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It was a fine Sunday morning: the wind was blowing gently, caressing the little girl’s cheek as a mother would to calm the silent tears. The sun was a source of warmth in the slightly biting air, and the birds were chirping their merry tune. The little eight year old girl was excited; her mother would be riding Morningstar in the famous Widdowfield Race Horse Challenge today, and Amy, the little girl, just knew her mother would win the race today. Amy’s thoughts were interrupted when she saw her mother. Her mother was beautiful: she had blue eyes with purple flecks decorating the outer edges of her pupil to complement the cream color of her soft, velvety skin. She had one odd moon shaped freckle right below the left eye, and her nose was curved naturally upwards. However, the most beautiful part of her mother was her always ready smile. That smile was the first thing Amy looked for, that smile sat with her through her most difficult and joyful times, that smile was the happy ending to her day when her mother kissed her good night. And, it was that smile that greeted her, “What time is it?” Amy’s mother asked. Amy smiled and answered with a giggle.
“It’s hugs and kisses time, Momma!!”
As her mother bent down to cover her with many wet but tender kisses, Amy giggled and shrieked with the innocent joy of any happy child. After, Amy’s mother set her down and waved her off to the stands as she swung herself on Stardust.
Five minutes later, Amy stood in the stands gazing over the track with reverence. I want to be just like Momma; I want to be a … Screeeech. Interrupting her thoughts, the shrill cry of the horn reverberated throughout the dome signifying the race to begin.
In the last lap, Amy’s mother and Morningstar were neck to neck with #17 until he rammed his horse into Morningstar causing her to lose her footing. Consequently, a sudden hush fell over the crowd until Morningstar regained her footing and began to race her way to the beginning of the line. Amy’s mother lifted herself off the saddle and leaned forward to help Morningstar gain maximum speed. Finally, after inching their way forward to the beginning of the line, they reached #17 where he was struggling to stay ahead. Surprised, #17 jerked upon his horse’s rein causing his horse to sidestep to the outside of the line putting Amy’s mother and Morningstar between the railing and him. Amy’s mother realizing his intent looked towards with Amy with a strained smile and mouthed I love you. Suddenly, nearing the finish line, #17, again, rammed his horse into Morningstar causing her to trip over the railing crushing her rider. Thus, silence pervaded every corner of the dome. After what felt like hours to Amy, Morningstar picked herself off her rider and ran towards the stable producing a sigh of relief and some cheers from the crowd. However, Amy’s mother never moved. Then, silent desperation and cold fear overcame Amy and the crowd. Amy looked to her side for he father, but he was running towards her mother. When he reached her mother and touched her lifeless figure, he released the most distressing and heartrending cry directed to the heavens. And, Amy fell into blackness.
At this, Amy awoke from her dream with shuddered gasps and silent tears running down her face wetting her pillow.
After the traumatic dream, Amy could not fall back to sleep. Instead, she laid her head on her pillows and studied the stars remembering the death of her mother. Soon, the stars disappeared, and the sun colored the heavens pink and orange. At the first light, her father knocked timidly on her door and walked into her room balancing a cake while singing “Happy Birthday.” As the song ended, Amy’s father kissed her and whispered, “Happy 18th Birthday, honey! Now, make a wish.”
Tears threatened to fall as she thanked her father and blew out the candles making sure she made a wish, I wish to race in the Widdowfield Race Horse Challenge.
