Girls Horse Club Blog

Outcast!

Published by • Mar 30th, 2010 • Category: Fiction, March for Wild Horses
by Violet Inkpen, age 13 Prologue | Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Prologue

A lone figure in the dark stood on top of a gentle slope, its eyes cast far over the horizon. The sadness came again with a pang of loneliness. Ah, how simple life was so long ago when he was a foal! The figure sighed and looked at the sky. It was a dark shade of pink and orange, the last fading lights began to turn from orange to purple and soon the world would be dark.

The figure slowly lowered its head and walked towards the distant herd of horses, sore from head to hoof from a long day of running and a hard fight with his father. He had been kicked out his herd a week ago and ever since he had been following them, being the only bachelor stallion left. All others had been rounded up. He was alone, an outcast. He had many fights with his father and all ended in the colt running away with a new injury. But he wouldn’t give up. He wanted a family and he’d do anything for it, even beg his father.

His heart was as heavy as his hooves as they slowly lifted from the ground. The pain in his stiff, injured shoulder, reminded him of the cruel blow his father dealt him just hours before, and the words that were snarled in anger. “Get lost! We don’t need you around here anymore!” Still the colt wouldn’t give up. He missed being wanted and needed with a deep passion and since there was nothing else to do, he followed his family with the loyalty of a lost pup when it finally finds its master.

The figure slowly made its way towards the herd, although it knew it would never be accepted. When it got closer the leader charged, shouting angry words and curses and names. The figure dodged a few attacks. “I only want to be in a family again! I am no threat!” it begged.

“Get lost! You are no longer needed!” the stallion screamed, kicking the figure. “Jazz, grow up and go away!” The stallion threw a kick at Jazz’s nose. The figure, called Jazz, squealed in pain.

“Please father! I won’t do any harm!” he begged. He was only answered by a sharp bite to his ear. Finally he gave up and fled, his father at his heels.

“You are banished form this herd FOREVER!” his father screamed in fury.

The figure soon put a great distance between him and his family. He felt grief. This was not what he thought life was supposed to be. He didn’t want to be alone! Why did he have to be by himself? He sighed and curled up to sleep, trying to comfort himself with happy thoughts. But how could life be happy when he was an outcast, unwanted and unloved and unneeded anywhere or by anyone? He sighed heavily and closed his eyes. Maybe tomorrow would be brighter. No matter how much it took, Jazz was determined to succeed in rejoining the herd. After all, those mares were his family, and the leader was his father, his own flesh and blood. Could he really turn his son away forever?

Chapter 1

Jazz grunted as he rolled in the dirt. How good it felt to scratch his back! When he rolled back to his feet he looked to his left to be sure his family was still there. Sure enough, just across the huge river, his father glared at him as the mares grazed and the foals nursed. It was a peaceful scene, one Jazz longed to be part of. He nickered questioningly, but his father only snorted and shook his head in reply. Jazz sighed. He began to despair. He’d never be allowed back in the herd.

Turning his head he looked over his shoulder, glancing at the beautiful blue sky. He loved to just look at how big it was. It reminded him he was free. He had seen too many round ups to take that for granted. Too many horses were taken. He once found the place they were taken to and spied on it. He saw the terror, smelled the fear, and heard the sounds of angry and confused horses as they were loaded into metallic boxes. He was sure there was no sky inside those boxes that moved.

Looking back at the herd he watched his father prance a circle around the mares. He licked his lips and moved towards the river. His father’s head shot up and he snorted a warning. “Just getting a drink!” Jazz snapped. His father watched wearily as Jazz walked towards the river. Suddenly a smug filly just a bit younger than Jazz trotted towards the water and began to drink, her eyes taunting Jazz. Jazz continued moving for his drink, but his father was protective of the filly.

With a scream of anger Jazz’s father charged at the river, crossing it with fury. Jazz squealed and dodged away from the oncoming stallion. Pulling himself onto the bank, his father chased him away until he was confident that Jazz could do no harm. The filly lifted her head and laughed at Jazz, then turned around and trotted back towards the herd. The stallion looked at Jazz with an angry snort. “Grow up and get lost!”

