Frosty | By: Delila Melsie | | Category: Short Story - Adventure Bookmark and Share


The Story of a Girl and her Horse

A mourning dove hummed, piercing the cold, crisp winter air, signaling that the day had begun. Glenn padded on four feet through the cat door, her fluffy tail swaying. The annoying squirrels in the attic had awoken, for Glenn could hear them scratching and gnawing with their awful teeth. She slinked into Maggie’s room, eager to be petted.
Out in the barn, Frosty swished her tail and groaned, hoping that Maggie would wake and put some fresh hay in her food slot. Snow was falling, and Frosty was becoming colder as well as hungrier while the season of winter progressed. She began to depend on morning rides with Maggie more and more to warm her up. As a horse, Frosty couldn’t very well just crawl into bed like humans could when cold nights came along.
Inside the house, Maggie was silently pulling up her riding pants. She loved going out on morning rides with Frosty, her white, purebred horse. Her parents, Steph and Stephen (she loved how her mother’s name fit into her father’s name), had paid big bucks for the horse, though Maggie couldn’t understand how someone could put a price on such a beautiful animal, and they were always happy when Maggie rode her. Now, pulling on her black riding helmet, Maggie remembered the day when Frosty had first arrived at her house...Maggie had been so happy, as she had been begging for a horse since kindergarten, and her wish had finally come true.
Maggie tiptoed down the steps so that she wouldn’t wake her parents, carefully avoiding the creaky tenth step. At the bottom, she turned and steered herself into the kitchen. Hastily, she grabbed a breakfast bar from the snack cupboard and opened the plastic wrapping. Her socks slid as she ran across the tile floor and into the mud room. Steadying herself as she chewed her bar, Maggie reached for her favorite red coat. It was supplied with Maggie’s favorite pink sticky-notes, the kind with extra-sticky backings. She kept them there for emergencies, just in case she got lost in the woods behind her house while riding and needed some way to mark the trees she passed. Maggie grabbed her black riding gloves and pulled on her riding boots. She might be cold, but it was worth it to ride Frosty. Opening the mud room door, Maggie slipped out into the fresh December morning, happy and unaware of what was about to happen.
Thu-Thump. Thu-Thump. Thu-Thump. Thu-Thump. Thu-Thump. Frosty’s hoof beats sounded like music to Maggie’s ears. The cold air was biting into her flesh, but as long as she was riding, she felt warm inside. Maggie bent down, clutching Frosty’s mane as she trotted along the path. The mane was sweet-smelling because Maggie always washed it with shampoo that smelled like honeysuckle. It was a great smell, Maggie thought, and she loved it even more because it was on her horse. Underneath Frosty’s hooves, the snow was mixed into slush, which then sprayed up onto Maggie’s legs. Ahead, the bend in the path was outlined by tall trees that were so tall it hurt her eyes to look at the tops of them. The path was beautiful, cutting through all the best spots of the woods. The sun and clouds were not yet visible, daylight not yet there.
Maggie let her thoughts wander. Frosty knew the path well enough that she could follow it on her own, without a rider guiding her. Maggie thought about school, the dreaded place that Maggie, and almost everyone Maggie knew, disliked. Ms. Clifton was no fun, and Mrs. McWilliams wasn’t much better. The only thing in school that Maggie enjoyed was Art class. Mr. Docking was really into what he was teaching, while Maggie’s other teachers talked in a flat voice with no expression.
A deer darted across the path, cutting Maggie off from her thoughts on school.
“Whoa! Slow down, girl!” Maggie said, begging for Frosty to stop. Maggie peered into the woods, searching for the deer. Yes, there it was! A single brown deer, barely visible. Without thinking, Maggie led Frosty into the woods, encouraging Frosty to go faster and faster. They were now pretty far into the woods, at the part where the trees were densely packed. Still, Frosty wove through, trying to live up to the speed that her rider was expecting. Maggie felt the chilly air in her coat and a shiver went down her spine. This was not a good feeling. Maggie felt that she had a sixth sense for when something bad was about to happen, and a shiver was a sure warning. She gulped, and slowed Frosty down to a halt. I shouldn’t have done that, Maggie now thought. I strayed off the path to catch a deer, and meanwhile, Frosty’s tripping over roots and I’m losing the path. Maggie sighed. Turning Frosty around, Maggie searched for the path. She led Frosty back in the direction they had come from, expecting to see it. No path. Maggie turned Frosty a full three-hundred-sixty-degrees, still not seeing the path. Worried, Maggie squeezed Frosty, making her walk. Yes, her feelings had been right. Maggie was lost.
Maybe not, Maggie thought with hope. There’s a chance... Maggie tugged at Frosty, making her turn around again. Frosty started to walk, and then - thud. Frosty collapsed, her front legs buckling. Maggie started to fall, yelping as she went down. Frosty was breathing heavily, tossing her head. Oh no, Maggie thought. Not this. She groaned, as her leg was hurt, too. I’m lost, Frosty and I are hurt, and I’m freezing in this weather. Maggie inspected Frosty’s leg. She must’ve twisted it, Maggie thought. She looked at their surroundings. Trees confronted her, and leaves carpeted the ground underneath a thin layer of snow. Okay. What should I do? Build a shelter, of course. But help Frosty first. Now. To start. Make a bandage... Maggie ripped up her shirt, which was difficult. Carefully, she wrapped it around Frosty’s leg. Now, to make a shelter...Maggie started gathering sticks.