Realizing Morningstar was waiting for her in the stables, Amy hurried got dressed and headed to the stables. When she stepped outside, she pulled on her mother’s jean jacket while breathing in the scents of the cool crisp air of Ten Cup, Colorado. There was a mixture of wet grass, pine, budding flowers, and horses. JD Ranch was Amy’s favorite place in the world; it had 50 acres of lush green grass with a pond bordering the western side, 15 acres of woods, which created a natural border between the Loveland Pass and the ranch; and a stable that stood about a length of 75 persons from her house. As she admired the views of the blue topped mountains from her house, she spotted something out of place. When she peered closer, she became breathless. Standing in front of the stable shoveling hay was the most gorgeous guy ever. Rob Curtis, her mind screamed. Rob Curtis was six feet tall with a strong, gaited walk similar to John Wayne. Every time he bent over to shovel another pile of hay into the stable, his chiseled body and large, callused, farmer’s hand would tense with exertion; and his wavy, dark black hair would tumbled over his eyes. All in all, Rob Curtis was too perfect to be real. As Amy stood with one foot in the door and the other foot outside the door with her mouth opening and closing similar to a fish trying to get some oxygen. In the distance, her father yelled, “Amy, don’t forget to re shoe Morningstar.”
Hearing her father, Amy started towards the stable but stopped when she noticed Rob staring at her with steady hazel eyes that she could fall forever in as he leaned against the shovel resting his chin on his hands. Realizing she was staring at him, Amy felt the blood rush to her face, blurted out a hello, and half ran and half walked to the stables, her only form of escape.
Upon entering the stables, the scent of fresh hay, oats, leather polish, and manure greeted Amy causing her to forget her senseless blubbering outside. Fresh yellow hay muffled the sounds of her footsteps as she walked across the stable to Morningstar’s stall. The stall was painted dark green decorated with silver stars, half moons, and a full sun, all of which when read together created her name: Una Fichie (stars of dawn / Morningstar). When Amy entered the Morningstar’s stall, Morningstar sauntered over to her and nudged her pockets searching for treats. Chuckling, Amy took the sugar cubes out of her pockets and offered them to Morningstar, “You are going to get chubby from all these treats!”
Disagreeing, Morningstar snickered and shook her head. Smiling with amusement, Amy saddled Morningstar up and guided her out of the sables. As soon, they stepped out of the refines of the stable, Amy nudged Morningstar, and Morningstar galloped towards freedom.
“Amy, don’t forget to re-shoe Morningstar.”
Interrupted, Rob paused and looked up to see a girl his age looking at him as if he was an artifact on a archeological dig. This girl was a medium, and she had long dark brown-black hair braided down her back. She, also, had high cheekbones, a nose slightly turned upwards, and lips that tipped up in the right corner as if she would smile at any moment. The most striking feature was her eyes; she had Betty Davis’s eyes, big, brown, and almond shaped eyes. That must be Amy, he thought. When he rested his chin on his hands and peered closer, Amy blushed slightly, blurted out a hello, and half walked and half ran to the stables. Ten minutes later, Amy emerged atop a horse and galloped towards the pass leaving Rob to stare after her with amusement.
“Tisk - Tisk. Did you hear that #14 got disqualified from the horse race.”
“Oh my!! What did he do?”
“Well, I heard that he gave his horse daily steroid shots.”
Gasps. “I can’t believe that!!” “I heard that …” “Where did the old days …”
Amy overheard the ladies’ gossip and shook her head, Rich people’s gossip is never good. “Morningstar, all ways avoid people like them,” Amy announced nodding her head in the ladies’ direction.
In the background, Amy continued to listen to the excited buzz of the crowd around her.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven…”
“Where is my whip? I need my whip!!!”
“Hundred dollars!! Anyone want to go two hundred??”
So this is what the Widdowfeild Race Horse Challenge is like, Amy thought. It’s not like the old days. The old days didn’t have bets and caviar; in the old days, people came here to watch the race. All this is is rich folks getting together over Champaign and caviar.
The sound of Mr. Hewitt’s, the owner and announcer of Widdowfeild, interrupted Amy’s train of thoughts, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our nine time winner, Robert and Victor of All.”
Cheers and whistles drowned out the rest of Hewitt’s announcement as Victor of All trotted onto the track carrying Robert, who was sporting a bright green jumpsuit with knee high white boots. Hmm … he looks awfully familiar. And as if Morningstar could understand Amy, she shook her head up and down. Amused with Morningstar’s acute understanding of her , she peered at Robert , closer. As she studied him recognition began to dawn on her. # 17. He’s my mother’s killer.
