Forever Alone

Eclipse cannot find a place where she belongs. No-one seems to want her and no-one seems to need her in their life. Will Eclipse ever find a place where she is truly needed?

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8. California

My back is in more pain than when it was before I went to that strong, white room. I raised my head dizzily, to see nothing. Absolutely nothing. I weakly raise myself from the floor and peer around, a little suspiciously. The ceiling stretches far above me, supporting flickering lights that make my vision spotty, the distant walls seem too far away for my safety. I have been dumped in the middle of a warehouse. It is so cold in here that my hairs are standing up on end, my mane and tail are offering little protection from the wind howling through from one side to the other. My body tremors involuntary as I try to settle to sleep.

***

"One, two, three, four! One, two, three, four! No! No! Stop, that isn't the way to lead them!"

"Hey look over there, boss. It's another horse!"

"She is quite a beauty. She would have done well for a carriage horse."

"Carriage horse? Nobody uses carriage horses anymore, boss. How about a racer or a jumper?"

"Hmm, I guess you're right Brian, maybe a racer. We'll have to test her paces before we can decide."

"I'll rope her up boss and we can take her back to the yard."

"Maybe someone should ride her to the yard. That will check her paces, I think that Sam should do it. Where is he?" This strange man glanced around the warehouse, looking for someone, "SAAAMMM!! O-O-OH SAM! Where are you boy?!"

Another man approached the one who shouted. "Here boss. What's up?"

"I want you to saddle this horse up and ride her back to the yard. Be quick about it and be sure to keep a careful eye on her paces."

"Well sure, boss. What's she gunna be for?"

"We aint sure yet, but maybe a racer or a jumper"

"She'd suit a carriage horse."

"Yeah, but like Brian told me, carriage horses aren't really used anymore. Shame really, her coat and body shape would have suited a cab horse in the old days."

"Well see you Sam, me and boss had better head back now. Have fun!"

This boy, Sam, looked over at me with a inquisitive look on his face, he tilted his head to the side in thought saying "you look like a traveller old girl."

He came over to pat my neck before hurrying to get the riding gear. I was a bit apprehensive of being ridden with my back in so much pain, but I am a horse and have been taught since birth to always obey humans. As my dear friend Scarecrow said: humans are the stronger force.

***

"Gee up, horsey. Come on girl, you've only been going for five minutes, we haven't even left the warehouse yet! Stupid animal! Move!"

He cracked the whip on my back legs, I know from being whipped a few times before that a human has to whip the upper thigh, not the hock. (A hock is about mid-leg on the back ones.) Being whipped on the hock hurts but not as much a a boy leaning on your withers (base of neck) with the full weight, which is currently what Sam is doing.

I am forced to push myself forward and canter out of the doors of the warehouse and into the blazing sun of California. Sam seems to believe that a canter is not fast enough and again whips me on my hock, whilst still leaning into my neck. I pick up my pace into a soft gallop and stretch my neck forward to help me to please this clearly inexperienced boy. According to him, having space to stretch your head is not allowed and he draws back the reins so quickly that my bones click, he tightens the rein and wraps it around his hand making head movement impossible. We reach a log fallen across the track that we are going along.

Sam mutters "now we'll see whether you'll make a jumper."

He leans forward and tries to make me jump, but I do not want to. I am in too much pain as it is without jumping a log and straining my back. I drive my front hooves into the mud and slam myself to a stop, Sam smacks into the back of my neck and comes back groaning.

"Stupid brute! I'll teach you to refuse jumping a meagre log. You good for nothing animal! I'm telling boss that you ought to be shot! Now jump or I'll snap your neck!"

He veers me around and we charge at the log. I know I must jump, I know that I must obey him because he is stronger than me. I know I must do as they say because they can take my life too easily. As the log nears closer and closer, Sam leans close to my strapped up head and squeezes his knees a little against my sides. I launch myself up and forward.

We sail over the log with plenty to spare... Until I trip when I land on the other side and smack down onto my knees. Sam is thrown from the saddle, but ends up dangling in front of my head as he tied the reins to his hand. I lower my head so that he ends up flopping forward onto my chest, I shake my head so that his hands come free from the rein. Sam falls face first to the ground when I step backwards. Now I don't know what to do. I could gallop ahead and search for help from trying to find the yard that the men spoke of. I could stand here until someone comes to find us. Or I could run from this boy who so harshly treated me and never become prey to his anger again.

I turn and gallop from the body in the forest behind me.

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