Western Fiction posted April 2, 2011


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A young brave wants a war horse

The War Horse

by Realist101

As dark clouds roiled in the distance, a herd of ponies ran in front of the wind, their manes flying like flags and their hooves beating a tune to the drumbeat of far off thunder.

A young brave rode his horse alongside them, leather rope readied, trying to get close to the great stallion that led the band across the grasslands. But the big horse knew he was the target and expertly dodged and weaved away from the boy.

Running Deer could only hear the beating of his own heart as he leaned into the mane of his pony. He was one with the little paint as they raced behind the king of the prairie, and each horse and the boy too, were completely oblivious to the coming storm, so intent in the moment of the chase, that when the lightning flashed it barely registered in their minds.

The rumbling thunder and the sound of hooves blended as the young Cheyenne closed in on his quarry. The mustangs dodged like jackrabbits and as they approached an arroyo, the herd dug their hooves in deep, swerving sharply away from the twelve foot wide span.

But the stallion didn't hesitate. He sailed across the ditch like a bird in flight, never missing a beat and landed mid-stride on the other side, leaving Running Deer and his winded pony behind.

The little paint flung his head up and down in protest at being stopped. But the boy knew when he was beat. There would be another day. And another plan of capture too.

The dust trail told the young brave that the great horse was circling back to his herd. Through squinted eyes, he let out the breath he'd held during the chase, as a look of awe flashed across his face. He vowed to catch the horse one day as he raised his fist in the direction of the escapee. He spoke loudly a challenge, a promise that he would be back.

On this day though, the storm was the victor and soon the rain gave renewed life to the vast area that was the Grand Teton range. The young brave was rinsed clean of the sweat and dust and made his way home, his imagination fueled by the powerful horse he'd tried to catch.

The storm clouds dissipated and the golden light dimmed as Running Deer rode back to his village empty handed. He felt no shame though, his pony had given him everything he had. The little horse had heart, but could not outrun the clay colored stallion. The boy watched his horse roll and shake off before drinking from the shallow creek; it had been an exhilerating chase, giving the boy of fourteen summers confidence and a new goal.

Soft blue haze from the cook fires floated just above the camp; the aroma of venison and buffalo heavy in the air as the soft voices of his people greeted the boy so filled with dreams.

His family, these beautiful Cheyenne people, would only move when the trees turned yellow, but before the first flakes of snow fell. For now, peace reigned, there had been no conflict for months and it was a time of tranquility and hope.

The days soon grew short as autumn told the people it was time to leave the mountainside and venture back down to the warmer valleys. And so, like ghosts they were gone, the fire pits the only sign they had ever been there.


Winter came and went, finally relenting its icy fingers on the earth and her inhabitants. It was an awakening in the truest sense of the word. And Running Deer was now fifteen summers, almost a man. He pined for a bigger, stronger horse. A warrior could not be left behind in battle. An odd anger befuddled him as he sat watching the colorful herd of ponies. Soon, they would be ascending back to the cool meadows of Teewinot, where they would share the lush grasses with the stallion and his own band of mares.

A dog yapped, the sharp sound breaking his reverie. Running Deer stood, scanning the area for predators, but it was just a mare sneaking off to have her foal. He ordered the dog quiet and slowly followed her from a distance. Stalking her silently, he readied his bow in case a big cat came prowling.

He guarded the mare as she finally lay down, her belly bulging with new life. There was always a sense of wonder with every new foal and the boy never tired of seeing them enter the world. The hours passed slowly, but finally a tiny pair of hooves appeared, and with a final push, the mother sent her baby to the earth, to begin its own journey of life.

Running Deer watched, with heart pounding, he could barely breathe. The colt was a big one, an exact replica of the great clay stallion, with the same fire in its eyes too. He had found his war horse.

He protected it and its mother, until three summers passed, and as they bonded and became partners, the boy and horse grew together, both mighty warriors of the plains.















Story of the Month contest entry

Recognized


Any apostrophe help much appreciated too! I do apologize for being brain dead...zzzzzzzzzz...peaceful prose...thank you for reading this! AND to Photobucket.com for a perfect pix!
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