Horse Whisperer #3LineTales

three line tales, week 186: a girl looking at ponies and horses

She liked to talk to the horses, in fact they were the only thing she talked to. Her parents never heard a word and if anyone got too close she would fall silent. The horses never seemed to mind, in fat they responded well and calmly listened to her chatting away.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/08/22/three-line-tales-week-186/ with thanks).

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Old Stables #CCC

Outbuildings at Hethel

Perhaps once famous horses had lived in the old stable and maybe a maid had fallen in love with a groom there and they had romanced in the hayloft.

I daydream too much but I really wish to know what had happened in the stables throughout their history. All those stories were lost to time and it’s such a shame.

For years, no horses’ hoofs had echoed the whitewashed walls, no boys had run in and out, nature hadn’t been cut back but this was all about to change. I was bring the stables back to life and soon the walls would have stories to tell once again.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/crimsons-creative-challenge-28/ with thanks).

Yoicks #AtoZChallege #Writephoto

Yoicks; a fox hunter cry urging on the hounds.

The peacefulness of the woods was shattered by the sounds of many dogs barking and horses’ hooves stomping. Animals fled, running for hiding places but it was the fox who burst through the bushes that was being chased.

The loud cry of a hunting horn pieced the air followed by the led man’s voice urging the hounds forward. The dogs crashed through the undergrowth, eagerly searching for their prey.

The fox, full of blind panic tripped into a muddy pool. He sank to the bottom before struggling up the surface. He swim across, leaving waves behind and came out on the other side coated in mud.

Slower now he made his way in between two trees and stopped by a large stone trove. It was deep enough to hide in but not to be come trapped in. He looked down and saw a leave covered bed at the bottom. Slipping in, he found a chest high level of stinky, collected rain water under the leaves but since he could stand, he settle, letting the leaves cover him listened and he listened to the noise above.

The hounds had followed the trail to the pool where the spent a few minutes sniffing around. This give the hunting party time to catch up, the men in red coats milled around on the backs of their horses, waiting for the hounds to re-find the trail. Once the dogs did, they give howls of joy and set off again.

The scent of the fox was weak though and now as the hounds came towards the stone trove they found the fox smell had gone again. The dogs sniffed; earth, rotting vegetation, stagnate water, decomposing autumn leaves, the smell of each other, horses and men but no fox.

Desperately the dogs search, wondering a bit further away each time, letting their noses led them. The horses and riders joined them, coming to a stop again but some of the men could see the dogs had lost the trail.

The led hunter rallied the hounds, encouraging them to find the fox. The dogs did as he asked but they became more and more stressed at the vanished prey.

Deciding to press on, in the hopes the scent was found again, the hunting party left the area.

After a few minutes, making sure the sounds of dogs and horses were in the distant, the fox climbed out of the stone trove with a struggle. He was weighted down by mud and slimy water, he smelt bad but it had saved his life.

Walking back through the trees, he went to the muddy pool again. He swim across, shook out his coat then trotted off into the undergrowth, leaving the hunting party far away in the opposite direction.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/04/25/thursday-photo-prompt-shade-writephoto/ with thanks).

Onward #WritePhoto

The people of what had been Kirby town had been traveling for months, walking on the hard rocky animal tracks through the foggy and rain soaked mountain range. There seemed to be no end in sight and it was like they had been cursed to walk forever.

Wearily and hungrily, they followed their prince on his bedraggled white stallion and his surviving guards in their tattered livery. No one was sure where they were going but the wizard kept claiming the Gods would tell the prince soon enough.

A fine rain was falling and the wind kept driving into the people and animals. There was little shelter and half delirious some of the people started to believe the mountains were judging them.

But what would mountains know of having to flee your burning town? Of trying to save women from rape and murder at the hands of an army from a distant land? Of there being no help, no hope, nothing left but charred reminds of what had been?

‘Is that a cave or a gap?’ the prince muttered.

He was exhausted and finding it hard to keep the strength his people needed of him. Steering his horse off of the track and up a small ledge. He saw that a gaping hole opened inside the nearest mountain, like mouth that had been punched in.

