First Assateague Arabian

“Mommy!” yelled little Ingrid. “Silver is acting weird!”“Well, I guess we’d better go take a look at him,” Mother said.  Silver was a big, strong silver stallion.  “Oh, please hurry, Mommy!” Ingrid called, running toward the barn.When they got to the barn, Silver was kicking the door of his stall and frightening the chickens, goats, and other horses. “If he keeps kicking that door, he’s going to get out!” Mother shouted above the noise.  “Better go shut the door, Ingrid.”  But she was too late.There was a sudden crash and a flash of silver.  Silver ran outside and took off toward Chincoteague Beach.  “Quick Mommy! We have to go after him!” Ingrid said, running towards the car.They drove for hours along the beach, until finally, they headed home.  “What’s going to happen to Silver?” Ingrid’s quiet voice asked.“We just have to hope and pray that he’ll survive until we find him,” Mother’s gentle voice answered.By the time they got home, smoke was billowing out of the barn.  “Mommy!” Ingrid screamed, as the flames leapt onto the house.  The house burst into flames!  “That must have been the reason that Silver was scared!” Mother cried, hiding her face in her palms.The volunteer fire department arrived just then.  Luckily, they put the fire out quickly.  Later that day, Ingrid and Mother went back to the ruins to see what they could find.  All they found was some scorched photos, some of Mother’s jewelry, and Ingrid’s favorite slinky. But no, there was something else.  Only one body remained--a man’s.  The animals must have gotten away but this guy didn’t. They didn’t even know who it was.  But he was dead and there was a cigar lying near him.  That was what caused the fire.  The fire chief identified him as a wanted criminal.  “He must have hidden in the barn.  And the smoke from his cigar must have scared Silver.  But when we came he must have dropped his cigar in the hay and ran to hide!” Mother said thoughtfully.  “Now what will we do?” Ingrid asked worriedly.“I’m not sure, honey,” Mother replied, heading to the car.Back at the beach, Silver kept running until he hit the water.  Then he shrunk back.  It was freezing!  But he gathered up his courage, and then plunged into the water.  He wasn’t sure where he was going, but he knew he was going somewhere.After a while, his feet struck ground.  It felt weird to be walking on land again!  Where was he?  The truth was that he was out on Assateague Island.  Then, out of nowhere, another horse strode out of the woods!  It whinnied to him.  “Hello,” he stuttered in horse talk.  “My name is Silver.”  The other horse looked at him suspiciously.  “Are you lost? I’ve never seen you here,” the other horse asked.  “Uh yah.” Silver was having a hard time searching for words. “Well, my name is Pinto Bean.  I live here on Assateague Island with my herd.  Do you want to stay with us?” the stranger asked.  “Uh, sure,” he answered.  “Cool!  We’ve been without a leader for a long time, would you like to try out?” she asked, cautiously.“Umm.... I guess so.  I guess I don’t have anywhere else to go,” he answered, hesitantly.After a little walk through the woods, they came to a clearing.  “So, this is where we meet when we need to call meetings.  Just a second.”  Suddenly, she let out a VERY loud whinny.  In just a few minutes, about 23 horses came trotting out of the woods into the clearing.  “Hey girls!” Pinto Bean greeted her friends.  “After many long years, we finally
might have a leader.”  A bustle of excitement swept through the crowd of horses.  But as they looked toward him, they all gasped.  “He’s an Arabian!” one horse said.  “Oh!  I’ve never seen an Arabian before!” another said.  “Yes, he is an Arabian.  His name is Silver,” Pinto Bean finished.  “Now why don’t we show Silver around the island.”At that moment, all the ponies started toward the spot where Silver and Pinto Bean met.  But when they got there, they suddenly stopped at the edge of the clearing.  Silver could just see a wolf coming out of the woods.  The wolf crouched low and growled.  Silver dashed through the herd and out into the open. He ran toward the wolf and attacked him.  The wolf jumped up on Silver’s back and Silver started bucking wildly.  Finally, the wolf released his grip and ran into the woods.“Look at that!  Only a true leader would care enough to stand up for the herd and not just hide behind us!  I think that we have found ourselves a leader, girls!” Pinto Bean said, happily. The other horses all agreed and Silver became the leader of the herd.After they were done showing him around, Silver found a nice, quiet spot to lie down, because he was tired after his long swim.  After a little while he dozed off to sleep.The next thing he knew, he was staring into the face of Pinto Bean.  “Fall asleep?” she asked curiously.Still sleepy, he answered, ”Uh, yeah, I guess.”  He got up hastily.  “I just wanted to ask, what were you doing way out here?  I mean so far from the mainland and all.” “Well, actually, I lived with my family on Chincoteague. They had purchased me on the mainland when I was just a colt. Anyways, just a few hours ago, I got scared because I smelled smoke in the barn.  I kicked at the door and charged at it.  When my family found out, they came to shut the barn door, but I broke out and got away.  And next thing I knew, I was here,” Silver replied.Pinto Bean looked awestruck for a moment.  “Wow!  I have one question though.  Did you ever figure out what the smoke in the barn was from?” Pinto Bean asked.“No.  But someday, I’ll figure it out,” he replied.  “Now, I have a question for you.  Why don’t you and your friends have a leader already?” he asked, curiously.“Well, our leader, Chrome, died about 3 or 4 years ago.  He was amazing!  And we loved him so much.  But that day with that horrible attack... Chrome was just trying to defend the old mare. It was Pony Penning Day, and an elderly mare was about to be shot because the round-up men knew that she couldn’t make it across the channel.  Right as they fired the rifle, Chrome ran in front of her and took the bullet.  They still shot her, though.  It was a very sad day,” Pinto Bean said, sadly.“I’m so sorry, Pinto,” Silver said, feeling her hurt.“It’s okay, we’re over it now.  Besides, I was only a foal,” Pinto stated. Silver laid his head over her back and said very quietly, “Don’t worry, now I will protect you.”About a month or two later, Silver and Pinto Bean had fallen in love.  The next year, a foal was born.  An Assateague Arabian foal.

