Maria took her cell phone out of her blazer pocket and called
Wraithmire. She walked down the barn
runway toward the house which clicked her into voicemail after three rings. She dialed again as she stepped out of the
rear door. At the same time she noticed
another one-story building with a drive in door and shed roof that was completely hidden from the front
of the barn. Dixon
She heard a ring she recognized as a cell phone tune. Somebody had to be in that building. Maybe
. She geared up to give him a piece of her
From the continued fragrance of horse, this was a separated stall area, which could only mean the stud barn. No breeder in the world would keep breeding stallions in amongst mares. When mares came into heat, studs could lose their minds and tear down walls. Could hurt mares, damage themselves, waste their extremely valuable championship sperm. Stud fees ran into thousands of dollars. Sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Maria slid the drive-in door open enough to see an entirely black interior. A horse began thrashing, whinnying. She pulled the big doors wide open and hurried to the noise.
A blue black sixteen hand Tennessee Walker in all his magnificence, towered over her, his head thrown up, white scelera around his black eyes exposed in panic. Or passion? He kicked the stall door, which had a two-by six wooden lower half. The top was jail bars. He snuffled toward her, neck arched, ready for war, then snorted. Reared, kicked at the walls, which Maria noticed were padded with rubber cushions somebody had been nibbling on. "Mr. Ambling Man" was posted over his door.
She scanned the barn for anything edible, hoping to calm him. Seeing the lightswitch, she hurried to flick it up.
Donna walked calmly into the barn with a huge handful of green grass. “I picked this just for you, my man,” she said to the horse as she offered it over. “I could hear the commotion from next door.”
Maria breathed in, grateful somebody was there to help who knew what she was doing, and proceeded to the next stalls. Two doors down, another horse, “Silver Strutter,” posted over his stall door, was hunched under a blanket at the back of a stall with his head stuck into the corner, nose down. Horses always ran to see what was going on when somebody entered a barn, so Maria dreaded whatever might be wrong with Silver Strutter. She mashed her face up to the bars to see better inside. The edge of a human leg wearing a western boot and denim jeans was visible. She ran through the barn looking for a feed room and found one locked. Another room held tack and thankfully somebody had left a bag of oats in the corner with a coffee can inside. She grabbed a beat up wash tub and poured in some oats then hurried back to Silver Strutter’s stall to attract his attention, hoping to not get killed when she stepped inside. “Donna, call 911, there’s a person down in this stall.”
“God save us,” Donna said and pulled out her cell phone as she patted the nose ofMr. Ambling Man.
“There’s some oats in the tack room,” Maria told Donna, who nodded her head as she walked past Maria.
She cautiously opened the stall door and shook the pan of oats toward the stallion. He finally turned his head to look at her and snuffled. He was not impressed, but moved around to face her as he approached the pan. He didn’t look like a killer horse when he stuck his head in and lipped the oats. She counted herself lucky he wore a halter so she didn’t have to put one on him.
“I don’t think we should take him out of the stall,” she said to her new best friend Donna as she neared after the tedious call to 911.
“It might get a little crowded in there with a killer horse a hurt man and you. “Cause I’m not going inside with him.”
“Okay, then we’ve got to take him out. We’ll move him to the next stall down. That way maybe if Mr. Ambling Man doesn’t see him, he won’t get more upset. She clipped a lead from the outside stall hook onto Silver Strutter’s halter and opened the door the rest of the way. Donna moved down to the next stall and opened the door after pouring more oats into the pan Maria still held up to the horse.
When she had lured the horse into the new stall, Maria ran back to the stall with the man. Donna, already there, said, “looks like Killer Strutter stomped this guy to death.”