The prince slide off his horse and lead the stallion over. The cave seemed back enough for everyone and it was also dry inside.

Prays were said to the Gods and a few people suggested that perhaps their fate was turning. Maybe tonight the prince would be told where to lead them too. Everyone settled into the cave, finding a large chamber for twelve horses, seven ponies, five goats, four dogs, two cows, one ox, one kitten and a crate full of chickens. There was also other chambers which the hundred odd humans scattered themselves about in.

No fires could be lit, there was no dry wood. The people ate whatever they had foraged, got as comfortable as they could and tried to sleep.

The prince woke early, feeling uneasy. He looked at the ceiling of the cave and wondered what to do.

‘My prince?’ ask the wizard, ‘any new thoughts?’

‘None,’ the prince uttered.

The wizard nodded and taking up his gnarled staff went out into the misty, rainy morning.

‘Shall we move on?’ the captain of the guards asked.

The prince looked around, taking in the closest children who were so tried and hungry they could no longer cry.

‘No. It seems safe enough here. We shall rest as long as we can.’

A few days passed and the people had made the best of things. Wood had been dried for a fire big enough to cook and dry clothes upon. The animals were providing milk and eggs now they were rested and grazing often. Everyone felt less hungry and tried.

On the four day, the wizard came back.

‘I have been seeing what there is to be seen,’ he announced, ‘and it looks like we must continue. The weather is turning and I fear we shall face greater hardships.’

The prince was fell silent in thought. A few voices give suggestions but at last the prince spoke, ‘tomorrow we leave. Go and find food, wood and prepare. We can’t stay here and must make it to some other town or city for the winter.’

Onward, the people of Kirby town traveled though a gap between two mountains where it stopped raining and began snowing. Some regretted leaving the cave but they knew if they had stayed they would have died, at least this way they had a chance.

On and on they pushed as winter bit in and heaped more harshness on them like never before. Some did not make it, but other weeks later, on the eve of the winter festival stood and looked down upon a valley and a town within.

Spirits soared and the people head forward. The prince feared they would be rejected or find the town in ruined but they were welcome in. A great hall lay at the heart of the town, heated by many fires and decorated with evergreen plants. The Lord welcomed them from his high seat and the prince counseled with him.

Dawn arose on the winter festival morning, crisp snow covered everything and a fine mist hung over the mountains. The people of Kirby all slept peacefully for the first time, warmed by the fires of the great hall, knowing they were safe for the time being.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/12/06/thursday-photo-prompt-onward-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

An Autumn Morning #3LineTales

three line tales week 95: cowboys down under because the first Ashes test starts today

Mist danced in the rising sun which fell in-between the tall trees. The land was quiet, expect for the low movements of cattle and horses. The cowboys tried after their drunken late night and rough sleep, dozed on and off, missing the glory that was around them.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2017/11/23/three-line-tales-week-95/ with thanks.)

Fortune

tarot-991041_1920

The gypsies had been at the bottom of Farmer Dolton’s field for a week now. I had seen them on my way to the school house and back each day. They collected water, attended their horses, re-build their fires, cooked meals and talked in small groups. The sun shone off their brightly colored clothes and their strange accented voices filled the air. They seemed magical to me.

Everybody told me not to go near them. My teacher explained. ‘they are uneducated,ill-mannered and thieves. Not something young respectable ladies should be staring at.’

The priest said, ‘we shouldn’t love them like our neighbors for they are beyond God’s help. They worship Satan! We should all stay clear of them because they will led us into temptation! Just like the snake did to Eve.’

My maid added, ‘they kidnap children and sell them off to fairies!’

I wasn’t sure I believed any of them. I guess that’s why I did it. I sneaked under the fence and into their camp, early Saturday morning. The air smelt like burnt fire wood and herbs, mixed with the stench of horse stables. I moved around the heavily decorated caravans, my skirts all tugged in and trying to be as quiet as possible. Luckily, no one was around.

I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped, screaming and tumbling to the floor. Though my loose hair covered my face, I could see an old woman standing before me. She was bent over, leaning on a twisted stick which her gnarled hands seemed to be a part of. Her hair was long and light grey, her brown face heavy with wrinkles. She was wearing a bright orange skirt, dark cream blouse and a brown waist corset.