San Francisco Story

“I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” It was February of 1991. San Francisco was quite cold in February and Nathaniel was not only worried about his girlfriend getting cold but also about her getting robbed… or worse. Gangs lurked in all of the alleys and shadows in San Francisco and it didn’t help that Heather and Nat lived in one of the worst neighborhoods.

             A few weeks ago, Heather had come to Nat needing a place to stay while she worked in the city. Naturally, he told her that she could stay at his house, but he didn’t think about her having to walk alone to and from work.

            Heather lived on the outskirts of San Francisco with her parents and newborn brother, Jacob. She lived on a horse breeding farm which bred winning Thoroughbreds.

            Now with Heather working at a high end boutique in the middle of the city, she needed to have a place to stay during the week. Nat owned a big house that he got for very cheap, since it is in a bad neighborhood. So of course he had enough room for her to stay.

            “I’m telling you, I’ll be fine.”

            “I just don’t want you to get hurt,” Nat said, shuddering at the thought of Heather getting attacked by a gang.

            “I will be fine! Besides, I can fend for myself just as well as you can,” Heather assured him.

            “Let me walk you to work.”

            “You have to go to work, too.”

            “Fine I’ll ask Dad to take you.”

            “Your dad is in Finland! I promise you, I’ll come home all in one piece.”

            Nat sighed then finally got out of her way. She was so stubborn sometimes.

            “Thank you. Now thanks to you, I’m going to be late to work,” Heather said, walking out the door.

            A few minutes later, she was walking toward Nova, the small clothing store that she worked for. Nova was located a few blocks down Geary Street.

            Back at Nat’s house, he was still standing by the door when he suddenly looked at the time and realized that he would be late for work if he didn’t start walking now. Neither Heather nor Nat owned cars.

            A few blocks away from Nova, Heather spotted something in a window. As she stopped to look, she wished ever so much that she could afford it, The beautiful dark blue evening gown haunted her everyday as she passed the store, Today it had a special deal, If she bought a sparkly diamond necklace along with the dress, she could get the matching handbag, shoes, and hair pin. She was getting her first paycheck today and she hoped that the dress wouldn’t be gone by the time she got off work.

            After a few minutes, Heather continued down Geary Street and reached Nova right on time to help with the morning rush.