Shaken with fury that he would dare show his face at the track, she whispered quietly to Morningstar, “We’re going to take away the thing that means most to him: his crown.”
“Okay, folks settle down and racers get to your starting positions,” Mr. Hewitt announced. I can do this; I can win. I must win.
As Robert mounted Victor of All and took his starting position, Amy calmly followed suit. Amidst unfathomable tension, the opening shot was fired. As the sound echoed off the mountains, Amy leaned forward on Morningstar and pressed her heels into Morningstar’s flanks. Understanding the message, Morningstar burst forth from the start and continued to inch her way to the front of the line until she reached Victor of All. For four laps they were tailing Victor until Amy lifted her weight off the saddle and leaned forward until her head was level with her eyes causing her to pick up speed. As she became neck and neck with Victor, Robert pulled the reins taunt putting Amy between the railing and him. Morningstar recognizing the danger began to slow down and resume tailing Victor. Then, as they rounded the final turn, Amy applied more pressure to Morningstar’s flanks and once again lifted her weight off the saddle, and Morningstar gathered her strength and sped forward, closing the distance between her and Victor.
Oh my gosh!! We’re winning. Amy thought. With this thought ringing in her head she leaned forward one last time and watched with satisfaction as Robert realized his defeat.
“ And the winner is …. Amy Daniels and her horse, Morningstar!!!”
Amid the crowds uproar, an angry Robert dismounted his horse. The tall and wiry Robert was shaking with anger as he shouted many invectives against Amy. However, his rant was short lived; the securities drug him off as if they were taking him to the gallows.
Shaken by Robert’s open outburst, Amy slid off Morningstar and offered her some sugar cubes. Delighted by this unexpected treat, Morningstar nibbled
Amy’s fingers in excitement. Shrieking in surprise, Amy pulled her fingers away before Morningstar would chomp them up mistaking them for sugar cubes.
As Morningstar continued her futile search for sugar cubes, Amy began to brush her down. “Hmm… Wow! I never actually thought I could win this race but I did it .. We did it. The only thing left to do is to tell dad. Ugh, dad is not going to be happy with me.” Remembering her last conversation with her father, she shivered with anxiety.
“Dad, why can’t I race tomorrow? It’s important!”
“Amy, you will not race. Don’t you remember what happened to your mother?”
“Yes, father, I do,” whispered Amy. “But race is my dream. I need to do it, dad. Please understand.”
“No! That’s the final word on this subject,” Amy’s father yelled as he stomped out of her room slamming the door.
Amy flinched as she remembered the pain in her father’s eyes. “Una Fitchie, I’m scared. Father will be so disappointed.” In response Morningstar nudged Amy’s shoulder. “Amy Daniels!” Amy jumped fearing her father was behind her. As she turned around, the most beautiful creature greeted her eyes. Rob!! her mind screamed.
“My names Rob, Rob Curtis.”
Swallowing a squeak, Amy nodded her head and answered ,”Amy.”
“Congrats on winning the race are you heading home?”
“Soon .. Umm… I’m just taking my time; enjoying the weather,” Amy lied without success. Realizing she was hiding something, Rob asked, “Where’s your father?” He knew he hit the mark when she blushed a furious red. Choking back the truth, Amy replied, “ He’s getting the truck.” Cocking his head to one side, Rob answered with a smile, “Oh, he told me he was running to the mountain to herd up the cows.”
Uh Oh, he knows. “Um … Actually -- hehe -- I came here against my father’s wishes, and ‘m deciding on whether I should go home or not.”
“I see. Would you like a ride home? I have a trailer hooked up, so you won’t have to leave Morningstar behind,” Rob offered hoping Amy would accept his offer.
Smiling, Amy accepted. This might not be so bad, Amy thought heading towards his car walking towards the future without fear.