|Horse of Sky
Author: Becca118 PM
Mia works at her parents' stud farm while holding down a part-time job until something better comes along. Pretty ordinary for a twenty-year-old saving to buy her first car. But all that changes when she meets Rain, and that opportunity she was waiting for manifests in the most unexpected of ways.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 8,046 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 12-03-12 - Published: 10-11-12 - id: 3064860
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rain lashed against her face and tendrils of hair clung to her skin. Dismal grey clouds loomed over her, giving everything a dark edge. Crowds of people jostled around her and she was shoved roughly to the side; muddy ground and sky spun before a cold metal post rescued her from falling to the ground. Everything around her seemed to be chaos- blurring shapes moved past her at dizzying speeds but her vision refused to focus enough to allow her to make sense of anything. Shapes were prancing or moving calmly past her and in the background a booming voice tore holes in the air. A thin black shape whipped out in the edge of her vision, followed by an inhuman, almost demonic sounding scream.
Mia sat bolt upright, breathing heavily, her head moving frantically from side to side. Slowly she realised where she was as the shadows in the semi-darkness around her formed the familiar shape of her desk and, over in the corner, her solid wooden wardrobe and dresser. She was in bed. Her duvet was twisted around her legs and her pyjama top was soaked in a thin layer of sweat. She closed her eyes and concentrated on returning her breathing to normal before opening them again.
What on earth was that about? She wondered. I've never had a nightmare that terrifying before. And it was so… realistic. I should go back to sleep… And before she knew it, her head was against the pillow and her eyes were closed in a peaceful, dreamless sleep.
Bright rays of sun woke Mia as they streamed in through her pale blue curtains. She sat up and rubbed her eyes, all the terror of the night forgotten, washed away with the moonlight and replaced by cheerful blue skies. A smile beamed across her face- she loved nothing better than a sunny day and kicked her duvet off, swinging her legs over and grabbing a pair of faded blue jeans and a top from her dresser. She bounded downstairs and met her mum who had just placed a plate of three buttery croissants on the kitchen table which sat proudly in the middle surrounded on two sides by kitchen worktops and on the other two by archways that led to the hallway, which Mia had just come through, and the living room.
"Thanks," she grinned, picking up a croissant and tucking in. She could already hear the busy movement of wheelbarrows and feet, so she knew her dad had already started on the regular work. "What needs doing today?"
"We've got Mrs Lawson from the competition yard visiting her mare and the farrier is coming at twelve to check Dodge's, Biscuit's and Sally's hooves. Jenna is coming to ride Missy later this afternoon but she says she'll groom her and sort out her feed so we just need to turn her out and muck out her stable, plus all the regular mucking out, filling up water buckets and replacing hay. Juno, Misty and Kleo can all go out in their field, Buddy can go out with Murphy and Buster can go out with Dodge once the farrier's been. He'll need some more hay in the meantime though, and I'll be out in a moment to help you with the turnout."
"Okay," agreed Mia as she finished the last of her croissant.
"Are you working this afternoon?" asked her mum.
"Yep, I've got the two til eight shift," sighed Mia. She had a part-time job on the checkouts at the local Tesco store, and although she hated the mind-numbingly boring work, she'd made a couple of good friends through it and the job paid well, so any money she didn't spend she was saving up to buy herself a car, having passed her test two years ago when she was eighteen. It also brought in extra money to help her parents when they needed it, although, she thought as she walked out onto the yard, the stud they'd set up four years ago was certainly doing well for itself. Friendly, enquiring heads turned to look at her and the horse closest to her whickered in greeting.
"Hey Domino," she smiled affectionately, giving the black horse a scratch on his forehead. Her parents, Laura and Dan Rivers, had named the farm Cayenne Stud after Laura's first pony as a child and had bought their first stallion using money left to Dan in his mother's will and put the rest towards giving their new yard a much-needed facelift. Buster had started off the breeding of Welsh ponies and horses and since then the stud hadn't looked back. The Rivers owned eight horses themselves- the two stallions, Buddy and Buster, the four mares Sally, Juno, Magic, who was in foal, and Dancer, and two yearlings, a filly called Sasha and a colt named Mischief. Mares also came and went to be covered by one of the stallions, of which they only had Mrs Lawson's mare at the moment, so the number of horses was always changing. The business was supplemented by the liveries, of which there were currently nine, so although they were not running at the full capacity of twenty, a separate block of stables away from the main yard was always kept empty in case of emergency which required horses to be isolated. Mia shuddered. She remembered when a case of strangles had been reported at another yard about half an hour away- luckily they had escaped the disease and efficient management had meant the horse recovered and no other cases were discovered.
Mia grabbed a wheelbarrow and pitchfork and decided to start on the livery boxes, most of whose owners would be at work and often kept their horses with them on a part-DIY basis, where they would trickle in throughout the afternoon and evening to exercise their horses and give them their evening feeds, as well as decide whether to stable their horse overnight or turn them out into the field, while they would handle the morning tasks such as mucking out and turnout. She opened Domino's door, clipped the stall chain across and dragged his water bucket out before pushing the wheelbarrow in and sighing at the mess he'd made of his bed.
