The Last Part

Tania kept visiting Sophie and her family every afternoon, even if it was super hot or raining hard. She discovered pretty soon that Sophie's family weren't the only horses in the forest. There were a lot, and she sometimes saw them hanging out with Sophie's family in their beautiful meadow. Whenever she went to visit Sophie she would always take some apples and carrots. One day she even took some watermelon as a special treat.

Sophie was always excited to see her.

A couple of years later Sophie's mum and dad just weren't there and Sophie looked lost. Tania was sad for a long time after that, but she still visited Sophie, and played with all the horses. Sophie kept getting bigger and bigger. Then she started getting fat. Tania noticed that she began getting very cranky with the other horses.

Then one day, when Tania was thirteen she walked into the meadow and saw Sophie lying on the ground away from the other horses and licking a very slimy little foal.

Tania had to stop herself from screaming with joy. She should have realised. Sophie had been getting fatter and fatter everyday for over a year now.

She didn't want to bother Sophie, so she walked forwards very slowly.

Sophie looked up at Tania, then put her head down and continued licking the slime away from her baby. Tania guessed that Sophie was ok with her coming closer.

She stood next to Sophie, stroking her neck, watching as she continued to clean her beautiful baby.

After a while the baby started standing up. Tania, once again, had to keep herself from startling the other horses. It had taken her at least a year to stand up, but this little foal was doing it in less then a day. Sophie watched as her baby wobbled on its new legs, taking a few shaky steps. Finally it decided that that was enough progress for the day and collapsed next to Sophie and began to drink her milk.

Tania and Sophie watched over the years as the baby grew up to be a strong boy. At the same time Sophie seemed to become the leader of the other horses. She always got to Sophie first when she had watermelon, or she was first to the stream if they'd just arrived.

Then Tania went to University. She was studying horse behaviour. She wanted to write books and stories on them. The course she did took two years. She only got home sometimes in the holidays, and then she was busy writing essays or researching essays or writing second drafts of essays. She didn't get the chance to go into the forest and visit Sophie.

In those two years Tania only got away to visit Sophie twice.

Finally the two years were over, Tania had gotten the top mark in her class and she was already beginning to write a series of short stories about horses, to be turned into a book.

But before that she had to visit Sophie.

She walked through the forest, dark and green, listening to the birds and the wind and the sound of her footsteps. It had been two years but she still remembered the way.

Finally she made it to the meadow.

There were no horses.

Tania wasn't worried. Maybe they'd be back soon.

They didn't come back.

Tania kept going back every day, for a week, hoping Sophie would be there. She never was.

Tania went back on the eight day, just about ready to give up.

She trudged over to the stream and sat down in the grass. She had decided to wear a long a blue dress, like the one she'd had as a little girl. She waited for a couple of hours, but Sophie didn't turn up.

Tania began to cry. She couldn't help it. She didn't know where Sophie was, if she'd lost the chance to say goodbye to her, to see her one last time. Through the years Tania had met people, made friends, but Sophie was still her best friend, the first one to reach out to her.

Tania lay down on her back, crying, her eyes closed. She sobbed and sobbed until her eyes were gummy and her nose was blocked.

She heard a noise. It was a sound she knew well. The same sound that had at first terrified and then exhilarated her as a kid… but she didn't dare open her eyes in case it was a dream.

She felt the ground jump, rhythmically, like the beating of a drum… or the steps of…

No, she wouldn't let her get her hopes up. She was imagining things.

She felt a hot breath on her face. She couldn't stop herself.

Tania opened her eyes and stared up into Sophie's.

She'd come back.

They were together again…