This is my first story that I have actually written. I have a bunch of others that I have been planning for years now, but this one is my guinea pig so that I can experiment with my writing style (and to see how well I do free writes). It doesn't have a title yet (I have a few that I have been debating, but they sound corny), so please bear with me. Just as an extremely short summary, it's about a horse in the Civil War.
I stood there, all four hooves where they had once been so many years ago in that nightmarish time. I remembered both the blue- and the gray-clad soldiers rushing past me. Some had blood gushing out of their limping bodies; others swore like madmen as they raced about, shaking their rifles at their enemies and firing upon each other without mercy. I remember my mind racing to make that pivotal decision that could have changed my life.
The horrid memories brought me back to a time before that bloodbath had taken over my life.
I still wish I had not gone. Of course, I was curious, and new victims for my tricks was so tantalizing that I couldn't refuse. Still, I have yet to understand why I had been chosen to go over the two good-tempered, well-mannered horses that I had lived with for seven years. We were headed for the army, and I knew that both of them could take orders and focus on what they were commanded to do. Me? Well let's just say that I was constantly playing jokes and looking for fun in everything around me.
"Davy? Davy, please be a good horse for Papa." I snorted. The young girl's sentimentality irritated me. Besides, I never understood why I was her favorite. She wrapped her tiny arms around my foreleg and sobbed into my shoulder. I wanted to shake her off so very much, but Papa, who had been watching his daughter, could tell what I was planning and glared at me with cold eyes. I snorted yet again and nudged the girl away from me with my muzzle. It wasn't a kick, so I hadn't disobeyed Papa. Still, he persisted to glare at me as he shoved a bridle over my head.
"Davy will be fine. The cavalry should teach him a lesson or two about obedience." Papa swung the saddle on my back and tightened my girth. I stomped my hoof. Darn! I had forgotten to bloat! My tricks would have to wait.
"Papa, you know he doesn't get along with anybody. They'll break him of that!"
"That's supposed to be a bad thing? Anne, I thought you asked him to be a good horse."
"Well, for you Papa. I think it's funny when he throws off other riders, especially Thomas," Anne giggled. She placed her hands over her mouth and her eyes grew wide though. I turned to where she was looking and saw Thomas stomping towards us. His face was beet red as he cautiously grabbed my reins. I whipped my head around and bit his arm to prove Anne's point. It was rare for me to let anyone near me. Papa was an exception to that rule. When I was younger, he fought my antics until I had used up every trick I had. By that time, I had no energy left, but I did find a new respect for him. It was very seldom for me to even think of messing him.
"Darn horse!" Thomas shrieked. "I'm glad you're taking that brute!"
"Thomas! Don't say such things! Davy is a good horse. You just don't know how to treat him well, that's why he doesn't respect you." Anne tried to glare at Thomas, but her young, sweet face scrunched up into a strange expression that was not even close to anger.
Thomas chuckled as he rubbed his bitten arm.
"He still bites hard. Papa, are you ready to go?"
"Yeah, I guess I am." Papa quickly hugged his two children and mounted my back. I bobbed my head, eager to get going. Anne began sobbing as Thomas snatched her away from me and jumped backwards. Papa gave him an odd look and Thomas just shrugged.
"I don't wanna get bitten again by that dumb pony."
" Well you ain't gonna see him for awhile, Thomas. Now, both of you need to watch over your mother. I want her to be well again when I return. Thomas, watch the farm and keep it running like normal. I know you are capable of that." His cheesy good-byes were getting on my nerves. I took a few steps forward to warn him of my impatience.
"Davy! Not now! Well, I guess he's getting restless. I promise you that I will be back soon," he looked at Anne and her tear-stained face, "and I will be fine. You'll see. This war will be over with in a month or so." I snorted and shook my head. The stupidity of the sentimentality of humans was always a puzzling though to me. Why they felt so many feelings of love and humanity towards each other never quite made sense. I personally thought that people should care only about themselves and what they wanted to do.
