Welcome to GoMC's Winter Story Fest! The background to this post was in the last post, but I thought you'd like to just jump directly into the story. Without further ado, Saving the Silent!
“We’ve got to get out of here!” Dawn vaulted onto her mare’s back and looked through the sheet of rain to see if the dark shadow had followed. She quickly gathered her reins and waited for her companion, Sean, to mount his horse.
Adrenalin surged through her veins, urging her to ride on without him, but her sense of loyalty truthfully told her that her little brother wouldn’t make it without her.
As soon as she saw that his boots were in the stirrups, she urged her horse to move forward in a gallop.
“Hurry!” she shrilled.
Whether it was to her brother or her horse, she wasn’t sure. However, they both sped up, and Dawn leaned close to Halo’s light mane.
“He’s going to get us, Dawn!”
She glared back at the silhouette of a horse behind her.
“Never!” she yelled fiercely.
A round of gunshots startled her, but she gritted her teeth and pressed down so hard that she felt at one with the horse. A bullet zoomed past Halo’s left ear, but the mare didn’t panic.
Dawn was proud of her well-trained mount but sickened by the thought that someone was actually shooting at kids.
She trembled in rage, thinking of the whip she had seen.
Dawn lifted up her elbows and tucked her head beneath one of them. Sean was holding on, but barely.
“The forest is coming up!”
The rain that pelted her neck, back, and arms suddenly ceased. Twigs snapped beneath the horse’s hooves, and everything became darker.
Halo slowed to a walk.
“Easy, girl.” She turned in her saddle. “You okay, Sean?”
He dismounted leaned against his old gelding, Comanche. “Think so. We’re both fine, but, Dawn…”
Sean’s voice returned in a haunted whisper. “There’s a bullet in my saddle.”
Dawn nodded, speechless. They had cut it pretty close.
“I hated doing that, but I’m glad you convinced me to go.”
Images of sick horses, underfed dogs, and an abusing owner flashed through her mind. Her heart did a dive. Why were people so mean?
“I told you something wasn’t right.” Her eight-year-old brother crossed his arms and looked up at her with a smirk.
Dawn let her long blonde hair fall over one shoulder, and she wrung all of the water out of it. “Yeah, sure. Let’s get home before Mr. and Mrs. Patterson find out we’re not in our beds.”
Sean slowly mounted Comanche. “You mean Mom and Dad.”
Dawn shook her head and bit her tongue.
Sean had been too little to remember their last foster parents. Dawn had loved them dearly, but when her “Daddy” had gotten in an accident resulting in paralysis, the young couple was quick to send them off.
Dawn knew that what had happened was tragic, but if something happened to their new foster parents, who could say that these people were any different?
The ride back home was boring and uneventful. Halo snorted several times until Dawn noticed that she was squirming too much and holding onto the reins too tightly.
“Sorry, girl,” she whispered.
Mr. and Mrs. Patterson were sound sleepers, and the barn wasn’t too close to the house. Dawn’s bedroom was next to the kitchen, near the front door, so she easily slipped into bed unnoticed. Hopefully her pajamas didn’t have too much horse hair on it to raise suspicions in the morning.