Drum Bracken - The Story of a Wild Horse

---The horse whinnied hysterically, it's beautiful brown eyes clouded with fear. Annie scrambled wildly for a hand-hold, her body trembling violently and panic poisoning her mind. The stallion's long, slender black legs flailed furiosly in the air as he reared high, high into the sky. Annie realised she was curled up, caked in mud, dirty water and salt-tinged tears, directly beneath the wild stallion's front legs. "I'm going to die!"---

Annie Foster is a teenager living on a Welsh farm called Drum Bracken. This is no ordinary farm, though. This is her father, Mark Foster's, horse farm, which cares for neglected and abandoned horses, giving them a second chance at life. But when Annie finds an abandoned horse on holiday in America, she realises the world of horses, slaughter and neglect is a lot darker than she thought...

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1. Glimpse

A heavy sigh emitted from the lump under the covers that was called Annie Foster. The first grey rays of morning light were brushing the faded blue carpet which lay like a sleeping monster, it's fur wild and untouchable, no matter how many times the light raked it's mighty mane. Annie murmured a string of incoherant words, still half asleep. Then she sat bolt upright, her usually gently wavy brown hair sticking out in all directions. Her appearance, coupled with her actions, made her look like she'd been electrocuted. An ear-splitting grin spread over her pale, heart-shaped face, showing her teeth, which were caged in a set of impressive braces. She swung her legs round onto the ground and glanced at the calender pinned to her wall. It was massive, with a picture of a jet-black stallion rearing high into the sky. A girl with flowing blonde hair and baby blue eyes sat astride him, smiling and holding one arm up as if she was waving to an invisible crowd. Annie scanned the calender with dark green eyes, twinkling with anticipation. "Just as I thought!" cried Annie excitedly. Her eyes were rested on one day in particular. Tuesday 19th August. Her birthday! Annie pulled on a pair of faded jeans, a top with a cartoon pony and a too-small cardigan, which zipped up at the front. Then she practically smashed open her door and sprinted down the stairs into the kitchen of her Welsh cottage.

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Her kitchen was quiant and very old-fashioned, with a roaring fire set deep into one of the stone walls, and an unvarnished table with little wooden stools. An AGA stove stood in another corner, bubbling and steaming quietly away, warming the room on this frosty summer's morning. A man sat on one stool, a small smile playing aong his wise face. Though he wasn't smiling much, his dark, hunter green eyes were twinkling with pride and happiness. They were exactly the same shade of green as his daughter's. The man, who was Annie's father and called Mark, held out his arms to his daughter. Annie grinned and flung herself into his open arms, breathing in the comforting and familiar smell of woods smoke, fresh hay and horses. Oh, the delicous, beautiful smell of horses; no matter if they were soaked and shivering from rain, drenched and sodden from sweat, flaky and dry from the summer dust or gleaming and shining from countless grooming and bathing, Annie would still adore them with every fiber of her body. "Hey, hey, little Annie! Whatever's got into you on this sweet little summer day?" laughed Mark, looking down at his daughter's messy brown hair. Annie grinned up at him, looking at his beaming mouth and shining eyes.

"Daaaaad! You know what day today is, and you know what you're getting me!" giggled Annie, fondly pulling his nose. Mark just got up and took her by the hand, leading her out of the door and down a neat gravel path, their figures blending into the golden sunrise. 

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"Hey, Annie dear! You look... lovely!" Carlie, Annie's stepmum, twirled a finger round a lock of reddish brown hair. She always did that when she was lying or trying to cover something up. Liar, liar, pants on fire! thought Annie to herself. She knew she looked terrible; it was only eight o' clock in the morning, to be fair. Plus, she was standing in her parent's massive horse barn, excitedly waiting for her "surprise present". She already knew she was getting a horse; being sixteen and very tall for her age, she had grown out of ponies when she had been about eleven. But the question was, would she like her new horse...? "Annniiiiee! Come on, your Dad's waiting for us in the field!" Carlie called to her. She had just finished petting her special Arab X Thoroughbred, Firework Sparks (more commonly known as Sparky). Sparky was a classic racer; lean, tall and a dark chocolatey bay. Carlie walked over and took Annie's hand, squeezing it tight. A lot had happened between them since Annie's mother's death, but even though they both knew Carlie could never replace Victoria, Annie's mum, Carlie was still Annie's closest friend and the one she turned to in bad times. Annie slowly walked down the aisle seperating the horses' stalls, feeling like a bride about to be married. She finally made it to the end of the barn and to the field's gate, not knowing that the horse stood in front of her would change her life forever. 

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"Oh. My. God! She's absolutely AMAZING!" gasped Annie, her eyes as round and as wide as a pancake saucepan. She reached two trembling hands out to her new mare's velvet muzzle, feeling the soft flesh, as soft as as silken dress. The mare gently butted Annie's shoulder with a pure white head. It seemed like God had summoned the ocean's froth and the Arctic's ice, fashioned it into a beautiful Arab horse and carved two blazing black coals and slotted them into it's head. A blue satin banner was wrapped around her neck, reading Happy Birthday Annie Darling in gold, swirling letters. Annie was literally speechless with amazement. Mark and Carlie looked at each other and grinned happily, Cassie rubbing Annie's shoulder. "She's called Silken Spider, dear, but the old owner said her stable name is Glimpse!" explained Cassie, patting Glimpse's silken muzzle.

"Oh, she is just divine! When you said you were getting me a real, live horse, I thought some thirteen year old retired chestnut, not a beauty like this!" gasped Annie. Glimpse. She thought. Welcome to your new home!     

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