Chapter 6

Instincts telling me to struggle, my eyes showing that what was around me showed no danger. Was it a trap? Was I safe? My heart beat slowly and hard in my chest as I followed the horse in front. My eyes blurred from the heat and I let my gaze drop to the ground, which was getting softer under my hooves.

The horse in front smelt odd. He wasn't a mare, I was sure of it, but he didn't bare the strong scent of a stallion that let me tell appart my father from the rest of the herd. He also rank of human, but he looked healthy, and his coat pulled tight over his body. I stared awkwardly behind at myself, at my ribs pulling at my dirtied pelt.

"That'ta girl," The human said softly, tugging the rope a little to get me to walk along. I wasn't in the mood to refuse.

Another horse loped on my other side, on springy, untidy legs. It was a colt, like me, but I knew instantly that how my neck ached to look into his eyes, that he was older than me.

Suddenly the world started to lean sideways, and I was tugged up the slope. I whinnied as the scabs over my knees crackled, and I staggered to get a grip back on the soil. The two horses leapt it with ease. I stared at them with misted vision, blood crawling down my legs.

I walked slowly as we continued, taking a deep breath. There was a scent. I recognised it. Water! Fresh, glorious water! I began to spin around, tugging on the rope and flaring my nostrils. It tightened against the throat so I bolted forward into one of the horses, making him rear. I skid under him so his hooves came down on the rop then- Snap!

I charged with all the senses roaring towards the water, skidding a few metres past where we had made the first turn. My eyes traced the strange set up. My throat screamed for me to drink, but I pulled my head back and stared. The water churned softly, nothing like the rushing river I'd heard of. Instead it leaned out into a round lake, and a grey wall ended the jagged, muddy path of the river bed we'd walked, restraining the bulk of water.

I needed to find my family! The water was here: they were going the wrong way. I swooped down and took a gulp of water and turned, about to race with a new ignited energy, just to look up into the colt's face. He blew into my eyes and another lasso went flying around my neck, pulling fast. I flattened my ears down and looked away. From the look in the eyes of both human and horse, I knew that this time, I'd wasted my chance to be free.

The End

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