August Story Contest

Ghost Valley
By: MAC1023
Age: 12

“I’m not sure about this Lilly,” Katie said uncertainly. “If we get caught on the trail, we’ll be grounded from riding for a week!”
“Well no one will be on the trail because people are ban from riding it!” I said.
“Plus, there are rumors that the trail is haunted,” July said fretfully.
This is the only time that my two best friends won’t agree with me. I don’t know why they are so afraid, it’s not like anyone is going to catch us.

It was a sunny morning at Stone Creek Hollow, and I was pleading to get my friends to go on a trail. The vast willow trees were blowing in the wind. Some riders were in the arena, practicing their riding.
Joe, an expert on horses, was walking toward us.
“I heard your talk about that closed trail,” Joe said in his Texasdrawl.
“Are the rumors real about the trail?” asked July?
“Only some believe that the trail is haunted,” replied Joe.
“Then why is the trail closed?” I asked.

“A long time ago, about fifteen, maybe twenty years ago, there was a big rainstorm that flooded the land. There was a landslide of rocks in the canyon, where the herd of horses lived. A few days after the storm I went out and found some bodies of horses. It was terrible to see. Now Ashley doesn’t want any riders on the trail incase any rocks become loose and fall. Some people say the herd of horses still lives in the canyon, but I believe that any of the herd that did survive would have died. I strongly advise not to even think about going on that trail,” Joe said warningly.

I grabbed July and Katie’s hands and pulled them to their horses. I whispered to them, “We have to go on that trail to see if there are wild horses! If you don’t then I’ll go by myself. Please, I’ll be your best friend forever,” I pleaded.
“Our horses do need the exercise and you are already our best friend, right July?” Katie said.
“Well, we’ll have to go soon, or else the Brandy twins will catch us,” July said hastily.

Two nine-year-old girls, Lisa and Stacie, were approaching us. They were more commonly known as the Brandy twins. They were both wearing breaches and a white shirt.
“What are you doing?” Lisa asked.
“Can we go on a trail ride with you guys? It would be really fun!”
“Sorry but it’s just going to be us three.” Katie interrupted Stacie.
“Why can’t we come?” Stacie said.
“I heard from Ashley that you two need to practice your posting trot. You have to master that if ever want to jump” July told the twins. 

The Brandy twins looked at us, sighed, and headed back to the arena. There they sat soberly until Brad brought their horses over.

Brad is a rider at Stone Creek Hollow, but sometimes he helps out with the younger riders.
We led our horses to the trails. When we got to the closed trail Katie said, “This is going to be so much fun!”
As we were riding, I noticed that July and Katie were riding in their English saddle. I felt out of place in my western saddle. I don’t have anything against English riding, I just like western better.

After a while we saw that we were riding on top of a canyon. The canyon was many shades of brown.
All of a sudden, we heard a terrifying horse neigh. It pierced the air as if it was protecting its home.
July’s eyes bugged out and she turned pale. Katie managed to stutter, “W-w-what was that?”

I ignored their nervousness and said, “We have to go see what made that noise!” as I let my horse into a gallop.
July called after me, “As long as I don’t faint first!”
My brown Quarter Horse, Moon, ran down the canyon at top speed. Katie’s black Arabian, Windy, loped down after Moon. She looked as though she was trying to run a race with Moon. July’s Palomino horse, Daisy, slowly trotted down the canyon, while July was hyperventilating on her.
When we finally got down from the top of the canyon, we slowly walked toward the middle of it.
Daisy’s gold coat gleamed as she nervously pranced when we heard another neigh. I lead the way to the middle of the canyon and what I saw nearly made me jump out of my skin, a herd of horses.
There were about twenty wild horses in that canyon and they were all looking at us. July, Katie, and I dismounted our horses and sat on the nearest rock.
“We should name the horses,” I suggested. 
“Oh no, we couldn’t,” Katie said. “Then we would get attached to them and they aren’t ours. Are you listening Lilly?”
“Nope,” I replied.

Since my friends wouldn’t name the horses, I named all of them.  I named the stallion of the herd Tornado because he looked powerful. Some of the other horses were Misty, Thunder, Star, Twilight, and Sunlight.
“Isn’t Tornado so beautiful?” I asked July.
“I think that Whisper is my favorite, she has such a pretty brown coat,” replied July.
“Well, I say that we should go back to the stable before anyone comes looking for us,” Katie said in a rush.
We all agreed, so we mounted our horses and headed back.


