A/N: This is my first attempt at a ghost story type thing. I hope that you all enjoy this. Stuff in ( ..... ) are the ghost's thoughts. Just thought you'd like to know. Constructive criticism would be nice. Please, after you read, REVIEW! Thanks.

Peregrine Psyche









The night was pitch black, and even with a full moon shining, the trees blocked most of the silver light out. I hadn't meant to stay out that long but the storm took me off guard. I looked up at the midnight sky from the top of my chestnut gelding. The forest wasn't that hard to get around -- as long as you stayed on the main path. And now standing on the cliff that looked over my family's home, I realized that there was one thing that I missed. The stories. There were many stories out there, one particularly about a girl who lost her way and is now searching for her way home. Wait! That's me. I am that girl. I stood on the ridge starring over the group that had taken camp next to the forest.

Wait 'til they tell my story, I thought. I'll make sure that they believe that I'm real . . .







A group of trail riders had set out the day before for a four-day ride through the Seda Forest. There were no more than about ten riders and horses ranging from dark chestnut to dun to paints and pintos to a solo palomino. Phil Griffin was the leader of this pack and they had just pitched camp for the night in the moonlit clearing. His girlfriend, Brit Johnson, had just finished helping the others with their horses when Phil rang the small steel dinner bell. They were having chili tonight.

"Will they be all right here, Brit?" Tacy asked. "I don't want Ranger to get scared or hurt."

Brit put a comforting hand on the young girl's shoulder. "He'll be fine. Ranger's been on these kinds of trail rides before. Now come on. I don't want to miss any of Phil's chili."

Brit steered the 10-year-old to the campfire where everyone had taken a seat on the longs and begun to eat. Brit took a plate from Phil's outstretched arm and sat next to her boyfriend.

"This is damn good chili," Brandon Phillips said. "My complements to the chef."

After everyone had eaten, Phil gathered everyone around the fire once more to tell ghost stories. Most of the riders had returned except for Tacy Brigston, who had decided to hit the hay early. Next to Phil were Brit, Katri and James Kingston, Brandon, Adrianna Kingston, Rea Waters, Dea Livers, and Calisto Black.

"Now," Phil began, " have any of you, besides Brit here, heard the story of a girl named Kerri who haunts this forest with her horse Morpheus?"

The group shook their heads in a definite no.

(Tell the story. I whispered. Murphy jigged beneath me but I calmed him with the touch of my hand. Tell them about how I got here!)

"The story began when Kerri was only 15 years old. Her parents lived in that house that you see on the hill back there. As you can probably tell, she was never seen without her horse, Morpheus. He was a 17-hand high Warmblood gelding, bright chestnut in color. He had a perfect star on his forehead and 4 mismatched socks. He was the perfect mount for her -- both loved to be in charge and everything they did together seemed effortless. But something horrible happened one stormy day."

Adrianna snorted. "Typical ghost story! All of them happened on a stormy day. Can't any of them happen on a bright sunny day?"

(What did she know? My brother was killed on a bright sunny day. It just so happened that this happened on a stormy day. So sue the gods.)

"Can he continue the tale?" Brit said angrily.

(Thank you!)

"Fine."

"Kerri was out one day riding Murphy when a storm hit the forest. The storm was fierce, full of lightening and thunder and pounding rain. They galloped through the slippery forest where they finally found shelter in a overhanging rock formation. The storm raged on for three days strait, never once letting up. Finally, on the fourth day, the rain eased up a bit and Kerri felt that it would be safe enough to head home. She mounted Murphy and walked him out of the rock formation.

"'Come on, Murphy,' she whispered to the horse, ' let's get home.'

"She kicked the Warmblood into a canter and they headed back to the main path, which just happens to pass by that cliff that you see there." Phil pointed to the cliff-side path.

(I pulled Murphy back into the trees so that they hopefully wouldn't see us. Thank you for pointing us out, Phil. Burn in hell.)

