Friday, June 24, 2011

#FridayFlash 56 - Home

Slightly different style of Flash this week, drawn as much from memory as imagination and with a much younger MC than I generally try to write. Did it work? Let me know what you think!

Please note that all characters and events in this work - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional >;-P

Thanks for reading!
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Home

Alana was grounded. Again. And this time it really wasn't fair! All she'd done was mention that it was Jessi's turn to do the dishes and ask why she should have to do them. Jessi would certainly never have to do her chores. But now she still had to do the stupid dishes for her stupid sister AND had no access to her phone or computer for a week! How was she supposed to do her homework? Did they *want* her to fail? Probably. Then they could ground her for that too.

She finished the chore and fled the house, slamming the door as she went. They'd hate that, but she knew by the time she got home it'd be forgotten. Hopping on her bike she peddled furiously to the one place that was hers; the one place her siblings and parents never interfered. The barn.

Alana ditched her bike and went into the barn, the smell taking the edge off her temper as quickly as it would've made her younger brother cringe and whine. The horses were all outside, and the barn was spotless - her coach was insanely picky about that. It's just a barn after all. But the girls all knew things just went much better when you smiled and did it the way she wanted.

She quickly cut through the barn and, grabbing a halter and lead line, headed out to the paddock; she could hear a lesson going on in the distance, but that wasn't why she was there. As she approached the gate she called her pony's name. He looked up from his grazing, nickered, and trotted away from the herd towards her. 'At least somebody loves me', she thought as she fed him his carrot and wrapped her arms around his neck.

They'd told her she'd have to sell him -- she was growing too tall and needed a bigger horse. But how could she sell her best friend? She buried her head in his neck and wiped the tears with his mane. He turned his head around and nudged her shoulder with his muzzle as if to tell her it'd all be ok.

Haltering him, Alana led him out of the paddock, closing the gate behind her. She contemplated hopping on him bareback and riding him back to the barn. It'd be fun. And he'd let her do it. She knew he would. But she had no helmet. And her coach just *might* kill her if she found out. Or worse, kick her out! And she would find out. There was no doubt about that. So she dutifully led her pony back the way she'd been trained.

She groomed and tacked up quickly. Usually a task she enjoyed and spent endless hours doing, today she just wanted, needed, to get out. And he understood – picking up on her mood and fussing in the cross ties instead of standing quietly as he’d been trained to. As quickly as possible she and her pony were back outside, dressed and ready to go. She vaulted into the saddle, a move she was quite proud of, and turned away from the lesson still going on in the background. Still mad at her parents and devastated that they’d even consider *mentioning* selling her beloved Prince, she turned and headed out to the field. He started to dance underneath her, picking up on her distress and knowing a calm walk through the woods wasn’t going to be the answer for either one of them.

They picked up a power trot, the pony straining at the bit, eager to go faster. She started to relax as she smiled at his antics. “Not yet Prince,” she told him out loud, “you have to warm up first.” They trotted two laps around the conditioning trail; she laughed out loud when he used a squirrel racing up a tree as an excuse to bolt. “Not yet,” she repeated as she checked him. Half way through the third lap she let him roll into a canter, and by the time they hit the start of the fourth he was flying.

Her heart pounding she raced with her pony; they flew around the track – he stretching as fast as possible, she leaning low to his neck, loving every minute of it. The only sound was his hooves crinkling the grass as they hit, and his breath matching his stride. She couldn’t see – the wind was too sharp in her eyes. But she trusted him completely. And so they flew.

Eventually, after what seemed a lifetime and only a split second all at once, she knew he’d gone far enough and sat up to slow him down to a more reasonable pace. They trotted for a little while down some of the side paths, just enjoying being together. When they got to the pond, she hopped off and let him have a drink and a graze, enjoying just being with him.

She had all but forgotten what had sent her fleeing to the barn in the first place, and knew deep in her heart her parents would never really make her sell him. They could be totally horrid and always favoured her sister, but that was a line not even they would cross. She picked a dandelion and fed it to her pony who accepted it with quiet grace before she remounted to head home.

The ride back was quieter than the trip out, but the grin from the wild gallop remained on her face as they sedately strolled back, reins on the buckle, Prince a calm old school pony once more. Back at the barn, carefully controlled chaos reigned, as the lesson had finished so the students were all gossiping and reliving their lesson while untacking and bathing their horses. “Have a good ride?” one of the girls asked Alana as she and Prince joined them. And as easily as that, she was welcomed home.

6 comments:

AJ Brown said...

Very enjoyable read. I like that you used terms about the horses, grooming, running and so forth without fear the readers wouldn't know what you were talking about.

The ending was a nice wrap up as well. Good story.

AJ

laradunning said...

The mood was set well with Alana's thoughts. You could sense the angst and anger. Was she grounded from her horse as well? and breaking the rules?

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Nice little slice of life. The people in this may be fictional, but I bet the horse is real. ;)

Lauren Cude said...

Thanks all!

AJ - I worried about that a bit, but I figured it'd make enough sense in context to leave it. And no teenage kid is going to stop to explain every word :)

Lara - I like the thought of her being grounded from the horse too, but I saw her needing to go to him for relief rather than rebellion...

Tim - hahaha very close. This horse is a compilation of several horses I've known who've had the privilege of being loved so completely by a young girl. And have done their rider the honour of returning the same.

mazzz in Leeds said...

Aww, really enjoyed this slice of life. The pony's character was awesome, with the cheeky bolting at the squirrel :-)

Rebecca Emin said...

This is lovely, I love at the angst at the beginning and the complete love for the horse - you have summed up how teens feel really well. In answer to your question, it works well for me :o)

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