Gone - Chapter 1

by Alex
(Georgia, USA )

My hair whipped around my face, working its way into my mouth, covering my eyes and blocking my nose. I gave up trying to push it back or put it up, the wind is to strong.

Blindly I walk down the familiar gravel path keeping my arms out in front of me. The wind throws my body sideways, causing me to trip over my feet and lunge forward. Te course wood touches my fingers, and I slide my hand down until I find the cool metal knob in my palm.

Using all my weight I throw the sliding door back and slip inside. The door slams shut behind me, making me jump.

It's pitch black, and I fumble around the wall looking for a light switch. Smooth plastic touches my fingers and I flip the switch up. The barn lights up blinding me for a few moments. I pull the hairband off my wrist and throw my long hair into a quick bun on top of my head. As I look up twenty heads look my direction.
I look down the aisle examining each of the horses.

I go to pet the blue roan in front of me. The name plate reads "Skiddin to a Stop" aka Skeeter in soft cursive. I stroke his soft velvety nose and walk away. I walk down the aisle to the last stall, the nameplates dusty and old. Running my fingers over the cold plaque I read the name out loud Dancing in the Rain aka Texas.

It's the first time I've been to the barn in a month. After Texas died from a serious case of colic I couldn't come. Everything reminded me of him. I still remember the day I got him, a lanky bay colt, only 4 years old. He hadn't grown into himself yet, just been broke, but had no name. On the right side of his body near his flank was a huge spot. It looked just like the state Texas, and that's how he got his name, and a place in my heart.

Several nickers echo around behind me. I walk away from the empty stall and into the corridor on the right. The hallway is wooden with pictures of Texas, Lucy, Skeeter, and the rest of the horses. I'm in almost every picture, either on a horse or standing next to them. Memories flash before my eyes, NRHA Champion reining on Texas, GHJA Champion jumping on Lucy. Then I get the urge to go to the arena.

I continue to walk down the hall until it opens up. The indoor arena consumes my view. I stand on the wooden deck overlooking the arena. Seven jumps make up a course in the ring. Suddenly I want to ride. It courses through my body, my mind keeps repeating 'ride' in my head. I turn and sprint down the hallway and into the barn.
I look into each stall trying to decide who to ride, when an unfamiliar face comes into view.

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Gone - Chapter 2

by Alex
(Georgia, USA )

A grey looks right at me. He stands tensely in the back of his stall watching me.

His mane is long, shaggy and matted, it looks like its supposed to be a creamy grey, but it's brown from mud. He's stocky though, big jowels, huge butt, broad chest and shoulders, but his color is the most perplexing. Grey with black skid marks toward his shoulders. I'd never seen such a color on a horse before besides on a few mustangs in pictures.

Something pokes at my side when I lean over the stall. I look at the door, by the handle is a folded piece of paper taped together. I rip the paper off and open it. The writing is my mothers, soft cursive in black pen.

"Carter, He doesn't have a name so you get to decide. He came from a mustang herd up in the Wyoming mountains. He was going to slaughter (don't worry he was the only one) and no one would take him so I did. I decided not to tell you about him until you came down and saw him for yourself. Be careful though. He has never had any kind of human contact before, so it will take some time for him to trust you. His is about four years old so when you two have a bond you can train him for whatever you like. I still expect you to ride the other boarders, because that is your job. Be patient while training and stay safe. I love you sweety! Have fun!
Love Mom"

Shoving the note in my coat pocket, I grab the halter and slowly open the door. Holding my hand out and talking quietly I enter the stall towards him.

He pins his ears and slams himself up against the wall. I slowly walk to his shoulder and reach my hand out.

Thunder rumbles outside shaking the ground. He lunges forward knocking me to the ground as slams through the stall door. I curse under my breathe as I hear his hooves making the familiar clip clopping sound as he gallops across the pavement.
I jump up and run out of the stall into the hallway and toward the arena. When I get to the gate he's galloping around. Tail streaming high, high stepping flowing canter, nose towards the sky. Despite being completely filthy with a shaggy winter coat, he's gorgeous. I close the gate to the arena and sit in the loose dirt, watching him run.