He narrowed his eyes then crossed the river again, gathered the mares, and moved them out. The lead mare took over, leaving Jazz’s father to stand there. He waited and waited, watching Jazz until he was sure the family was far enough away that his son wouldn’t be able to find them. He knew where they were going of course, but he hoped Jazz wouldn’t. Turning without another word the stallion fled. Jazz watched him go and blinked sadly. What good was freedom with no one to share it with? He thought glumly. Moving forward to get his drink, he hoped he’d be able to find the herd again.

* * * * * * * * * *

The sky split into a white flash as lightning struck again. Thunder boomed and the clouds threatened to spill rain any moment. Jazz searched the ground for his family’s scent, eyes scanning for hoof prints. He needed to catch their trail BEFORE the rain. Suddenly a droplet hit his ear. Then another hit his flanks. Then another until it began to rain so hard Jazz could hardly see. Stumbling towards a dark shadow, the colt sought out cover to wait out the storm, but he saw nothing.

Lightning snaked through the sky again, sending a wave of fear through Jazz’s body. He threw up his head and screamed, running around wildly in fear. With each clap of thunder or streak of lightning Jazz became more afraid. He became so confused he didn’t know up from down and finally he just collapsed on the ground and allowed the rain to pour onto him, pelting him with sharp pain. Blinking rapidly, Jazz rested his head on the ground, waiting for the storm to pass.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jazz moaned softly and allowed his eyes to open. Lifting his head from the ground, he heard a watery sound and realized his head was resting in a puddle. Standing up, he splashed water as he walked. The whole ground was a soggy mess and any trace of his family would be long gone now. Feeling lonelier than ever, he squinted at the sky in disbelief. The peaceful clouds decorated an otherwise breathtaking blue sky with shapes and wisps of white. There was no hint to the terror the sky had thrust into his heart just a few hours before. It amazed Jazz how quickly the sky could change.

He watched in silence as a flock of birds flew past, causing him a moment of grief as he realized he was a bird with no flock to fly with. On his own, he had to survive best he could. He finally realized chasing his herd was foolish. It would do him no good and only injure him more as he took beatings from his brutal father. So the next question racing through his mind was ‘what do I do now’?

Chapter 2

Head low, spirits down, Jazz slowly gave in to the steady rhythm of his hooves gently pounding the ground. His ears were tilted ahead, his eyes low in sadness. He felt like giving up and dying. Pulling his aching body along was just too much. But he kept going, comforted at least by the gentle swaying of his body.

His thoughts drifted back to his mother, her warm nose, her gentle eyes, her loving attention. The way she protected him from any and all danger, or played with him when he was excited, or encouraged him to dream. That was all gone now, and Jazz didn’t know why. He wasn’t doing the family any harm. One day his father just took him aside and said ‘this is my herd, get lost’ and before Jazz knew what was going on he was chased away from the only family, the only herd, the only home he had ever known. Determined to stay with them, he begged to come back. When his father finally fought him to get the message across he remembered about bachelor herds. He tried to find them, but after a week of watching herd after herd being rounded up he decided they must all be gone already. So he had turned back to following his herd. A lot of good that did him!

Lifting his head, flattening his ears, his eyes burned in anger. He didn’t deserve this! And he wouldn’t let his father win! Right now he was only two years old, not nearly old enough to challenge an eight year old stallion who was as strong as his father. But one day when he was strong and his father was old and weak, he’d claim the family as his own and he’d be their leader. The thoughts filled him with a new burning fire, a desire to live!

For the first time he noticed the green grass at his feet, long and luxurious. It enticed him. He sniffed at it and it gently tickled his nose, dancing at his feet in the wind. The scent was overpowering and Jazz gave in to his hunger. His weary muscles were ignored and he ate the delicious grass before him, refreshing him in spirit and strength. Rearing up he challenged the sky to throw storms, fire, or even helicopters at him! He would defy it all to be free! To live!

Jazz galloped away from the half flooded meadow and decided to move to higher ground where it would be dryer. Slipping on the mud, kicking up large gobs of water and dirt, he realized for once that if he had been in a herd the mares would have complained at being splashed. Perhaps being an outcast had its advantages?