She looked at me, no doubt noticing my fine blue dress, black leather boots, matching blue hat and blonde hair. I got to my feet, brushing my hair back and then fluffing out my skirts. I wasn’t feeling afraid, what could this old woman do to me?

‘Your fortune told for a few coins, child,’ she spoke in a cracked voice that reminded me of bare tree branches rubbing together in the wind.

‘My fortune?’ I questioned.

She nodded and uttered, ‘I see all that the fates allow to be seen. Cross my hand with sliver and I’ll read your palm.’

I frowned, not sure I had any silver on me. There’s only a few copper coins in my coin pouch but I had been saving them to buy sweets with after church tomorrow.

‘Don’t you want to know if you will marry a good husband?’ the old gypsy asked, ‘led a comfortable life? Be blessed with children?’

‘I am too young to marry!’ I cried.

‘Does not matter. All our fates are already written,’ she spoke then held a hand out to me.

I tugged my red coin pouch out, opened it and stared in. I pulled out two copper coins and give them to her. There was still three left for sweets now.

She whipped the coins away faster then I thought she could move. She grabbed my arm, took off my white glove and raised my hand so close to her face I could feel her warm breath on my skin. I felt a pinch like pain and I tried to wiggle away from her, but her grip was so tight!

The old women began muttering under her breath and I could feel the tips of her long finger nails against my skin.

‘There has been a lot of tragedy in your life, I see,’ she mused, ‘too much death; brothers, mother and grandma. No doubt there will be more. You will marry twice but only have three children. You’ll have a long life but death will carry on shadowing you.’

I stared at her in shock and looked down at my palm. Questions popped into my hand, but I could not find my voice.

‘Beware of traveling over seas. There’s great danger in distant lands for you. I can see you are a strong, curious lady, that might cause trouble for you, but it will also save you. Reading will make you wise and respected. You will write and that will let you be comfortable in your old age.’

She stopped and looked at me with sparkling eyes.

‘That’s all?’ I whispered.

She let go of my hand, ‘all that’s in your palm,’ she replied.

I looked at all the lines crossing my palm and wondered how she could see all of that. The banging of a door made me jump and I saw a shirtless man coming out of one of the caravans close behind us.

‘Be off with you child,’ the old woman hissed, ‘ ’tis no place for ladies like you.’

Clutching my skirts, I dashed passed the old gypsy and to the fence. There I stopped and looked back. The old woman had hobbled away and was talking to the man as he washed at a bucket. I slipped through the fence and ran all the way home. I didn’t tell anyone what had happened. My fortune was my own.

Winter Field

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Alicia looked out of the window and across to the field. Four horses and two ponies were tucking into a bale of hay whilst the snow fell around them.

They need their rugs on, she thought.

Picking up her phone, she called the stables. It ring for a few seconds then an old man’s voice answered.

‘The snow’s not stopping. Please, put their coats on,’ Alicia spoke.

‘Right away,’ Tom answered and hung up.

Alicia ended the call too and put the phone back into her lap. A few minutes later, she saw Tom weighted down by coats going over to the horses. When he had put them all on and she was satisfied. She turned her chair from the window and wheeled herself back to her desk.

 

(From photo prompt by https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/tag/friday-fictioneers/ With thanks. Copyright of photo with her).

Bad Day

Double Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow Colors

It was going to be a bad day, Lily could just feel it. From somewhere deep at the back of her memory though she recalled what great grandma once said.

‘What you got to do, Lily, is tell yourself that after the storm there’s always a rainbow.’

‘What do you mean, granny?’ Lily recalled her younger self asking.

‘I mean, no matter how bad something is remember there is always something beautiful in the world. Even if it’s the smallest of flowers or the largest of animals. If you just look for it you’ll find it and you’ll realise that not everything is bad.’

‘Okay, granny. Can I get the tin horses out now?’

Lily came back to the present, smiling at the memory. Her younger self might not have understand any of that, but now as an adult she did get it. Finally, she got out of bed and as she prepared for the day, she held great grandma’s words close to her.

