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Willow Island: A Horse Story, Part 2

Edited by Martin Wilsher

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Kora stared at Ferdinand in horror! "Now we’re really in for it," she said. Ferdinand didn’t know what these humans were doing, he’d never been in a holding pen before and didn’t like it at all. "What do they do here?" he asked. "We’re gonna be paraded each in turn until someone buys us. Then where we go, who knows," Kora replied. "Where do horses end up?" Ferdinand asked. "Most, well, they end up going to riding stables, some though," she looked uneasy," well," she continued, "they are put to other uses. Uses to which I don’t want to talk about." Ferdinand knew his lot was in the hands of humans now. A horse used to deciding his own destiny, he didn’t think he was going to enjoy this next bit.

They were brought to another auction. A lot of strangers came to look at them, some smiling, some frowning. Kora was acting up a little. "If I were you, I would put in my best behaviour for these people, if they see we are good, they will be more willing to take us to their homes," said Ferdinand. "You're right" added Kora. The people around them seemed to be richer than the people at the other auction. Then, two men walked up to Kora, examining her carefully. "Do you think she will do?" one asked to the other, while stroking his hand over Kora's neck. "She looks awfully good to me." He answered. How much do you want for her?" He asked the man who was standing near them. "Oh, about $2000, considering we don't know her bloodlines nor her past." He replied. "What are they talking about?" Kora asked Ferdinand. "They want to buy you." "But-" with that the two men took her away. Great, now what was Ferdinand supposed to do, he had no friends, and he didn't even know what was to become of him.

Ferdinand looked about him. The people who ran the auction left the horses free to roam about in large enclosures, the boundaries of which were low enough for a large horse such as himself to jump easily. Ferdinand was on the hunt now, he was looking for another horse, as desperate as he was to escape from this dreadful situation. Leaping the fence he wandered about for a bit. Rounding a corner he found himself beside a row of gated pens, in one of which stood the horse he’d been looking for. There were many horses round him, some fine beasts, others not so. This horse, well, Ferdinand hadn’t seen this breed for years, but instantly he recognised it. Falabella horses, being the smallest horses in the world, weren’t inconspicuous amongst taller breeds. This one was three feet tall, as tall as they got, so Ferdinand thought, and she looked terrified! Scared out of her fur! Approaching her cautiously, Ferdinand asked: "Can I help? You look lost." The tiny mare stared at him for a minute or so. "I don’t know," she said, "after what’s happened to me I don’t know anything now! All Certainty has gone, I don’t know where I am any more, or what’s gonna happen to me, or anything! She stared, wide eyed into Ferdinand’s face.

Ferdinand took in this tiny mare from her ears to her tiny hooves. He’d never seen a horse so small before! Seeing him appraising her, she tried to look her best by flicking her mane about a bit. Ferdinand smiled at her. "What’s your name?" He asked. The mare replied: "I don’t really know, my owners," she looked tearful. Taking a deep breath she continued: "they called me Pip, don’t know what that means, but that was my name. Now they’re gone, I’m here, and I don’t know what to do!" Seeing Pip’s distress Ferdinand dropped to his knees and hugged her. "I’ll protect you, I’ll not leave you if you don’t want me to," he said gently. Pip returned his embrace by rubbing his ear with her muzzle. "Thanks, um, I don’t know your name," Embarrassed now, Ferdinand gabbled: "oh, um, yeah, my name? Ferdinand it is." ""That’s a nice name, I like that, it suits you, if you don’t mind me saying," she said. Ferdinand wanted to ask her so much, thoughts of escape had fled from his mind as soon as he’d set eyes on this amazing creature. He wanted to know all about her, wanted to learn about her breed, and everything there was to know about anything to do with her.

