This month’s short story is a clean romance (of course) and is complete with horses and sunset. Perfect for a quick read.
WITH HORSES AT SUNSET
When I pulled into my driveway I didn’t notice the hole in the fence.
Why would I? It was mid-day and I was eagerly anticipating a wonderful afternoon because it was our boss’ daughter’s birthday and in a fit of largesse he gave us all the afternoon off. With pay. On a beautiful day. What could be better?
We scattered as fast as possible, me to home and a couple extra hours of riding Peaceful, my mostly gray Appaloosa. It had been a while since I’d had time for a good, long ride and I knew Peaceful wanted to get out, too, and explore the countryside.
So I charged into the house, discarding office clothes as I went and grabbing my riding jeans from the dryer on my way to the bedroom. I hadn’t bothered to look towards the barn and the corral. No reason to. NutterButter, the pony who liked to go visiting and take my four full-sized horses with her whenever and wherever she went, was currently with a family half a state away who’d taken her with option to buy her if NutterButter and their son got along well.
I hoped they would. I was tired of chasing four horses and a pony all over the county, collecting them, and then herding them back home. So the day had an extra fillip of enjoyment. A couple extra hours of riding with no worry about my other horses meandering everywhere they shouldn’t while I wasn’t around.
Then my cell rang. “Hi, Shauna. Michael here.”
“What gives?” Michael, my good-looking neighbor who’d ridden the school bus with me when we were kids and, like me, stayed in the area when he grew up, connected every so often as neighbors do, especially neighbors close enough to see smoke rise from each other’s chimneys on clear mornings.
“The herd came visiting.” He paused, then continued, smothering a laugh I knew so well. “Again.”
“Impossible!” I held the cell away from me so as to better see the picture he’d sent of four adult horses sneaking across his back yard. “NutterButter isn’t here.”
“Guess she taught them well.” The laugh exploded as he could no longer hold in his merriment. “Like how to escape and go walkabout.”
I sank onto the nearest chair, almost falling in the process because I didn’t check where I was sitting. I was that upset. Disappointed. Disgusted. “And here I thought I was done with escape artist horses.”
“Guess not.” I could see his tears of laughter in my imagination. “I was too late to stop them. They were across the yard and gone by the time I grabbed a rope and went outside.”
I groaned. “Where do you think they went?”
Another chuckle, followed by, “The last I saw of them – their rear ends – they were headed towards the river.”
I groaned again, louder this time because the river is famous among us locals and not for its peaceful nature. “There are so many trees. And really tall, prickly bushes. And creeks coming from everywhere that crisscross each other on their way to nowhere. And, of course, there’s the river itself.”
“Bring rubber boots,” he added helpfully, choking on laughter. “Or prepare to go wading.”
This story and eleven others are available in the anthology THE WOMEN OF FLY-OVER COUNTRY, available now at Amazon: