Hundred Dollar Horse
Her fingers worked quickly at the keyboard as she typed in the familiar three words that she had multiple times every day for the past year. "Horse For Sale". Sometimes she would change it up: "Gelding for Sale" or "Mare For Sale" or even "Stallion For Sale." Either way, she was always looking up horses for sale. When she wasn't on WWW.Craigslist.org, she was doing research or reading articles and books to prepare her for when the time came. She had over 12 horse care books along with a few "choosing your horse", "how to prepare", "horse facts", and "horse breeds" books to top it off.
Coating every square inch of her egg yolk colored bedroom walls, were posters and news clippings and photos of horses. Lining shelves were Breyer Horse models. Her bed set was of horses, and so was her lamp, alarm clock, and several hundred drawings. She was a true, die-heart horse-addict. Or simply, horse crazy.
She now sat at the dinosaur of a computer that sat upon a rickety oak-wood desk in the corner her bedroom. Upon pushing the enter button, she found that the results were the same as yesterday. Too expensive, or far away, or not well trained, or too well trained. Sighing, she was about to close out, when something caught her eye.
It was a new link, just posted today. It read, "Grulla mare $100 Peoria, AZ". Peoria was only 20 minutes from her house, and she had $150 saved up! It was a dream come true. Immediately she shot up, causing the rolling white office chair to fly back, as she dashed out of her bedroom.
"MOM!" She exclaimed as she literally tumbled down the stairs and landed in the living room. "MOM!" She called again, racing into the kitchen where her mother was preparing chicken enchiladas for dinner. It smelled heavenly in that small room. "Goodness Harley what is it!" Her mother sounded worried as she stroked her daughter's oak blond hair.
"I was on Craigslist and I found a grulla mare in Peoria for only $100 and I really want to get her!" Harley spoke frantically, before gasping for breath once she'd finished. Her mother looked quite skeptical as she sprinkled on the cheese to dinner. There was silence. Harley wanted desperately to say something to break the silence, but her mother was thinking, and nobody interrupted her mother's thinking. Not ever.
Impatiently the 13 year old swayed from left to right, biting her nails and twirling her hair. 'Come on!' She thought impatiently, before closing her emerald green eyes and beginning to imagine what the grulla mare looked like. Gray brown body, dark gray legs, long black mane and tail, large brown eyes, with a slightly darker brown gray head. She looked lovely in her mind.
After what seemed like an eternity, her mother's voice broke her thoughts. "Harles," She used her daughter's common nickname. "At dinner we'll discuss it with your father." And she turned back to the enchiladas, and began to hum a song from church.
Harley felt utterly deflated. All that excitement was gone. Her father was the stern type of man who questioned everything, and said 'no' 99% of the time. No doubt he would insult horses and pick out every bad thing about them, and every single reason why they should not get a horse.
Letting out an exasperated sigh, she pulled on her horse slippers, and stepped out the back door. It was evening, sunset, and the golden Arizona sun had begun to hide behind the Western Mountains that loomed only as black silhouettes in the dimming light.
Her family owned a total of two acres. West of their large, 2-story home, was a covered stable with a total of two stalls. Both had been piled high with junk collected over the years. Most were car parts or extremely old barrels and tools. Looks like there's no point in emptying one of those...Dad's not gonna let me get her. She thought in despair. All her hopes had vanished.
Look for part 2!
Hundred Dollar Horse (2)
The kitchen was silent, and tensions were high. Harley nervously lifted a steaming bite of enchiladas to her lips. Her mother had just brought up the fact that Harley wanted a horse. That was all she said. Simply, "Harley would like to get a horse." Harley had instantly dropped her gaze to her food, and had not lifted it since. She could feel her father's judging eyes bore into her very being. She only wondered what thoughts buzzed through that stern man's mind.
The silence was deafening. Harley was just about to daringly break it, when her father did the honors. "Do you know how much those things cost?" He grunted in his gruff voice, before shoveling a heaping mound of enchiladas into his mouth. As he chewed, his bushy black mustache twitched upon his upper lip. As a child, Harley use to pretend it was dancing.