The shelter was complete. It was rough, but it could protect her from a little wind. Frosty was covered with leaves. Not great, but it was the best Maggie could do. Now tired, Maggie crawled into her tipi. Her coat would be her bed, but at least it was something. Maggie settled in, resting her head and closing her eyes. She was absolutely starving, as it had been hours since she had eaten the breakfast bar that morning, but of course she hadn’t packed any food. Maggie got back up, forcing herself to go out and look for food. Frosty was probably ravenous, like her. Now would be the time to use those stickies, she thought.
Maggie was still searching for something to eat, putting her stickies on the trees she passed. Maggie was getting scared, afraid someone would come out and grab her. It’s okay, Maggie. It’s okay. But it wasn’t okay. Everything was going wrong. The stickies wouldn’t be of much use now, because it was getting darker, so dark it was hard to see them. Maggie was lost. Frosty was hurt. Her parents would be wringing their hands like mad, and Maggie was hungry, tired, and scared. Just keep going, Maggie told herself. Keep going.
And there they were, her answer: blueberries. Maggie had found them; a whole bush of big, ripe, juicy blueberries. They looked delicious and lip-smacking, and Maggie was incredibly proud that she had found them. She ate and ate and ate, making sure to bring some back for Frosty. A particularly big one grabbed Maggie’s attention. She reached for it, popping it in her mouth. Rustle. Maggie froze as she heard the sound again. A bear. Maggie ran blindly, trying to avoid the trees and get away even though she knew she couldn’t escape. The ground was flying. Maggie ran, and then remembered the pink stickies. She scanned the area for them. There, ahead! She sprinted towards it, running, running. The shelter; it was still there! Maggie ran for her life, not stopping once until she finally scrambled into the opening. Her heart was beating loudly, pounding in her ears. She collapsed onto the ground, panting and still listening for any sounds of the bear, but she heard none. Maggie shut her eyes and rolled over, too tired to move, not believing that she had actually escaped. Within five minutes, she had fallen asleep.
A sound awoke Maggie. BANG! Then a rustling. Heavy footsteps. The bear? Maggie thought, remembering the previous night. She panicked, looking for a place to hide.
“Hello? Anybody in there?” A man’s voice found its way into Maggie’s head. Relieved, Maggie looked around. The opening of the tipi was blocked by someone’s pudgy legs. Behind him, light was shining in the trees. It’s morning. How did I ever get to sleep? Is Frosty okay? I wonder what my parents are thinking. Questions were pouring through Maggie’s brain, eager to be answered. Maggie groaned.
“Hello. You need help?” The man’s voice was soft, gentle. He looked into the tipi. Scratching his beard, he stared at Maggie while looking confused and awkward. He had a strange accent that Maggie couldn’t place.
“Would you be...lost?” he asked. Maggie nodded, realizing that the man was here to help. He spoke again, beaming. “Well, I can get you home. My name’s Jack. Come here, don’t be scared. Now what would your name be?”
“Maggie. My name’s Maggie.”
“Oh. Well, that’s a fine name. Maggie. Come on out here. Like I said, I’ll get you home.” Maggie crawled out, thankful that the man was here. He smiled. Then his face went stone cold.
“Would this be your horse?” he said gravely. Maggie turned, knowing that Frosty would be there.
“Yes, it...” She stopped. Frosty looked odd. Maggie gasped. There was a tiny hole filled with blood on Frosty’s belly. Maggie looked at Jack, checking his clothes. She stopped at his belt. A rifle dangled from the loop, swaying innocently. She gulped.
“Frosty was my horse. You shot her?” Maggie was horrified. The man had shot her horse and then offered to take her home. She felt like kicking him. You tricked me, she thought. She narrowed her eyes and stared at his face. He had once looked kind, but now...
“I’ll pay your family for him, I’ve got-” Maggie stared harder, trying to pierce him with her stare. He looked away. Maggie gulped.
“Frosty was priceless.” Again, the man replied, shaking.
“I thought she was a deer. She was standing up, limping, so I thought she would be easy to...I’m sorry.” The man sniffed, crying. She could see that he was sorry, but still...Frosty was now dead! Maggie started to cry. The horse she had loved for so long was gone from her life, would never again breathe on Maggie’s cheek whenever she came close enough.
“I’ll take you home,” the man said quietly. Silently nodding through her tears, Maggie started to walk. She looked back to where Frosty was, a poor animal out in the open. Going back, she covered Frosty once more with leaves. She pulled out the sticky-notes from her pocket, marking the trees they passed as they made their way slowly home.
Maggie opened her front door, her cheeks still wet with tears. Frosty no longer walked by her, leaving only an eerie sense of her absence. Jack walked a few steps behind her, watching as she opened the door. She looked down, another tear falling from her cheek. Jack still stood, quiet.
“I’m sorry,” he said again. Maggie nodded. In a way, she forgave him, but the shock of Frosty dying still overwhelmed her. Meanwhile, the world remained quiet and calm, holding its breath... But somewhere in the distance, a mourning dove called, sorry for Maggie’s loss.

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