Fantasy Fiction posted January 1, 2012


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A foal is born

The Gift

by Realist101

A damp, cold January wind blew through the old wooden barn, and the mare stood, stoic and ready. She was dripping colostrum, and grunted softly with pain as her foal kicked around in the warm prison, insisting on being born. Inside the womb, she began the journey into the world, slowly sliding downward from the sanctuary she'd known for almost a year.

Kneeling, then falling over on her side, the mother lay straining, her sides steaming from the job at hand. She had waited until the humans were gone; they had a way of interfering, irritating, and in general, being in the way. And they would not allow her to go to the fields for privacy. She sighed and moaned. There was no way to escape the stall, so she resigned herself to the twelve by twelve enclosure and relaxed. It was time. The other horses dozed; unconcerned, they knew what was happening and not one of them stirred, or even seemed to take notice as the tiny filly slid onto the golden bed of straw.

Nickering anxiously, the mare rose, the bloody afterbirth still dangling, but she ignored it, and turned to nose her baby; it had to drink the milk with the rich, life giving colostrum. She licked the filly, all the while nudging her to rise and suckle, but the foal lay still, eyes closed, unresponsive and listless. Time was of the essence too; she licked and nudged, and whinnied softly but frantically, as she worked to get her filly to stand--and survive.

In the shadowy corner atop the feed bins, a barn cat, black as pitch, sat hungrily eyeballing the afterbirth. A patient statue, he was unmoving except for his whiskers. They shifted back and forth in anticipation; soon, the mare would drop the sac and the old tom would feast ... if she didn't notice him. He'd come close to being stomped more than once and now caution was the rule of the day. He didn't even allow himself the pleasure of purring. He had to remain unseen. His chance would come. And soon.

~~~~~~

An old plastic clock ticked softly above the neatly arranged tack room. Daybreak wasn't far away, but the moon wasn't yet ready to go to sleep, and as it began to descend over the tree line in the west, it shone through the open window, down into the stall where the newborn foal lay.

The little filly stirred as the rays of moonlight shone on her and as if waking from a dream, she jerked up, trying to stand, but stumbled and almost toppled over, her new legs weak and wobbly.

But after a few minutes of tipsy searching, she finally found sustenance ... and Luna smiled as he gave her the will to live--and a coat of sparkling, silver moon glow.



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