “I love you, Grandpa.”
He was so touched he didn’t have the
heart to remind her he was her father, not her grandfather. He’d
deal with that tomorrow, if it happened again.
Joanna’s flashlight was dead by the time
they reached the fence between the two properties. She helped the
weak teenager through the rails, then continued to lead her through
“Ravie,” she whispered, when
they stepped out on the trail.
His nicker was to her right.
“This way,” she said to the
stranger. “He can give you a ride back to my house.”
“Thank you, but I cannot leave
yet.” The girl’s reply was soft, lilting and musical. It had been
her voice Joanna heard inside the shed. Who was she? Why was she
there? Had she been investigating the horse in the shed too?
When they reached the black
pony, the teenager slumped against his neck.
“I think you should come back to
my house. My mom and dad can take you to a doctor.”
“I will be fine after I rest for
a moment.” The girl lowered to the ground at the pony’s head. “I am
tired, that is all.”
Boughs whispered in the night
breeze, the trees swayed softly, and a mouse rustled in the
undergrowth. The girl’s breath slowed. Calmed. There were no sounds
that didn’t belong – thank goodness. They weren’t being
“What were you doing there?”
“I came to help a friend, but
the girl saw me. She screamed and the man ran to save her. He is
“So how’d you get away?”
“I… uh, surprised him and was
able to twist away from his grasp. Then you came to help me. Thank
you so much. What is your name?”
“I am Angelica. Thank you very
much, Joanna, for saving me. And thank you too, Raven.” The girl
rose gracefully to her feet, and hugged the pony around his
“Was the horse in the shed
okay?” Joanna paused. “Hey, how do you know Raven’s name?”
“You said ‘Ravie’ when we
approached him, remember?” She turned to face Joanna in the dark.
“I need your help. Can you help me?”
“The horse in the shed is being
abused, isn’t it?”
“I am afraid there is not one
horse in the shed, but three.”
“Three? In that tiny little
“Yes. Three stolen horses.”
“I am afraid so. But that is not
what I need your help with.”
“What’s more important than
“My friend David, he was there
too, but now he is gone. I am afraid something has happened to him.
I am afraid the man that lives there did something to him.”
“I heard Mr. Thomas and another
guy yelling at each other,” Joanna said. “Mr. Thomas called the
other guy a different name. I can’t remember what now, but then the
other guy said no, his name was David.”
“Did you see what happened
“No. Sorry. They just got quiet
and then I heard a door shut and the lights came on in the house.
Maybe they went inside to talk or something, and then he left.”
“I do not think so.” Angelica’s
voice was slow and thoughtful. “I believe Mr. Thomas has done
something to him. Something unkind.”
Joanna shook her head. “Mr.
Thomas isn’t mean or anything.” She drew in a sharp breath. “But
then he’s never stolen horses before either.”
“Will you help me, Joanna?”
Joanna hesitated. She didn’t
even know this girl. But if Mr. Thomas had three stolen horses in
his shed – three! –
possibly had hurt Angelica’s friend,
could she really refuse? “I’m not sure what I can do,” she finally
said. “But I’ll try.”
Kathy was in bed. The horses were locked
safely away. Finally he could sleep. He lowered his bulk into his
bed, lay back, and closed his eyes, all the while dreading what he
knew would happen.
Immediately he felt he was falling
backward, spiralling downward into the abyss. He jerked his eyes
open. No, he was still in his room.
He closed his eyes again – and was
falling again. His eyes sprung open. This time he breathed deep a
few times before closing them. And still, when he closed them, he
fell. There was no use in fighting it. He might as well give in. He
was too tired and needed sleep too badly. So he would allow himself
to sleep, despite the dreams that would come again to remind him of
He fell. Down. Down. Down.
And then a sudden thought jerked him
out of his restless pose. There was a car in the ditch that he had
to move, before it was discovered. Or had someone asked him to move
it? He couldn’t remember.
But either way, the result was the
same. There would be no rest yet this night, which was just as
well. He hated this dream most of all – the horses standing about
him, boxing him in as they stared at him with flat grey eyes. They
were all coloured grey as well, as if they’d been standing there
for a hundred years and were covered with dust.
Always, after standing with the herd
for a few minutes, he’d suddenly notice Kathy standing yards behind
them. Seeing her was always the hardest part of the dream – the
tired, burdened look in her eyes as she stared at him,
disappointed. Even accusing.
He didn’t mean to ruin her childhood,
he’d plead. Again and again, he’d apologize and beg her
forgiveness. But she could never seem to hear him, and neither
could the horses. They’d just stare at him with their relentless,
unblinking eyes. Waiting for him to make it right.
He shuddered as he pulled his jeans
back on. The voiceless accusations weren’t the worst part. The
worst part came next, when the horses slowly parted and Kathy
walked through the herd toward him. She never spoke. Never did
anything other than look at him, but his own guilt beat like a drum
through his skull. He knew she was disappointed in him for good
reason. He was a failure.
He put his face in his hands, and tried
to clear the horrid images from his mind.
Thankfully, he didn’t have to
experience the dream tonight. Instead, he’d go get his truck and
tow that car out of the ditch before someone saw it. By the time he
was finished, the night would be gone, and hopefully he’d be able
to sleep during the day without the dream haunting him.
Then tomorrow night, surely this
torment would end – when Thunder was home. The dream would depart,
his guilt would disappear, and Kathy would be happy. Tomorrow
night, he would find peace.