Nature

Horse, Standard, Horses, Mane, Horseback Riding, Animal

There was just something so dramatic about the canvas photograph the made her stop and stare. She was late for a meeting all ready and the busy lunch time streets were making her made dash harder, but some reason she was now catching her breath in front of a small shop window.

She took in the photos details as the city moved around her. The two horses were locked in a battle on a beach. Their coats splattered with water and sand, though they didn’t seem to have noticed. There was something captivating about the black and white photo. It held a majestic beauty over her.

She went and brought it straight away. Adding for them to hold it for her till she could make it back. Then she hurried onto the street once more and bolted to her meeting.

The Carousel

Carousel Horse

Sophia stared across the desolate French hamlet square. A light rain was falling softly, making the evening bleak and cold. She hugged herself and felt the old soft fur coat letting off a trickle of warmth. Sighing, she looked at the grimy windows of the small café behind her then upwards to the remains of a candy cane stripped cloth veranda.

A cat howled and she jumped. Her breath stuck in her throat and her eyes shot around the square. Sophia saw nothing but the boarded up empty shops and the abandoned carousel. Calming herself, she concentrated on the shadows of the horses lurking under their shelter. She counted to ten then checking the coast was clear, walked quickly over. The sound of her high heels tapping on the cobbles broke the returning silence.

Stopping just before the flat circle steps, she looked up at one of the wooden horses. The paint was badly chipped and peeling, yet some of the once bright whites, reds and gold still clung on. The horse’s face was frozen in terror and Sophia shied away from it.

Slowly walking around, she tried to ignore the other horses that all looked pained and scared. Coming to the back, she spotted what she was looking for. The bottom half of a fairy tale white and yellow carriage which sat in-between four horses. Picking up her coat and long skirt, she stepped up and felt the carousel creak underneath her. She paused to listen then reached out for a golden twisted pole and pulled herself up. She slipped into the carriage and sat down on the worn bench.

She couldn’t see much of the square from this angle, but she did feel safer and hidden. Arranging her dark red curly hair and fur hat, she tried not to think about what time it was. Of course, that question led her to wondering where he was, but she quickly dismissed it. Flatting her hat back on, she listened to the patting of the rain and the cracking of the carousel. Sophia lent back and shut her eyes. The sleepless nights were starting to catch up with her and all this trouble with the riots wasn’t helping.

She heard soft boot steps coming from across the square. Opening her eyes, Sophia froze. She watched a shadow separated itself from the others and dart under the café shop’s veranda where she had stood only minutes before. Was it the policeman doing his nightly rounds or a thief looking for food and things to sell? Maybe it was Sorel? God, please let it be him, Sophia prayed.

The figure began moving towards the carousel and Sophia watched the tall man wearing a trench coat come to a pause before the horses. Without realizing it, she had sunk down and was peering nervously over the edge of the carriage. The footsteps picked up again, making their way around. Sophia pulled down her hat, thoughts zipping through her mind.

A soft voice called out her name and she looked up. Sorel was looking down at her with his fingers touching the lip of his top hat. Sophia sat up, her face blossoming into life.

‘My love!’ Sorel cried and jumped onto the steps.

The carousel rocked and they both grabbed what they could. Then Sorel was stumbling into the carriage and landing heavily on his knees.

A startle of French words tumbled from Sophia’s lips and she hurried to help him up. Her fingers slipped over his leather coat before finding his warm wrist.

‘I’m fine, Angel, fine,’ Sorel’s voice whispered.

He pulled himself up and sat beside her, grabbing Sophia into a damp hug.

‘I was so worried,’ she breathed into his neck.

‘Don’t be. Everything is fine,’ Sorel replied and stroked her hair.

‘I hate meeting here,’ she added.

‘It’s the best place, until the war is over.’

‘I know, but still…’

‘Hush now,’ Sorel breathed and kissed her gently on the lips.

Sophia let out a shaky gasp then pressed her face into his.

‘Let’s forget about everything and just be in this moment, Angel,’ Sorel uttered against her lips.

‘Yes, my love,’ Sophia replied and kissed him again.

The night rolled silently in, cocooning the lovers as they held each other tightly in the carousel carriage.