July 2009 Story Contest

The Storm by horseandponyrox & Socks age 13

I reached down to stroke my pony, Socks. Ok, I’m Isadora Brown, but my friends call me Issie. My best friends are Emma and Kate and I have my own pony, a bay Arab cross called Socks. Socks is 12 hands high and spooks at just about everything. I outgrew Socks ages ago, but I love her so much that I’m never going to give her up. My feet hung well below her belly. ‘Ok class is over,’ said our pony club instructor, and the owner of pony club, Megan. I sighed and dismounted, sliding off Socks. ‘What’s wrong Issie,’ asked Megan. ‘Class is over!’ I moaned. Emma giggled.

I ran the brush over Socks’s sides, getting as much sweat off as I could. I keep Socks at pony club. When I was done I put my grooming kit away. I looked over at Melissa, who was lazing around while her servant took care of her pony, Taffy for her. Melissa is my worst enemy. Melissa is very rich, and thinks that she’s the best. I finished grooming and let Socks out in the paddock. I got on my bike and rode home.

‘Hi mum, I’m home!’ I called, kicking off my boots and flopping on the couch. ‘Hi Isadora!’ mum called back. My mum hates horses and doesn’t have any interest whatsoever in my riding. I always pretend I don’t care, but I do, a lot. I flipped through the TV channels. I stopped on ABC to have a quick look at the news. ‘Warning for people in Victoria,’ said the weatherman. I sat up, ready to give the TV my full attention. ‘There is going to be a very large electrical storm in a week for almost all of Victoria. Widespread damage and flooding is predicted and people are encouraged to leave if in doubt,’ continued the weatherman. I got a little exited. A storm! I love storms. But I didn’t know what was coming, for me, or for Socks.

I rode Socks bareback, which is when you ride a horse without a saddle around pony club, ready to go out for a trail ride. I spotted Melissa complaining to her mother. Melissa kept Taffy at her house, but came just to gloat to Megan. ‘Mummy, I hate this stupid horse!’ Melissa whined, ‘he couldn’t even go over a jump yesterday,’ she continued. Issie scowled, recalling Melissa thrashing him with her whip and yanking on the reins at the same time until he stopped dead. That was barely his fault at all! Issie thought angrily. Issie dismounted, sliding off Sock’s bare back and crept behind the fancy horse float. ‘Melissa, Taffy has been a very good horse, every time we buy you a horse, you complain almost immediately. Just give Taffy a chance honey,’ said Melissa’s mum, and turned and walked away. ‘I don’t care what she says,’ said Melissa. ‘I’m going to get rid of you once and for all Taffy,’ said Melissa. I gasped and crept away.

‘But she’s going to dump Taffy in the storm, I’m sure of it!’ I cried. Emma hesitated. ‘I don’t think so,’ said Kate. ‘Yeah, Melissa may be rotten but she’s not an animal abuser,’ added Emma. ‘But I’m telling you guys that she will!’ I said. Emma shook her head. ‘That’s really stupid, Issie,’ said Kate. I was stung. ‘Are you calling me stupid?’ I asked coldly. ‘No, I um…,’ said Kate. That was enough for me. ‘You do think that I’m stupid, don’t you?’ I asked, trying to hold back my tears. Before they had a chance to reply I squeezed Socks into a canter, tears rolling down my cheeks.

I shoved my bike in the garage and made my way into the house. ‘Oh hello Isadora!’ said my mum cheerfully. ‘I’ve seen you riding and I know that Socks is too small for you,’ said mum. I was confused. ‘So where are you taking this?’ I asked. ‘I sold her honey, to a lovely little girl called Laura!’ she beamed. I gasped. I knew Laura from pony club, she was nice and her parents were kind and they would take good care of Socks but I was really upset. ‘How could you do this to me!’ I wailed. My mums face paled. ‘I thought that it would be a nice surprise. I sold her for $600. They’re coming to pick her up after the storm!’ she said, quite proud of herself. ‘Mum, that’s peanuts, and how could you do this without even asking me!’ I cried. I couldn’t hold them back. The tears rolled down my cheeks as I ran to my room.

I walked slowly to Socks’s stall. ‘Hi girl,’ I said, almost choking. I burst into tears. ‘Mum’s going to sell you, Socksy,’ I sobbed, burying my head in her mane. I put on her saddle and bridle and galloped away.