When Jazz finally made it out of the meadow he was as muddy as he could be. He tilted his head at the sky, wondering where he wanted to go. With no herd to follow he was on his own and he had to make his own choice of what was best suited to his needs. Throwing his head at his shoulder he bit at the itchy skin beneath the layer of mud and realized he’d really like to get clean. Fine. He knew the way to the deepest, calmest, most peaceful river.

He looked towards the mountain and shook his head, racing towards the forest instead. His body seemed to itch all the more as he thought about gliding through the lovely ripples of the water. He tilted his ears towards the forest, listening for the gentle trickle of the blessed liquid that would clean his coat and quench his thirst. Fixing his eyes on the green trees, he fell into a trance-like state. All he heard was his heart beat keeping time with his hooves, all he saw was sunlight reflecting off of incredibly green leaves, all he smelled was the fresh air, and all he felt was his hooves rising and falling against the mushy ground.

Closer and closer he began to pant, not from weariness, but from anxiousness. He wanted that river more than anything! Just as he was about to enter the woods a strange sound broke his rhythm. Jazz slowed into a trot and looked around. Suddenly his heart stopped. Five wolves were rushing out of the forest, mouths open and eyes hungry. A deer was running away from them, the scent of fear from the animal filling the air.

Jazz backed away as the deer brushed past him in a hurry. Looking over at the wolves he felt his heart sinking. But he would not flee like a terrified deer. He stood his ground, tail lashing in anger. The wolves stopped a few feet away from him, eying him, sizing him up for attack. They blocked his way. Jazz knew he mustn’t be intimidated by them. “Show no fear,” he advised himself under his breath.

The leader, a tall black wolf, drew back his lips in a fierce snarl. “I only want to get to the lake,” Jazz said calmly.

The wolves only narrowed their eyes in concentration and aggression.

“Your dinner is getting away.” Jazz added, stomping a hoof. The wolves exchanged amused glances at the foolish young colt.

“The way we see it, our dinner is right here,” one of them snarled. Jazz allowed himself a confident laugh but inside his stomach ached in nervousness. He tried not to show fear. Instead he walked towards them, almost haughty.

“You think you can take down a horse? Move aside or face the consequences,” he said, flattening his ears. The leader grinned.

“You ARE a foolish one aren’t you?” he asked. Jazz knew he couldn’t let them think for a moment he was weak. He MUST prove a threat and he couldn’t give them time to attack either. His body on fire with nervousness and a danger sense, he charged the leader, his hooves stomping its tail against the ground.

The wolves scattered to avoid being crushed when their leader let out a series of pained yelps and whimpers. Jazz wheeled around and reared, shaking his mane. The wolves backed away slowly but kept their eyes on him. He knew they wouldn’t give up without a fight. He charged again, veering to kick one. The wolf dodged most of the blow but Jazz felt his hoof scrape against a shoulder. Jazz landed with a thump and realized in terror that he had placed himself in the middle of the path, and the wolves were starting to surround him.

He lifted his head, trying to look big and confident. “Really. You are foolish. You’d sacrifice your dinner to try and prove to me you are scary? Let me pass to the river. You’ll regret it if you don’t,” he growled, his stomach doing a series of somersaults and flips inside.

“Your arrogance is aggravating, foolish foal!” one of the wolves spat. Fear turned to anger. Jazz wheeled to face the one that spoke. A muscular grey with scars on his muzzle and shoulders, it looked ready for battle.

“I am not a foal, and my arrogance isn’t without cause. I can rip you all to shreds without a thought. Or would you care to call my bluff?” he taunted. He knew they would hesitate to take down a horse even without a bluff. Even at his age he could still injure them, even if they were almost certain to kill him. It would be dangerous enough for them, but with his threats it made him seem like a seasoned warrior rather than what he was – a scared, lonely, colt.

“Maybe we WILL call your bluff. I doubt you could even draw blood.” The leader flicked his tail and at once the wolves began to move in closer, crouching low and snarling. Alarm rose in Jazz’s throat but he forced himself to stand still, unmoving. He fixed his eyes on the leader.

“You’d lead your pack, your family, into a fight they cannot win?” he asked, flashing his teeth. The leader’s eyes scanned the wolves and they looked back at him, hesitant. He stood up taller and fixed his eyes on Jazz.

