Chapter 2 First Step

Becky had enjoyed her stay up in her little vale and now went there every chance she got. The girl started to bring up things like a blanket, a tarp, chipped cups and plates, and most importantly, a change of clothes. She also found an old field guide that identified edible plants, many of which grew near or in the vale. The child also started finding rabbit runs and practiced making snares to catch the creatures.

When she had come back home, the only one who had noticed her gone was her brother, Jay. It saddened her, but it was to be expected. Her sister and she tended to avoid each other and her mother was sick almost all the time now. Becky's mother was bedridden and became worse if she stressed. The girl tried to take care of her, but there was only so much that she could do.

The girl had only told her mother once about the beatings and her mother had blatantly refused to believe Becky. Her mother didn't want to believe that her husband could or even would do that to his child.

It hurt to think about it, so the child buried it down deep, not know or even caring about the future emotional problems that might happen because of this. She hid all the bad emotions that she couldn't deal with in a box in her head. Sometimes, that box would over flow with pain and she would retreat back to a place inside her mind where it didn't hurt so much. It was cold and dark there, and nothing could touch her there. She called this place the 'Void'.

She shook off the dark thoughts. Becky quickly gathered her thoughts, soothing her goat, Snowflake. The nanny was due to kid soon and the girl was a little worried, as Snowflake had been malnourished and extremely skittish when they bought her from the auction. Right now the girl was grooming the doe, brushing her coat and clipping her hooves. She had saved her goat for last, as the others had already kidded and needed less attention. The child finished and leaned against the comforting side of the large goat, listening to the three heart beats that sounded within the doe's body.

When the goat finished eating, the girl stood and let her out of the stanchion. Grabbing the faded red collar around Snowflake's neck, Becky led her back to the pen. The other goats started to bleat when they saw her coming, wanting more food.

"Silly goats, you've already been fed!" the girl exclaimed, giggling at the livestock's antics, but giving them a flake of alfalfa anyways.

Now that the adult goats were fed, she could fed the kids their bottles. Runt and Stubborn, both recently dehorned, ran up to the fence when they saw her walk up with their bottles in her hand. She smiled at them before opening the gate and walking in to fed the rambunctious little bucks. The girl fed Stubborn first, as he was the fastest and would try to steal Runt's bottle if his brother wasn't in her lap.

The girl picked up her favorite kid and settled down into the straw strewn about the pen. She made the little guy comfortable on her lap before letting him suck on the bottle. The eleven year old sat there, petting him until he finished and bounded off to play with his brother. She watched them for a time, before the two baby goats grew weary and settled next to her.

"Do you two want me to sing you a song?" Becky asked the goats and Runt nuzzled her side in the affirmative. "Okay then, listen carefully now:

"Listen to the wind,

For it will tell you stories,

Listen to the wind

And it will tell you things

Listen to the wind,

And you will learn,

Listen to the wind…

The song was eerie, haunting, causing everything to hear it to fall silent and still. The wind, which had been still itself until the song started, started to stir and respond to the song. All the creatures nearby had their ears perked up and their heads turned towards the girl as she continued to sing her song.

"Listen to the wind,

Listen to it as the storm gathers

Listen to the wind

As it sings of coming dangers,

Listen to the wind,

Listen, listen, listen…"

The song ended and the wind died down suddenly. It was still quiet though, as if everything was afraid to move.

The girl sighed, standing up and dusting herself off. She was tired and went inside as the crickets started up their playing again in the evening dusk. There was still dinner to make and then the dishes to wash.

Several miles away, up on the mountain in the forest, the unicorns gathered together. They had finally agreed that they would take this girl in as their keeper, if someone would train her in the old ways. Sapphire, the young stallion that had healed Becky, volunteered almost immediately to do so. He also said that he would teach her to play music that wouldn't sound so hideous when she played it on her recorder.

The only unicorn to object to taking Becky in was a bitter white mare whose foal and parents had been killed by humans centuries ago when humans still made it a habit to hunt and kill unicorns for their horns. Lilly hated them, but she couldn't stop the rest of the herd. Sapphire made a mental note to keep an eye on the white unicorn.

As it was, the dark stallion was worried about Eythryl; his foster mother after his had left shortly after weaning him. She was pregnant with twins and she was over due. The foals were still alive; they just didn't want to come out of the womb yet.

Suddenly all the unicorns held still. A magic was being woven, one of learning and sorrow deep. The wind was carrying Becky's song over the miles to them. The young stallion glanced at his father who nodded. Before any of the others in the herd could blink, Sapphire was in his bird form and on the wing. He flew down the mountain, wanting to find the source of the power.

He made it to Becky's house just as she stopped singing and watched her in disbelief as she went inside. She had power that hadn't been seen in humans for ages, generations even. How the herd had stumbled on her was one of the mysteries of the Fates. If that was the power of her voice, he would love to see what happened when he taught her how to pipe magic in a way that would make a soul soar among the clouds. She might even have the ability to become a soul piper.