“Where in the world have you three been?” asked Ashley angrily. “Lucy told me that all of you were on a trail!”
“We must have forgotten about time when we were watching nature,” I replied.
“Well, maybe someone should come with you, just in case you forget time again,” Lucy said with a smirk.
Lucy and Brianna are the meanest girls at Stone Creek Hollow. They think they are better then us because they are rich.
“I don’t think we’ll need that, unless these girls are late again,” Ashley told Lucy.
Lucy came up to us and said, “Why were you gone so long on the trail?”
“We didn’t go on the closed trail Lucy, so let’s just drop the topic,” Katie replied.
I groaned when Katie said that.
“So I guess you were on the forbidden trail. I’ll have to see what I can do about that.

The next morning there was a stranger at Stone Creek Hollow.
“Are you sure that this is necessary?” Ashley asked the stranger.
“Well, Miss Lucy Willis is paying for it,” replied the stranger.
Lucy explained to us, “I hired a wrangler to see what is on that secret trail of yours.”
“Why do you have to know about that trail?” Katie asked.
“If there are wild horses on that trail then the wrangler will capture one for me. Then I’ll have a rodeo horse. I hope I get a stallion.”
“Lucy you already have two horses,” I replied.
“Yes but wild mustangs are better rodeo horses.”
I pulled Katie and July behind a tree and told them, “We have to rescue those horses. You two can distract them while I move the horses to a different place.”
“We will try.” said Katie
“I could do something evil,” laughed July.
“Good luck, I have to hurry,” I told them as I headed for the trail.


It took me longer to get to the canyon when I was on foot because I was trying to run in my riding boots. When I got to the horses I walked up to Tornado. He didn’t move. I rubbed my hand across his back and he shied away. I tried again but he reared.
“It’s okay boy, I wouln’t hurt you.”
I then quickly jumped on Tornado.  It felt weird to sit bareback on a horse and Tornado was a very tall horse.
I said, “I’m sorry I have to hide you, but this is the only way to keep you and your herd safe.”
Tornado snorted, as if he understood me, which I think he did.

I softly nudged Tornado’s sides and he burst into a gallop. I held on to his mane and his herd followed us. I didn’t know where to hide the herd, so I let Tornado run wherever he wanted. After a long time on Tornado, we came to a dense forest. The herd went in and I thought that they would be okay here. Tornado gradually stopped so I could get off.

After that I hugged him and told him, “I promise I’ll come back to see you and I won’t tell anyone about this.”
It was a long walk back to the stable. When I finally got back to the stable, there was a commotion.  Lucy was yelling at the horse capturer, July was surrounded by riders, Katie was talking to Ashley, and the Brandy twins were staring with their eyes bugged out.
I went over to Katie and asked innocently, “What happened?”

Ashley said, “Well Lucy is screaming at the man because he found no wild horses and she claims that he stole her English saddle. July fainted and somehow Joe’s truck tire’s got slit. Where were you during all of this?”
“In my dorm room, reading,” I replied.
“I knew he would find nothing. That herd died out a long time ago. I’ve known this land for years and I know for a fact that there is no herd.”
Ashley told me.
I walked over to the Brandy twins and they said, “It was like someone wanted to stop them,” Stacie said.
“Whoever did it sure was brave, that guy looks tough,” added Lisa.
I walked over to Lucy, who was still screaming at the man.
I said, “Lucy, like the owner says, there is no herd.”
She scowled as I walked to the stable.    


That night Katie and July didn’t ask me what happened. They thought that I had ridden Moon, roped Tornado, and led the herd to a safe place. I wanted to tell my friends what I had done, but I couldn’t. I felt that what happened with Tornado was my secret. I knew that when Tornado knew that it was safe, he would bring the herd back to the canyon.  Lucy pouted for a few days after the incident and I knew that she wouldn’t try to find the horses again. 
My friends and I laughed about the incident long after it was done.

“I can’t believe you pretended to faint July!”
“Well, I am an expert. Hey Lilly, have you gone to see the herd again?”
“I did a few times. I’ve decided not to go back anymore in case they try to follow me back here.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Katie. “We don’t want anyone to have them.”
I then told them I was going out and headed to the stable. I saddled Moon and rode out to the trails. I then headed out on the closed trail. I felt bad about not telling my friends the truth, but I felt it was for the better.

Moon knew the path well and he picked his way down the path to the canyon. I saw the herd and my eyes lit up. The herd would be my secret. With no one ever knowing if they existed or that I had found them.