Chapter 1: Hope for Freedom

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 368

It was cold outside. Outside the warmness he had always known. So cold. Too cold. Cold and dark. The dry straw rustled beneath his body. So dark. The only sound he could hear was the rustling of his mother as she struggled to her feet loudly. Straw moved around him, and the sound of heavy boots rang down the stone stable. Weary panting of his mother moved above him. A shout went through the air. A crack of thin light penetrated his eyelids. The warmth of his mother moved away. He needed to get to her.

Once he discovered his eyes, he was blinded. At least for a moment. Everything was hazy, like a dream. Voices grew muffled around him. Then the whole room was spinning. Which way was up? Light dimmed and muffled around him. Swimming through his mind.

Then the voices and sounds around him changed. They grew richer, deeper, wiser. Then they weren't voices. They were thoughts. So many thoughts. Golden thoughts. If golden could be a sound, they were golden. Years of history were in those thoughts.

Somehow, the new foal knew that these were not human, or even normal horse voices. They were something far more powerful. Freedom was woven in them. They became more deep, more rich. The began to blend together. Then it was one loud whisper. Over that came the gold.

The sounds ceased. Only warm throbbing gold filled his eyes. It spread over the blackness, pulsating, as if it was alive. It felt comforting, warm, wise. It embraced him.

He no longer knew if his eyes were open or shut. His pounding heart slowed. A rich, warm feeling spread over him. Then it resided. A new feeling emerged.

It was red hot. A quick flash of red. Then of orange. Then it was gone.

He was laying on the straw as a bright white light flooded the stable. The vision was completely forgotten. Not even a moment of it remembered.

A low hum buzzed around him. As his eyes creaked open the hum grew louder. It changed, molding itself. Breaking apart into voices. The first one he heard was a high pitched female voice.

"A cheeky 'lil chestnut." she squealed. "I think he'll be fast." The foal glanced down at his thin legs in front of him. They moved. He started. Were they his? They were so red! Like a steel rubbed penny. Small grey, rubbery hooves adorned the end like dull jewls. Head cocked he studied them. Along his neck stuck up a ragged white poof. It was the beginning of a beautiful cream mane. One back hoof had a fleck of white, almost unnoticable. He was a lovely, glowing red. Arching his neck, he made his muscles pop in a show off fashion.

He almost flipped forward as his mother's rough tongue scraped along his back, cleaning him. A new feeling burned in him. The will to survive, to eat, to be warm. Stiff muscles struggling, he pulled his rear end into the air. It hung there for a second, soon followed by his front. A faint gasp was heard from the people gathered around him. A rough voice stated what they had all been thinking. "He sure got up fast." A murmer of agreement sounded around the room, vibrating.

Putting one wobbly leg before another, the wet and shining foal made it to his mother. She kept licking him hard as he stumbled into her side. Belly rumbling he searched for the nipple that he knew contained milk. His mother snorted as he head butted her under her leg. The stall door slid noislessly open as a man wearing blinding white clothes entered. Sterile gloves hid his hands.

Placing one hand beneath the foal's chin, and the other behind his head, he guided him. The foal could smell the warm life giving milk. So close!

His nose found the source of the smell with a small nudge from the white man, and he began to nurse greedily. Straw rustled and the man backed up. The foal could almost feel the man smiling as he slurped at the liquid. His deep voice rumbled all around as he voiced the words: "ca-ching! Money on its way!" Then, with a softer voice: "Sorry 'lil guy. They only care about the money. I had to say that. I am considered an...expert." Closing the door behind him he turned. "BrushFire."

The light flickered off, and horses all around him settled down.

Something else happened the next day in the birthing stalls. It was in the late evening when the sun had hidden. A group was gathered around the stall across from his. Some of the same people were there as on the night of his birth. A vet shuffled over to the stall and opened the door quickly. His white suit flashed and his sickly medicine blue vet bag swung at his side. When he kneeled in the stall the crowd hid him. Brushfire looked up at his mother.

