Authors: Angela Dorsey
Tags: #pony, #horse, #angel, #dream, #thomas, #silver, #guardian, #dorsey, #joanna, #angela, #angelica
Bandit took another stiff-legged step
toward her, and another.
“Joanna, run. There’s a door
here.” David’s voice.
But he was too far away. She
There was only one thing to do.
Use the same trick Angelica had. Joanna stepped toward Bandit and
Oliver, her hand out. “Good boys,” she murmured. “I’m nice too,
just like Angelica. I’m not going to hurt you. And you won’t hurt
Bandit stopped and cocked his
head to the side. Oliver came up alongside him, still growling.
Barked once, twice.
“Shhh, Oliver. Now sit.”
Both dogs sat. Joanna’s eyes
opened wide. They’d listened to her. Cautiously, she walked toward
them, stopping at the edge of darkness. Angelica had gone into the
light to greet the dogs and nothing had happened, but Joanna didn’t
feel so confident.
Bandit looked to his right and
whined. Oliver stood, barked again. And this time Joanna didn’t
tell him to be quiet. This time she felt frozen to the spot, too
frightened to run. Too frightened to move.
Mr. Williams was striding toward
the dogs from the direction of his house, and from across the yard,
five grooms came from the employees’ quarters. They were all strong
looking men. Joanna, Cally, and David didn’t stand a chance.
Joanna almost shrieked when she
felt a hand on her arm. “I have an idea,” David whispered close to
her ear. “I figure this might be the one time it’s good to look
like this Graham guy.”
Gratefully, Joanna slipped
behind him. The men still hadn’t seen them, but the dogs knew they
were there. It wouldn’t take Mr. Williams long to send them after
the intruders. He must know someone was hiding in the shadows. Why
else would Oliver bark?
David pulled his baseball cap
low over his eyes.
“Bandit! Oliver! Find them!”
The two dogs leapt toward them –
and David stepped into the light. The dogs came to a sliding halt
in front of him, and behind them the men stopped, Mr. Williams at
the front of the mob looking momentarily speechless at the
David stood with his hands in
his pockets, looking from one to the next from under his hat
“Who are you?” demanded
“Don’t you recognize me?” asked
David. His voice was surly. Impatient. “You should.”
Mr. Williams stepped closer,
peered into the shadows beneath the hat brim. “I’ve never seen you
before in my life.”
“Not me,” said David. “But my
dad. I look like him.”
“I don’t know your father.” Mr.
Williams stepped back, and motioned for the grooms to grab
“I wouldn’t do that if I were
you,” David warned. “I have proof of what you did, Williams. I have
documents. Dates. Dad gave them to me. He told me everything,
including how rich you’d become.” He laughed, a cold, hard bark. “I
figure it’s time to collect my share.”
“Who is your father?”
David swept his hat from his
head. Though Joanna couldn’t see his face from behind him, she
imagined him glaring at Mr. Williams with hard eyes. “I know you
can see the resemblance. I’ve been mistaken for him before.”
“Graham.” The dread in Mr.
Williams’ whisper carried the sound into the shadows like a shout.
“Don’t play games with me,
Williams. I have proof. Not here of course, but somewhere safe. I
know all about Thomas, and what you did to him.”
Joanna could see by the
horror-struck look on Mr. Williams face, painfully illuminated in
his own lights, that he was indeed guilty of drugging Mr. Thomas’s
horses and causing him to go bankrupt.
“You want me to tell your boys
“Should I phone the police, Mr.
Williams?” asked the biggest groom.
“No. Let me think.”
“Of course he doesn’t,” said
David. “If you did that, his little secret would be out.”
“And what secret is that?” asked
“Yeah,” said another.
“Shall I tell them? Or will you
“I’ll pay,” said Mr. Williams
quickly. “Come into the house.”
“No, I’ll wait here. Remember to
bring me enough that I’ll want to keep my mouth shut, and keep in
mind that I’ve had a good look around. I have an idea of what
Mr. Williams turned to his
grooms. “Keep him here until I get back.” Then he strode toward his
The group of grooms glared at
David. “You stole Tango?” asked the biggest one. The house door
slammed. Mr. Williams was inside.
David shook his head. “But I’m
bringing him home,” he said in his normal voice. “And I have no
interest in Williams’ tainted money either. He can keep it. All I
want is for you to know what happened, how Williams got where he
I want you to let me go after I tell you.”
And so David told them. Joanna
felt tears come to her eyes as she listened to David’s story of how
Graham and Mr. Williams conspired to ruin Cally’s grandfather, all
in the name of greed. Cally sniffled beside her and the big groom’s
sharp gaze leapt to the shadows.
“Who’s there? Come out now, or
I’ll send the dogs in after you.”
Joanna grabbed Cally’s hand and
the two of them walked into the light. “It won’t do you any good,”
she said. “They like us.” As if to prove her words, Oliver came
forward and licked Joanna’s hand. Bandit was right behind him,
wagging his black tail.
“You’re the granddaughter?”
“No, I am,” said Cally.
“I’m sorry about your
“Thanks,” whispered Cally,
scuffing the ground with her shoe.
“I heard rumours of how Mr.
Williams got his fortune,” the big groom continued. “I always
“Me too,” said a groom with
bright red hair. “But I’m guessing you don’t really have proof, do
David shook his head.
