Authors: Angela Dorsey
Tags: #pony, #horse, #angel, #dream, #thomas, #silver, #guardian, #dorsey, #joanna, #angela, #angelica
Robbie seemed bent on being even more
irritating than usual. First, he gloated because Joanna supposedly
hadn’t cleaned the stalls she was assigned as well as he’d done
his. Next, he harassed her because Silver Sky’s bridle didn’t look
as new as it had the day it was bought. Then he nagged her for not
taking good care of Raven because the pony seemed tired. When he
“accidentally” tipped over her wheelbarrow – after it was full of
manure – she almost lost it, but just then Dad came into the barn.
Instantly, Robbie became perfect again, even acting like he wanted
to help her scoop up the mess.
Joanna was so stressed by the
time he took Silver Sky out to the ring, that when her mom came
mincing out to the stable to invite her to the mall, Joanna almost
yelled at her. She had to get out to the woods to meet Angelica.
She counted to ten in her head,
before she spoke. “I can’t, Mom.”
“Sure you can, sweetie. I
already talked to your dad. He says you’ve been working like a pro
all morning and you deserve some time off.”
“But I promised a friend that
I’d go meet her in a few minutes.”
“And you know how important it
is to spend time with friends, Mom. Just like you do with your
friends every second Saturday.” Joanna almost smiled. That last
comment was a masterful stroke. Her mom treated her bi-weekly lunch
with her friends like a religious meeting.
“Don’t you see your friend in
“Uh, no. She doesn’t go to
“Who is she then? How did you
meet her?” Mom’s blue eyes were suddenly suspicious.
Now what could she say? “Uh,
she’s from… next door.”
“No. She’s staying with Mr.
Thomas. Her name’s Kathy.” Thank goodness Mr. Thomas had bellowed
her name last night.
Joanna kept her gaze steady as
she looked into her mom’s eyes. She wasn’t really lying. She
going to go to Kathy’s house, only it was with Angelica
to find David, not to visit. But Mom hadn’t asked her that.
“Well…” Her mom sighed. “I’ll
miss you, but I suppose friends are important too. Not as important
as family, but still important.”
“Thanks, Mom,” said Joanna,
blissfully ignoring her mom’s attempt to make her feel guilty. Even
if she wanted to go to the mall today, she couldn’t. She’d made a
promise. “I knew you’d understand. We’ll go next week, okay?”
“Next Saturday is my lunch with
my friends. But hey, why don’t you come with me? Becky, Jenny, and
Eva haven’t seen you since forever.”
“Sure,” said Joanna, trying not
to grimace. Lunch with her mom and her three chatty friends –
great. Today sure better be worth all the torture that was to
“And sweetie? Be sure to be home
by two. Jason and Capri are coming over for a late lunch.”
“Great,” said Joanna, and this
time she meant it. She loved when Jason came to visit, and the
whole family loved his new wife, Capri. She was one of the most fun
people Joanna knew.
After her mom left, Joanna set
to cleaning up the last of the spilled manure, and then tackled the
last dirty stall. Just a few more minutes and she’d be done.
Robbie sauntered into the barn,
leading a panting Silver Sky. He shoved the sweat-slicked reins
into her hand. “Take care of him. He needs to be cooled down.”
“What do you think I am? Your
servant?” This was too much, and Robbie knew it. Dad always
insisted that they cool down and be responsible for their own
“Fine,” said Robbie, jerking
back the reins. Silver Sky snorted and stepped back. Robbie spun
around and led the stallion away. “I just thought you might like
the opportunity to be useful around here for once. You know,
instead of just making more work for me and Dad. If you could at
least clean a stall properly, that would be something.”
Joanna’s teeth hurt she was
clenching her jaw so hard. She watched Robbie lead Silver Sky from
the barn, desperately trying to think of something – anything –
witty to say. “Yeah, well…” she said, but nothing more came to
mind. And then he was gone. Hot tears prickled her eyes. Why was he
so mean? It was as if he hated her or something, and all of a
sudden. He’d never been so cruel before. In fact, up until about
two weeks ago, he’d simply ignored her most of the time.
A loud whinny came from outside
and Joanna brushed her tears away. She had better things to do than
think about Robbie, things like taking the fillies their grain. Dad
had entrusted that precious chore to her this morning, and she
wanted to do a wonderful job. He needed to see she was responsible
enough to take care of the fillies all summer, and to realize that
despite Robbie’s opinion, she was helpful. Maybe Dad would even let
her take over some of their training. How wonderful that would
It was hard leaving the fillies so soon
after they finished their grain, but she knew Angelica was waiting
for her. Joanna rode Raven back along the trail through the woods.