“What makes you think we can’t win?” he asked, the fur on the back of his neck rising in anger. Jazz tilted his head, almost welcoming.

“You are welcome to try,” he said in what he hoped was a confident voice. He knew that if he betrayed himself and showed even a slight hint of fear they would attack and kill him. He waited in silence, trying to breathe normally. He wished his heart would stop pounding so hard against his chest, for wolves had good hearing and they were sure to realize he was bluffing after all….

Chapter 3

With a howl of anger one of the wolves launched himself at Jazz’s flanks. Thankfully Jazz reacted quickly, kicking out with his back hooves, catching the wolf’s chest and sending it flying against a tree with massive force. The wolf yelped then went silent, unconscious. The young colt forced himself to look calmly back at the leader, who was eying the wolf with disapproval. “Well? Care to try again?” he asked. The leader growled.

“I did not order an attack! Anyone who would act without my say is no longer part of the family. Move out,” he ordered, sweeping his tail. The rest of the pack looked back at their den mate, but obeyed their leader and followed him after the deer. Jazz wouldn’t let himself breathe a sigh of relief until they were long gone.

Jazz turned towards the river and trotted carefully through the woods until finally he plunged into the cool, calm water. Sighing in contentment he felt layers of mud and dust lift from his coat and he was once again a palomino color. Kicking his legs slowly, he enjoyed the weightless feeling of swimming and looked down, smiling as he saw the sky, and a few treetops, reflecting back at him. This was paradise! He wouldn’t give it up for the world!

When Jazz was done with his swim he pulled himself to shore and shook until he was dry. He looked up at the sky and realized it was close to noon. He headed back towards the meadow to graze, hoping the sun would have dried it up by the time he got there. Jazz settled down in the meadow to graze and it was a long time before he lifted his head. When he did he saw a band of mustangs rushing towards him, being chased by a helicopter. He stood his ground as they raced towards him. “NO! DON’T LET IT HERD YOU! DON’T RUN AWAY FROM IT!” he screamed over the pounding of hooves and screaming of the flying beast. Most of the horses ignored him, pushing past him. But one mare, a small blue filly at her side, looked up at him for help. “This way!” He raced towards the woods, away from the helicopter.

The mare nodded and nudged her foal, then galloped away from her band. Jazz wheeled and led her deep into the woods, hiding her and her foal in the shadows until he felt safe. “It’s alright. You are safe now,” he promised them.

The foal was whimpering softly.

“You don’t have to be afraid. Just don’t you ever run away from those monsters. Run towards them if you can. They are trying to herd you to a bad place. They can’t hurt you, but if they get you to the bad place humans hurt you,” he told her.

The mare shook her head. “She isn’t afraid. She hurt her foot running so long. We come from the other side of the mountain.”

Jazz gasped. “That is miles and miles and miles!” he protested. The mare shrugged, sniffing her foal.

“I’m worried about her,” she confessed. Jazz narrowed his eyes and noticed the foot was dangling just off of the ground.

“It looks bad,” he agreed, a pain deep in his chest. He felt the agony that the foal must be feeling. “We’ll find a way to take care of it. I promise!” But inside he was wondering if the foal would die. Or how he’d make it better. There was no way!

“Then you’ll protect us?” the mare asked. Jazz felt a heavy weight on his shoulders.

“I’m not old enough to defend you,” he said slowly. The mare looked at her foal then back at Jazz.

“I can’t do it alone. She’ll die if someone doesn’t help me look out for her. Please! I know you are young, but can’t you at least come with us? If not to defend then to at least look out for danger?” she begged. Jazz felt a tug at his heart, a longing to be close to this family. He nodded slowly.

“I’ll protect you, her, with my life!” he promised, his eyes filling with a fierce will to not only survive, but keep alive the mother and foal. The mare smiled her thanks then lowered herself to the ground by her foal to rest. Jazz stood between them and any danger that might come, rigid, ready to defend them with his very life.