“The fact that Williams is so
quick to pay you off is proof enough for me,” the big groom
Joanna glanced nervously toward
the house. “We should go before he comes back.” When the big groom
nodded, she added, “We’ll take you to Tango.” They walked toward
the road, and the two grooms fell in beside them.
“I’m Casey, by the way,” said
the big groom.
“I’m Josh,” said the groom with
the red hair.
Joanna, Cally, and David
“Thanks for believing us,” said
Cally, when they reached the road.
For a few moments, the sound of
their feet on the asphalt filled the silence, then Casey sighed. “I
might as well tell you. There might not be proof of Williams
ripping off your Grandfather, Cally, but I bet there’s proof
Williams is still pulling the same trick on other stables.”
“What do you mean?” asked
“We’ve worked here longer than
most of the grooms. Williams isn’t an easy man to work for, so
there’s a lot of turnover with his employees. Josh stays because of
Tango, and I stay because I grew up near here. I love this area and
working with racehorses. Anyway, one night last month I couldn’t
sleep, so I went out for a walk. Just when I got back I noticed
this guy knocking on Williams' door, all secretive and quiet like.
It seemed odd, but none of my business, so I just went back to bed.
Then last week Williams went to a bankruptcy sale and bought a
bunch of really nice horses for cheap.”
“I know it sounds innocent
enough,” added Josh, “But when Casey told me about the guy visiting
Williams, it made me think of another guy that I saw around the
stable last year. Tango didn’t like him and tried to bite him, so I
remembered him, even though he was only here for a couple hours.
Anyway, when I described the guy to Casey, we realized we’d seen
the same guy. Then we checked an old calendar and discovered that
last year Williams went to another bankruptcy sale, shortly after
the guy showed up then, too.”
“We asked Williams about it a
couple of days ago,” continued Casey. “He told us the guy was a
“But he doesn’t act like any
broker I’ve ever met, coming in at midnight like that,” Josh
finished. “And both happened right before Williams bought horses at
“So you think Williams is still
doing the same thing? Sending someone to work as a groom, and they
sabotage the horse races until the owner goes broke?” asked Joanna,
“I think so, especially after
hearing your story,” Casey said.
“And after seeing Williams in
such a hurry to give David money,” Josh added. “It just makes
“I’m so glad we told you,”
Joanna said, aghast. “Too many people and horses have been hurt
A whinny came from the darkness
ahead and a huge smile appeared on Josh’s face. “I’d recognize my
Tango anywhere,” he said, and picked up his pace.
“What’ll you do if Williams goes
to jail?” asked Joanna, suddenly feeling terrible. Now Tango and
the other horses might be sold. The grooms would probably be
“I can always find work at
another farm. I heard that big Saddlebred farm was hiring and that
they’re good honest people,” Casey said.
“They are,” said Cally. “They’re
friends with my Grandpa.”
“And I’ll go with Tango,” Josh
said. “He’d never be happy unless I was with him, and his new
owners would find that out soon enough. There you are, my beauty!”
The red haired groom put one hand on each side of the big horse’s
head, and Tango leaned forward to breathe heavily in his face.
Joanna laughed. Josh acted with
Tango the way she did with Raven and Silver Sky.
“Thanks for everything, man,”
Casey said, and shook hands with David, then moved on to shake
Joanna and Cally’s hands. “And don’t worry. We’ll take care of
Williams. We can give the police enough information that they can
find all the proof they need.”
“Thanks,” said Joanna and Cally
“Let me know what happens,” said
David. “Here, I’ll give you my cell number.” He pulled a pen from
his pocket, but didn’t have any paper, so Casey wrote the number on
his hand. Then the two grooms led Tango back toward Williams’
Joanna watched them go. Tango
was going to be fine, but he may not live so close to her farm any
more. In a way, it had been like living near a famous celebrity,
and even though she’d never met him in person before last night,
she’d be sad when he moved away. But he would be all right. Of that
she had no doubt. Tango would be more pampered than she would ever
be. She sighed and moved to Breeze’s side. “Can I ride back with
you?” she asked Cally.
Her friend nodded. “Here, I’ll
give you a boost up.”
“Cally, before we go, I, uh,
sorry,” David said. “I know now that none
of this is your grandpa’s fault, including chucking me into the
cellar. He’s just an old guy who needs some help.”
Cally looked up at him, her eyes
huge in the moonlight.
“He has every right to be mad at
Graham,” David continued. “Those two jerks stole his horses, plus
all the money Dancer made later in his life, and in a way, even
Tango, because your Grandpa would’ve kept some of Dancer’s best
foals. Williams and Graham are the ones who started all this, and
they’re the ones responsible for what happened. Your grandpa never
would’ve done anything to me if he didn’t think I was Graham. So
I’m sorry I made you feel bad. I just needed time to think it
Cally stroked Breeze’s neck.
“Don’t worry. We’re both getting
even with you,” Joanna added from Breeze’s back.
David looked up at her and
arched an eyebrow.
Joanna smiled sweetly down at
him. “We’re making you ride the pacer home.”
Thank you, my dear ones, for helping
this man who is lost in the maze of his own memories. How he needs
you. He has instinctively known that, I think, and that is why he
turned to your species for help, though his way of asking for that
help was confused and irresponsible.
I am so grateful for your compassion.
This man has been lost for too long.