Papa kicked me towards the path at the front of the house. Dust shrouded my view as I galloped on the dirt path. I blinked specks of dirt out of my eyes as I raced toward the main trail through the nearby forest. I was eager to escape the confines of my family's farm. New victims for my tricks were a precious find that I was looking forward to receiving. I had heard many horror stories of the Mexican War from an old horse that had once lived in the stall next to mine. He had died a few years back, but I could still remember the many details of the battles he had told me of, but what I remembered the most was the many people and fellow horses he had told me of. I imagined the campsite to be similar to what he had explained, and I was ecstatic. I knew my new life in the army was going to be great! My disregard for his terrifying accounts of battles would become a terrible mistake later on, though.
After we had gone a few miles, Papa slowed me to an easy trot. I tugged on the reins, eager to reach the camp as soon as possible.
"Hey, easy, Davy. Gettin' a little impatient now, are we boy?" Papa patted my shoulder to calm me down. I relaxed a bit, but I wanted to get going. I could feel my legs galloping beneath me, but when I looked down, I was still trotting. This ride was going to take forever!
It was almost sunset when we found a man holding a rifle and shouting at us to stop. He was wearing a uniform similar to the crisp, gray one Papa was wearing. I guessed that the man was a sentry by the way he purposely marched up to us and asked us snootily, "What is your business here?"
His attitude already annoyed me. I slammed my face into his stomach and knocked him over. Bobbing my head triumphantly, I snorted in a strange kind of horse-laugh.
"Davy! You've got better manners than that!" Papa scolded. "Sorry, sir. He's a bit of a mischievous horse. The cavalry will straighten him out, though. I promise."
"Just go." The sentry glared pointedly at me as he waved us by. I stole a look behind me and noticed that he had picked himself up off the ground, but he still continued to glare at me. I would have to remember that man so that I could annoy him later.
It was a narrow path into the camp. I could feel leaves brushing my flanks as I ducked my head below stray tree branches that reached over the trail. Papa leaned onto my neck to avoid being knocked off my back by the branches. He calmly began whispering to me.
"Now, Davy, we're headed into a Confederate Army camp. I don't want to see any of your antics, you hear me? You need to obey my orders, just like your stable mates, and please don't injure any of the other horses." I had heard this little speech many times. I was almost to the point of being able to recite it in my head. Of course, he had not mentioned injuring any of the other riders, so there was my loophole. My targets were going to be other riders whether Papa liked it or not. I had already brainstormed a bunch of tricks that I could play. From kicking to biting, it was all in there.
The mixed smells of many people and horses suddenly filled my nostrils. Finally! We were almost there. I began to prance, anxious to reach the campsite and meet my new victims. A few times I nearly bumped into overhanging branches, but I didn't care. I had to get to that campsite, I just had to!
"Calm down, Davy," Papa chortled. "We'll get there soon enough! We won't get there, though, if you keep on having close calls with tree branches." Papa had a point. If I knocked him off my back, I would have to wait for him to mount again, or I could just bolt. My judgement was impaired from all of my bursting excitement that I decided to go with the second option: bolt. I began galloping as fast as I could. I could feel twigs nicking my legs, but I ignored the new cuts. After galloping about fifty yards, I felt Papa fall off my back. Now I was free to gallop into that camp and play as many tricks as I felt like, before Papa caught me, of course.
I could see an opening at the end of the trail. The trail began to widen and the branches began to be higher and higher. I was almost there! My legs rapidly accelerated as the smells became strong and the fringes of the camp came into view. Finally, I burst out of the trees. I stopped, stunned by the size of the camp. It was puny! The whole place was located in a secluded valley with trees on the side that I came in and low hills at the other end. Tents were sparsely laid out and horses were tied to pegs buried deep in the ground. A few men sauntered around between tents, but overall it looked like a pretty dull place. The horses all appeared to me as indolent and apathetic. This was supposed to be an army camp! Where was all the action? Why wasn't anyone drilling? I always had believed that army camps were exciting places with lots of things to do with the little time you're given, but this sorry sight proved me wrong! This place was ridiculously mundane! I knew I had to stir up some trouble to save these people from their monotonous lifestyle!
