Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A short story

A short story
Originally uploaded by Alice Wood
Found this in my sketchbook. I'd forgotten about it. Hopefully I'll find something else really useful in a bit, like a complete 32 page picture book all ready to go...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Friend in Need pt4

A Friend in Need pt4
Originally uploaded by Alice Wood
Parts 1 and 2 of this story were published in Horse + Pony magazine before it ended publication with the August issue. Sue has kindly allowed me to post the rest of the story along with the final two illustrations...

Part Four

Jess got up slowly. She was drenched, her pony had disappeared into the storm and she couldn’t see Mrs Feather anywhere. She began to walk, hoping that Otter would have stopped to graze, but as she went on and on, there was no sign of him. The rain stopped as suddenly as it had begun, but even though Jess could now see where she was going, she still couldn’t see anybody else around. They had all disappeared and she had no idea where she was.

Gemma was feeling quite pleased with herself, because she had managed to stay on her pony during the storm. The new boots had helped, so did the sticky seat jodhpurs she’d recently bought. When the rain had hit them, Pip had turned so suddenly that without all these extra aids, and a good firm grip on the neckstrap, she would have been off, and there was no-one to help her get back on. She was not, however, looking forward to going back and facing her parents and Mrs Feather. She knew she would get the most awful telling-off and no doubt a punishment of some kind. It would probably be no riding, although she hoped that wouldn’t last for long, especially as the doctor had said how much good it was doing her. She had just turned towards home, when her racing thoughts were interrupted by a brown pony cantering towards her.
“Otter!” she cried, recognising the pony whose stable was next to Pip’s. Pip recognised him too and neighed a welcome. Otter was relieved to find a friend and as he nuzzled Pip, Gemma was able to reach his reins and catch him. “Did Jess ride you?” Gemma wondered. “Where is she now then?” She decided to follow Otter’s backtrail in the hope of meeting up with Jess. “I hope she hasn’t hurt herself coming off,” Gemma said out loud. “I shall never forgive myself if she has…”

Jess was never more relieved than when she caught sight of the two ponies heading her way, Gemma beaming with delight at finding her friend unhurt. They decided it would be better to go straight back to the stables than to search the moor for Mrs Feather. She could have been anywhere, both of them were wet through and the ponies had had enough.

As they rode back, Gemma & Jess talked. Jess understood that Gemma had gone on the spur of the moment, and didn’t feel upset.
“Just think of what you could do,” she said to Gemma. “Look at Lee Pearson –he’s won about ten gold medals at the Paralympic dressage.”
“When I get older I might be able to have an assistance dog too, then I could really be independent,” said Gemma, dreaming of a bright future.
Gemma grew quieter as they neared the stables; she was right to be apprehensive. Her parents were furious with her for disappearing like that and there was a huge row as they told her exactly what they thought of her. Mrs Feather was tight lipped, she had been through a lot that afternoon, and felt absolutely worn out.

Jess left them to it, and went to rub down the ponies and give them some hay, then she made everyone a cup of tea, hoping that by now the atmosphere had calmed down a bit. Gemma’s mum was just winding down, but at the sight of Jess’ bedraggled hair, she started off again.
“And look at poor Jess!” she shouted. “Bad enough that you worried us sick, but Jess had to go out in that awful storm to rescue you.” Jess couldn’t help herself, she started to laugh. “I don’t see what’s so funny…” Gemma’s mum began to say, but then Gemma caught the giggles too and they were both off.
“I’m sorry, Mrs Morgan,” Jess said, when she could speak again, “but you know, you have got it the wrong way round. It was Gemma who rescued me!”
“So you see, Mum, I can do things on my own,” said Gemma. “only, it would be more fun if Jess could come with me next time.”
“Huh!” snorted Mrs Feather, sounding just like one of her horses. “Jess will have to have some lunge lessons first. Coming off like that when your pony shied – you need to work on improving your seat!”
Jess and Gemma smiled. Riding lessons, a good friend to ride with, and big dreams for the future – they both felt that they had everything they wanted.