As darkness fell on the forest and what little light that got past the tree tops fell on the foal and mother, Jazz blinked sleepily. The gentle breeze made the hot night somewhat pleasant. If it wasn’t for the constant snoring of the foal to remind him he had to defend his new found family, Jazz would have fallen asleep. He stood tall and proud, unfazed by the distant howl of wolves. The hooting of an owl close by drew a snort from Jazz. Not even a bird would threaten the poor foal and lost mother. He was determined to protect them at all costs.

After a while the mare got up and gently nuzzled his shoulder. “Sleep a while. I’ll keep watch.”

Jazz’s protest was cut off by a giant yawn and he nodded, nestling close to the foal to keep her warm. The mare fixed her eyes on the distance. “What is your name?” she asked without looking back at him.

“Jazz,” Jazz muttered, closing his eyes.

“I’m Strawberry Dreamer,” the mare said gently. Jazz nodded. Her strawberry roan coat made him think as much. “My daughter is called Little Rose,” she added. Jazz smiled as he drifted into a peaceful dream.

“Little Rose….” he whispered.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jazz felt a sharp kick to his stomach. His head flew up and he snorted in surprise as well as pain. Looking around he realized Little Rose had kicked him in her sleep. What was a foal doing here? His eyes met Strawberry Dreamer’s, who had looked back when he snorted, and it came flooding back to him. The way he defied the wolves, the way he saved the mother and foal, and suddenly he realized he was a hero. Still, he felt responsibility for the family like a crushing weight on his shoulders and as he stood and noticed the sun was already high in the sky he licked his lips.

“Strawberry Dreamer….” he began.

“Call me Berry. It is shorter.” The mare smiled. Jazz nodded.

“Berry, get Rose up. We have to move. We’ve stayed in one place too long,” he said, stretching. Berry began to awake her foal, looking worried.

“That is a bad thing?” she asked. Jazz nodded.

“We have wolves on this side of the mountain,” he said. The mare gasped and began to shake the foal even harder. Rose muttered a protest but her mother nudged her to her feet.

“Rose, we have to move baby,” she said gently.

“My hoof hurts!” the foal cried out when she put weight on her foot.

“I know sweetie! I know!” Berry said soothingly. Jazz felt a sense of danger prickling at his body. They had to get out of the woods.

“Hurry!” he hissed. Berry stared at him. “We have to get going!” he added.

She nodded but before she could urge the foal to move the sound of hoof beats brought an unknown dread to Jazz’s heart. He turned around and saw a human mounted on a horse coming towards him. The human gasped in surprise then quickly noticed the filly’s mangled looking leg. He threw a rope at the filly. Jazz was about to flee but at the filly struggling and falling he knew he had to defend her.

“My baby!” Berry cried.

Jazz snapped at the rope but the man was moving closer.

“Easy!” he said but Jazz didn’t understand. The man took a gun from his pocket and fired into the air. Jazz and Berry, startled, jumped away from the foal and watched in anger as the man began taking something out of a saddle bag and working on the foal’s foot.

“Help!” Rose cried in fear, struggling but the man wouldn’t let her go.

Finally he backed up and she stood. “It feels somewhat better ma.” Rose blinked. Berry looked at Jazz.

“Humans are bad aren’t they?” she asked in confusion. Jazz looked at the man and his danger sense went away. This man looked kind.

“I dunno…..most make me feel like I am in danger. This one…..he helped Rose.” The man slowly lifted the young foal into the air and placed her across his saddle. “NO!” Jazz gasped. He would NOT lose his new family to a human!

Chapter 4

The man nudged his horse to trot. Jazz and Berry followed, snorting and squealing in anger. “My baby!” Berry kept screaming. Jazz was shouting at the horse who the man rode, calling him traitor.

“Don’t worry mama, I’m only going to help the foal,” the man said soothingly but Berry and Jazz didn’t understand and the human voice only made them more angry.

They followed the man for miles until they came to a small cottage in the woods with a large barn beside it and a fenced in paddock. The man dismounted. Jazz refused to enter the yard and Berry watched in dismay as the man vanished inside the barn, Rose crying for her mother.

Jazz flared his nostrils in anger when he saw the man leave the barn without the foal. Where was Rose? The man noticed them and waves, a movement that caused Berry to bolt to the left and Jazz to flinch. The man noticed their uneasiness and shrugged, heading for the house.

