“As I walk toward the hills to get home to the little cottage overlooking the valley I am starting to turn in a circle, but once I was turned half way around there were two pairs of green eyes staring right at me from the tree line. The eyes started coming closer till a large, solid white wolf comes out of the tree line and I turn around and run toward the little cottage as fast as I can with the wolf close at my heels till I got to the small little cottage…”
Sitting upright in a fast, but smooth motion I smack my sister in the head with a loud crack of bone on bone. “Ow-,” she was abruptly stopped by my hand smacking over her mouth to silence her scream from the first smack in the head, which made her moan in pain.
“What are you doing in here?” I wondered taking my hand slowly away from her mouth, “Also you need to be quiet.”
“Okay I will,” she mumbled to me quietly, “What was going on with you, because I heard you thrashing around across the wall and it woke me up so I came to see the problem and you are thrashing around in your hammock.”
“Okay I understand your concern, but don’t hover over me like that again just wake me up.”
“Alright, well go to bed and try not to flip out again, because that was very strange for you even when you have bad dreams. You were thrashing around instead of just tossing and turning like you normally do,” she whispered as she left the room backing up.
* * * *
Six in the morning. Why can’t time hurry? I have been up since midnight because of that dream….. wait is that footstep in the dining room on the old, creaky floorboards. I slowly struggled to my feet after being still for six hours.
As stiff as I was I thought I could never reach the door without collapsing, but I did because I couldn’t sleep after that dream, as I walked to the door my joints were loosening a little while the floors echo my barefoot steps back at me and the ones from beneath suddenly stop. I reach my door by the time they start again, but in a hurried kind of state when the creaking began then stopped in what sounded the dining room where it went dead silent. “Hello?” came a deep, horse, man's voice from downstairs.
“Who’s down there?” I asked hastily.
“It's me, Dean. Why are you up now anyways Maia my dear?”
“I couldn’t sleep after midnight ...” I said as cautiously as I could.
“Well,how about you come down for breakfast instead of staying in your room starving till the others get up.”
“Okay, I am going to get dressed for the day first and then I will be downstairs with you for breakfast.”
“Alright,” he said sounding pleased.
Walking down the creaking stairs toward the wooden kitchen door the strong aroma of omelets come blasting into my face as soon as I opened the kitchen door. I continue to welcome the excellent aroma of the cheese topped omelets sitting on the table with fresh strawberries and orange juice on the side. “You can sit down and eat instead of standing there,” he said with a hidden chuckle, “staring at your breakfast like it's the greatest piece of art you have ever seen.”
I smile at his comment and sit to eat. Up close this breakfast I can see that it has some meat, cheese, and spinach inside of it. Picking up my small silver fork I dig into it cutting a small slice of the omelet taking everything with it even some of the melted cheese on the top. Through a large, muffling bite “This is really good. What’s in it?”
“It has a rabbit, squirrel, spinach, lettuce, American and Swiss cheese. Why?”
“It tastes awesome!”
“Well thank you, but we should keep it quiet for the others that are sleeping upstairs.”
“Okay,” muffled but still audible behind the large heaps of food that goes into my mouth like I am shoveling dirt from a pile.
A low chuckle comes from the kitchen door and I see my dad in his gray robes, black pants, and newspaper from yesterday in his hands. “I see that you made one of Maia’s favorite breakfast items with her favorite sides Dean.”
“Well, I thought that an omelet sounded good and Maia was up so I asked if she would like to join me for breakfast and so here we are. But I am going to finish up mine and head out into the woods to chop some wood if either one of you would like to come along.”
Keeping silent while eating my food, “I think that Maia would like to since she was up early and ready to go for the day.”
“Okay then it’s fine with me, so I can take her since she has already devoured her omelet and fruit only so she can down her orange-”
“You want to go now.”
“Well,” with a slight chuckle in his voice, “I think that you might have found a new friend since she apparently isn’t afraid of hard work. And, all that I have to say is that you don’t let her out of your site.”
“Got the note don’t let her out of my site.”
“Are we going yet?” I impatiently asked, “I would like to get started.”
“Could I eat my breakfast first? I definitely can’t walk and eat!” and we all started laughing as loud as we could walking up Alicia and mom who both walked down stairs and entered the hustle and bustle of the morning's kitchen scene.
“What are you three doing up this early, especially you Maia you are never up this early,” mom cried out at us in her little squeal, as we burst out laughing again. Then we all chimed in on a loud burst of laughter before calming down enough to talk.
“I am going to work with Dean. Why?”
“Don't you have to unpack your things today? Or did you finish last night?”
“Last night. Dad and Dean also said it was fine for me to go along anyway.”
Sighing mom said with a warning, “Fine. As long as you stay with him and do what he says. Also, DO NOT GET IN THE WAY OF ANYBODY!”
“Thank you, mom! Dean, do we need a lunch?” I asked in a hurry.