He continues to take off with a burst of speed, then turn quickly on his haunches around the jumps and gallop away. Finally he stops, breathing hard and sweaty ,Ears erect and nose to the sky he looks at me. I get up from the ground and walk towards him. The dirt is deep and thick and I try not to fling it everywhere as I inch toward him. Excitement wells up inside me, but to keep myself calm I hum. I'm close enough to where I can reach him, but I don't. I stand completely still, head down, shoulders forward, trying not to look threatening.

Then I feel his warm breathe, and ticklish whiskers on my neck as he sniffs me. Slowly I turn around and reach out my hand. The second I touch his coat a tree comes crashing through the roof. The mighty stallion bucks and kicks out, hitting me in the head. The tree continues to fall in slow motion as my body hits the soft dirt. I feel the soft cool dirt under my fingertips and slowly rake.

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Gone - Chapter 3

by Alex
(Georgia, USA )



My head hurts so bad, an excruciating pain. I touch my forehead and feel a warm sticky liquid on my hand, as I bring it down blood cover everything. Soon it's dripping down my face and into my mouth an nose. I can't breathe and I taste the metallic gooyness of blood. It covers the dirt around me, causing it to turn a deeper shade of red then it already is. A painful throbbing takes over my leg. Near my knee, it burns and I can't feel my foot, it won't move either.

Around me the horses are screaming, I can here the hooves smashing against the wood, then it begins to fade away. Everything around me starts disappearing , noises, the dirt, walls everything. Then I hear screaming. It's my mother. Then sirens and people yelling things. Again everything begins to dissipate. I think I'm dying.

I keep waiting for the bright light, and God to walk me through the golden gates of Heaven, to see Texas happy and healthy ready to ride. But it doesn't come. Everything goes black.

All I see is white. I think I'm dead, then my vision begins to clear up. I'm in the hospital, laying in a bed, with something down my throat. Something buzzes continuously at my side, when I turn my head I see a heart monitor. In my wrist is an IV pumping fluids into my body. A nurse walks in holding a tray, I look at her and give a faint smile. She rushes out with a look of alarm and happiness.

Soon I'm surrounded by doctors, nurses and my mother. One doctor looks towards me, but everything is blurry I can't see what he looks like. I only know he's male by his voice. "Hey Logan how are you feeling?"

I just look at him. He looks towards who I think is my mother and tries again. " Alright. Do you know what happened?"

He seems genuinely concerned but all I can think about is the horse.

"Where's Chief? Is he ok? And the other horses?"
My mom speaks up then, putting her hand near my right leg. But it's to close. My knee should be there. Before she can say anything I blurt out wildly "Where's my leg! Why is your hand so close to my leg!" My hearts beating like crazy, I feel like I can't breathe.

The doctor leans over close to my ear "Logan we had to amputate your leg above the knee. There was no way of saving it. The tree had crushed it, it was literally hanging off all mangled. You've been in a coma for about a week now, you had a sever concussion along with it. I'm very sorry about all this."

I begin to panic. "Can I ride?"

My vision finally begins to clear and everyone looks around astonished.

"Um well we haven't thought about that. I don't know anyone with one leg that can ride normally without help. So never like you used to."

The panic attack comes on full fledged. Tears well up in my eyes and I begin to cry. Sobs rack my body, leaving me breathless and hyperventilating, a nurse comes in an puts something in my IV. Everything goes black again.

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Gone - Chapter 4

by Alex
(Georgia, USA )

I wake up in the dark. I turn my head and find my alarm clock, 1:38 am.

After the doctors knocked me out because of my panic attack, they must have released me to go home. I look around my room and faintly see two sticks laying against the wall by my door. Waiting a few seconds I allow my eyes to adjust and see its not sticks my stilts to help me walk. A rush of sadness and anger overwhelms me. Why me.

Everything was great in my life, I was happy and could run, could ride a horse and win. And now that's gone, all wiped away in an instant.
Slowly I push my sheets back and lower myself to the floor. I scoot across the ground on my butt until I reach the door. I grab the stilts and try to stand, my uneven weight makes my arms shake and I fall straight on my nub.