"She urged her horse faster though the forest, almost to a gallop. As they rounded the cliff's edge, Murphy caught a slick patch of ground and slipped, throwing Kerri over the side and to her death. Murphy, distressed at what had just happened, paced frantically at the edge, occasionally whinnying to his fallen rider. After an hour of waiting for Kerri to come back to him, Murphy jumped off the cliff to be with his rider. It was said that on that night, two ghostly figures rose from the foot of the cliff -- a horse and his girl."

(He put our deaths nicely, didn't he, Murphy? The gelding bobbed his head in agreement, his chestnut red mane flying. I dropped to the ground and unsaddled and bridled my mount. We will watch them for the night, Murphy. Let's get some rest. I turned to face the group. Finish the tale, Phil.)

"Ok," Katri said. "She died and her horse did, too. So why are they ghosts? I thought that ghosts had a purpose for staying."

"She did have a purpose. Her brother had died a few years earlier in the same place. I have heard that she has come to take him home."

(Not true, Phil. Not true at all.)

"How did he die?" Brandon asked.

Brit shook her head. "No one knows. He just disappeared one day."

The group of riders sat there, stunned. Brit and Phil then stood up and began to clean up the area.

"Sleep," Brit said, picking up some paper. "Now!"

The seven tired riders went into their respective tents for the night. After making sure that everyone was asleep, Phil pulled Brit off to the side.

"Do you think she's going to attack them?" Phil whispered.

"I don't know, Phil. She may have been my sister but I never knew her. We'll just have to see."

Both looked at the cliff, hoping not to see the ghost.

(I walked out onto the cliff in plain sight of the two mortals. I will wait. But not for much longer. Continue my tale. It must be finished by tomorrow or the worst will come. I turned to Murphy, who was now asleep. It will pass tomorrow.)









The riders awoke at dawn the next morning, watching the sky go from red then to pink then finally to light blue. They ate a breakfast of oatmeal quickly and tacked up their mounts, ready for a hard day's ride. Tacy was riding a bay gelding named Ranger, Phil was riding the palomino mare named Sunshine, Brit was riding a bay pinto mare named Illusion, Brandon was riding a dark chestnut gelding named Dusty, Katri was riding a white mare with a brown mane and tail named Dusk, James was riding a black gelding named Midnight, Adrianna was also riding a black gelding named Moonlight, Rea rode a liver chestnut named Red, Dea rode the dun named Desert, and Calisto rode the tri-colored paint named Dude.

It took them the good part of that day to ride across the dusty plains to the forest's edge. They rode until early dusk where they made it to a rock formation. Just as they had finished untacking the horses, a sudden storm came up. No one had seen it coming and they were unprepared for the outburst. Thankfully they had enough supplies for both them and their horses, just in case it lasted longer than they thought.

"This is just like the story," Rea said, sitting next to the fire.

"I hope not," Dea said. "I don't want to be stuck here for the next three days."

Tacy walked up to the two teens. "What are you talking about?"

The two girls looked at Tacy. "You weren't there last night, were you?" they asked her.

Tacy shook her head. "No. Why?"

Dea retold the story of Morpheus and Kerri to the young girl, repeating everything that Phil had said -- word for word.

"That poor horse!" Tacy cried.

Suddenly Phil's voiced announced that the hamburgers were ready to eat.

"Let's go!" Calisto said. "Maybe Phil and Brit will tell us more of the story."

An hour later, all ten of them sat once again by the fire. Phil began to tell the story where he had left off.

(Ahh, back are they? Let's see how Phil continues my story, Murphy. And my God, Phil use Morpheus for Murphy. I never said that you could use that name for him.)

"I had just told you that Kerri had been out in the forest riding when she fell off the cliff and Murphy jumped after her. They rose that night as ghosts to haunt this very forest. I have heard from most people in this area that she is searching for her dead brother, Jonathon. He is now thought to be dead since he has been missing for the past 10 years. And that's basically her story."

