1. Chapter 1
Neptune, my Palomino trots steadily along the path, sending seeds of dust through the air. The refuge becomes visible through the heat. "Come on Neptune." I cluck my tongue and squeeze my legs. He begins to canter, already his breath shortens. "You get a fresh bale of hay and a sugar cube when we get back!" I try to motivate him, though I know he can't understand. Yet his pace seems to quicken in anticipation. Finally, we reach the tall electric gate that separates the wild from my home. I pull my horse to a stop and hop off. "Billy, its me." I say through the buzzer. The gate slowly slides open. Neptune always gets spooked at the grating noise the fence creates. He steps back, stomping his feet in protest. Luckily, I have a tight grip on the reins. I pull him forward.
After I un-tack him and give him his promised reward, I head to the very back of the compound where my cozy abode lies. Its a narrow, two story house with 3 bedrooms, and my own private bathroom. Hey, no ones complaining. I smile as I see a bud of flowers in the ever-dead garden I wonder how mother managed that! When I open the door, I am greeted with the warm scent of baking cookies. My nose guides me to the kitchen where I lay eyes upon a platter of steaming, gooey freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. On instinct, my hand searches for a grip on one of the gooey delights. But before I can even taste the treat, I hear a yelp from behind me. "Peyton! Those are for the guests!" I hurriedly drop the cookie, wiping my chocolate covered hands on the nearest rag, maybe I could still hide the evidence. "Sorry..?" I say. "You don't look sorry!" She looks me up and down. "Tracking dust into the house! I told you not to overwork your poor horse, an inspector is coming in the next two weeks and if your prized race-horse is not in tip-top shape, well, who knows what'll happen." Eyebrow arched, her eyes dart between me, and something directly behind me. "Move." She mutters, pushing passed me. "My washcloth? My CLEAN washcloth! Peyton, doll! You know I love you, but darling this kind of behavior is unacceptable, and it needs to stop! This instant." I sigh heavily and shoot her a glare; "What behavior?" I say, almost challenging her. She nods; "That's it, off to your room, you will not be joining us for dinner..."