Moon and Sun, Girl and Horse
I stumble to my feet only to fall back down. The grass tickles me in a way that makes it look like they are laughing at my clumsiness.
“It’s okay. Every foal has trouble when they are firstborn. Try again,” Mother urges. I pull myself back up and collapse again. “It’s useless!” I wail. Mother snorts and tosses her head. “I will not give up on you. Come on. You can do this.”
I use everything I have to haul myself back up. And then I’m doing it. I’m standing. “Mother, look! I’m standing, Mother! I’m standing!”
“Yes, my daughter, you are standing,” Mother nickers. I feel her hot breath stir the fur on my neck and I try to take a step forward.
I do not fall but my legs wobble. I take another and I start to fall this time, but Mother is right there. She steadies me and encourages me.
I awkwardly make my way over to nurse. Her milk is sweet and I suck until I’m full. Then I let my legs give way and I fall. I close my eyes and fall asleep.
“Dusma, wake up!” I hear Starlay’s excited whinny. She is always excited. I pry open my eyes and see that it is still dark.
“It is still night!” I complain and close my eyes. “No! It is early morning, Dusma! Get up! Get up!” Starlay argues.
I make a sound of disagreement but Starlay always wins. I stand and shake myself.
“Let’s gallop to The Gold Grass,” Starlay suggests.
“It’s not even called that. Besides, it’s dangerous. We are not to go there. The only thing that awaits us there is Hurt and Capture!” I say.
Starlay snorts and shakes her flowing mane. Her brown-colored body shines even though it is still dark. “Don’t tell me you’re scared,” Starlay says and I see her fur shake with laughter. “No. Of course not.
But Mother says-”
“But the grass tastes so different there! If we are to go we must hurry!” Starlay says, her voice sounding irritated. “Fine…” My own voice sounds hesitant but Starlay doesn’t hear. Or if she does, she ignores it.
“Race you!” Starlay says and runs off. I race after her. My legs are stronger than they were when I was firstborn. I am still small and young but I am a little bigger.
My legs stretch but I cannot pass her. Starlay is the fastest foal and Mother says she will get faster still. I have never told anyone, but I am jealous of her. How I wish I could run like her.
We gallop and gallop until, finally, I insist that I cannot run anymore and we must walk. Starlay is good at long distances. But I am not good at it.
“Can we gallop now?” Starlay whines. “No,” I say firmly. At some things, I do hold my ground. “What about a trot?” Starlay tried to reason with me. I do not want to trot.
“Fine,” I say. At other things, I don’t hold my ground. We trot until finally, we reach ‘The Gold Grass’ as Starlay calls it.
The sun is just now peeking over the hills. “It’s fenced. Oh well, let’s go back,” I say, trying to sound disappointed. “Don’t you dare! I see a hole!” Starlay nickers.
Now I am disappointed. We head towards the hole. Starlay gets tangled in it. I start to worry but she untangles herself easily. “Your turn,” Starlay says when she’s in The Gold Grass. I sigh but wiggle through. Starlay drops her head and starts munching on the golden grass. I eat too.
We slowly make our way towards the middle of the field.
Starlay suggests that we play Chase. I run around the field but she catches up easily. She nips my rump and I squeal. I try to catch her but she is too fast. I get tired and start and start eating.
Suddenly I catch the sharp scent of something peculiar. “Let’s go. I smell something strange,” I say nervously.
“Don’t worry so much, Dusma!” But then her ears prick forward and I know she has caught the scent too. Then another scent floats to me. I know this smell.
But I see nothing. I toss my head. Then I see it. two horses carrying two strange creatures. And they are running right towards us. I know we can’t outrun them but we have to try.
“Starlay we have to go! Now!” I don’t need to warn her twice. We race as fast as we can. My legs burn with my unusual speed. It isn’t as fast as Starlay’s but all I care about is getting away. I stumble and fall. Starlay squeals and runs towards me.
“No! Starlay, go! Go! Go!” I neigh.
But Starlay keeps running towards me. I scramble to my feet and start to run. But then one of the creatures on top of the horses throws something. It is like a twig but is moveable and makes a circle.
Then it lands on me. It tightens on my neck and I squeal, rearing. “Easy, now. Don’t get frisky, lil thing,” One of the creatures says. “If there are foals, there’s a herd. Or at least other horses,”
Second Creature says.
Then another of the twig-like things flies through the air. Then it lands on Starlay.
I squeal again. I struggle against the Movable Twig but it’s won’t get off of me. I throw myself against it but it only jerks me back.
First Creature, the one who threw the Movable Twig on me shakes his head and makes a noise. It startles me and I jerk away from him. The Movable Twig tightens and It doesn’t give slack for me to run. I rear again. “Easy, filly. The rope never fails the Humans. You can’t escape from it, filly,” One of the horses says.
I let my front hooves fall to the ground. I’m not gonna give up but if there’s no escape I got to wait until there is an opportunity. I see Starlay, kicking and rearing. There is no way to escape The Rope. We must wait, Starlay!” I whinny.
First Creature jerks The Rope and drags me. I try to rear but my hind legs are pulled out from under me. I fall backward and land on my back. I struggle to my feet. And then First Creature and Second Creature pull on The Ropes. I follow. What else can I do?
“Where should we put them?” Asks Second Creature. “The barn of course!” Snaps First Creature. I can’t blame him for his tone. It’s hot and I’m tired.
Though First Creature and Second Creature have not gotten down from their horses who are sweating. My head drops low to the ground and I start panting. “We better hurry or they’re get heatstroke,” Second Creature says.
I tune out and only think about the heat. Oh, how it burns on my back!
“We’re here, foals,” Says First Creature. I don’t know what he means but his voice sounds happy so I raise my head.
Big trees without the green loom over, one on each side of me, and one on top of them. This is all new to me. I would rear but I’m just too hot and too tired.
They lead us into something that is red. It is big. I start to panic. My front hooves start to leave the ground but one of the horses, who, before, had introduced himself as Buck, says, “Easy, filly. This is your new home. You will be fed here. This place is called The Barn.”
I do not like The Barn. It is big and intimidating. They lead Starlay into a small box. I start to join her but First Creature holds The Rope tight. I squeal and nicker at her. She squeals and nickers back.
Then they lead me into my own little box. I kick the wood but it does no good. They leave and come back with something that is unfamiliar. But the smell I know all too well. Milk.
Second Creature forces my mouth open and First creature stuffs the first bit of the thing in my mouth. I try to jerk my head away but Second Creature holds my head still. I try to gulp down my Sylva but instead I suck out…milk. I suck and suck and suck until the bottle is all gone. Then they leave and come back with it again but they take it to Starlay this time. I whinny, wanting more of the cold Milk. But they do not come into My Box. I whinny again. But they do not come.
I give up and collapse into the soft dried grass. Then I close my eyes and fall asleep.