First, I tried to find a target. There! A man squatting near a unpretentious fire with sunken eyes and a lopsided cap. I lowered my head and silently stepped toward him. There was about twenty yards between me and him, and I closed it stealthily. He was still oblivious to my presence. This man was a perfect example of a target! Oh, it was so rare to see such a fine specimen for my tricks.
I was right behind him now. I stretched my head forward and slowly, ever so slowly, began dragging his gray hat off of his head. I was about halfway done with removing his hat when he noticed my company. He whipped around and stared right into my face. His deep, brown eyes grew wide.
"Lose horse!" he managed to mutter at first. He backed away from me and turned to see if anyone else had noticed. Then, he began shouting. "Lose horse! Lose horse!" That was my cue! I bolted away from the soldier and towards another man that I saw racing towards me. He nearly fell down as I pivoted to the left to find another soldier to scare. Now other men were crawling out of their tents to behold the spectacle of a lose horse and to maybe catch me. I could tell that some of them had no interest in seizing me; they didn't want this entertaining chase to end. I decided to give them what they wanted.
I slowed to a walk and strode up to the nearest soldier. Noticing his opportunity, he reached out to snatch my reins, just what I wanted him to do. He was just about an inch away when I reared and bolted towards the next soldier that came into view. I continued this trick with about three other soldiers until I could tell that they were expecting it. They all stared at me warily, waiting for their chance to try to capture me.
The other horses had perked up from the excitement. Some were tugging on their halters, trying to get loose so they could join the fun, while others just watched as my little show progressed. I knew I had been warned not to annoy the other horses, but now it was just irresistible! As I began to turn towards my new victims, I heard a shout.
"Davy!! Davy, what are you doing?!" It was Papa. My jests were over. I hid my disappointment as I cavorted to Papa and let him grasp my reins. The other soldiers stared, dumbfounded. "What are you looking at?" Papa shouted at the soldiers. They looked away and returned to what they had been doing.
"Davy..." Papa grumbled as he stroked my muzzle. One lone soldier lazily strode toward us. Papa instantly straightened up and saluted the man.
"Cut out the formalities, Morris. There's no need for that here." He waved Papa's salute away, but he glared at me. The one thing that stood out on him, though, was his hat. It was this big, gray cowboy-like hat that made me want to grind my teeth. I knew I had already pulled my hat-trick today, but this guy was asking for it. In a split second I had snatched that ridiculous hat right off of his head. He tried to stop me, but he wasn't quick enough though he did manage to slap my muzzle. I shook the blow off as I bit down as hard as I could on that hat.
"Davy!" Papa exclaimed. "I'm so sorry, sir! I promise you he'll behave a lot better once this place knocks some sense into him!"
"Damn it, Morris! You said you wouldn't bring that reckless fool of a horse!" Wow. I didn't know that anyone in that entire camp had enough energy to talk, let alone yell. This guy was blowing his top off in fury. Quite frankly, I thought it was hilarious! I pranced and snorted, teasing the guy with his hat.
"Davy! Cut that out now!!" Papa jerked my reins. His face was red with rage and chagrin. Okay, now it was time to get serious. If I got Papa too irate, I would definitely suffer the next time he got on my back. I dropped the stupid hat in the dirt and backed away from it. That guy continued to scowl at me as he lifted his hat out of the dirt and brushed off some dust that had managed to get on it.
"He better behave, Morris. I don't want to send you back home to get another beast." The man placed his hat back on his head and turned away. I could see Papa saluting, lazily now. Well, so much for fun in this place. I was going to have to flip this place upside down by myself.