Shaking himself out of his trans, Ferdinand recovered his senses and told her his plan of escape. "But," Pip reminded him, "How can I escape for I am not big enough to jump out of this pen. So Ferdinand began kicking at the gate of the pen Pip was in. It finally broke apart and then she was out. He led her to the main fence, and kicked that one open too. Then they cantered off, away from this horrible place, to try to find what they didn't know. Ferdinand, used to going at his own fast pace, found it difficult to slow down to Pip’s as he was anxious they might be found quickly. They cantered along the edge of a main road, the site of which unnerved Pip a good deal. Seeing her distress, Ferdinand called a halt in a patch of dense woodland where they could be hidden from prying human eyes. "Sorry about this Ferdinand," Pip said, "It’s just that I haven’t seen things like a road before, not like that! Tracks and open fields, yes I’ve seen that, but not large roads with all sorts of I don’t know what passing us!" Ferdinand, not being used to roads himself, but feeling he must act as if he knew a lot for the sake of the tiny mare’s confidence in him, said: "I know these, we’ll be okay if we stay on the grass verges or in the fields." Satisfied with that, Pip replied: "Okay, if that’s how it should be." With that they continued their journey. At length they came to a place where there was no grass verge, no fields, and a lot of road! "Um, Ferdinand, you said we should stick to the Fields or the grass verges, there aren’t any here!" Pip whinnied. They were surrounded by cars, at an intersection between four major highways, and Ferdinand knew he couldn’t go back the way they’d come, he’d have to go forward, but how? He might be able to do it, but Pip would be in danger of being run down by the larger lorries he could see speeding past. How was she going to get across the road safely?

The sun, now baked through their short fur coat, was becoming unbearable. There was the sound of running on the pavement. "Their after us!" Pip cried in a panic stricken voice. "Calm down, they'll here you!" Ferdinand said in a hushed undertone, but it was too late! All it took was the bark of a dog and the loud bang of a gun, the horses were off, tearing through the traffic, drivers were slamming on their brakes, their tyres screeching to a halt. When on the other side of the road the horses didn't bother slowing down from their wild gallop. Ferdinand who only started after Pip, had now come neck to neck with her and called:

"Slow down to a walk!" in-between huge gasps of breath. When he had caught his breath a thoughtful expression crossed his face. "What is it, Ferdinand?" Pip asked. " This, This is the thing that brought me here!" he said in wonder. "Well, it's, it's leaving!" Said Pip sending out a sharp kick behind her. "Now what?!" She screamed in agony.

Hearing Pip’s pained squeal, Ferdinand bullied her into a field. "What’s all the squealing for!" He demanded. Pip, frightened and in a lot of pain, replied: "You remember the gun going off?" "Couldn’t forget it could I?" Ferdinand snapped back. "Well," Pip replied, "I think I’ve been shot!" Ferdinand checked the mare over, finding a flesh wound on her right hock. Instantly Ferdinand saw the wound wasn’t bad. "It’ll hurt like hell for a bit, but she’s not in danger," he thought. Pip looked up into his eyes. Ferdinand saw fear and terror in the tiny mare’s eyes, and it saddened him. "Everyone’s after us," Pip said.

Ferdinand lowered his head and nuzzled Pip’s ear. "The humans have the upper hoof on us at the moment Pip, but we can survive, If we stick to the fields, hide in woods, maybe try to find a herd of wild horses, then we can remain free. I am a wild horse, you are clearly not, but you can learn how to be so," He said. "I want to stay with you Ferdinand," Pip replied. "Right, then we have to get cover in numbers, There are wild herds of horses here, if we can find them, then we can disappear." "Right," Pip said, "We find the wild horses then, but where do we start?" She asked. "Follow me," Ferdinand replied. With that he cantered into a stand of trees on the other side of the field, Pip followed.

The 2 horses stopped. They needed a break from the hard run. Ferdinand told Pip about his earlier life on the Island. When he was finished, Pip was smiling. "most of that tale was nice Ferdinand." Pip sighed. "It was till the men came." Answered Ferdinand.

This story is an example of collaborative writing through Fabulous Fiction. The contributing writers are Whitney, Hannah, Miranda, Anna, Benjamin, Jazzy, Saffron, Jo W, Katherine, Katie, Martin, Nicky, Mule, Lisa, Vaughn, Cindy, Wendy, Italics, Vanessa, and Justin. Special thanks to Martin Wilsher for leading the story and later editing it for this web site.