It was the day before the storm was due, and large black clouds hung in the sky, threatening to break overnight. A big gust of wind blew, scattering leaves. I pulled my jacket around myself tighter and headed into the clubroom. The clubroom was a nice cozy room with thick carpet, a soft drink machine, a coffee and hot chocolate machine. I shoved two dollars into the coffee machine and a hot chocolate came out. I sipped at it and sat down in front of the fireplace, joined by a dozen other kids. I finished the hot chocolate, dumped the paper cup in the bin and headed outside into the cold air.

I tried to rub my hands together while holding onto the reins. I was freezing and the ground was dewy. I had managed to spend almost every waking moment with Socks and my mum had been reluctant to change her mind about Socks, saying that she was useless now. Of course I didn’t agree but I did kind of want Socks to go to a smaller person, one who could put her to better use. Besides, you can always see her again, I reassured myself. I checked my watch. Time to head home. I kicked her into a trot and she lifted her hooves gaily. I wiped a tear from my face. No matter what, I was going to miss her.

It was the day of the storm. I walked down the long driveway, which lead to Megan’s house, but turned right towards the stables. The day before Socks goes to Laura, I reminded myself. My tears mingled with the rain drops with landed on my face. I stopped to wipe them. Megan came up to me, her black hair wet with rain. ‘I heard,’ she said. I nodded, wiping my tears away. She gave me a quick hug and moved on.

Sock’s hooves splashed in the mud puddles as the rain came pouring down. I sighed, knowing that I would probably never ride her again. The area was silent and no one was in sight. I remembered something about Melissa. Taffy! Melissa had said that she would throw him in the storm. I turned Socks around and galloped for Melissa’s place, her little legs running as fast as she could. We stopped at Melissa’s front gate. I looked over the property. I ignored the law about trespassing and cantered into the stables. They were empty too, just like the rest of the property. ‘Taffy!’ I shouted through the rain. The only reply was my voice echoing back to me against the wall. Taffy was gone.

I sat on top of Socks, wondering where Melissa could have possibly dumped Taffy. I decided on the forest, which was big and dense and was the best place. We rode in the forest.

‘Taffy!’ I called. The forest was silent. The wind howled, blowing the rain sideways.  I spat out some rain and looked around. A flash of lightning lit up the sky. Socks shied and I held on. It was getting dark, but I knew I was going to find Taffy before dark.

Ok, I take that back. It was too dark to see and I was lost from wandering around the forest senselessly. I checked my watch. 7 o’clock. I swore and dismounted for a rest after 7 hours of continuous riding. Socks nibbled at some grass and pulled at the reins, trying to wonder off. I fed socks some of the horse food that I had swiped from Melissa’s stable and looked around. The forest was silent and muddy. Water dripped down form the trees above. I pulled off my helmet and set it aside, cooling my sweaty hair. I stretched my legs and yawned, even though it was still early. ‘All that riding makes me tired,’ I said to Socks, who stood by munching grass. Rest was over. I almost moaned and got up again.

I searched for an hour before I gave up. It was too dark and Socks kept tripping over hidden roots. I found myself a relatively dry spot under a huge pine tree and closed my eyes. ‘Night Socks,’ I mumbled as I dozed off.

I yawned and stretched. I opened my eyes. It was still raining and I was soaked. I coughed and shivered. Socks didn’t look that well either. I fed Socks and gave her some water. ‘Let’s go!’ I said, trying to be enthusiastic for Sock’s sake. Socks plodded on. We reached a swollen river and I let Socks have a drink. It began hailing. Socks dodged to one side, unseating me. ‘Yipe!’ I said. I slipped on the wet saddle and landed in a pile of mud. ‘Eww!’ I said, looking at my ruined clothes. I spat out some mud and caught Socks. I mounted and Socks laid her ears back, signaling that she was scared. I winced and stood up in my stirrups to rub my bum, which was bruised from my recent fall. ‘Taffy!’ I called. I saw the flick of a silvery tail. ‘Taffy?’ I said, recognizing his tail. I heard the sound of hoof beats departing as he ran away. ‘After him Socksy!’ I said. Before I even had a chance to kick her on she took off.

Socks ran as fast as her little legs could carry her and I looked down at the ground, which was pretty close to the soles of my feet. I grinned. I loved being this close to the ground. Socks turned towards Taffy. I was confused. It was almost as if she understood me. Taffy’s hunger and thirst slowed him down. Socks caught up and I leaned over and reached out for the reins.

