There’s no time to think! One moment we are thundering toward a formation of men with guns, and the next there is a roaring in my ears, a lightness on my back, and the screams of my Rider’s friends.
The others are focusing on the mounted men, while I see Dark-One run to Rider. A man that smells wrong is coming toward them, gun raised.
I can’t let Rider be hurt more! I scream, I rear – and the man cringes back from my hooves.
Sad-One and Young-One take over. Young-One speaks calming words as Sad-One leads the man to the buildings.
Much-Laughter leads Young-One away, and I see Dark-One and Wise-One lead Rider up the odd boards and into the building. Rider! I call, but he doesn’t respond. RIDER!
How badly is he hurt? Why can I not help?
Kind-One walks over and takes my bridle. With calming words, he begins to lead me toward the horse-building. I bow my head and sigh, frustrated at not being able to help Rider.
Something carries to me on the wind and my head snaps up. That scent – that scent! That’s the smell of the man who came in on that beaten mare – the one who ordered is men to hurt my Herd!
The one who is to blame for Rider being hurt!
But where…. I look around, listening and scenting …. Yes! Yes, there! He is out of the confines of town, leaving!
NO! I cry out, rearing. Kind-One gasps as I tear myself from his grasp and thunder after the man. I hear Kind-One screaming my name, but I ignore him.
Rider shall be avenged!
I ride hard – I can feel the tension in my legs – but I am not going to let him escape! Finally, I see him. He is on his mare, and he is singing.
STOP! I cry, and the mare stops, startled. She turns and her rider says something to me, but I ignore him. He hurt Rider! Throw him!
She shakes her head. I can not – he will hurt me!
He HAS hurt you! He has hurt Rider! He hurts and hurts! Help me stop him from hurting more!
She hesitates. Why does she hesitate? Can she not smell the man’s evil stink?
My eyes lock on hers and both our eyes widen a bit as we hear his gun cock. I move, and the bullet hits where I was standing.
Frightened, she rears and he loses his grip on the gun. Yes! I call. Yes, do that!
She feels her power over him at last – I can read it in her eyes! She rears twice more, and his evil whip falls to the dust.
I take great pleasure in trampling it to pieces.
She is bucking now, twisting in circles as he tries to hold on. But he fails, and I watch, laughing, as the evil one falls from her back.
She goes still at last, blowing with effort and joy. He is lying beside her, one foot in the stirrup still. As she stands there, he tries to sit up.
Run with me! I cry, and I set an easy, fast pace toward Rider’s town. Crying out in happiness, she runs with me.
He screams as he is pulled behind her – powerless at last to hurt her or even stop himself from moving.
By the time we trot into town, he is silent and still. Sad-One and Kind-One run to meet us, and Dark-One is screamed for.
Much-Laughter tries to shield Young-One from the sight, but he shrugs him off and gets the mare calmed and settled in the Horsekeeper’s capable hands.
I stand by, gently pawing the ground and letting out a satisfied snort as Dark-One says the evil one is dead.
“There you are!” I whirl about, and there he is – leaning heavily on Wise-One, coming toward me and shaking his head. Rider! “Where you been, huh?”
I nudge Rider gently, careful not to bump the white cloth holding his arm to his side. Behind me, Kind-One says, “It would appear your horse chased down the miscreant responsible for all the carnage.”
“And brought him back dead,” Much-Laughter says, and is that wonder in his voice?
“Animal’s got your sense of justice, brother,” Wise-One muses.
“Always figured you two was more like as not!” Sad-One teases.
“I got the mare settled,” Young-One says as he returns. “Bastard beat her, looks like.”
There’s silence for a moment, then Kind-One sighs. “I will arrange for burial.”
“You do that,” Sad-One says. “We’ll take care of the gang, and Nathan—“
“I gotcha, Chris,” Dark-One says, heading toward Rider. “You need to rest, Vin. Let JD take care o’him.”
Rider nods, stroking my nose and smiling at me. “Proud o’ya, Peso,” he whispers, petting my nose again. “So damn proud o’you…”
Young-One leads me away and Dark-One takes Rider to rest. I watch the rest of the human members of my Herd for a moment.
We are all safe.
We are all avenged.
And I, too, am damn proud of me.
Return to The Realm