3. Chapter 3
Declaimer on first chapter.
There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.
August 4, 1998
Buffy was having a relatively wonderful day. She was wake by six am and ate a great breakfast courtesy of the local diner. An hour later, after she finished her meal, she, dressed in a white sleeveless shirt and a pair of old jeans and a pair of black well used riding boots, did the usual chores around the barn and stables.
Next, after finishing those chores, she moved on to Shadow himself who had been grazing in the pasture. She brushed his coat, clearing it of dirt, then checked his hooves for possible debris that might of lodged into the bottom. When she was confident there was nothing in them that caused her to worry, she then proceeded to put on Shadow's horse boots.
Then, she put on a halter securely around his head and clipped in the lead rope. Leading him toward a fence, Buffy then tied Shadow to a post next to the equipment shed.
After making sure the rope was tied correctly, she went over the the shed and grabbed the red saddle pad along with the saddle. Buffy then went toward the same fence she'd tied Shadow to and swung the saddle and saddle pad over the railing. Making one last trip to the shed, she grabbed the leather bridle and closed the shed up with a heavy duty padlock.
She grabbed the western saddle, placing all the loose equipment on top of the seat, and saddle pad and swung it over Shadow's back. She walked around Shadow making sure the front and back cinch, the stirrups and the breast collar didn't wind up underneath him. She lowered all of them from the seat and then continued to tie the front and back cinch together. She moved on to buckle the breast collar to the either side of the saddle then ran the strap through his front legs and snapped it to the front cinch. She finished by checking that everything had been placed properly and everything was in order.
Buffy walked to get the bridle, already setup so she would only have to slide it right on top of the halter. Gently sliding in the bit into Shadow's mouth, she then slid in the noseband, brow band and crown piece into place. With that done, Buffy unclipped the lead rope, coiled it and hung it on the horn of the saddle.
Prep work done, she climbed into the saddle and rode off into a quiet pasture.
This peace comforted her, enveloped her like a soft blanket. The soothing and meaningful songs the birds played, the soft breeze of the wind caressing her very form. She smiled from her atop her horse as her eyes raked over the lush green grass below the clear blue sky above.
The greenest of the green and the bluest of the blue. Simply perfect.
She longed to draw such a picture, a beauty only nature can create but alas, all her tools were hidden away with all her other important things. A real shame. It could have been an excellent drawing indeed even if nobody would ever see it.
She closed her eyes. A soft breeze passed over. The cool air brought the scents of nature. The astonishing smell of the falling leaves and fresh mountainous spring waters which was so prevalent around her rural home.
The sun was shining so brighty over the landscape. Its bold light reached into every nook and cranny it could find.
This is what she enjoyed doing. Riding the horse she had practically raised from the time he was born, allowing her a chance to lose herself in the most pleasant memory she had with her team.
She could never forget. She remembered the experience like it was yesterday.
They were all riding across the Montana grasslands. The sun, just poking out of the horizon. Dew still clung to the grass. They were all laughing as each one tried to get ahead of one another. Rank didn't matter there. In that small period of time, they were simply friends. It was paradise. Blissful peace, a break for such a violent job.
She wondered idly how everything could have turned out so wrong. How such a wonderful and treasured memory be followed by a horrifying and painful event. She shook her head.
'I shouldn't think of such things when attention is needed else where.' she said, looking down at Shadow. His ears flickered as if sensing her change in thought. She gave him a loving pat over his muscular neck and she could practically feel his apprehension - which he'd suffered from constantly after a particularly torturous experience with a horrid stablehand who in turn left, never to return, in an ambulance - fade away.
She sighed. She looked at her silver pocket watch she always carried and saw it was already half past eleven.
She decided it was time to head back to the house. Turning Shadow homeward, she though of what she would do today. Since she had done all the chores she needed to do, she decided just to relax and watch TV.
Just as she reached the fence, a loud noise reached her ears. She was so preoccupied with finding the sorce of the mysterious sound, she didn't notice Shadow freeze under her, something she should've never done. She had enough time to turn her head towards the barn area and caught a glimpse of four figures walking toward her, before her head collided with something hard then everything went black.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
--Edgar Allan Poe