Pain shoots through my nub and up to my back. I bite my lip to keep from screaming. Fresh blood oozes through my bandage and into the floor. Great. Moms gonna kill me when she's sees this. I sit still until the pain ebbs to a throbbing pulse in my leg. Again I put the stilts on my lower arms and slowly stand. It's hard. My arms are shaking like crazy. How do people do this!

Finally I grab the handle and slowly open the door. I sit back down and scoot across the floor, past my brothers room and then my moms. Good they didn't hear me fall. The soft snoring of my mother lets me know she's still asleep.
I scoot down the stairs and into the kitchen, towards the back door. Both boots sit in their normal spot, right beside the door on the mat. It's almost funny to see both boots.

It feels like it was yesterday when I had to legs. But then again that left boot will always just sit there unused and stiff. I slip my right foot into the boot and hobble out the door trying to forget about my life before the accident.
The barn is only 100ft from my house but it takes me twice as long to get there. When I'm finally at the barn door I'm out of breathe and sweating. My arms ache terribly and I rolled my ankle twice along the way.

I feel for the barn handle and when I find it I swing the door open wide and hop inside. Slowly I hop to the side of the wall until I find the switch. The lights flicker on and the horses nicker happily. I laugh.

That's the first time I've laughed since the accident. It felt good but almost foreign at te same time, like it had been years since I had laughed. I wipe away the thought and grab the stall nearest to me. I let go of the stilt in my left hand and cling to the wall, while my other arm is cradled by the crutch.

Each horse pokes its head out towards me. I take my time greeting each of them. Chiefs head sticks out when I'm a few stalls away. His ears are alert and his eyes are weary watching everything I do. I'm one stall away when he retreats to the safety of his corner.

I lean up against his door and cluck to him a few times. He flicks his ear towards me but refuses to move. I move away from his stall to the next one. I've decided to give him time to get used to me. Walk up then away until he realizes that I'm not there to hurt him. Hopefully that will be soon.

At the next stall two small ears try to poke over the stall door. Topper, the little welsh mountain pony. "Topper! When's mom gonna saw your door down so you can finally see!"

He nickers at my voice and nibbles my fingers. His bridle hangs on the hook and I grab it. The soft leather feels good in my hands. I missed the feeling so much. Slowly I open his door, leaning all my weight on it until I'm close enough to him. Grabbing is thick long mane I hop over to his head.

I smoothly slip the bit into his mouth and the head stall over his ears, then fasten the throat latch and cheek piece. Holding his mane in one hand and the reins in the other I hobble out of the stall and down the aisle towards the arena.

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Gone - Chapter 5

by Alex
(Georgia, USA )

After the pain staking walk to the arena I'm finally standing on the mounting block. Topper waits quietly beside it not moving a muscle, except for the occasional swish of his tail.
Standing on top of the plastic makes me think back to when I was little, to small to get on from the ground, so I had to jump off the mounting block. I realize I have to do that again, maybe forever.

I close my eyes take a deep breathe, wrap my hand tightly around Topper's mane and jump. My nub swings over faster than expected and I fall off the other side. Spitting the dirt out of my mouth an try again. Finally after three tries I manage to stay on. It feels so good to be back on a horse. To feel my legs pressed firmly around them, feeling every muscle move strongly underneath you, there warmth and feel.

It's comforting makes me feel like I never lost my leg that every time I try to run I don't fall down, or when I get out of bed I don't have to grab stilts to help me. But reality jolts me back. That was the past. Move on.

I cluck and tap Topper with my foot. His first step throws me forward and I grip my thigh and other calf on tighter, grasping his mane for more support. Slowly we make our way around the ring. We stop five minutes later, my legs ache and everything burns.

Instead of having to walk back to the house I decide to ride Topper there. I walk him straight into the barn, grab his halter and walk closer to the door. But then it hits me, his owners would never leave him out alone, they always put Layla out with him.

When I ride up to Layla's stall she's poking her head up happily, I grab her halter slip it over we head and clip on the lead rope. Toppers halter lays across my lap clinking as we walk. Slowly I shut the light off, close the door and walk out toward the pasture by my house, ponying Layla behind me.

