Inhaling the scent of hay and horses, Sarah smiled. She loved to come here, in the stables to be with the horses. Out of all the places on the Professor's estate, this was where she enjoyed being the most.
What a beautiful day! She thought, and prepared Snow's saddle. Next Sarah brought out the halter and looped it around the mare's face. She stroked the horse's silky white neck and made cooing sounds.
"Easy girl, just one more notch should do it," she comforted Snow and grunted as she adjusted the last strap. The horse whinnied, and turning its head, nudged her arm. Giggling, Sarah gently moved Snow's head away. She climbed onto the horse's back, and pressed her legs against the animal's sides.
Snow thundered out of the stables, kicking up wood chips and dust behind her. Her hooves thundered in the open air, each step causing the ground to tremble beneath them.
Presently, Sarah came to a lush valley. Jerking the reigns back, she forced Snow to stop on a ridge that overlooked the valley. Like freckles dotted about on skin, so to were oak trees scattered about before her. Their leaves shined silver. She could hear the roar of a river nearby, and in the distance, were blue mountains. Nudging Snow forward, she continued on.
It was nearly nightfall by the time Sarah got back. The sun was low in the horizon, and darkness already began to take over the sky. She put Snow back in her stall, and smiled. The ride had left her sore, but she didn't mind. If I could do this every day, I would, she thought with determination as she headed back inside the English mansion.
Stepping into a dimly lit hallway, she wrinkled her nose at the musty smelling air. Ms. MacReady might be the Professor's housekeeper, but she certainly didn't do a good job in some areas of the mansion. I wonder why grandfather bothers to keep her around, she pondered. He would probably be lonely, and of course he couldn't handle cleaning up such a place as this.
Sarah continued to her room, only to hear the professor's voice coming from the dining room as she passed it. The room was narrow and long, with red tapestries covering the walls. The oak dining table could sit thirty people if need be.
Sitting with the Professor were a group of four children. With a start, Sarah realized that the lion in her dream had told her about their arrival.
"Ah, Sarah. Just who I was wanting to see," the Professor said, noticing her at the door.
All eyes turned to face her, and Sarah wished the ground would swallow her up. She hated being the center of attention. There were two boys and two girls. The tallest of the boys looked at her, and she inhaled sharply. He was handsome. He appeared to be around seventeen years old, and his sandy blond colored hair ended at his neck. His blue eyes bore into her own eyes. Cheeks burning red, she looked away.
"I was just going to wash up, grandfather," she explained, moving her gaze to the professor.
"Would you mind showing our guest to their rooms? They shall have the vacated ones on your floor," he requested.
Glowering, Sarah nodded her head. "Yes sir," she replied, and jerked her head in indication to the others. They followed her out of the room.
"My name is Peter," Introduced the boy who's gaze she had met. "And this is Susan, Edmund, and Lucy."
"I'm Sarah," she said in a soft voice. She wasn't used to being around people. Of course, her relatives and family were okay, but strangers didn't sit well with her. Plus, they would be in the same hallway as her.
Where you've been alone for the past two weeks, screaming almost every night because of nightmares. She thought, dismayed they would be so close to her.
They climbed three sets of stairs, and soon arrived at their destination. "I'm guessing these rooms are yours," she explained, stopping in the center of the corridor. Two rooms faced two others on the opposite side.
Susan and Lucy went into one room, while Edmund went into another. "It's so small," Sarah heard him grumble ungratefully. Sighing, she was exasperated enough as it was having four other kids here. She didn't need some ungrateful twerp to worry about as well.
"Thank you," Peter said, causing Sarah to offer him a weak smile. At least someone appreciated their accommodations.
"You're welcome." An awkward silence passed between them. Finally, "I should probably get cleaned up and ready for bed," Sarah told Peter, and she walked down the hall to her room.
The room the Professor had given her was one of the largest in the mansion. There was a small fireplace, a closet where she could store her clothes, and a balcony with a view of the stables below. Staring at the silver moon, she wondered about the children who had come to visit.
"Get to know them," the lion had spoken in her dream. Had he known they were going to come? She chuckled, and tried to shove the ridiculous thought away. It had only been a dream, nothing more.