Cautiously, Jazz moved towards the barn, keeping as far away from the house and the man as possible. Slowly kicking at the door until it swung towards him he winced as the door gently bumped his shoulder. Despite his fear as the smells of human and strange things raced towards him, he entered the barn, feeling on edge as if something dangerous hung over his head, threatening to do him harm. He eyed every corner, every nook and cranny of the barn until he found nothing that offered him immediate harm. Moving with confidence he peered over a few stall doors until he saw Rose, nestled among straw with her leg firmly bandaged.

“Rose! Are you alright?” he said gently. Rose looked up at him in a drowsy way.

“I feel funny.” She blinked, swaying to and for.

“What did they do to you?” Alarm shot through Jazz’s body. The foal sighed softly.

“He poked me and stuff. I feel really tired Jazz. I don’t think I can get up,” she moaned wearily. Jazz sniffed the air and smelt some sharp scent. Some human thing for sure! Jazz stood still, unsure what to do.

Suddenly the door swung open wider behind him and he turned his head to see the human entering the barn with something in his hand. Flattening his ears, Jazz warned the man away. Slowly the man approached but Jazz hunched his shoulders and stared at him, shaking his mane. “No way pal! I’m defending this helpless foal!” He flashed his teeth but the human ignored him. Jazz hoped he wasn’t in over his head. He tried one last time to seem big and tough but the human shrugged him off with little concern.

Humans were too dumb to communicate with. They were like squirrels. Mindless beings. But usually squirrels ran when a horse threatened them with body language. This human was either brave or foolish. Finally Jazz backed down and trotted out of the barn, growling at the human as he passed him.

Berry waited for Jazz at the edge of the yard. “Where is my foal?” she demanded. Jazz cocked his head back towards the barn.

“I tried Berry. I couldn’t. But I won’t leave her here! I’m going to get her! I won’t let a human hurt her. She’ll be alright I promise you we are NOT abandoning her! We’ll get her. But she’s…..they made her tired. She can hardly hold up her head.” Jazz glanced back at Berry.

Berry and Jazz ran from the human and stopped just a few miles away from the barn, taking shelter by a few large rocks on top of each other. There was grass and the rocks offered shelter from any cold wind. Jazz hardly ate but Berry grazed all day. Jazz was trying to figure out a plan. He had to save the foal! It wasn’t fair! She was in a place where the sky was dark and strange. The scents were of humans and metal and things that didn’t make sense. Nothing seemed natural except for the straw in the bedding.

Jazz shuddered to think of being cut off from the sky, the wind, the air, the things that grew and lived and thrived in the sunlight and rain. It was all what it was meant to be – no strange things that never enjoyed being outside and enjoying freedom. Humans were just stranger than snakes!

As night fell Jazz continued to worry about the foal being alone with the human. What if something happened to her? Was it his fault? He shouldn’t have slept so long! He shouldn’t have let Berry talk him into sleeping! He paced back and forth while Berry began to whisper a song to herself. Jazz knew it was hard for her. Loosing her family, loosing her home, loosing her foal! What had she left?

Jazz looked at her. “I lost my family too. I was kicked out of my herd and there aren’t any bachelor bands left for a colt like me to join. I’m alone. I was alone,” he said gently.

“THAT’S supposed to make me feel better?” she snapped. Jazz blinked.

“No,” he said slowly. “I just……I understand.” He sighed. Berry began to cry and leaned her head on his shoulder.

“Oh Jazz! How am I supposed to cope? If it wasn’t for those helicopters….” she trailed off, bristling in anger. Jazz felt her rage towards the humans and he realized he shared that rage. Humans should mind their own business and leave mustangs alone! He narrowed his eyes in anger.

Time and time again Jazz tried to get Rose but each time he failed. Finally Berry gave up and went inside the barn. Jazz watched in sorrow. Only a week he had a herd again and now the humans took that away. Berry told him she couldn’t stand it without her foal and she would go in that barn and not leave. She was determined to be with her foal. Now Jazz watched as he was once again an outcast. He refused to give up his freedom to the humans, and this was a painful decision because it meant he lost his family…..again!

