Pieces of My Mind

Just a collection of my works.

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13. Saragon

 Short story! :)

Saragon

 

“-If I went there again, I’d be shot.” Gasps emit from the gathering crowd as I finish spilling my guts to my cafeteria table. My friends had listened intently to the whole thing, including Sophia, even though she was with me for the most of it.

“You’re not going to go back are you?!” Jackson exclaims, he knows me too well.

“Of course I am.” I say, a growing smirk upon my face.

 

*Three days prior.*

 

“Horses from all around the Nevada area are being stolen, and illegal roundups are being conducted outside of city limits-” I hear the television from the kitchen and rush to the living room. “While we have no leads, we suspect it’s the work of modern day thieves, possible with an accomplice of the local origin.” I had heard about this same thing, months prior, going on in Colorado. I thought they had caught the so called, ‘bandits,’ and apprehended them. It could be totally different people, or maybe they had more accomplices then we thought. I’m probably overthinking it, but can you blame me? I should probably run over to the barn and check on the horses.

 

It was a Friday and I planned on riding. I got dressed in my new dark chocolate colored breeches and baby blue polo, threw on my black converse and my hair in a low ponytail and I was ready to leave. I picked up Sophia on the way, since she rides as well. I just walked into her house and slammed on her door, yelling "WEAR THESE" and I tossed under the pair of gray breeches, a pastel pink polo, and the gray converse I decided to surprise her with.

“Whoa thanks!” she calls and adds, “these are expensive.” referring to the breeches.

“"I work there remember?" I say, referring to our favorite tack store, TriColor Tack. "Now hurry up." Before long we are out the door and on our way.

We arrived twenty minutes later at the place I feel most at home. Years prior, Sophia and I renovated an old junk barn and added an arena. There are now two stalls at the very front of the barn, one containing hay and grain, across from that is the miscellaneous stall, one full of supplies such as buckets, brooms, muck boots, etc. Next to that stall is the tack room, and next to the hay and grain is the wash rack. At the back of the barn is four stalls, three with horses. Sophia has two horses, a gray gelding named Challenger, with the show name of Steel Dust, and a palomino mare called Malibu, with a show name of Sun Dance. They are both in stalls on the right side, right next to the wash rack. My cherry bay gelding, Tabasco, his show name is Hot Stuff, is in the stall adjacent to the tack room, making it easily accessible. There's room for one more horse, but it's empty at the moment.

 

The moment I saw all of our horses were accounted for, I let out a sigh of relief, containing a breath I didn't know I was holding. Without saying a word, we started to tack up. Just listening to the natural sounds around us. Tacking up, I used a baby blue ear bonnet that had bronze/chocolate tassels and stitching, a baby blue saddle pad with a bronze/chocolate rim, and finally some chocolate jumper boots. All of my leather tack, such as a bridle, saddle, girth, martingale, and reigns, are a dark red leather, contrasting nicely with Tabasco’s cherry bay coat and the baby blue equipment.

I look across the aisle to see Sophia was also done, her mare Malibu now donned in a gray ear bonnet, a gray saddle pad with pastel pink borders, and pastel pink jumper boots. We both headed to the tack room to put on our black tall boots and helmets before stepping outside, horses in tow. We walked down to our newly stained arena. The wooden fencing had taken a very long time to stain, but its deep mahogany color is just breathtaking, especially contrasting with our C-33 sand footing.

Throwing the reins over Tabasco’s head, I just let him roam within the confines of the arena while I set a course to jump. Sophia did the same thing, only she went to the crow's nest to play some music, based off the first song “Are You Crazy?” I assumed that it was a pretty pumped up playlist. Sophia was on her way back from the crow's nest when I was dragging the last of the poles to the back oxer, leaving trails in the sand. The course was an outside line, leading to a single in the back, then a right diagonal, poles on the ground, and finally an oxer leading left. All set at 2’0, our warmup height. Jumping made me feel so free, like I was flying, me and my partner; my partner of a long time was Tabasco. So I mounted, and we flew. Our practice went flawlessly, meeting every distance and not knocking a single rail. Leaving my cheeks flushed and my heart pounding. Looking over, Sophia had the same expression, and I realized we had lost track of time, it was already dusk. We decided to just ride back up to the barn instead of dismounting, chatting all the way about how well our ride went.

Headlights were in sight as we reached the barn, the rusted pickup truck was turning around, a horse trailer attached. I couldn’t help thinking about why they could have been here, and I glanced at their license plate, you can never be too careful. I laughed when I saw what it said, ‘TH6L1F3,’ meaning ‘Thug Life.’ I pointed it out to Sophia, but she seemed worried. By the time we dismounted, the truck was long gone. Upon entering the barn I noticed, it seemed quiet. Their should be a horse in here. I walked down to Tabascos stall, directly across from Challengers, and when I turned around from putting him away; the other stall was empty. “SOPHIA” I called, panicked.

