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Here For You
The wind was brutal, shoving the bare branches of the trees against one another and causing them to crack and fall to the ground, taking more branches down on the way. They sunk into the topmost layer of snow, and quickly became invisible as fresh snow poured over them from the sky.
Amongst it all, one girl trekked along a well-worn path that could not presently be seen. She pressed a knitted scarf hard against her face with her gloved hands. It was terribly difficult to keep her eyes open against the wind and the snow, and almost useless to try; the air was so thickly turned white that the barn only ten feet away now was barely visible.
Inside the barn, only the very middle ground in the large main area didn’t have a heavy dusting a snow. The girl ignored this and took a sharp turn into the stable area that was like a small hallway off one side of the barn. There was no wall opposite of the stable rooms, so snow was being blown straight into them. Only one of the stables was occupied.
The girl ran for the small chain that latched the stable door to a wooden post to keep it shut and tried to unclip it. Her hands were too cold and her fingers too thick with more than one pair of gloves on to get the job done. With the wind at her back, she pulled two pairs of gloves from her right hand using her teeth and yanked the chain away from the post.
A small, young horse was curled up on the ground at the back of the stable shivering. The girl, whose embroidered coat sleeve read Macy, hurried to her and threw her arms around the horse’s neck. The horse buried it’s snout into Macy’s side.
Macy pulled a large horse blanket out from under her coat and threw it over the horse’s back. She clipped a lead rope that had been hanging over the side of the stall onto Macy’s bridal.
“We’re going someplace warmer,” Macy whispered into the horse’s quivering ear. She stood up and tugged gently at the lead. “C’mon, Terra,” she said when the horse made no move to get up. It took several minutes of coaxing before Macy was finally able to bring Terra to her feet.
Getting the horse to leave the small comfort of the barn was proving to be even more difficult. At the large open doorway, Terra stomped her feet and huffed as Macy tried to pull her outside. The blanket shifted on her back, and Terra reached her head back to nudge it back into place, a trick Macy had taught her just a few weeks before in the anticipation of a harsh winter.
Macy took the opportunity to tug forcefully on the lead, causing Terra to stumble out into the wind. Terra whinnied in surprised protest and tried to back into the barn. The determined girl pulled harder on the rope and the horse stumbled a few more feet. Giving in, and desperate to find another shelter for both her and the girl, Terra took on a fast pace forward.
Following the rut in the snow she had made in her first trip, Macy matched her horse’s speed beside her. Terra was confused when Macy led her onto the back porch. She held a finger to her lips as she pushed open the door to the kitchen. The horse was unfamiliar with stairs, and Macy had to guide her hooves up the five steps.
The carpeted kitchen floor did little to give them away as Macy shut the door and began to peel off her layers. She let them fall onto the rug and left her shoes there as well. Macy took Terra’s lead into her hands and pulled the nervous horse across the living room and into her bedroom. She shut the door as the last of Terra’s tail made it inside.
“Down,” Macy said, pointing at the floor. Terra flicked her ears. “Down,” she repeated, sitting herself on the floor. Terra, always one to learn from example, bent her knees and sank gracefully to the floor.
“Good,” Macy praised, getting up and rubbing a hand along the horse’s belly affectionately. She quickly changed into warmer pajamas and climbed into bed. With a hand draped over the side of her bed and resting between the horse’s ears, she fell asleep.
It wasn’t until late the next morning, after a panicked search of the barn and the woods around it, that Mr. and Mrs. Henderson discovered the horse dozing in their daughter’s bedroom.