Horse Dreams

Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall Read Free Book Online

Book: Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dandi Daley Mackall
Tags: JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Christian
fasten the rope.
    â€œI’ll lead her to the cat farm,” I tell Mom.
    â€œHoney, it must be two miles to that barn.” She glances at Mr. Yanke’s trailer. “Maybe we could—”
    â€œNo way, Mom! It’s safer if I walk her. Okay?”
    Mom sighs. “All right. I’ll call your father and let him know we’ll be late.”
    We set out at a slow pace, taking the back roads. The sun’s dropped out of sight, but I can see all right. Once I let the pinto graze along the roadside. But she takes only one bite of clover. Then she jerks her head up and snorts, like she expects somebody to take it away from her. No wonder she’s so skinny. Who owned her before she ended up here? I’d like to know what they did to make her so skittish.
    I sing to her for most of the journey. Whenever I stop, she prances sideways and begins trembling again. So I run through every song I can think of. Colt would be rolling in the ditch laughing if he were here. He says Ethan is lucky because he can’t hear me sing.
    It takes us an hour to get to the cat farm. The whole time Mom follows me in her car. I didn’t know cars could go that slow. But I’m thankful for the headlights because by the time I get to the barn, it’s pitch dark. I’m not sure who’s more tired—the pinto, Mom, or me.
    â€œThere’s a tank of water in the corner stall,” Mom says. She goes into the barn first and pulls a string that turns on an overhead light. Shadows streak the barn floor.
    We shoo cats out of the stall. The pinto walks straight in and starts drinking. I watch her long, skinny neck stretch to the water tank and gulp, gulp, gulp.
    â€œYou’re really thirsty, aren’t you, girl?” I stroke the soft underside of her neck and feel the water swoosh down.
    I unhook the lead rope but leave her halter on so she won’t be so hard to catch.
    Together Mom and I drag down a bale of hay from the loft. Then we cover the stall floor with a layer of straw. It’s not easy because a million cats swarm around our feet while we work. It’s a miracle the pinto doesn’t step on any of them.
    A scrawny calico cat jumps onto the pinto’s back and curls up there, purring. Spots on spots. I expect the mare to buck her off, but she doesn’t.
    â€œLet’s go home, Ellie,” Mom says. “I’m dead on my feet and running on empty.”
    I latch the stall door behind me and take one last look at the horse. I sure hope somebody can get those burs out of her mane and tail. She needs a good brushing too.
    We trudge to the car and head home. Outside my car window the moon looks like someone took a bite out of it. “What’s going to happen to her?” I ask.
    â€œI’ll make some calls tomorrow,” Mom says, yawning behind the wheel. “We’ll find somewhere that can take her. She’ll be fine.”
    I nod. But I can’t help thinking that horse hasn’t been fine for a long time—maybe ever.
    At home, Ethan and Dad make us give them a blow-by-blow description of the great horse rescue. By the time I crawl into bed, it’s really late.
    I say my prayers anyway, like I do every night. I know I need to talk to God more during the day. But I forget. Sometimes a whole day goes by and I haven’t even said hey to God. So at least I make sure to check in at night.
    That was really something today, God. Thanks for helping me catch that pinto. Please take care of her from now on. Find somebody to comb out that mane of hers. And brush her. And trim her hooves. And fatten her up.
    It’s hard to get the picture of the pinto out of my mind. Just before we left, she turned her neck and looked right at me. Then she nickered. It was a soft rumble that sounded like a thank-you.
    After I pray for Mom and Dad and Ethan and everybody, I do what I’ve done every night for the past six or seven years. I ask God to give me a

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