The Mystery Horse (1)
by Elizah B.
Twelve-year-old Andi Carter jumped out of bed and pulled the curtains apart revealing a bright sunny morning. She had waited all week for Saturday to arrive.
“Yes! A great day to ride to my special spot!” She exclaimed happily. Quickly brushing and plaiting her long dark hair into two braids, she dressed in a comfortable shirt and her favorite pair of overalls, then pulled on her boots.
She rushed out the door and stopped at the top of the stairs. The shiny, wooden banister looked so welcoming. She was about to slide down when Luisa, their fiery little housekeeper appeared. “Ni lo intentes señorita.”
Disappointed, Andi plodded down the stairs. Oh well, I won’t let this ruin my day, she thought as she entered the dining room. “Good morning!” She said cheerfully.
“Good morning, Andrea.” Elizabeth answered. The others greeted her, then went back to talking. Andi poured maple syrup on her pancakes and started eating.
“What's the hurry, sis?” Mitch asked.
“Well, I was planning on riding to my special spot today,” Andi told him. “That seems nice,” said Elizabeth, smiling.
“Just as soon as you don't forget to do your chores,” added Chad.
“I won’t,” Andi promised wholeheartedly. “May I go now?”
“Yes, you may,” Elizabeth answered.
Andi grabbed her hat and ran outdoors and into the barn. Taffy, her golden palomino, greeted her with the snort and then went back to eating her soft alfalfa. Andi rushed through her chores. Afterwards, she packed a lunch which included a cold chicken sandwich, two apples, and half a dozen sugar cookies. She got her fishing equipment and soon she and Taffy were on their way. They rode to the special spot and Andi tied her to a willow tree nearby where she greedily munched on grass. Andi sighed happily. She leaned against a tree, fishing pole in hand. Then she dozed off.
Taffy’s loud whinnies woke Andi like a bucket of cold water. “What is it, girl?” she asked. She looked around her. Suddenly something caught her eye. A magnificent looking horse, about 15 hands high stood only a few feet away.
Andi gasped. Where did this horse come from? She wondered. “Hey, boy,” she said gently, not wanting to spook him. She took an apple from her gunnysack and offered it to the horse. He took a few steps forward. “It almost seems like he's used to this.” she said thoughtfully. He came close enough to get the apple and ate it in one huge bite. Cautiously, Andi patted his neck. The horse just stood there looking at her.
“You sure are one mysterious horse,” Andi told him. “Hey that's what I’ll call you. Mystery.” The name fit him. He was a cloudy gray covered with snowy white dots. “You act like you've been around people before, but where did you come from?” Andi fed him the other apple and a few sugar cookies. After eating what was left of her lunch Andi decided to go back home, for it was almost suppertime. She knew she couldn't possibly take Mystery home, for certain reasons that had to do with the ranch boss, big brother Chad.
“I'll come back tomorrow after church, that is, if mother lets me.”
Mystery shook his mane as if understanding. Andi mounted Taffy, who by now was annoyed at all the attention Mystery was getting and started at an easy pace. They reached the ranch not long after, where she unsaddled Taffy and led her to her stall. She then hurried into the house, climbed up the stairs and entered her room. She changed into a simple dress and went back down to the dining room. She was right on time.
After dinner, in which she didn't tell anyone about Mystery, she went to bed and lay there thinking. I wonder if Mystery has an owner, is the owner looking for him? Then she slept.
The next morning, Andi sat as still as possible while Reverend Harris preached on about the sins in lying, which made Andi feel kind of guilty since she had not told her family about Mystery.
When the Reverend finally dismissed them, Andi hurried outside and was about to ask her mother about riding today when Mrs. Evans came over to Elizabeth and pulled her away. Probably to tell her about the latest gossip. Andi slumped. Nobody could get away from Mrs. Evans when she was talking. Andi ran over to Chad who had brought the wagon along with the family buggy.
“Oh, please Chad, will you give me a ride home?!” she pleaded.
“I guess I can, but tell Mother or Melinda, or they’ll start looking for you,” Chad answered.
“OK, I'll tell Melinda,” she said.
“Melinda,” she asked as soon as she found her sister. “Will you please tell Mother I'm going home with Chad and Mitch?”
“Alright,” Melinda agreed.
Soon after Andi rode to her special spot. Mystery was nowhere to be seen. “Mystery,” she called as she dismounted Taffy, “where are you boy?” She heard a whinny coming from a place not far away. She ran into the woods. “There you are,” she said when she saw him. Mystery only whinnied louder. Andi ran over to him and gasped. Unconscious, next to him, lay a girl about her age. Please God don't let her be dead, Andi thought. Andi shook her. The girl moaned.
“C’mon wake up.” Andi urged. The girl’s eyes opened slowly.
“Who are you?” The girl asked.
“I'm Andi Carter and this is my ranch, what's your name?”
“I'm Samantha Eddleton and I didn't mean to trespass; I was only looking for my horse Relámpago.”
“Is that him?” Andi asked pointing to Mystery.
“Yes, I was so excited when I saw him, I slipped and fell.” Samantha answered.
“Why were you looking for him, did he escape?” Andi asked curiously.
“Well,” Samantha said as she sat up, “my family and I are always on the move, and we were taking a shortcut through the hills, when suddenly, Relámpago just took off.”
“Do you know where your family is now?” Andi asked her.
“Yep, Pa said that when I found him -the horse I mean, that I should go back the way I came and meet them by the road.”
“You think you can ride- I mean, since you bumped your head and all?” Andi asked.
“Sure, it wasn't that bad a fall.”
A new idea popped into Andi’s mind. “Hey, how about you come down to the ranch with me? Your family will probably pass by.”
“Sounds good to me.” Samantha said as she mounted Relámpago. They went over to where Taffy was, and Andi mounted her.
“Wanna race over to that oak?” Andi asked hopefully.
“I’d never put down an offer like that,” Samantha said with a mischievous grin.
“Ready?” Andi said. Samantha nodded.
“Go!” Andi shouted. The girls took off.
When they reached the oak, they were gasping for breath. “It- was- a tie!” Andi said.
They trotted over to the ranch and saw a wagon in front of the house. “Hey that's my Pa’s wagon!” Samantha exclaimed. Both girls ran over bringing their horses along. A man and a woman were talking to Elizabeth. They turned around when they heard the girls.
“Samantha, there you are!” Her mother exclaimed.
“And I see you found Relámpago.” Her father added.
“Yeah, he was over in the woods.” Samantha told him.
“Andrea how did you come across them?” Elizabeth asked Andi.
Together the girls took turns telling them the whole story. Then Elizabeth insisted they stay for dinner where the Eddleton’s told them about how they were traveling to their relative’s home to start a hotel nearby.
After dinner Mr. Eddleton said that they should probably leave to reach their destination sooner. After making sure that Relámpago was securely tied to the back of the wagon Andi called to Samantha, “I hope we meet again someday.”
“Me too!” Samantha shouted as they rode farther away.
“So, the mystery horse is gone,” Andi mused, “maybe we SHALL meet again someday.