“Yea?” she inquired,

“Your horse is gone.” I stated, in shock. Immediately I heard the clopping of hooves and the clicking of tall boots. I was staring into an empty stall. When she arrived, her eyes widened and teared up, she almost dropped her reigns but ended up gripping them even tighter.

“Oh my god…” She whispered, “That truck.” Her follow up was suddenly made clear to me.

“Okay, Okay, we know the license plate.” I stated the obvious, trying to maintain a somewhat calm atmosphere. “It’s T-H-6-L-1-F-3” No response, “We can track them, we all now that I’m an exceptional stalker.” I try to offer ideas, still nothing. “Uhm.. WAIT,” I exclaim, “Didn’t you have both your horses chipped?” Suddenly Sophia looks up.

“Yeah I did, the same day as you.” Finally a lead,

“Then tomorrow as soon as the vet opens, we go and track the chip, then we get your horse back and hopefully those guys get arrested.”

“Okay, at least we have a plan..” She replies slowly, but agreeing all the same. “But what do we do in the meantime?” And that day we spent the night at the barn, in the tack room.

The next morning we woke up at the crack of dawn, rushing to our horses stalls, letting out sighs of relief when they were still there. After quickly feeding and watering the horses, we made our way to the nearest vet; unfortunately, that was thirty long minutes away. There was no music, no small talk, just driving and worrying. Sophia practically ran some poor boy over trying to get inside. Luckily there was no line, almost demandingly she and I asked for a chip to be tracked. Of course after us retrieving the chip ID, they traced it almost instantly. They gave us an address, and the name of the guy who lived there.

We rushed back to the car, horse trailer in tow. However, finding the small ranch was harder than it first appeared, all of the winding roads and backstreet turns were confusing, and the house was hidden away in a grove of trees. At last we reached our destination, slowly we inched down the long gravel driveway toward the barn. When we heard the long whinney travel from one of the stalls, that settled it. We jumped out of the car, praying no one was home, and ran into the barn. As expected, nobody was there, except two horses, one of which, was Challenger. The other, and unknown black mass huddled in the back right hand corner of a stall. Peering inside, I say it was a rather large horse, it’s matted mane and tail must have been beautiful before. I suspected it had been here a while, I noted it was a mare. She turned her head ever so slightly to look at me, exhausted. Her warm brown eyes dulled and full of sadness. She let out a deep breath and looked back to the wall, the living conditions for either horse, though Challengers stall was cleaner, neither had food or water. I wish we had brought a two horse trailer. With great remorse, we loaded challenger and took off back to the barn.

“We did it.” Sophia whispered.

“Yeah we did..” and I will once more I thought silently, I’ll come back for you. My thoughts had already drifted back to the friesian mare, still locked in her stall.

Challenger was back safe and sound, not a scratch on him, only slight mental injury occurred when he was locked up. And before we left that night to go home, every stall was chained up, and so were both doors. We had installed a security system the night before, rigged to our phones so we would know if anything went down, cameras included. And now, we could go home. I dropped a tired Sophia off at her house, and made my way home.

Showering was a blessing, seriously, have you ever slept at a barn? The hot water was a relaxation from the recent events, and once more, I thought of the mare. I’ll go back tomorrow I thought, as a dressed and laid my head to my pillow. Fantasies of galloping horses and wild bandits playing through my head as I drifted off to sleep.

‘Are you crazy’ was blaring on the radio once more as I drove down the abandoned road early the next morning. I had left Sophia to feed and water the horses, as I had the horse trailer and was headed back to the rickety ranch we had rescued Challenger from. Applying a bright red lipstick on the way, to help boost my confidence. I can do this, I thought, just this time, I’m on my own.  I pulled into the drive once more, sure what I was doing was the right thing. I move quickly and lightly, grabbing a halter and lead rope from the trailer and rapidly made my way to the stall in which the mare was located. Still no food or water, but she was still there. Though this time she was obviously drugged. I slipped into the stall and she didn’t flinch, dead to the world. I quickly put the halter on, and slowly led her out of the barn and into the trailer. So far so good I thought as I was closing the trailer doors. I spoke too soon, was my first thought when I heard the shots start to rang out. The yelling never ceased as I jumped into my car and sped away.

When I reached the barn, I got out of my car slowly, processing what I had done. As soon as I looked at the trailer I cringed, there were a few different bullet holes in the metal. “Oh no.” I thought and I ran to open the trailer doors. Greeted by a wide eyed, but otherwise unharmed friesian. She was safe, and they were gone. That’s when I got her name, Saragon.

 

“-If I went there again, I’d be shot.”Gasps emit from the gathering crowd as I finish spilling my guts to my cafeteria table. My friends had listened intently to the whole thing, including Sophia, even though she was with me for the most of it.

“You’re not going to go back are you?!” Jackson exclaims, he knows me too well.

“Of course I am.” I say, a growing smirk upon my face, capitalized by the same red lipstick I had worn the day before.  “I mean, who else is going to stop them from taking other people's horses and abusing them?”

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