Her bay ears were pricked forward, her forelock framing the white snip on her forehead. Swinging her head down, she whispered. You are going to have a new friend soon. Brushfire cocked his head and stretched to see over the stall. Strang noises came from over the door. After a moment his mother nudged him gently. Time for bed little one. She guided him to the corner of the stall and pawed until he had a comfortable bed readied for him.

When he lay down sleep came quickly. His dreams were full of questions though. What was going on over there? What was a friend? His head rustled as it relaxed in the straw. He had so much to learn.

The next day he sprang to his feet. Something was going on in the stall across from him. Some men in work clothes walked in and shook their heads. Glancing outside he saw that the sun had not yet risen. Before he knew it his mother was up on her feet beside him. She trotted gracefully over to the door and peered over. As soon as she did Brushfire knew something was wrong.

A painful look covered her face. Before he knew what happened, great tears were rolling down her cheeks. In the dark of dawn, with the white light hanging over, Brushfire saw his mother cry for the first time. The men across the stall became solemn.

Very soon the sound of a large truck pulling outside broke the silence. His mother turned away and stared at a wall. He stretched his neck over the door just in time to see a great black mare be lifted up and carried out. Her eyes were open, and frozen in an expression of pain. Her black coat was cold and stiff as they carried her out. He lowered his head. He didn't know what had happened. Only that she was gone.

A sad, calling neigh came from the stall. Brushfire stretched his neck again. Over the opposite door was the tender head of a newborn grey colt. Tears filled his eyes. Another heart wrenching call echoed through the barn. Then, his head dissapeared for a breath moment. A sound like gentle thunder came from within the stall. Brushfire realized he was trying to break out to follow his mother. Heartbreaking calls peirced the air long after she had been taken away.

After a few minutes there was a clange of doors and a sound of a man breathing heavily. The door swung open, and the grey colt was thrust into his stall. His mother turned as the colt stumbled into her. The man who had thrusted the foal in spoke gruffly. "'Ere Lady. Nurse 'im." He thumped down the barn, leaving the lights to flash off until morning.

Sleep took Brushfire before he had time to question what had happened. He only woke once to hear his mother talk gently to the colt, and hear and smell the warm milk. When he heard his mother sing a slow melody to the new colt, a new feeling was felt. Jealousy.

The next morning all of the night's before jealousy was gone. When the morning was full, Brushfire sprang to his feet. His new brother was already up. When his mother saw him rise, she smiled through red, puffy eyes. Brushfire, this is your new brother. She whispered. Say hello.

Brushfire paused. What was the difference between a brother and a newfriend? His mouth twitched for a moment before he uttered his first word. A boyish squeak emerged.

H-hello. He smiled cheerfully at the sound of his first words. Arching his neck, he lifted his feet high. Letting out a squeaky bugle, he pranced around the stall. Swinging his head he called: Hello. Hello. I can say hello. Again he froze when he realized he had said more words. Throwing his muzzle in the air, he neighed to the whole stall. HELLOOOOOOOOOO! Curious mares poked their heads out of stalls, foals next to them. A few small fillies squeaked their hellos back, but most mares pulled their heads back into their stalls.

One filly kept her head out of the stall. She had a beautiful grey brindle coat.

Turning, Brushfire saw his mother and his new brother looking at him. His brother stared with immense confusion and a little hurt. His mother stared at him, head arched. Brushfire knew that look. He lowered his head and promised not to be a showoff anymore.

The dapple grey colt stepped over to him. One single tear rolled down his cheek as he tossed his head.

Come, Flisk. His mother whinnied. Come drink. Brushfire cocked his head at the strange sound of his brother's name. Flisk?

The barn the two brothers called home was magnificent. The barn was huge and whitewashed. Several American flags hung from balconies on it. I gravel road curved away fron it in a circle, meeting its tail. Right in the middle of the road was a large cream planter filled with multiple types of cacti.