The pasture gates already open so I ride in, unclip Layla's halter and pull it off her head. I slide off Topper an grab the fence, then undoing his bridle I throw it into the bushes. Ill get it tomorrow so mom doesn't know I've been riding. When I'm at the gate and turn around I see the shadows of the two ponies galloping away. One white and the other black, both of the barely visible.

After hanging the halters up I head back to the house. Soon enough I'm under the covers and when I look at my alarm clock it says 3:56.

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Gone - Chapter 6

by Alex
(Georgia, USA )

It's been a month since the accident. I've ridden twice a week, well more like night and have begun trotting with out falling on my face. Two days ago I got my prosthetic in and fitted, I hate it but the doctor said that was my only choice. But the worst part is today is my first day of junior year.

I have all my stuff ready, but of course when I texted my friends this morning about what they were wearing they said shorts.

I never told any of them about what happened, or that I lost my leg. I didn't want the pity party from them so I didn't say anything, and whenever they asked to hang out I told them I was working or at a horse camp.

I'm almost positive no one knows about the accident which should make today interesting.
I concentrate on driving and nothing else on the way there. My truck ( a ford f150 ,6inch lift, 35" tires, and black wheels, with dual exhaust) revs loudly as I enter the parking lot and find slot 234 in the gravel lot. Luckily the tree landed on my left leg, so I can drive alone and with no handicap sign.

Shutting the truck off and throwing the door open I maneuver myself until I reach the ground, then open the back door and grab my bag. By the time I've closed all my doors and have begin walking away people are watching. My legs are in full view because of my shorts, one normal, one metal. I feel there stairs on the back of my neck and start to feel self conscious about my leg and myself. The worst part is, is that I'm still in the parking lot.

In the hall it gets worse. Whispers echo around me "what happened to her?" "Has she always been crippled?" "Look at her leg!" "Poor girl hope she never has gym."

I put my head down and continue to walk with a slight limp. The metals starting to dig into my flesh and pinching me. I can't take it off so I keep walking.

First and second period go by in a rush. Seeing old friends, explaining what happened, laughing, more worried or horrified glances, and of course the whispers.

The bell rings for us to transition to third period, I'm walking down the hall staring at the map I have. I've been at this school for two years and i still don't know where room 884 is. I never had any classes up stairs. I'm standing in the middle of the hall trying to picture where the 800 hall is when a pair of arms wraps around my waist.

I whip around and stare at the boy. His eyes widen and he starts stammering for words. " I'm so sorry. I thought you were my girlfriend, you look just like her from behind."

I stare at him and then down at my leg. He does the same but when he looks back at me he doesn't say a word.

Without noticing I find myself looking back. He's got dark brown almost black short hair that's curly, but it's shaved about an inch before his scalp. Maybe less. His eyes are brown, but there so alive, you can see the happiness and laughter in them, like a sunny day when all you want to do is bask in the sunlight.

He has a cute crooked smile that only the right side of his lip comes up making him look younger, but when he laughs it turns into a full smile.and He's tan, tanner than I am. Definitely white, no other blood like Asian or African American or Mexican, just white.

He's beautiful though. breathtaking. Then I'm looking at his arms and stomach, his biceps are muscular, and the rest of his arms, and you can tell under his t-shirt that he has a six pack. He's a football player, a quarter back I think. I remember all the girls talking about him. Nick Cross. I mentally write down the name.

I snap back to reality and tell he's done the same. He smiles again "I'm really sorry again, you really do look like my girlfriend from the back."

I stare at him again trying to say its fine don't worry about it. But my mouth has other ideas. "How could miss this?" I wave my prosthetic leg in front of me.

His smile fades away and he pauses. " I didn't see it. Was looking at the back of your head. Sorry again." Then he turns and walks away.
I watch him as he goes memorizing his face. I mentally curse my self for saying anything. I stand there in the middle of the hall while students bustle around me trying to find there class.

When I turn around and walk away he's turned a corner and out of sight.

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