Yes, I'm still here, I'm not dead! I've just been struggling to find things to post about lately. But just recently, I finished writing a short story and I thought I'd post it here to share with all of you.
Just a bit of extra information, the idea for this story was formed while listening to the song Embers by OwlCity. ;) Enjoy!
The early morning call of the kookaburra was what woke me. It's humorous melody rang through the gumtrees and my eyes fluttered open. I sat bolt upright in my bed and I saw that the sky was lightening outside. I leapt out of bed, the single sheet covering my body falling to the ground. Hurrying to the open window I poked my head out. I still had time. Retreating back into my room I pulled on my jeans and shirt in a rush. The floorboards creaked as I tiptoed quickly down the hallway. Upon reaching the screen door, I grabbed my black brimmed hat and stepped outside. Shoving on my boots, I ran across the yard to the barn. The sky was a pale blue and purple, though stars still glittered here and there. I had to hurry. I slid open the heavy barn door and slipped inside. In the darkness I heard a quiet nicker, and a soft muzzle brushed my cheek.
“ Morning Jayjay,” I whispered, patting his nose. I quickly found a lamp and took a box of matches from my pocket. Striking the match, I lit the lamp. The barn was instantly filled with a warm glow. Jayjay's head was hanging over his stall door, his ears swivelled in my direction. I walked over and patted my horse's rusty brown neck, running my fingers through his black mane.
“ Are you ready to see the sun boy?” I asked, staring into his large brown eyes.
With swift precision, I proceeded to tack up. As I made last minute checks to the girth and bridle buckles, I heard the musical, warbling call of a magpie. It was almost time. Hoisting myself up onto Jayjay's strong back, I gathered the reins in my hands.
“ Let's go catch the sun,” I whispered in his ear. He snorted and my heels touched his sides. Jayjay hurried into a trot and we rode through the barn doorway, out into the morning air. The red, baked earth of the outback thrummed beneath Jayjay's hooves. The temperature was rising. Soon I knew it would reach the mid twenties, and by the middle of the day it could be in the high thirties. I rested my hands on the saddle-horn in front of me as we trotted elatedly along, breathing deeply. My friends and I had been planning this all week.
As we reached the edge of the property, we came to a steep cliff. I dismounted and began leading a reluctant Jayjay down on a narrow trail. My feet slipped and slid down the rocky track, Jayjay stumbling behind me. I placed my foot on what I thought was a stable rock, when it gave way beneath me. My breath caught in my throat as I fought to regain my balance and for a moment I thought of turning back, but this was the fastest way to the meeting point. At that moment I heard a voice from down below.
“ Hey Abbey! C'mon, not much further!”
I looked down and spotted four of my friends, Toby, Leonardo, Ruby and Sam. They were all mounted on their own horses and were waving up at me. I smiled down at them and then turned back to Jayjay, encouraging him to continue down the precarious trail, letting out a silent sigh of relief as we reach the bottom. Quickly mounting Jayjay once again, I rode over to my friends. Ruby sat astride her black Quarter Horse, Midnight. I moved Jayjay up beside them and grasped her hand.
“ You're late,” she grinned. “ We thought you'd forgotten the whole thing.”
“ Never,” I smiled back. “ You guys ready?!”
“ Let's go!”
I released Ruby's hand and kicked my heels against Jayjay's sides. The others followed quickly behind as we cantered out over the scorched plain. The longer we rode the lighter the sky became. I urged my friends on. Sam encouraged his mount Jimmy, a light bay stock horse to keep going. Toby and Leonardo rode side by side on their two strikingly different horses. Nightshade, a pure black friesian, and Blaze, a liver chestnut welsh cross, with a white belly. Ruby rode beside me, Midnight keeping pace with Jayjay. The five of us rode across the reddened earth, until behind us I could hear a new set of hooves. I turned in the saddle and spotted three more riders galloping our way down the hillside. Jasmine, Olivia and Michelle. Once they reached us, Olivia rode up beside me, slowing Lady, her flaxen chestnut mare back to a canter. She grinned at me and I smiled back.
“ We'd better hurry!” Jasmine called from the back of Snowy, her palomino gelding.
“ Yeah! It's almost time!” Michelle agreed, patting the chestnut neck of her mare, Sugar.
I nodded. “ Then what are we waiting for? Let 'em run guys!”
I leaned forward giving Jayjay his head, and he responded with a quick burst of extra speed, surging into a fast gallop. I could hear my friends calling encouragement to their own horses, and soon we were all stampeding down the hillside. The horizon was now a bright orange colour, and I urged Jayjay on. We were almost there. His black mane flicked in my face and the wind whistled in my ears as we galloped towards the edge of a cliff. The thrumming hoofbeats of many horses surrounded me and my heart beat faster as we neared the sheer drop. At the last possible moment, I leaned back reining Jayjay in at the edge of the cliff. His hooves slid across the dry, rocky ground as we skidded to a stop. The others slid in beside us, and we all took in the scene before us. We were just in time. The canyon stretched out before us like a ragged, red sea. A warm breeze greeted us as it whispered through the valleys and up the side of the cliff. I took a deep breath and savoured its welcome. The sky around us lit up as the morning sun poked its sleepy face over the horizon. The birds sang to signal the dawn and kangaroos were silhouetted against its yellow surface. Its golden orange light blanketed the terrain and finally fell on our beaming faces, giving them a warm glow. The sun's balmy rays touched our skin, warming our bodies. Our horses nickered and whinnied to their morning friend. Finally, the sun rose above the horizon and into the sky, a ball of yellow flame. I turned to my friends and we laughed and clasped hands, the horses tossing their heads in merriment. We did it, we caught the morning sun and it left tiny, burning embers in out hearts.