            About lunch time, Heather’s boss cornered her on her way out the door. “Where were you this morning, Heather?” her boss, Al Luxar, asked menacingly.

            “I… my… uh…” she stuttered. “Alice.”

            “Alice?” Al asked, confused.

            “My cousin. She made a surprise visit this morning. I haven’t seen her in years. I figured that I could spare a few minutes, but then I looked at the clock and it was time to leave. Then it was hard to get her to stop talking.”

            “Well don’t let it happen again, or I may have to fire you!” Al yelled at her. Then he stomped off.

            Heather shook her head. I should have told him the truth. Then she walked out the door to go to lunch.

            After work, Nat walked home thinking about his day. Why am I in love with her? he asked himself. She’s nothing like I imagined her when we first started dating.

            Suddenly, something hit him and he fell backwards onto the ground.

            “Watch where you’re going, Punk!” a rather large man yelled, shaking his clenched fist.

            “I’m sorry,” Nat said as he was getting up. The man brushed past, knocking Nat down again. Nat got up again and brushed the dirt from his jeans. You’ve got to stop daydreaming, Nat. he told himself.

            Heather started for the clothing store as soon as she got her paycheck. She didn’t want to have another unpleasant encounter with her boss.

            When she reached the store, she was overjoyed to find that the dress hadn’t been bought. She hurried inside and inquired about it.

While she was waiting for the clerk to get the dress, she realized that she had enough money to get the diamond necklace, too.

After she purchased her items, she walked slowly down the street toward home.

Suddenly, she heard some yelling behind her. She looked back and saw a group of men running towards her. Her heart quickened and she started to run, holding her shopping bag and purse close to her side.

Lost But Never Forgotten

I ran through the house, trying to find my other tennis shoe.

            “Mom!” I yelled. “Have you seen my other shoe?”

            A muffled “no” reached my ears from the other side of the house.

            I sighed and ran to my forest green room. It had to be here somewhere. I looked everywhere. I even checked under my bed, which I dreaded doing often because of all the lost homework and dirty clothes wadded up and stuffed under there. No shoe. Where was it? I was going to be late for school.

            “Trevor! Hurry up! You’re going to be late to school!” Mom called.

            I rolled my eyes. No kidding.

            Finally, I gave up. I threw on a pair of cleats that I used for soccer and ran out the door, only to run back in when I realized that I had left my backpack sitting on my messy bed.

            I arrived to the local elementary school just before the bell rang. I rushed to my classroom and sat down in the very back. I hated sitting in the front. The teacher always picked on you to answer questions if you sat in front.

            I was nine years old and in the fourth grade. My family was pretty wealthy and we lived in a nice house in New York City. I had one little sister, Kayla, who was six years old, and two one-year-old brothers, Jimmy and Paul, who were twins. My dad was a wealthy businessman and my mom worked in a local H&M clothing store.

            I pulled out a piece of paper and started drawing random shapes and lines. I hardly listened to the teacher. She didn’t like me and she never called on me so why should I listen to her?

            When I got bored with the drawing, I stared at it for a long time, trying to find objects in it.

            Just when I was tracing a rocket ship with my finger, the bell rang and I put away my stuff and ran outside for recess.

            After school, I walked home like I usually did, since we lived just down the street from the school. I could even see my house from the playground and I sometimes waved to Kayla and Ms. Bates, our nanny.

            When I got home, I came in and heard my mom and dad arguing about something in the kitchen. Mom and Dad never argued so there must have been something very important going on. Out of curiosity, I wandered into the kitchen. Mom was almost in tears and Dad held his head in his hands and was mouthing the word “why?” over and over. I just stood in the doorway, not wanting to make them more upset. They both went silent when they saw me standing there.

            Then Mom just started crying again and Dad motioned for me to come over to him. I slowly walked over to where Dad was sitting at the kitchen table. He scooped me up as if I weighed nothing and sat me on his lap.

            “What’s wrong Dad?” I asked in confusion. Mom never cried.

            Dad took a deep breath. “Son, we’re broke. We don’t have any money left. We were robbed.”

            It took a few minutes to sink in. “We don’t have any money?” I asked in that innocent child’s voice.