"Luckily I'm not going to be the one grooming you," she told the Welsh Section D cross Irish sports horse, who just blinked at her innocently and she laughed. His owner, Kate, was still at secondary school but she doted on Domino and would often spend up to an hour in his stable grooming him patiently until every speck of dirt was gone, no matter how muddy he got himself in the field or how much of his bedding got caught up in his mane and tail. At the weekends she usually got dropped off by one of her parents around nine and Mia suspected if they didn't turn up again to take her home she would quite happily sleep in the corner of Domino's stable with him. Mia used the fork to remove all the droppings and wet patches of bedding before throwing the banks up and squaring them off until they were neat and even all the way around, before finally using a broom to sweep in the loose bedding at the front back into a straight line.
"Now, let's see how long you can keep this tidy," she said sternly, looking the horse in his eye.
"How many times do I have tell you the horses can't understand you?" called the teasing voice Mia knew to be her dad's.
"I bet they do understand," challenged Mia, playing along with him. "Besides, you know by the time Kate gets here at least one of his banks will be half the height it's supposed to be."
"Of course it will." Laura joined in the conversation. "Now are you okay to finish off the stables while me and Mia do the turnout?"
"Slave driver!" Dan pretended to walk away in a huff, but both of them could see the grin on his face and knew he didn't mean it. Secretly, he loved caring for the horses just as much as they did. They stopped off at the tack room in the corner to grab a headcollar for Murphy while Laura picked up a Chifney, which they used to lead the stallions around in, as although they were generally sensible, if they did get excited or something happened it gave them more control so they were not put in any danger and the stallion could be prevented from hurting himself by getting loose.
Luckily Murphy and Buddy were both in sensible moods and didn't try to pull or jog on the way to their field, which was separated from the other fields as was the other stallion field to prevent arguments breaking out over the fence, although once both were free they galloped off kicking and racing each other around the field.
Laura and Mia stood to watch their antics for a while before walking along the fence line to check the water buckets in the corner and heading back to the yard to turn out the rest of the horses.
By the time they'd finished the turnout, Kate had already arrived and was tackling Domino's coat just as Mrs Lawson drove her car into the drive. Her mum was putting headcollars away with their respective horses' tack so Mia went over to greet her.
"How is Honey doing?" asked Mrs Lawson as they walked to the palomino mare's stable.
"She's settling in just fine," replied Mia. "She's been getting on quite well with one of our livery mares so she's stabled and turned out with her at the moment. I think Mum is planning on introducing her to Buster later today; we've got a special set up with a paddock divided in half so they can meet over the fence and see how they get on without being able to kick out at each other, but the fencing is covered in layers of foam so if they do try to kick they don't injure themselves," she explained. "Buster's usually pretty calm though and he's never injured a mare so things should be okay. We'll see how that goes and go from there as to how quickly we put them together properly. That'll be done in one half of the paddock and we'll have handlers holding them but we won't interfere unless we have to." Mia knew Mrs Lawson had probably heard most of this from her mum already, but she guessed it would help to have the reassurance and to let her know what stage Honey was at.
At that moment, Laura appeared and took over so Mia wondered off to go and see how Kate was doing. She leaned on Domino's door and whistled.
"He looks much better!" she commented. "He'd been up to his usual tricks when I mucked his stable out earlier."
"Silly boy," grinned Kate affectionately. "Can you pass me his bridle?"
"Sure." Mia unhooked it from the peg outside the stable and passed it over the door. "What are you going to do with him today?"
"I want to work on some transitions with him once I've warmed up, as sometimes he's a bit lazy and I want to get him thinking and using his brain a bit more. If I can I'd like to get walk to canter, but I'll see how he goes. Then maybe at the end I was wondering if you'd help try a jump?" Kate's voice rose at the end in a mix of hope and nervousness, and Mia understood. She knew that shortly before she'd bought Domino Kate had had a fall at her riding school that, while not injuring her, had knocked her confidence pretty badly.
"I'd love to," smiled Mia. She saw Kate's expression. "Don't worry, we'll only try a small cross pole, bottom hole if you want to. Domino will step over it."
"Thanks." Kate returned a wobbly smile. "Can I have his saddle?"
Mia quickly made herself a sandwich and dashed upstairs to get changed into her uniform. Her dad was downstairs waiting to drive her to work and as usual she was running late. She had gotten carried away on the yard and lost track of the time until her dad found her to ask what time she wanted to leave. She quickly dashed on some eyeshadow and mascara before running down the stairs and into her dad's waiting car. Just as she got into the car, her phone tinkled in her pocket and she pulled it out. The screen told her she had a text from her best friend, Sam, who she had known since primary school. Her parents ran a livery yard and they'd really gotten to know each other when they ended up in the same lesson at their local riding school.
*Hey, there's a horse auction in town tomorrow, wasn't going to go bcos u know what they can b like but I was looking at the listings and there's a horse mum + dad are interested in. If ur not working would u like to tag along?*
Mia thought for a moment, then quickly typed out a reply.
*Sure, not working so what time?*
*Setting off bout half eight. Taking horsebox so u never know, u might find ur dream horse ;)*
*Unlikely. Plus u know I'm trying to save up for a car! M+D might kill me if it's not a Welsh!*
*Haha lol they wont mind. See u tomorrow.*
*See you tomorrow.*
"Who was that?" asked her dad as he pulled into the Tesco car park.
"Sam," answered Mia. "She asked me if I want to go to the horse auction tomorrow as there's a horse there her parents are interested in but they're busy."
"Okay hon. Just don't get too upset by some of the horses you see," he warned. "These auctions don't always produce good animals. Or people."
"I know," said Mia. "See you later." She got out of the car and headed into the store as rain began to fall.