A small white car, and a large black car were usually parked in the front. Of to the side was the employee dorms. A small yard surrounded by a miniature white fence sat in the front.

At the front of the bar stood huge open doors. A large oaken sign above it red: Running Flight Racing Stables. A horse with wings sprouting from its back ran over the huge red letterings.

Behind the barn was a maze of small pastures. The grass was always lush and green. These areas were fenced off by blinding, perfect, white fences. Gravel ran between them.

A large strip of moist dirt ran to the left of the barn. A horse was almost always being ran or lunged there. Many gleaming coats flashed in unision at a mock race. Green grass lined the side. Fake grass. A blue announcers booth stood to the side.

A large roundpen was off on a short dirt trail to the right. Over there was also the water treadmill and automatic walker.

Everything gleamed beautiful in the sun on the first day Flisk and Brushfire were let out. They had grown close, but Flisk never spoke. Not a single time. He was a quiet sort of horse, one that you would think not bright if you didn't know him.

When the handler took them out, beside their mother, they were overwhelmed. First, they sniffed the grass, then rolled, then bucked. It was SO good to be out! The grass squelched beneath their hooves, and they found out that if they kick up their heels, they could spray their mother with mud. She was annoyed, but mostly joined in the fun. Galloping by their side and throwing her head back whenever a bird flew past.

Their training begain soon. First, it was the dreaded halter. It felt so weird to not be able to throw your head and move where you wished! When the man approached and slipped it obver their heads, they would throw their weight against it and neigh at the sky.

The man came with the halters immediatly after their mother had eaten breakfast. They could smell the leather before it reached them. Silver stripes on the side stated their names. Their mother trotted obediently up to one and thrust her nose into it. Exchanging confused glances, the two brothers backed up.

The mexican man began to whisper in a soothing voice. "Comes little ones. Its will be alrights." Brushfire was won over. He trotted curiously toward the voice, eyes buldging. The sun shone off of his red coat when he bobbed his head at the strong smelling thing.

Silver glinted off of its buckles. The man entered the gate slowly and carefully. Suddenly, throwing his muscular body against Brushfire, he pushed him to the fence.

Brushfire let out a panicked cry for his mother. Flisk galloped to his aid, then realized he was no match for the powerful man.

Legs flailing, Brushfire tried to wrench himself out of the man's grasp. It was no use. Quickly, he slipped the halter over his head.

It felt so TERRIBLE to have that warm thing on his head! A lead rope was quickly snapped on, and he was pulled around like a toy. A useless toy.

He threw his head up, his haunches down, and pulled. Pulled away. Oh how he HATED the feeling of not being able to move his head as he wished. But, with time, he learned he could not escape it, and gave up. Within three days he was being led around like a pony. Same with his brother. Flisk fought it a bit longer, but even he was no match for it.

The halters were only a beginning to their troubles. Next came friends. Not yet three months old, the two brothers were turned out in a semi large sand arena with some other foals and dams. Again, Brushfire saw the grey brindle filly he had seen before. Only now, her coat had darkened into a light black. She was on the smaller side, but acted boisterous enough.

She pranced round her mother, sand spraying up on either side. A few brindle marks still graced her legs. Small, high pitched squeals errupted from her as she tossed an invisible forelock. Catching Brushfire's gaze, she turned away quickly and resumed her prancing.

Flisk had his head down, and was lipping the sand. Brushfire swung his head up and around. Bugling a strong neigh, he danced in place. Flisk pulled his head up and looked over at his foolish brother. Everything seemed to slow as Brushfire turned to neigh a play challenge. His leg twisting, he fell. Flisk scrambled for a moment, trying to find purchase in the smooth sand. Galloping toward his fallen brother, he slid to a stop right before hitting him. BROTHER!


Submitted: August 11, 2014

© Copyright 2022 Stephanie Young. All rights reserved.

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