Chapter 5

Jazz watched in horror as his father’s band was being rounded up. He made no attempt to save them. Why bother? The humans never gave up. He wouldn’t mind it if his father vanished but the mares in that herd were friends, family. He didn’t blame them for what had happened to him. His heart ached when he saw his mother, terror in her eyes, running away from the humans that threatened her freedom. Jazz caught his father’s eye, his proud gaze. He felt electricity shoot through his body. His father was begging for help from a son who he had cast away, beaten, dragged through the mud. From a colt he had hurt physically and emotionally now stood above him, watching him be driven from his home and he was asking for help.

Jazz reared and nickered. Then he turned his back on his father. It pained him to hear the herd’s terrified squeals but he didn’t stop it. He could have, but he felt hardly living as he walked away. Nothing mattered anymore. Everything he cared about was ripped away. Maybe if the humans hadn’t taken so many horses there would have been a bachelor band for him to join, to learn to be a stallion, so some day he could have a herd of his own. But things change when humans interfere and now he was left without anything to care about.

Jazz blinked. He stood underneath a tree, just standing. Nothing was left to care about so why bother? Buzzards circled over head, and whether it was because they sensed Jazz giving up or they smelt something already dead, Jazz didn’t know, nor did he care. The sun no longer seemed to welcome him as its friend with its comforting heat. It seemed to mock him, telling him it didn’t even have its warmth left. The clouds half covered the sun, chilling the world below. The breeze blew but instead of being calming and comforting it seemed to go right through him with fury and spite. The fresh air only made Jazz’s heart ache when he thought of Rose and Berry trapped where there was no fresh air. He felt defeated so he let himself collapsed in the grass and watch the world go by without interest.

A day passed and a strange herd grazed close by. The stallion watched him and a few foals trotted over and kicked him and asked if he was dead. He answered with a snort of anger. Leave me alone! The unspoken command was enough to send them fleeing. The stallion seemed to realize he wasn’t going to hurt the herd and he soon let down his guard, not even bothering to look at Jazz.

Another day passed and Jazz didn’t even realize how hungry he was. He just stayed still, waiting to die. When the next day came Jazz began to realize if he was going to die he wanted to say good bye to Berry and Rose. He owed them that much. Getting to his feet he realized how hollow and empty his stomach felt and how dizzy and weary he felt. Deciding to eat before he left he gathered enough strength to make the journey to the barn.

When he got there the man was leading Berry on a rope outside. Jazz was curious, but he hung back in the shadows, unseen by the man and Berry. Rose suddenly trotted up, her leg uninjured anymore. She seemed healthy and happy again. Berry suddenly nickered, sensing Jazz’s presence. The man took the rope off, slapped Berry’s flanks, and released her. Jazz couldn’t believe his eyes. He was freeing Berry and Rose? As the two joined him they reared and bumped noses and nickered in joy.

“Rose is all better! The human treated us kindly! And now we can be a herd again!” Berry said quickly. Jazz grinned.

“THANK GOODNESS!” he exclaimed, giving the man a respectful nod. Surprisingly, the man nodded back. They had an understanding, a friendship almost. Without another word Jazz led his small herd away.

* * * * * * * * * *

A week later Jazz noticed about half of the mares from his father’s herd wandering by themselves. He asked them where his father was and they explained that he had been kept and only they had been released. Jazz was asked to be their leader and, despite his youth, he accepted.

Due to the round ups there weren’t any stallions that tried to challenge him until he was old enough to handle it. All in all Jazz came out stronger than ever and his will to survive kept the whole herd safe through floods and fires and attempted round ups. To this day Jazz is no longer an outcast or a lone figure watching his herd from afar. He is in the middle of the herd, welcomed and accepted with joy and love and that is how he likes it.

THE END

3 Nickers »

  1. That was an awesome story Violet Inkpen! Loved it!! :)

  2. Thank you very much! I know it is long but I am proud of it and I think that I described emotions and things like that very well. Thank you huskyhorsegirl for taking the time to read it.

  3. Your stories get better every time! I love all the emotions in it. Jazz is a wonderful character to read about. Whenever my brain is dead, I can always count on your work to inspire me again. You are such an amazing writer :)