Please Don't Take Her Away From Me


12. Who Are You?

 Naomi's P.O.V

 I lay there, not thinking about anything. For once my mind was blank, I wasn't thinking about my mother or Thorn. Hoof-beats pulled me out of my sleep after a few hours.

 "Are you okay?" A person called. I opened my eyes. A horse whinnied and strained at the reigns as I sat up. The horse tried to come closer.

 I couldn't see it properly because of the sun. The rider repeated their question. I nodded, standing up. The horse did a half rear which unbalanced the rider. The horse, realising this, cantered up to me.

 "Oh, my god," I breathed. For a second I couldn't believe it. My beauty; Hawaii was back. She was a horse that we rescued. She had to be sold along with all of the other horses.

 I grinned, stroking her chestnut neck. I kissed her forelock and placed my head on hers.

 "Er, what are you doing?" The rider was bemused.

 "Oh, I used to own Hawaii. I trained her."

 "Why did you sell her? She's amazing!"

 "My... Er.. My mam died." Hot tears pricked at the back of my eyes.

 "Oh, I'm so sorry." He looked awkward. "She's really god at cross country. You should come see her at the show this weekend. It's on Saturday."

 "I might. If i can get to it. I might bring one f my horses, Sunny." I didn't want to tell her about Kitty.

 "You should. Do you have the internet? I can sign you up. There's newcomers to three star."

 "Yeah, I do. You want to come to my house for a while, then?"

 "Okay. I'm Leon, by the way." My chest tightened when I heard the name. "Are you okay? You've gone pale."

 "Yeah. I'm fine. My father... His name was Leon..."

 "Oh. I'm sorry again. Do you want to double? Me and my friend do it all the time. Hawaii's great for that."

 "It's okay. Yeah, we used to do that too. Thanks." I took his hand and he swung me up. He was stronger than he looked. We talked as Hawaii trotted happily down the trail.

 When the yard came into view, she broke into a canter. "Whoa, girl. Sorry, I don't know what got into her."

 "It's grand. I used to ride her in the trail all the time." She whinnied loudly. When there was no answer, she whinnied again, her ears flickering. Her and Thorn used to be best friends, always calling to one another.

 I closed my eyes against the pain. Don't think about it. (Don't remember how you and mam used to hack out the horses, laughing when they splashed through the river. Don't remember how all the horses' eyes used to light up when she walked into the barn. Don't remember how she didn't want to die. Best of all, don't think. Blank your mind. Don't remember. Don't remember.)

 I leaped off as soon as we got to the stable block. Hawaii was staring at the paddocks, looking for her friends. She whinnied loudly and raised her head, waiting for replies. My heart wrenched as I watched her. Leon tried to lead her in and she resisted, pulling on the reins and rearing. He flung his arms over his head to protect himself. 

 "Hawaii, get down now!" I yelled. She stood, trembling slightly. The place had changed. I realised that as I looked around. The yard had bits of hay all over it, weeds were growing out of the curbs. I looked at the flowers. Mam's prized flowers. Trampled and ruined. I sank to the ground, tears rolling down my cheeks.

 Leon put his hand on my shoulder. "Shh," he said quietly. "You're spooking Hawaii." It wasn't until then that I realised I was screaming. Wrapping my arms around my knees, I began to rock back and forth, sobbing uncontrollably.

 A few minutes later I heard hoof beats and Hawaii lay down beside me, resting her head on my knees. Leon sat beside her, gently stroking her shoulder. I knew she was upset, but I didn't know what to do. I just sat there, my hands on the ground.

 I'm not sure how long we were there, but when it started to get dark, Leon stood up. "Come on," he smiled gently, holding out his hand. "Let's get you inside." I took Hawaii's reins and led her to her old stable. She walked around, sniffing the corners, her ears perked forward and her eyes shining. I untacked her and walked out. 

 "How are you getting home?" I couldn't speak over a whisper.

 Leon took the tack off me and put it on the door. "I texted. They'll pick me up in an hour and a half. Is there someone in the house with you?" I could hear the concern in his voice, but, to be honest, I wasn't thinking about anybody but myself.

 "Kim and Sarah have gone home." I saw that Kim's car was gone. My boots scuffed the ground as I walked; I was too tired to pick them up properly.  

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