Harley opened her mouth to speak once more, before her mother interrupted in a gentle, quiet voice. "It seems Harley has found a horse in Peoria for only $100." There was, once more, silence. The only sound interrupting the silence, was the rather noisy chewing of Harley's father. "There's something wrong with it then." He snorted, picking up his napkin to wipe his mouth. His eyes, once again, bore down upon Harley, who was seated to his left. She nervously watched her food.
"It's either lame, not trained, has bad habits, is sick, or all. Why else would it be so cheap?" He hissed, his blue eyes still trained upon his trembling daughter. Harley forced herself to meet his gaze, only able to hold it for a few seconds, before she flinched away.
"I could call the owner and get more information about the horse." Harley's mother offered. Her father shook his head. "No point in wasting money on the telephone if the nag's disabled anyways." His words were sharp, and Harley's mother fell silent. "What if it's not?" Harley mumbled, pushing aside a bit of her dinner with her fork.
"What?" Snapped her father, making her flinch. Harley bit the insides of her mouth, glancing up at him. "What if it's healthy, and the owner just can't afford to keep it?" She choked out, feeling her throat tighten as she forced herself to hold her father's icy cold glare.
"Harley's got a point." Her mother defended her. Harley's father's gaze now shot over to her mother. He looked shocked that they still thought they had a chance at getting that horse. He gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes. His mustache twitched with frustration. "You're not getting a horse and that's final!" He shouted, causing Harley and her mother to wince. Feeling defeated once more, Harley pushed her plate forward.
Come on Harley, speak up for yourself! Shout back! Do something! She thought desperately, though unable to open her mouth. Her eye lids stung as tears threatened. Her father stood up, forcing his chair back. You're loosing Harley! Say something! But like always, she did not. She merely sat there, her face red and her eyes puffy. A tear rolled down her cheek, but she tried frantically to hold them in as her father's gaze was still trained upon her.
After several minutes of holding her breath, and tears, her father stomped up the stairs and slammed the door of the master bedroom. Now the tears flowed freely. "Harley, it's okay." Her mother crooned, quickly rising from her chair and sweeping over. Harley shook her head.
She was unable to talk, as she choked on her emotions. The tears felt warm upon her flushed cheeks. "Shhh.." Her mother murmured, rubbing her daughter's shoulders. Harley shook her head once more, slowly stepping away from her chair and her mother, and making her way up the stairs.
As the hopeless girl silently closed and locked her door, she threw herself onto her bed, and hugged her pillow. Why doesn't he ever let me do anything! I hate him! She thought, as she wept into the soft fluffiness.
Harley's eyes opened, and she sighed. Darkness flooded into her bedroom from her window, and she realized she must have fallen asleep. Slowly sitting up, Harley brushed some hair away from her face, and sniffled. Illuminating the darkness, was the glowing screen of her computer.
It was then that she realized she had never actually opened the link of the mare for sale. In the midst of her excitement, she had completely forgotten. Slowly Harley slid off her bed and stepped over to the computer desk. She took hold of the mouse, and clicked on the link.
Her eyes skimmed the page, and pin pointed several important words. "Bomb-proof, young, well-trained, trust issues." Aha! Trust issues! She could only imagine what her father would be saying, knowing he was right. Harley sighed, tipping her head to the ceiling and closing her eyes.
In all the equine related movies she'd seen, the little girls immediately bonded with the horses, or the pair had some strange connection. She wondered if it would be the same way. Harley had learned from personal experiences, that nothing in life is ever how you imagine it. She figured this would be the same way.
Oh well. Time to quite imagining. She thought, before switching off the monitor.
Hundred Dollar Horse (3)
"Get up." Came a quiet voice. It was so soft. Familiar. The gentle whisper belonged to Harley's mother. She pretended she hadn't heard it. Harley wanted to sleep away her the anger she felt towards her father. Harley lay in silence for several moments.