“No we don’t, but you need jeans, a t-shirt, and boots.”
“On it!” and she ran off to finish getting ready.
Ten minutes later they walked out the old, rusty, screen door and walked at a slow pace into the woods, “Dean, I thought we were going to your work.”
“We are, but I don’t drive there because this route is much faster,” he stated in a matter-of-fact tone.
“But why the woods?” I asked and looked around.
“Like I said it’s much faster,” he calmly stated again.
“But the woods are creepy!” I complained and looked around taking in the weird scenery.
“Well, time to suck it up or turn back home. And since we are about half way there I wouldn’t advise it unless you can find your way back,” he exclaims in a matter-of-factually tone with a grin.
“Fine! I am not going to walk through these without someone so I can’t turn back and go home.” I said horrified at the idea of walking back home alone in the woods.
Chuckling, “Well then there you go your mind is now made up now isn’t it?”
Sighing deeply, “Okay. Okay, I guess you're right about that. My mind's made up already I will go to work with you. But, what do you do for work? Just curious.”
“Well, then I guess you will just have to wait and see, now don’t you?”
“But I want to know NOW!” I complained like a child.
“Nope. Nope, not going to tell you,” he laughs.
“Uggg. Fine!” I still looked around like something might pop out of a brush and attack.
“We are right at the edge of the property so just a few more minutes and we will be there, so don’t run around all crazy like just be calm and take everything in.”
“Great, we’re almost there.”
“Yup! So just stop right here and take a whiff of the air. Tell me what you smell.”
Stopping in her tracks she closed her eyes and tilts her head back taking a nice, big, long, breathtaking in the smell of manure, trees, and… horses. Opening her eyes and looking around she very excitedly exclaims, “You work at a stable! Which one?”
“This one,” he states proudly as he moves a bush out of there way and walks out of the woods.
Gleaming with happiness she jumps over the bush and takes in all the of the grazing, running, and rolling around in the dirt horses that she can see. “Do you know how to ride?” Dean asks breaking into her thoughts.
“Yah, I learned how to ride one summer in Texas with my friend.”
“Well good, because that's what my job is here. I am to ride people's horse's in order to get them into performance shape, so you get to help me ride them.”
“What! No, you have to be joking! Are you seriously letting me ride? I don't even work here!”
“As of today you do, so let's get you up to the main office so that my boss knows you will be working with no type of schedule.” With that, they walk to the front so that he can let his boss know before they start their work day. As they walk she saw horses running, grazing, playing, and even swimming in the small ponds. She was taking in the sight around her with a glowing persona of pure joy. The gravel road lead up to a small house with red brick walls, medium sized front patio and a garden on the right.
"So, Dean, this is where your manager lives I take it?"
"That you are right, but let me do the talking, please. He might be my manager and friend, but I don't trust him that much," looking at her sidelong, "He just doesn't have the right kind of feel to him. I would prefer if you kept quiet around him."
With a little suspicion in her voice, she draws out, "Okay?"
"Just promise me you will do as I say," he pleads with her.
Showing defeat, "Fine! But when we are done can we get to work?"
"Thank you, and yes we can."
The meeting came and went with short introductions and had shakes of Sam and Maia. Dean set up her schedule that he would sign whenever she was at work. With their meeting finished Dean walked Maia out and to his workspace before going into the barn and coming out with two beautiful black stallions with a white star on their heads and spots on their butt. "I trust you know how to ride Western, right? If not I can get you another horse who ride English."
Walking up to on of the stallions, "I know how to ride Western. I can ride just as good with English." She looks up at him with a wicked smile making him chuckle and shake his head.
"I will take your word for it. Anyways, this guys your petting is named Black. You to should make good buddies today. He is a barrel horse so you will work him at the patterns today. He is going to competition in a few weeks, so it's our job to get him up to par."
"Yes sir," With that she walks over to his left side and puts her foot in the stirrup, pushes up and swings her right leg up and over the horse to put her foot in the other stirrup as well. She looks at Dean when she is done, "Ready when you are."
"Well go and get started the barrels are set up and ready to go. And the entrance to the ring is a little to your right."
Once he finished she took off into the ring as Dean mounts up and follows her in. She gets into position under her uncle's watchful eyes and takes off into the pattern at a canter. She goes to the right and spins around the barrel before going to the other two and making it back to the start in thirteen seconds, That was a nice ride. He has a lot of speed."
"Well, I do have to say I have never seen him with so much speed. You do good on his back. You know what, that's your horse for the week."
"Really? You mean it! I get to work with him this week!"
"Yes. I mean it. Now can I run him along the barrels?"
"Yes," she moved to the side and let him go keeping track of the time, "Seventeen point zero three."
"Not bad. You go."
They carried on like that for the next week till the two went to show. By the end of her second week of training, she had to start homeschooling during the week but still went to work on the weekends. They worked like that as winter came and went. The school year snaked by till the last day of work.