"What?!" Calisto shouted. "That's it?!"

Brit shook her head. "'Fraid so."

"But we must warn you," Phil whispered. "Never go out at night . . . alone . . . or Kerri and Morpheus may just find you and drag you down with her."

"Better check on the horses and then get to bed . . . depending on the storm, we'll be out of here early."

The seven riders got up from the fire and made their way to their tents, grumbling.

(Time to make my appearance. Let's go, Murphy.)

I mounted Murphy and waited until Brit and Phil went into their tent for the night. It had to have been about midnight before I even made any movement towards their camp. I rode Murphy silently into the camp near the horses where they immediately heard us coming even through the pounding rain. Horses, much to everyone's disbelief, can see spirits and we were no different. I dismounted Murphy and made my way to the nearest horse, which was a liver chestnut. I immediately recognized it to be Red, the horse that the redhead, Rea, had been riding that day. And next to Red was the dun, Dusty, that Dea had been riding.

How to get them to follow me, I thought.

I suddenly had an idea. Murphy could turn solid if he so chose to. I would have him do that and have them think that one of their horses had escaped.

Perfect.

I whispered into Murphy's ear my plan and his form suddenly solidified. I untacked him and smacked his rump. He let out a squeal of rage and took off past the cave. His squeal echoed through the mouth of the cave, only waking up Dea and Rea.

Once again, perfect.

I quickly untied the chestnut, Dusty, and pulled him towards the back of the cave.

"Stay there," I said to the gelding as I dropped the lead line and ran back to the mouth of the cave.

Dea and Rea were now just coming out of their tent. I watched them and was surprised to see Murphy run back to the cave. He danced in front of the cave's mouth watching the two girls.

"Dusty's gotten loose," Dea said to Rea. "Better go catch him."

"But shouldn't we let Phil and Brit do that?" Rea asked.

"No."

"But - "

"I said no. We're good riders. Let's go get him and get back before they notice. Don't a little rain stop you."

"Alright . . ."

I watched in amusement as they tacked up their horses, mounted and ran off after the fleeing Murphy. With that done, I ran ahead to catch up to my horse at the path right before the cliff. I ran with all my inhuman might and reached the path just as Murphy ran by. I grabbed his mane and swung up. I pulled him up at the cliff's edge and watched at the two riders slid to a halt. They stared at me and Murphy in amazement and shock.

"Kerri?" Dea whispered.

I mocked bowed to them and then charged. I split the two apart and then wheeled back to face them. I had trapped them on the cliff's edge and there was no escape this time. They weren't going to be as lucky as the others had been. Each step that I took towards them, they took one step back. Within ten paces they were almost over the edge. I urged Murphy to take four more steps and they did the same. But the cliff had ended and they fell to their deaths below. The sound of a horse dying is one that no horse person should ever hear. The bugle of the horse is majestic and one so full of pain and sorrow could break the heart. But this was necessary. I urged Murphy to become his ghost self once again, and we both made the jump down the cliff's side. I saw the mangled bodies of both the horses and riders as we landed in the soft grass. I dismounted my gelding and we both walked over to the bodies. All four of the bodies were now just beginning to glow, ready to become ghosts.

I grabbed both Rea's and Dea's souls before they could fully become the ghosts and put them in the palm of my hand where they were absorbed. My body grew a bit brighter and more solid. I turned to Murphy who was pulling Red's and Desert's souls out of their bodies, where they fell to the ground. Murphy put his front hooves on the two souls where they were also quickly absorbed. His chestnut hued body also grew just a bit brighter and solid.

"Looks like the plan's working, Morpheus," I said to him.

He bobbed his perfect Warmblood head in agreement. With a hunk of mane in my hand, I launched myself onto his back where we rode off back into the forest for the night.