"Harli, wake up." The voice prodded once more. Harli slowly rolled over, rubbing her eyes in mock fatigue. How badly she wanted to stay in her bed. The night before she had gotten in an argument with her father over a horse she wanted to get.
Grumbling something inaudible, she opened her eyes. They fell upon her mother, dressed and ready to go. Purse was clutched in her hand, and her hair was done up.
"Are we going somewhere?" Harli asked, ditching the act and sitting up. She rubbed her eyes for real this time, suppressing a yawn.
"Just get dressed, I'll explain in the car." And with that her mother disappeared, quietly closing the door behind her. Harli sat there wondering. Where were they going? There had been a detectable hint of excitement hidden deep within her mother's tired eyes.
A thought crossed her mind as she noticed her computer monitor was back on. Surely she had shut it off before bed. That meant somebody had looked over the add on craigslist, as it was open. Immediate excitement coursed through Harli. Could she really be getting a horse?
No. She doubted it. She would never get a horse. Not ever.
Grumpily and full of dismay, Harli dressed in casual gray sweatpants with a simple T-Shirt. Afterwards, she cleaned up in the bathroom, pulled on her flats, and silently snuck downstairs.
She had expected to see her intimidating father, though he was not there. The grumbling of Harli's churning stomach announced her presence. "Good you're up. Come on." Smiled her mother. Yes, she was definitely excited about something.
Having just awoken, Harli stumbled behind her mother like a zombie as they made it out to the car.
"Your father left for his business trip today." A silence fell over the car. At the same moment, mother and daughter looked to each other with grateful smiles.
How could Harli have forgotten this? She'd been looking forward to it for weeks! Those 2 weeks holding freedom from the man who considered himself Harli's father. Two whole weeks. Harli melted. She turned to gaze out the window, watching the landscape fly by in a blur as they drove.
"Where are we going?" Harli asked as they began to leave the crowded city. The houses became more spaced. Dotting the fields were horses and goats as they drove out towards the property residents.
"I have $100." Her mother replied quietly, a look of slight regret for what was to come when Harli's father returned enveloped her face for a moment. Immediately Harli understood; she broke out in tears. The mare. The mare with the trust problems. Harli's mare. They were on their way.
Hundred Dollar Horse (4)
Three days. It had been three days since Harley's father had left on his business trip. Three days since her mother had awoken her. Three days since they purchased the mare.
The owner's of the mare, who's name turned out to be Lady, had followed them home with the horse in their trailer. The four of them (the couple, Harley, and her Mother) had spent a whole day prepping the stall for the horse.
Then, she had spent a whole day without being disturbed, as she was getting use to her surroundings and her new residence.
Today, however, was to be an exciting day. It was the day that Harley was going to properly meet her new horse. Lady. Lady the 7 year old mare.
Her heart fluttered in her chest as she silently stepped through the grass. It was dawn. The pastel tendrils of sunshine had begun to creep their way up the sky, providing a bit of warmth as they illuminated the dark earth.
It was summer, but the mornings were still cold.
The mare raised her head, lifting it up high as Harley approached.
"Shh, Lady." Harley whispered, only about a foot away from the stall gate.
The mare took a step back, her head raised tall. The whites in her big brown eyes shown as she flared her nostrils.
Harley took a step back. Her hands out towards the mare. "It's okay. I'm nice." She murmured, gazing upon the lovely mare.
Lady was a tall mare, with good proportions and body conformations. She had a thick, dark bay coat, with a ratty black mane that fell in dreadlocks to about halfway down her neck.
When the mare settled down a bit, Harley leaned over and picked a handful of dead, yellow grass, outstretching her arm towards the horse.
"Here." She whispered. The mare didn't budge. Lady watched Harley, her ears pinned and tail swishing.
"She'll get use to you over time." Came the gentle voice of Harley's mother as she rested her hands on her shoulders. Harley glanced back.
"I didn't know you were up." She whispered, gazing back at Lady, who huffed.
(Sorry it kind of stinks this time!)