Chapter Six

Chapter Six

A Chapter by Elizabeth Reed

I wanted to die, but I wouldn't let it show.
Over dinner my aunt and uncle went over my schedule and the chores I would need to do. They said that I wouldn't be homeschooled, that going to the school Little Creek kids go to would teach me more discipline when coupled with my chores, then just chores alone. They said they were a pretty strict school. It was in the next town over, in Greenville. You had to wear a uniform, a khaki skirt, white blouse and yellow sweater (khaki pants or shorts for the boys), any tardiness was met with detention, any rule breaking was met with detention, so... lots of detention. You had to be in the school at 7:15 or, guess what, detention. Then when I got home I had to do my homework first, then all my chores. Chores consisted of mucking out the seven horse stalls, putting down new shavings and hay, filling water buckets, giving them their oats, exercising them and cleaning the ones that need to be cleaned, taking Trixie to heard in the sheep while she still can, working in the garden whenever I'm asked and the barn needs to be repainted, so over time I will do that. Then after all that I get dinner, then after that I have to do the dishes, I get one hour of "free time", as Aunt Hailey likes to say, then I have to go to bed so I can do it all again the next day.
Uncle Chris did mention a stable boy, though. He said he comes almost everyday because one of the horses is his, so he works off the room and board. I'd rather just do it alone... Uncle Chris reminded me that any insolence on my part will not be tolerated. I was to be home on time, get all my chores done, and was not to argue.

"I'm not afraid to ground you." he told me.
I assured him I would be good and do what I was told.
"And throwing in a 'sir' or 'ma'am' here and there wouldn't hurt either."
We talked a little bit more about what they expected of me, and they said the stableboy, Beck would be by later that day and I could learn a bit from him, so I would know what I was doing.
How hard could it be to shovel poop and drop hay?
I went up to my new room and unpacked some of things before my aunt called me down. I was just buttoning my work jeans as I trotted down the stairs.

"Yeah, Aunt Hailey?" I called, pulling my shirt over the top of my pants. My sneakers squeaked as I stopped when I saw Aunt Hailey and a teenage boy standing in the kitchen. The boy had shaggy, almost black hair and rich brown eyes. He stood with his hands in his faded jeans, his red plaid shirt hanging over.
I swallowed. I stuck my thumbs in my pockets and looked at them. "Um, hi." I said.
The boy gave a nod, a smirk and a small "Hey."

"Cody, this is Beck. Beck, this is my niece, Cody. The one you'll be training." Aunt Hailey said. I gathered my long hair and tied it into a low ponytail.

"Hi, Cody." Beck said. "Your hair is, um... Very blue." I nodded.

"Yeah, I get that a lot." I said, folding my arms. All I could think was, He's cute, he has to be stuck up. "Can we just get this over with?"
Aunt Hailey forced an awkward smile.

"Right, you two go out the barn. Dinner will be read at 5:30, so you have three hours." Beck and I nodded and headed out the door.
Beck led the way to the barn. As we got closer all I could smell was the horses. The dogs were trotting after us as we passed the roaming chickens, making our way closer to the barn. The horses started neighing and kicking as we entered.

"Alright, first thing I want to do is introduce you to the horses." Beck said. I sighed.