The rain didn't let up at all for the next week or so and it made my job much easier. Each night, we returned to the cave to take my next victims. They each began the same as Dea and Rea's - with Murphy waking them and having them chase after us. Then we would "push" them off the cliff and take their souls. And each day we grew that much more brighter and solid. By Thursday night we had already killed Dea, Desert, Rea, Red, James, Midnight, Calisto, Dude, Brandon, Dusty, Adrianna and Moonlight. Tonight I was going to finish my work with Tacy, Ranger, Dusk and Katri. I had never thought that when I had first become a ghost that I would ever do this. Other ghosts -- even my brother -- had told me that taking the souls of other people and animals (if you were and animal) would let you become immortal. It never crossed my mind until I had almost been taken over by another spirit.

Not the most wonderful experience, I'll tell you. But I managed to escape and I decided that I would do this. I still don't know what I'll do after I become immortal . . . hopefully join our gods in the forest . . . maybe become the guardian of the horses. Never know what could happen.

Thursday night was still drenched in rain but I wasn't going to let this stop me from my mission. We began the night like always -- Murphy making his appearance. There were now only two tents in the cave along with four horses. Murphy knew to keep well enough away from Sunshine and Illusion and just go for Ranger and Dusk. And since there was no chestnut horse to make them think that one of their horses had gotten away, I made them think that Murphy was a wild horse. He would rear and prance in attempt to catch their attention at make them follow him.

I hid once again as Murphy put on his show. Tacy and Katri tacked and mounted their horses and, like a fish in water, they followed him into the forest and to their deaths. I ran through the overgrowth and, as always, swung myself onto Murphy's back. I backed them to the cliff's edge and watched as Katri and Dusk fell to their deaths. I took another step forward yet Tacy didn't budge.

"Why are you doing this?" she asked me.

I looked at her in surprise. I hadn't been asked this question by any of my victims. I just assumed that they would've ben told by Phil or Brit. "You don't know?"

She shook her head.

"I will tell you. Phil told you of how Morpheus and I died. And he even told you of how you shouldn't follow me into the forest. But he didn't tell you the reason why you shouldn't follow me. If I take the souls of both the horses and humans, Morpheus and I can become immortal and join the gods in the forest. Once we have your's and Ranger's souls we can finally go to rest. I won't have to search for my place and no one will ever have to fear for their lives again."

I charged at Tacy and Ranger, who, wheeled around and jumped off the cliff. I watched as the two bodies flew in the air for the briefest of seconds before hitting the ground with a dull thud. Murphy and I jumped down to take the last of our souls. As a reached for my final soul, I felt a bit of apprehension. I was finally where I wanted to be, but yet this was all I had lived for these past few years. I reached for Katri's and Tacy's souls and absorbed them into my new body. I then looked over to Murphy who had just gotten his new body, also. I finally walked over to Murphy and vaulted myself onto his back. We raced to the cave where Brit and Phil were waiting with their horses, Sunshine and Illusion.

"You're back, I see," Phil said.

I nodded. "Thank you for all of your help. I couldn't have gotten all of them there without you."

"It still wasn't right, Kerri," Brit said. "We were just your pawns in getting your souls. We shouldn't even have allowed you to do this."

I dismounted and took a menacing step towards Brit. "You wouldn't be here if I hadn't decided to spare you. You and Phil here would be dead like the others. I thought that you would've been grateful that you got to be my pawns in getting my souls rather than becoming one of my 'meals'."

Brit sighed. "You're right. I'm sorry."

I glared at her. "You'd better be. Now, I will be off. Thank you for everything."

I nodded once more and mounted Murphy. I nudged him with my heals and we galloped off into the woods to join the gods of the forest.

(My time is done here. I am no longer needed. Thank you.)

Morpheus reared as I waved good-bye. My time surely was done. I would no longer cause any terror to this place. We were free. Free to roam land and sky.

(Good-bye. And thank you.)

Freedom never tasted so good.