I can’t believe I almost missed this blogfest! I’m such an animal person, and was so jazzed when I signed up for the ‘fest last month.
Here’s mine. It’s a little something I just pounded out called Side by Side:
Side By Side
Rocky slams his shoulder into mine and I grunt and nearly go down. As I stagger from the impact, he turns and kicks out with both feet, just missing my head. As he prances away, shaking his mane, I tear after him. I bite into the crest of his neck and he slams his rump into my side and spins away. He turns back toward me and rears, striking out as I meet him in the air. Our chests slam together, then as his hooves meet the ground again, I drop to my knees and bite at his foreleg. He half-kneels, tucking it beneath him. We bite at each other’s legs while trying to guard our own, then Rocky stands and does a full-body shake, creating a flurry of dust and hair – his way of announcing game over.
I snort to clear the dirt from my nostrils and shake my body as well, making my own cloud. I snort again and Rocky echoes it, and together we walk down to the pond to get a drink. Tails swish at the flies that have moved in on our sweaty bodies and we drink side by side in long, deep swallows.
Rocky finishes first, and water draining from his muzzle, turns and heads over to the group of fillies grazing at the base of the hill. I gulp a few more mouthfuls, then trot after him. Several of them raise their heads as we approach, nickering. A rumbling answer booms from my chest and I arch my neck and tail and prance toward them. I listen as Rocky’s gait changes beside me, and lengthen my stride to get to the fillies first. Rocky whinnies a low greeting as they turn to watch us.
The pretty red one, Suzie, steps out to meet me, her neck coyly arched. We stop, necks bent nearly in half, and touch noses. She squeals and stamps a front foot, then we sniff each other’s noses again.
I want her. I need to have her. She needs to be mine.
She squeals again, then turns and races off. But before I can take after her, I realize why she left in such a hurry.
Pounding hooves and a roar of rage announce the arrival of Storm, the herd leader. I spin and hear the snap of teeth, and it’s not the snap of play. I leap into a run as his massive chest rams into my butt and I stumble and nearly go down.
He turns and I watch as he races after Rocky, weaving and snapping at him, his ears pinned and his head snaked low. Rocky’s fast, but not fast enough, and as Storm closes in, Rocky ducks to the left. Storm swings wide, then comes at Rocky again in a dead run. Rocky whinnies, his eyes wide, and veers toward me. I turn and join him, and together we race, side by side, with Storm right on our heels.
We cut and weave through the herd, and above the thunder of our hoofbeats I hear Mother call out. I spot her with the other mares, my new sister next to her, and head in that direction. But Storm charges in front of me and I find myself running alongside Rocky again.
We reach the edge of the herd, and I can see Storm out of the corner of my eye, and he’s not giving up. Rocky turns and tries to circle back to the others, but Storm cuts him off. He drives us further and further away, then drops back and returns to the herd.
I wind down into a trot, then stop and try to catch my breath. Rocky’s sides are heaving as well. We stand there for several minutes, side by side, until the panting slows. My whole body is drenched in sweat, and I can feel it running down my neck and legs. The sweat dripping from Rocky’s belly is more like mud, and his flanks and chest are caked in dirty froth.
As our breathing slows, we watch Storm gather the herd and drive them up the hill.
They’re leaving us! A whinny tears from my throat and I break into a trot, and I can hear Rocky following. But Storm turns and races down the hill, screaming, and it’s obvious he’s not going to let us rejoin the herd.
I slow to a walk, then stop. He turns and gallops up the hill, forcing the band into a run. I hear Mother whinny for me, and then they are over the hill and gone.
A bird circles above the hilltop and I realize we’re alone, with no others to protect us. I whinny, and whinny again, but hear nothing in response. Rocky whinnies, too, then after a moment of silence, he snorts and nudges me on the shoulder. He turns and starts walking in the opposite direction. I watch him go, then gaze back at the empty hilltop.
I whinny one more time, then snort and shake my mane, and trot after Rocky. I ease into a walk as I catch up to him, and side by side, we leave our home.
Copyright © 2010 by Roh Morgon. All rights reserved.