I felt my fingers close around the reins. Socks slowed to a walk abruptly. For the second time in an hour I found myself in a mud puddle staring at Sock’s muddy legs.  ‘We caught her Socks!’ I said excitedly. ‘You’re one in a million Socks,’ I said, almost choking on words. The tears came back in a rush.

I rode around the forest. It had stopped raining but heavy storm clouds hung over the forest. ‘We’re lost, Socksy,’ I said. Socks pulled on the reins, yanking them out of my hands and started to walk away. Taffy walked besides, her head hanging. ‘You’re ashamed of yourself for running away form me, aren’t you?’ I asked. Taffy continued walking. Socks seemed to know where to go. I had two choices. One: wander around the forest until I found a way out. Or two: let Socks do the work. I went with option two since Socks seemed to know the way. I took off her bridle and remounted. I grabbed hold of her mane and regained my hold on Taffy’s reins. ‘Lets go!’ I said. Socks exploded into a canter. I smiled as I felt the wind through my hair.

I saw a flash of a house and a stable through a canopy of trees. ‘Oh my god!’ I squealed. We emerged from the trees and found ourselves in Megan’s backyard. Megan looked up from sitting on a chair. ‘Huh?’ said Megan. I blushed, embarrassed that I was showing up covered in mud with a bridle slung over my shoulder. My stomach rumbled. ‘um,’ I began. ‘Oh, you found her,’ said Megan. ‘Yes,’ I said, feeling more than a little proud of myself. Mum came loping out from Megan’s back door. ‘Isadora!’ she cried, running towards me. She hugged me even though I was still on Socks. I hugged her too. ‘I was so worried!’ she said. ‘I see that you’ve brought a friend with you,’ she said, giving Taffy a nervous pat. ‘She’s Melissa’s horse,’ I said. Megan stepped forward. ‘Yes, Melissa was acting very suspicious about it,’ she said. ‘Would you like to tell me what really happened?’ she asked. I opened my mouth. I had a long story to tell.

I stood on Melissa’s doorstep. I took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. Melissa opened the door. ‘Whom may I say is calling?’ asked Melissa, her nose in the air. ‘It’s Isa-you know who I am!’ I said. Melissa dropped the snobby talk. ‘What do you want?’ she spat. ‘I found your horse,’ I said. Melissa slammed the door in my face. I bristled. I rang the doorbell again. This time Melissa’s mum opened. ‘Whom may I say is calling? She asked, her nose stuck in the air. I almost giggled. She was the spitting image of Melissa. ‘I’m Isadora Brown from pony club and I’ve found Melissa’s horse,’ I said, realizing how tacky that sounded. ‘Too late now, we’ve already got a new horse. The door slammed in my face. I rang again. ‘What do you want?’ asked Melissa’s mum. ‘So can I keep him?’ I asked. ‘Do whatever you want,’ she repeated, before the door slammed again. I had one more question to ask. I rang again. Melissa’s mum answered. ‘What now!’ she exploded. ‘Can I change his name? I asked. ‘Do whatever you want!’ she spat, sending a torrent of spit at me. ‘Oh, and say it, don’t spray it,’ I said. She began screaming and the door slammed. I stood there, fuming. I finally realized the truth of her words. ‘You’re mine taffy!’ I gasped. I hugged him. ‘You’re all mine. And since the storm brought us together, I’m calling you Stormy!’ I said. He seemed pretty happy with it.  I threw my arms around him and closed my eyes, breathing in the sweet warm smell of pony sweat.

Melissa was suspended from pony club for a month. I couldn’t be happier. Actually, that’s a total lie. I had never been so upset in my whole life, not even when my dad abandoned us for another woman. Socks was leaving today. I sobbed as I currycombed her, running the rubber brush in circles to loosen the mud. An hour later Socks was clean, had her rug on and all her stuff was packed away ready for Laura. Laura’s four wheel drive pulled up with a horse trailer attached. Tears formed in my eyes. It was time for her to go.

I led her in the horse trailer and put all her stuff away. I sobbed. ‘Would you like to say goodbye to Socks before you leave?’ asked Laura’s dad. I nodded and they all walked away. I hugged Socks. ‘Thanks for helping me save Stormy, socks,’ I sobbed into her mane. ‘I’ll never forget you,’ I said. I saw everyone emerging from behind the stables, ready to drive off. ‘I love you Socks,’ I said. Then Socks did something amazing. She talked back. ‘I love you too,’ she said. I smiled a little and stepped back as the ramp was put up. Everything was secured. They drove away, leaving me and Stormy standing there in a cloud of dust.