            “Well we have a few dollars left but it won’t last for long. We’re going to have to move,” Dad said quietly.

            I looked over at Mom. She was terribly upset. I’d never seen her like this in my entire life. She was always so happy.

            “Move? Where?” I asked, imagining some broken down old shack in the middle of nowhere.

            “We haven’t quite decided yet. But we’ll probably have to rent an apartment.”

            Well at least it wasn’t as bad as the shack.

            “When do we have to move?” I asked.

            “As soon as possible,” he answered.

            I started crying then and ran to my room. I threw myself down on the bed and cried for hours, or what seemed like hours. It must have only been a few minutes, though, because Mom came in and sat next to me, her eyes still wet from crying.

            “Honey,” she started. She sniffled once, then started again. “Honey, we have no choice but to move. I don’t want to move either, but we have no other choice. We don’t have enough money to stay here.”

            I looked at her in disbelief. “But that’s not fair,” I whispered, too shaken to speak any louder.

            “Who ever said that life was fair? It’s full of unexpected twists and turns. You never know what it will throw at you. You just have to be prepared.”

            “But how can I be prepared if I don’t know what’s coming?”

            Mom sighed. “I’m not sure, Honey. I’m not sure.”

            That was the best advice that she had ever given me, though. It was something that would stick with me for the rest of my life.

            During the next week, we spent all our free time packing and unpacking at the small apartment that we had decided to rent. It had two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom, and a kitchen/dining room, hardly enough room to support a family of six. All of us kids had to share the largest bedroom. Kayla slept on the left side of the room, Jimmy and Paul slept on the far wall, and I slept on the right. The room had faded yellow walls and a single window on the left wall. It had gray carpet and a ceiling light. The floor creaked whenever someone stepped on it and the room smelled like rotting wood that had been there for years.

The kitchen/dining room was small and some of us had to eat out in the living room instead of at the table. Since Mom had to help Jimmy and Paul eat, Kayla, Dad, and I were usually the ones eating in the living room. The kitchen had two walls concealed with cupboards and counters. An oven and a refrigerator somehow found their place on those walls. The kitchen’s only light came from three windows situated on three of the walls. The cupboards and table were made out of the same dark oak and the countertops were a cream color. The floor was white linoleum. I could already smell and taste the wonderful treats that would soon be baked in the small yet efficient kitchen.

The living room held a love seat, Dad’s favorite arm chair, a bookshelf, and a television. It had wooden flooring. There was one big window on the outside wall. The furniture matched the walls using a deep red and gold pattern.

The bathroom was too small to fit more than one person in it at the same time. We had to take turns brushing our teeth in the mornings. Dad always had to go first, since he had to get to work. Then Mom, so she could get us ready for school. Next it was me, so I could help the little kids. Lastly it was Kayla’s turn. Jimmy and Paul didn’t even have teeth yet. Well ok, they did have some half teeth. They were just starting to come through. The bathroom had a beach theme to it. The walls were the color of sand and the floor tiles the color of the ocean. Beach paintings hung on the right wall. The bathroom had a bathtub/shower, a sink, a mirror, and a toilet. The room smelled like strawberries, probably left over from the last renter’s shampoo.

The day after we were officially out of the old house was hectic. We were all rushing around in a small area, trying to get ready for school. As soon as someone was done getting ready, they had to leave the house, which was no big deal because, now, instead of living down the street from the school, we lived across the road from it. I was the second person out of the house, Dad being the first.

I ran across the road after exiting the apartment, almost getting hit by a speeding car. The car was a silver shiny Volvo. The driver looked like he wasn’t in a hurry, but he was speeding anyway. I guessed he was going over ninety miles an hour. Mom would have died if she saw that incident. But I made it across alive.

School was boring like always. Today, though, I had brought a ball of clay with me and I played with that all through my classes. At recess, I looked over toward our old house, hoping to see Ms. Bates and Kayla. Then I realized that we’d never see Ms. Bates again, especially not at the old house. We couldn’t afford to pay her anymore and Mom had to quit her job so that she could stay home and take care of Jimmy and Paul. I turned away, almost in tears, thinking about how quickly things could change. Then, Mom’s advice came to mind. I just have to be prepared in every way I can. Man, I hate life.