He flew to her window and looked in. the room was messy and had a cat with kittens curled up on Becky's bed. The mother cat eyed warily, but was too content to bother him. Besides, a feline's eyes can see through magic and find a person's true self so she wouldn't have bothered with him except to tease him.

As Sapphire watched, the girl came into her room. She shook her head at the cat and kittens before picking up the dirty laundry scattered throughout the room. She left for a short time with it before coming back and sitting on the bed.

"Silly kitty. You moved your litter on my bed, Tabitha, so where am I supposed to sleep?" The child asked the mother cat gently, rubbing her behind her ears.

The kittens woke when they heard the human's voice, meowing and batting their little paws at her. Becky giggled as the little black one started climbing up her shirt. His sister, a dark tortoiseshell, attacked her hair as Becky landed backwards. Tabitha got up and jumped out the window, knowing her kittens were in good hands.

The girl played with the cats until her mother called her to dinner. "I'm sorry little guys, but I've got to go. Come're Dusty, you can hide in my shirt while I have dinner."

The tortoiseshell kitten came, licking the child's face as the girl tucked her into the front of her shirt. The little one squirmed some before settling down at the base of the tucked in shirt, making it stand out just a little bit more than usual. As the girl sat down, her mother eyed the bulge, but didn't say anything.

C.J., her little sister, did say something, although whine about it might have been a better way to describe her tone of voice. "Becky! I want to hold a kitten! How come you never let me hold a kitten?!"

The older grimaced as she replied, "'Cause you hurt them! And besides, Tabitha doesn't like you to hold her babies without her around!"

"How would you know? Can you speak cat?!" C.J. retorted, spitting at her.

"Becka! C.J.! Quiet! Becky, put the cat back with its siblings!" Her mother said, yelling at her daughters.

The girl got up from the table, angry at her sister. She took Dusty out of her shirt as she rose before turning around and leaving through the kitchen. The child was so sick of being the only one that got in trouble, of being the scrape goat for her family. It made her want to scream at the world for the injustices it had done to her, so badly at times like now that she just had to find a way to let out the anger and frustrations.

After the girl put Dust back with the rest of her litter, she buried her head in her pillow and let lose a scream. She stayed in her room, having a private tirade about the unfairness of life. Her radio was blaring, drowning out any other sound. She paced across the diagonal of her room, ranting quietly as the cats watched her with their tails twitching.

Sapphire watched her, amused. He had heard the argument from where he was perched. The young stallion could understand her frustration. He cocked his head, caught off guard when she suddenly climbed out the window. She was barefoot and had on ragtag jeans and an oversized sage-green tunic-like shirt as she ran out into the night. He shifted to his true form, as the night vision was better and he could keep up easier.

Becky jogged along, just moving in the moonlight and feeling the coarse sand under her feet. She easily jumped over the bushes, landing lightly. The air was fragrant with the nocturnal blossoms and rich with the sounds of crickets and night birds, mingling with the songs of the coyotes howling at the quarter moon. It was peaceful and relaxing, calming the girl's nerves.

Since Becky knew the path she was taking, she lost herself to her thoughts. She didn't hear Sapphire trotting behind her until she jumped over a bush that had barbed wire on the other side. She cleared both obstacles easily enough, but the unsuspecting unicorn only cleared the bush. He became tangled in the wire and stumbled, making the tangle worse.

The girl turned as she heard him crash. She gasped in shock when she saw the unicorn trapped in the wire, struggling to get free. The child rushed to him and started to untangle the stallion.

"Sh, sh! Hold still or you'll make it worse!" Becky said, stroking his head to try to calm him down. "Sh, calm down, I'll get you out of this mess."

Sapphire stopped struggling, her voice cutting through his momentary panic. He snorted when she scratched right below his horn, closing his eyes as the gentle administration soothed him. She definitely knew her animals. He was so absorbed in the feel of her scratching his forehead that he didn't notice when he was freed.

"There you go big guy. You're different from the other one that I saw before." She said, petting his silky coat. "I wanted to say thank-you to the one that healed me a couple of weeks ago, so if you're him or you know who it was, will you please tell them thank-you for me?"

Sapphire had gotten to his feet by now and regarded the child. He nodded, liking this girl-child even more now. A sound was heard from her house, her mother calling her. Becky turned towards it and the unicorn left silently before she could turn around to say goodbye to him.

"Well then, I guess I'll see you around sometime." The girl said half heartedly, but she knew that she's see him and the other one again in a way that she couldn't explain. She turned around fully and walked back to the house.

Author's note: Thank you to all who have reviewed, celticgreen and shiru23454! Sorry I haven't updated for a long time…. I kinda lost my hard copy of this and had to find it before I could type it up. Oh, and before I forget, if someone wants to be my beta or help keep me on track to update, you can email me. I don't have a beta and I think it might be wise so that I don't make any stupid mistakes (word only goes so far…). Thanks for reading this chapter and I hope and beg you to review! Thanks!