Welcome to GoMC's Story Fest! For the next couple of weeks (possibly) I'll be posting my writings, only breaking for weekends and Fridays, when I do Randomness Friday.
The first story is called Saving the Silent. If you missed the first parts, go to the following links:
Dawn managed to make it through the day. Josh coughed loudly to keep her attention on school whenever her mind wandered, and she even saw Emily, a junior, once in the halls.
Teachers piled homework on their students, all except for Mr. Moore, her English teacher. Dawn didn’t classify writing under homework. She always loved sitting in her bedroom, dreaming of adventures. She had to admit that her classes that day weren’t too hard, but Dawn couldn’t get her mind off of the animals.
Dawn blinked a couple of times. “What?”
“Gosh, girl!” Emily touched a lock of her curly hair. “I was asking if you liked my hair. I found a book in the library, so I decided to try some of the hairstyles.”
“Yeah. Sure.” Dawn nodded furiously. “It looks great.” She stared at Emily's fancily braided hair. How could she have missed something so drastic?
Josh turned around in the seat in front of them and looked at Dawn with concern. “Are you okay, Dawn? You’ve been out of it for the whole day.”
Emily pushed her hand against Dawn’s forehead. “No fever.”
Laughing, Dawn pulled her head away. “I’m fine. It’s just that-” she sighed and lowered her voice. “Sean and I went to the ‘abandoned farm’ yesterday and found abused animals. Someone fired at us when we were escaping.”
“What?” Josh’s eyes got big.
“Seriously?” Emily asked, ignoring Josh. Her forehead was inches from Dawn’s. “You are absolutely sure that you saw what you saw?”
Dawn nodded solemnly.
“You’ve got to tell someone. Call the police! Tell your parents!” Emily’s voice soared, and several curious eyes turned their way.
Dawn clapped a hand over her loud friend’s mouth. “I know, Em. But remember that one story we read in middle school about a girl who called the police about an animal? It was before you skipped a grade. And-”
“My goodness, Dawn Patterson, she called the police because her pet parakeet fainted!” Emily protested, almost comically, which was rare for her. “This is way different.”
“And,” Dawn continued, more loudly, “Mr. and Mrs. Patterson would never believe me. Even if they did, Sean and I would get into major trouble for going somewhere at night.”
Josh sat up. “I want to see it for myself.”
“Absolutely not. He’s dangerous, Josh!”
“And I’ve got dance practice tonight!” Emily whined. “Why do you two always get to have all the fun?”
“We do not, Emily!” Dawn scowled and slammed into the back of the bench. “I have to prepare my material for a Tae Kwon Do demonstration in a couple of days, and going there is dangerous! There is absolutely no way that I’m going to go again.”
“I can’t believe you convinced me to go, Joshua Patrick Jennings!” Dawn pulled her saddle off of its stand and weaved through the various horse supplies to reach the door. Her saddle and saddle blanket seemed heavier than usual.
Joshua met her at the door and took the tack from her. “It must be my smooth charm and amazing persuasiveness.”
Dawn frowned and took the gear back. “I’m thinking that it’s my weak backbone and your annoying whining.”
After she tightened the cinch and made sure everything was in order, Dawn hopped onto Halo’s back while Josh readied his Thoroughbred.
“Emily’s going to kill me,” she muttered.
“She may,” Josh tightened his saddle’s girth. “If she doesn’t take all of her anger out on me first.”
As they rode out of the yard, Dawn couldn’t help but wonder if they were doing the right thing. Was it safe for them to go alone?
“So this is basically it,” she whispered after they had ducked behind a tangle of bushes.
A poor excuse for a barn barely stood. A gentle wind blew, causing the whole worn structure to sway and creak. The colors were strange, and Dawn thought it looked very much like the coat of a calico cat. There was a white metal fence, and in the enclosure stood several horses. Their muzzles hung low to the ground, their backs were sagging, and their coats were too dull.
“The poor things. They look like they’ve given up,” she sighed.
Joshua suddenly stood up. He dug into the pocket of his jacket and fished out a plastic baggie. Dawn could see the bag contained something orange.
“What are you doing?” she hissed.
“I’m going to do something their owner never did.” He got something out of the bag and tossed it to Dawn. She turned it over in her hands and saw carrots and sugar cubes.
She also stood up and beamed. “You think of everything, Josh.”
He shrugged without a trace of a smile, which was unusual for him. “Come on.”
Dawn felt as if she was the one doing a crime. She felt her eyes darting around and her hands shaking, but Josh was cool and calm.
“Come ‘ere,” he crooned to the biggest horse. Its ears flicked their way, and it suddenly came alive. He reared and charged their way. Dawn took one look at its pinned-back ears and gaping mouth and dove back into the bushes, but Josh held his ground.
The stallion just stopped short of ramming into the fence. He stood there, snorting and glaring at Josh.
“The poor guy has bruises all over his legs.” Josh held out his palm with a carrot in it.
With an indignant scream, the bay jumped back, as if Josh’s hand was a monster.
“Alright, alright! Touchy, aren’t we?” Josh sighed and tossed the carrot near him.
The stallion reared away from the strange orange worm, but his curiosity soon got the best of him. He turned back on the little object, and his lips wiggled as he gave it a little nibble.
Dawn felt strange, as if she wasn’t even there. Everything had stopped for Josh and the untrusting horse.
“Score me some more carrots, Dawn,” he whispered, backing up after the horse had finished eating.
Coming to stand beside him, she gave him a handful.
“I never knew my best friend was a horse whisperer.”
Josh lifted his shoulders in a shrug. “He just needs someone to trust.” He tossed another carrot, this time closer to where they stood. The horse eagerly gobbled up the treat but didn’t break his gaze from theirs.
They repeated the process several times until he was right in front of them. Josh decided to save eating out of his hand for another day.
“You mean, we’re coming back?” Dawn asked, as they rode through the woods.
“Well, I am. With or without you.” Josh sounded self-satisfied, as if he knew that she would follow anyway.