"You're in charge." I said.
He walked up to the first stall where a medium sized brown horse stood, eager to be pet. Beck reached out his hand and rubbed the horses nose.
"There's more to taking care of horses than just mucking stalls." Beck explained. "You need to learn about the horse breed and the horse itself so that if something goes wrong you know what to do." I nodded, folding my arms and inspecting the horse. "This is Duke. He's a quarter horse. I know it may be confusing to keep track of all the horses, but they all are different. So, just remember that Duke has this," he reached up and touched a white patch on Duke's forehead. "Duke has a white star in his forehead, and a tan mane and tail." I nodded.
"White star, tan mane and tail. Got it." I repeated. Beck looked at me, then back at Duke.
"Pet him, he's really friendly." he said. I sighed and reached my hand out. Duke wasted no time shoving his head into my hand happily. I smirked a little. I had never really been around horses before, but I liked them. They were like oversized dogs.
"Alright, and this is the next one." Beck said, side stepping to the next stall. A handsome black horse with a black mane stood proudly. He seemed very- in charge, very sure of himself.
"This is Kujo." Beck said. "He's a Mustang. He hasn't been fully broken- or really broken at all, so do not go in there. Try to keep your distance. He's afraid and angry and was obviously the leader of his herd. Some men took him from his herd to make glue, but some animal activists stole him in the middle of the night. Fighting to get him into a trailer the men ran out, but the activists drove off and brought him to your aunt and uncle. When the men found him here they tried to take him, but your uncle offered them a lot of money so they could keep him." I smiled.
"My uncle did that?" I asked. "Wow... That's amazing."
Beck nodded.
"Almost everyone in the town came by and gave donations to them because of what they did. Everyone was so happy that they saved him."
"So, what are they going to do with him now?" I asked. Beck stepped to the next stall.
"Well... I'm going to break him." he answered.
My eyes widened.
"You're going to break a wild stallion?" Beck shrugged.
"Yeah. In a few weeks." he replied. "I'm going to do a little more practicing on Max, this horse here, before I do. Max has some attitude, so if anyone's going to buck me off, it's him."
I frowned.
"Well, I'm staying away from Max, I guess." I said. Beck smiled.
"I wouldn't put you on him at first, no." he replied. "Max is a Buckskin, which is one of my personal favourites. He likes to be pet only when he wants to be, and he'll let you know if he doesn't want to be. If I was going to put you on any horse it would be this guy." Beck walked to the next stall where a huge horse stood lazily.
"Oh my word, I'm not getting on that montser!" I cried. Beck laughed and opened the stall gate.
"Zuko is not a monster." he said. "He's a draft horse. Very docile. He was name after Danny Zuko from Grease. He's never thrown anyone." He scratched the emense horse's neck. "If you were to fall off, it would be your fault."
I scoffed a bit then looked the massive horse up and down.
"He's so big." I said.
"Come pet him, he's nicer than Duke."
Hesitantly, I walked up to the huge horse and slowly put my hand out. Beck, with a smile, grabbed my hand and moved it faster to the horse's broad shoulder. I swallowed as the horse picked up a hoof and set it back down.
Beck could definitely see the fear on my face. He stepped closer to me, putting his hand on mine, on the horses shoulder.
"It's okay." he said. "He wont hurt you."
Beck and I locked eyes for a moment. I pulled my hand away quickly (which didn't even make Zuko twitch) and took a step back.
"Yes, well, he's very friendly... Um, aren't we supposed to be like, mucking stalls or something?" I asked. Beck frowned a little.
"Right, yeah." he said, moving past me. "Shovel's are over here. What I usually do is scrape everything into the middle, then shovel it into the wheel barrow. If there are any clean shavings, though, just leave them." I nodded.
"I think I can do that." I said.
"First we need to bring the horses into the paddock. Me and Mr. McQuai- er, your uncle are going to connect the paddock to the side of the barn soon. See how all the stalls on the right side have open windows?"
"Yeah."
"A paddock is supposed to be behind it so you can lead the horses out easier. But, the people who actually built the paddock didn't do that. So, while we're repairing the barn we're going to do that. So for now, grab as many horses as you can. I'll put a leads on them."
I watched as Beck entered a small room off to the side and came out with seven leads draped over his arms. He walked to each horse, besides Kujo and slipped on the lead, each one cooperating fully. He grabbed Duke and Zuko and gave me the leads then he grabbed a white horse, Max, a brown horse, and a brown and white horse and started out from the barn. I assumed he would bring Kujo out alone.
Awkwardly, I walked after him, two big horses on either side of me. Then, Beck stopped and turned around.
"Get on Zuko." he said. I froze then broke out laughing.
"I don't think so!" I cried. "You're insane."
Beck chuckled and walked over to me, horses in tow. He tied their leads to his arm, including Duke's, and locked his finger's together, bending down.
"I'll help you up."
"But, there's no saddle or reins or anything!" I said, realizing he was serious.
"Relax, you can hold onto his mane. And I'll be right here." he assured me. I took a deep breath, looking from him to Zuko. "Come on, you can do it."
I groaned, rolling my eyes, giving in. I planted onw foot in his hands and he lifted me up onto the horse. I felt so high in the air and I was scared I was going to fall off.
"There, see?" he said, grabbing onto the lead. "Just hold onto his mane."
He untied the leads from his arm and grasped them. As he moved forward I felt Zuko lurch into movement and I gasped slightly, making some of the horses flick their ears. Beck laughed a little. "You're doing great."
It was only a couple yards to the paddock and by the time we got there I realized riding a horse was kind of fun. A little uncomfortable, but fun.
"Okay, now come down." Beck said, removing the leads from each horse.
I hesitated. "How?" I asked finally.
Beck laughed again, holding his arms out.
"Swing your leg over and kinda jump. I'll catch you." he said. I narrowed my eyes. I knew what his game was. He just wanted a reason to grab onto me. Knowing I had no other choice I rolled my eyes again. I swung my leg over to one side and looked down to the open arms of Beck. I took a deep breath and let myself slide down. Sure enough, Beck's awaiting hands grabbed onto my waist and he made my fall more gentle. He grinned widely at me.
"See? Wasn't that fun?" he asked. Kind of tyring to play 'hard to get' I shrugged.
"Yeah, sure, I guess." I said, turning away from him. "So, you never told me about the other horses." Beck removed the lead from Zuko and the horse trotted off quickly.
"Alright, well, the grayish white one is a Thourobred. His name is Riley. The paint, which is brown and white with the white mane, is Vector, and the brown one with black socks and black mane is mine. She's the only girl and her name is Zira."
I giggled, trying to stifle it. He grinned at me.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"I just think it's funny that the only girl is yours." I said. "And that name... It sounds so familiar." Beck's face got a little red.
"It's the name of the mean lion on The Lion King two..." he muttered. Suddenly I burst out laughing.
"Oh my gosh, that's right!" I cried. "Why would you pick that name?!"
"It was my favourite movie as a kid and Zira was born when I was seven by one of my mother's horses. She said I could name it and that's the name I chose." he answered. I laughed a bit more and nodded.
"Well, that's- I'm sorry, that's pretty queer."
He rolled his eyes, still smiling.
"Yeah, yeah, I gotta go get Kujo." He spun on a heel and started back towards the barn. I followed quickly behind him.
"Is he going in the paddock, too?" I asked. Beck shook his head.
"No, he goes in the ring." he asnwered.
"What's that?"
"It's a ring for riding. Join up, lessons, we have a bigger one with jumps in it. Kujo can't go in with the other horses, he might hurt them."
I frowned. "Sounds safe."
"I'll be fine..." he paused and I heard him mutter, "I hope."


© 2012 Elizabeth Reed


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Elizabeth Reed
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Dinner will be read at 5:30, so you have three hours. Should be ready. ;) I'm new here. Would you check out my story?

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Added on September 21, 2012
Last Updated on September 26, 2012
Tags: Girl, Farm, Horse, Horses, Trouble, Love, Teen, Angst


Author

Elizabeth Reed
Elizabeth Reed

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I absolutely love to write, but I'm not very confident in myself. I would love honest feedback. Negative or not. If you'd like to see pictures of my characters, go to my photos. The letter(s) at th.. more..

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