Creative Writing Day 1: The Horse Farm Part 1

The Horse Farm

I remember when I was just a kid I would spend my summers up at my Uncles horse farm in the far reaches of northern Ontario. It was a huge plot of land with a small path near by for hiking and at the end of the path there was a large lake where my uncle would take me fishing. It was a little boys dream home. My summers there were always filled with the fond memories of the adventures I would go on when left to amuse myself. I remember once I was bored while waiting for my uncle to finish cleaning up after a horse back riding lesson so I ditched and decided to try my hand at climbing a near by oak tree. Do you know the saying “It looks like you fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down”? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me! As I neared one of the top branches the loose laces of my sneaker got caught and I slipped, hitting almost every single branch as I plummeted towards the ground. I was so lucky back then. I walked away with a scolding and a few stitches to display as battle scars once I got back home. Here I am just dwelling on happy memories though. Truth being, I focus on the good times to block out my last visit to the farm. The last time I saw the place I called a second home. The horror I faced that summer is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I sometimes try to tell myself it was all just a nightmare and it would make more sense if I had just dreamt it all up. Lies are more comforting than the truth at times.
It was the summer of 1988, so I think I would’ve been about twelve, and as usual my mom drove me up to my Uncles farm the day after school let out for our break. I remember being really excited to go up that time because I had gone through a growth spurt that year and I couldn’t wait to show my uncle how tall I had become. I fidgeted excitedly in my seat as I watched the familiar sites race past me on the old country roads leading up to the horse farm.
“He is going to freak out when he sees you,” My mom giggled from her place behind the steering wheel of our tiny grey car.
“You think? I can’t wait to see Justice! Do you think he’ll remember me?” Justice was the beautiful chestnut thorough bred my uncle had bought me the year before. We saw him at a horse auction and it was love at first sight. It had been a whole school year since I last saw him and I was itching to ride.
“Sweetie he’s just a horse. Don’t be insulted if he doesn’t,” My mom cautioned me ever so slightly. She didn’t want me to get my hopes up seeing as I was always the kind of kid that would take rejection hard.
We arrived at the old farm and I smiled when I saw that it hadn’t changed a bit since the last time I saw it. There was still a large break on one of the old front paddocks, the front door to the farm house was still painted a fading and flaking shade of periwinkle, and my uncle still had his tall lumberjack like charm and greying blonde beard.
“Davey! How ya doin’ kiddo!” His loud Maritime accent range out through the rural landscape as he walked towards me, arms out stretched.
“Uncle Greg!” I dropped my knapsack full of books and summer homework and bolted towards him. I leapt into his arms and he made a loud over dramatic grunt as my body smacked into him with the full force of an over excited adolescent.
“Holy shit boy! Look at cha, you’re almost as tall as me,” He grabbed me by the shoulders and pushed me back to get a better look at me. “Gives us a bit of a spin,” he motioned a turn with his index finger and I complied by extending out my arms and spinning in a circle so he could take a look at me.
“Well good lord Ashley. He’s not going to be a kid much longer, now is he?” My uncle chuckled as he turned to my mom.
“Yeah and he’s getting to be a handful too. Reminds me of you when we were kids,” My mom smirked and rubbed her palm on the top of my head.
“Can I go see Justice?” I asked my uncle. I could sense that my mom and uncle were about to start chatting about ‘the good old days’ so it was about time I made myself scarce till she left.
“He’s in the back barn waitin for ya,” Uncle Greg threw me a wink and lightly pushed me in the direction of the barn. I grinned and kicked off towards the raggedy looking wood structure. In the distance I could hear a small whiney, like a whisper in the wind. I couldn’t help but let a small laugh escape my lips as I ran in through the tall barn doors and caught my first glimpse of my boy.
There he stood, Justice, the most beautiful horse i had ever laid my eyes on and I was so relieved to see him happy and healthy. His coat shimmered in the golden glow of the sun and his black glossy hair cascaded from his neck like an inky waterfall. I knew my uncle would take good care of him but that still didn’t stop me from missing him like crazy. Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows exactly how I was feeling in that moment. I called out his name and he turned his head towards me, my mothers words echoed in my ears but as soon as his eyes met mine I knew he had recognised me. I had never been so happy. It was conformation to me that, despite all the time that had passed, this was my horse and he always would be. My young mind swirled and explored my vast imagination and created scenarios of us competing in one of those fancy gambling races and winning by a land slide. You know, kiddy dreams that were inspired by under-dog sports films.
I spent a good hour talking to him about school and brushing his long dark mane as he just stood there content to listen like any loyal friend would. Occasionally he would make a move to nip at my hair if I forgot to keep brushing him, which just caused me to laugh at him and give his nose a quick pat. It felt like talking to an old friend again.
“Davey! Your moms leavin'” My uncle called to me from the front house.
I turned to Justice and stroked his neck “I’ll be back buddy”.
I walked out of the cool dark barn and into the warm and humid summer air. It was at this point I got the first sense of something being wrong. Terribly, horridly wrong. I felt like someones eyes were following me as I treaded down the dry dirt path up to the house. It made me feel uneasy and nervous, like whatever it was didn’t like my presence.
A shiver went up my spine and I quickened my pace to avoid any prolonged exposure to the feeling. I told myself it was probably just a wild animal that had been watching me seeing as my uncle didn’t have any neighbours for miles in either direction.
‘Probably just a coyote, or a bear or maybe even a harmless deer’
Despite trying to tell myself this I couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming sense that I was incredibly wrong. How was I supposed to know then how terrible that summer would turn out to be and that someone would pay for my naivety. I was so incredibly wrong.
End part one: The Horse Farm

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