The Heart of a Black Stallion

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic

The black stallion, it’s head held up, arching his neck, humping up once in 'while, as the sun beat down on its back, walkin’ like he didn’t have ah care in the world. The open range provided a wonderful home for the wildlife. After taking bite of the grass in a leisurely fashion, took another step, more grazing followed. Some of the locals had gave the stallion the name 'Revenge', on 'count of his meanness. It pranced causally down the trail, depending on his mood, which most times was bolt-prone. Some folks liked to say he had the devil in him. The process that led to his capture had been set in motion on day one.

Hey whippersnapper, “You been writin’ down people’s stories fer yore book. Maybe, mine would interest you.” Grandpa said. I had moved out to the ranch to live with my grandparents. I was pretty down on life and granddad could see that. He found a forty-nine Ford pickup and helped me restore it. We put a lot of time on it together and became very close.
“Sure would, Grandpa, it sure would,” As I drag over a chair to his bedside, digging my pad out of my jacket pocket. "Yes, that's why I'm here Grandpa. I, uh, I have some time on my hands and I wanted to try to find out if the story of the Black Stallion was true. My dad told me this story over and over when I wus just a small kid.
Grandpa thought back on his trip from Amarillo when he'd first started ranching. It’d been mostly boring and tiring but had a couple of memorable events. It’s been years since he’ve been there, and he’d forgotten just how beautiful the country was back then.

******

Mind you, “I don’t care much about people, but that Black Stallion man,” Grandpa had said. "Strong and smart as anything." Every good rancher knows the importance of adding new blood to his stock. Grandpa never grew a heart for crops or cattle, but he did have a head for horses. Grandpa found himself on the trail to Houston. He was delivering six mares to a ranch outside of the town. They weren’t prize flesh by any means, but they were good, solid, dependable, young things that he had a hand in breeding and training, and the buyer was an old friend of his who refused to get his horses from anyone else. It was somewhere around Amarillo that we noticed the Black Stallion was trailing close behind. He began to tell me the true story about The Heart of a Black Stallion. Grandpa was sitting in a quite comfortable rocking chair staring at the dying embers of the fire in the large stone fireplace. Taking another sip of the hot coffee nicely laced with rye warmed him more than the remains of the fire. For a guy in his late seventies, he looked damn good.

******

In Texas, it was the sky that made you consider religion. The land pitched and rolled from grassy plains to jagged rocky peaks and shallow creek beds cut through the terrain like bright, blinding wounds with raw red dirt edges.
We talked and I felt a slight easing in the pent-up tension of the last four years. Daddy Jim—we had always called him that—was one of the good guys. He was patient to a fault, never meddled; yet he always seemed to be there when anyone needed him. About a year after I moved in with them, grandma died of cancer and it was the two of us against the world. I walked to a small rise and enjoyed the variegated sky to the west as the sun set over the bend in our little valley. Enjoying the last of the four cigarettes a day I was rigidly holding my promise to keep. Her loss to me, such as it was, had been more than offset by my Grandpa. I remember sitting on my back porch when I got home, watching the sun set on the broken hills rising to the north of my ranch. My place was more east than south of Amarillo, and backed up against the edges of the hills. I put the beer in a tub of ice and as I finished the first bottle I started getting a slight smile on my face. By the time I'd consumed about four or so the smile had turned into a grin then a full fledged shit-eatin' grin. I felt really relaxed sitting there in the now dark night for the first time in months. The still warm fall evening and the high-octane beer were working well together. Never once did Grandpa complain that life was unfair and never once did he let it affect his judgment when it came to making the decisions of everyday life. To of have heard him telling stories about his life one might have fallen into a state of shock and disbelief. At first I found his stories hard to swallow, although nonetheless entertaining. It wasn't that the stories couldn't have happened, it was just that I wasn't sure if I would have taken the same paths. But, now that I sit here old, gray and wrinkled myself, looking back upon my life fondly, I see him walking beside me and the parallels are there. His influence was profound and this is his story that is why I do not bother naming myself.

The Story Begins

The first day, on the trail delivering the horses, a slow tide of dark clouds was cause for concern, but the shade was a welcome reprieve. I was approaching the west side of the valley. Here I am standing in this meadow, waiting. Not waiting for anything particular, but just waiting. I'm standing here looking at the lush green countryside. It is made up of gently rolling hills that disappear off into the horizon. The morning horizon just happens to be the color of a forest fire. I like the orange glow. The grass is a deep forest green color, but when the morning sun hits it at a sidelong angle it looks to be a bluish green. The early morning dew reflects little worlds of rainbows off each individual grass blade until the glare is too brilliant to gaze upon. On top of the little hill to my left stands a lone apple tree. With its lush little red apples gleaming so tauntingly in the morning light it irresistibly pulls me in that direction. I was about to go around, but was brought up short by a horse's explosive release of air that sent a plume of mist bellowing into the frigid morning air. His mane streaming out behind him like the eternal flame of life and love. All I could do is stand there gazing in admiration at this grandeur visage of wonder and grace. He looks around for any signs of danger so that he may continue foraging for breakfast. His whiskers twitch as he sniffs into the wind for any signs that might help him make up his mind.


Submitted: October 12, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Intoxcy8me. All rights reserved.

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