Stride

Luna Queen was your average horse crazy girl. Until one day, she was riding home in a thunderstorm. She decided to take a short cut over a ridge. Her horse reared and she fell. She hit the ground hard, knocking herself unconscious. Once her hose realized she was not getting up, he galloped back to get help. The storm picked up, flash flood warnings swarming the news. Soon enough, the flood water pulled her over the ridge. She woke up once the storm had stopped with a wild mare staring at her. She began to hear strange voices in her head, the voices of horses.

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1. Children of the Moon

(Moon dust in our lungs, stars in our eyes, we are children of the cosmos, rulers of the skies) -unknown

 

    “Ah, Luna, this is Pierce.” My mind barely registered my trainer, Taylor’s voice.

“Hey.” I said without looking up.

“Hi.” He replied. I looked up. He wouldn’t look me in the eyes, he must be really nervous. Now that my attention was on him instead of Moon, I realized how hot he was. He had golden tan skin, golden blonde hair and ocean blue eyes.

“That your horse?” He asked, looking at Moon.

“Well she’s not mine. Moon only belongs to herself, I’m just a good friend so she lets me ride her.”

“Uh, well, she’s beautiful.” He said. And he was right. Moon was a strong, proud dapple grey horse.

“What breed is she?” He asked, awe in his eyes.

“No idea.” I shrugged him off, “She doesn’t tell me.”

“Tell you?” He asked, eyes darting back towards me.

Now it was my turn to dip my head, “Nothing.”

“Totally Believable.” Moon’s voice echoed in my mind. I looked up and saw her roll her eyes.

“What’s going on?” He asked, “You act like she’s human.”

“It’s nothing.” I said.

“I guess you’re not going to tell him you can talk to horses.” Moon said.

“Not yet.” I replied.

“While I hate to end the conversation, Luna, but will you help Pierce get tacked up for his evaluation?” Taylor butt in.

“Sure who’s he riding?” I asked.

“Chief.” She said.

“Alright, just let me bathe Moon, I’ll grab chief when I let her go.”

“Sounds good. I’ll meet y'all in the arena.” Taylor said as she walked away.

    

    I began to spray down Moon, “Spray me fast. I can just go jump in the river.”

If you’re sure.” I said.

“I am, you look like you could use some alone time with the hottie.” Moon glanced at me, amusement in her eyes. I splashed her face. She jerked away internally chuckling.

 

    I opened the gate to the open land and let Moon go. Before galloping away, she turned and nuzzled me. “Just call and I’ll come galloping back.” I nodded and hugged her before watching her gallop out to her herd.

“You two really are best friends, aren’t you.” Pierce said.

“She’s my other half, and I am hers.” I said before turning back toward the barn, “So chief.” I turned to see Pierce staring at me, smiling like an idiot. “What?” I asked.

“N-Nothing.” His smile faded as he dropped his head.

 

    As I tightened Chief's girth, he pinned his ears and showed his teeth. Pierce jumped back.

“You ok?” I asked.

“Yea, fine.” He said, regaining his composure.

“Here take my hand.” I said reaching toward him.

He pulled away, “What are you doing?”

“Just trust me.” I said. He nodded. I grabbed his hand and led him toward chief.

“Come on Chief, he’s obviously nervous, just go easy on him. Please. For me?” I whispered under my breath.

“Only because you like him.” Chief lowered his head. I placed Pierce’s hand on it, letting his comment about Pierce slide just this once.

“See, he’s not going to hurt you.” I said scratching chief’s right ear. Chief stretched his neck forward and let out a whinney.

“He really likes that, doesn’t he.”

“It’s his sweet spot.” I said, “But enough of this, let’s get you on this horse.”

Pierce nodded nervously, “Ok.”

I put my hands on his shoulders and looked him dead in the eye, “You’ll be fine, Chief promised to behave.”

“Do I even want to know how you know that?” He said.

“Just get on.”

“Okay Okay.”

 

    “Not bad for a beginner is he?” Taylor said next to me.

“Are you sure he’s a beginner, his form is perfect.” I replied.

“That’s what his parents said-”

“But no beginner’s form is that good.”

“I don’t know, you can talk to him if you want.” Taylor said, nudging my arm.

“WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP DOING THAT!” I threw my arms up in exasperation.

“Because he seems to trust you. Did you notice that when I showed my teeth he jumped away, but when you led him back to me, he complied, he even smiled a bit when he was petting my nose.” Chief whispered through our mental link. His voice was so different than Moon’s, so much deeper.

“Your right…” I muttered under my breath.

“Huh?” Taylor asked.

“Nothing.” I said.

“Using our superpowers again are we?” She asked, raising an eyebrow.

I rolled my eyes, “They’re not superpowers.”

“Any horse person would argue otherwise, we would kill for the ability to talk to horses like you can.” Taylor said before directing her attention back to Pierce.

“Come in, Pierce.” She said. Pierce turned chief into the middle.

“Very good, are you…” She began to talk to him, but I drowned out their conversation, consumed with my thoughts. She was right, I am extremely lucky to be able to talk to horses like I can, but I don’t feel lucky. I almost died getting theses “powers.” Why does everyone think nearly dying is some kind of blessing; I still get nightmares about the incident. If Moon hadn’t found and helped me, I would be dead.

“LUNA!” Pierce screams my name, breaking me away from my thoughts, “Are you alright?”

“Wha?” I look up at him dazed, tears falling down my face.

“You just started crying out of nowhere.” He said. Genuine worry in his eyes.

I looked around, “I’m fine.” I said, wiping away tears, “Where did Taylor go?”

“To get water.” He said. He looked at me earnestly.

“I SAID I’M FINE!” I screamed before storming out of the arena.

 

    I broke into a sprint as I left the gate, tears streaming down my face.

“Moon. Where are you? I need you.” I collapsed on the other side of the barn and cried.

I’m not sure how long I was I bad been crying before I felt a nudge on my shoulder.

“Oh Luna.” Moon said as she laid down next to me, “Do you want to get out of here?”

I nodded and climbed on her back. She stood up and looked back at me one more time before galloping off into the open field ahead.

 

    Moon was careful not to slam my head into trees. She galloped for who knows how long. She only stopped once we were miles away from the barn.

“What’s wrong?” She asked.

“I keep seeing it.” I said.

“Are you alright?” She asked.

“You already know the answer to that.” I replied.

“I know, stupid question.”

I looked up from her mane for the first time since I got on her back, “Where are we?”

“Welcome to the herd.” She said as a large chestnut and what looked to be a dapple brown trotted up to us.

“Luna!” The chestnut said.

“Gladir.” I said, remembering the stallion. We shared a stare, but there was nothing aggressive in it. This was a stare of respect. I noticed the dapple brown was being strangely shy around me, “Hey.” I said.

He seemed scared, looking to Moon on how to react.

“It’s okay, she’s a friend.”

“H-hi.” The dapple brown said. I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between the dapple brown and Moon.

“This is my son, Thor.” She said.

“Our son.” Gladir added.

I smiled to myself. Happy to finally meet my best friend’s son.

“Miss Luna, are you ok?” Thor asked.

“Not really, but I think I’m getting better.” I told the colt.

“Wanna play?” He asked.

“If it’s alright with Moon.” I said.

“Of course, but not for too long. I have to get Luna back to the human world before people start to look for her.” Moon said.

“HUMAN! LUNA’S A HUMAN!” Thor jumped back.

“Don’t worry, she’s not human. She just looks like one, so she lives in their world. I would never bring a human here, and humans can’t hear us.” Moon replied.

“That’s right. I hate living in the human world, I’d much rather live out here.” I said.

“Oooooooh.” Thor seemed to calm down, “How about you join the herd. That way you won’t have to go back the the disgusting humans.” Excitement rang in Thor’s voice.

“Now, now, Thor. Luna is a member of the herd, but human world rules don’t let her leave until she has outlived eighteen winters.” Moon jumped in for me.

“That’s right, and the first day of my eighteenth winter, I will ride out and live with you.” I said. Ever since I met Moon, I’ve wanted to live with the herd.

“Well that’s stupid.” Thor said.

“It is.” I replied, “You still want to play?”

“Of course.” He said, “Follow me!”

We ran off into the trees to play until the world began to go dark. And just like that, all my problems vanished.

 

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