When she reached the spot where she could see Mr. Thomas’s house
between the trees, she slid from his back and patted the pony’s
“Angelica, are you here?” She
didn’t call too loudly, in case her neighbour heard her.
Sunlight flashed on a fir tree,
snagging at the rough bark, and Angelica stepped out from behind
the trunk. Her blonde hair seemed even brighter than the sun’s
rays. “Yes, here I am.”
Joanna stepped back. No wonder
the girl next door had screamed when she first saw Angelica. Up
until now, it had been dark all the time Joanna was with the
teenager, so she hadn’t seen how freaky she looked in the light.
Her hair was long and blonde – that was normal – but her eyes were
like gold lumps in her face. And though she exuded no light, still
she seemed to glow with some unseen energy.
Power, that’s what it was. The
teenager radiated a strange, unearthly power.
“The granddaughter went into the
shed an hour ago. She has not come out,” Angelica continued. “I
have not seen the man or David all morning.”
“How… uh, how do we look for him
if the girl’s wandering around and Mr. Thomas is in the house?”
stammered Joanna. Angelica was the same girl she was with for hours
last night. She had to remember that. And besides, Raven liked her.
That had been evident right from the moment they met, and the dark
pony was an excellent judge of character.
Angelica sighed. “I do not know.
I was hoping you would have an idea.”
“Let’s get closer. Maybe we’ll
Joanna tied Raven firmly to a
sapling and gave him the bit of grain she’d saved from feeding the
fillies. Before leaving, she leaned close to the pony’s ear. “You
be good and don’t whinny,” she whispered. “We’ll be back as soon as
The two girls left Raven on the
trail, and crept through the woods toward Mr. Thomas’s property.
Moments later, they were through the fence and in the overgrown
field. Joanna glanced back in Raven’s direction, but she couldn’t
see him through the trees. He should be safe.
“Angelica, what do you think of
me talking to the girl?” Joanna whispered when they reached the
collapsed fence near the back of the shed.
“Do you think she would listen
to you? She might scream for help again, and she certainly can
“It might work because…” Joanna
paused. “Well, I’m not, you know, as
as you are.”
What a stupid thing to say. Now Angelica was going to imagine all
sorts of insults and be mad at her.
The golden haired girl smiled
ruefully. “It is very inconvenient at times, being noticeable.”
“Why are you sorry? You did not
make me that way.”
“Okay, I’m not really sorry.”
Joanna felt her facial muscles relax into a smile. “I’m glad you’re
not one of those people who throw fits every time I say something
“Your words are not stupid, only
A thump came from the shed and
both girls stilled, listened.
“So after I know she won’t tell
on us,” Joanna whispered, “I’ll ask her to help us find David.”
“And if she screams?”
“If Mr. Thomas comes running,
you can go in the back door of the house and quickly check if
Angelica shook her head. “I do
not know about this plan, Joanna. What if he hurts you too?”
“We don’t even know for sure he
hurt David,” Joanna said.
Angelica bit her lip as if
cutting off words.
“I’ll be okay,” Joanna
continued. “I’ll remind him I’m the neighbour’s kid, and tell him I
came to meet his granddaughter because she’s new in the area. Also,
if she doesn’t scream, just give me a couple minutes to talk to her
before you come into the shed, okay?”
Angelica breathed deeply. “Okay,
but please be very careful.”
“I will wait behind that pile of
debris.” Angelica pointed at a massive heap that was probably once
a stable. “And Joanna?”
“I thank you. I could not do
this without you.”
Joanna blushed. “No prob.”
The teenager hurried away.
Joanna waited until Angelica was out of sight, then gave her
another minute to find a good viewing spot. Finally she looked at
the shed and inhaled deeply.
How could she approach Kathy in
a way the girl would want to help them? If only she would be as
calm and understanding as Angelica – but somehow Joanna didn’t
think she would. She could imagine the girl’s scream already.
I send a prayer to please keep Joanna
She cannot imagine the strength of this
man. He had no problem overpowering David, who is much older than
Joanna, and much stronger. Even I was lucky to escape from him.
I am so afraid for David. Where is he?
What has happened to him? What has this man done to him? And