Disclaimer: Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a horse belongs to Anna Sewell and I am not making any profit with my fan fiction.
Horses speak softly to me
Summary: Based on Sewell's Black Beauty, Winifred Gordon is a 16-year old girl who has the gift of speaking to horses living in the 1800's living the tragedy of her mother's sickness, her arranged marriage, her friendship with Ginger and her love for a young stable boy…
[Black Beauty - Sick : watch?v=IrpfBULP33k]
It was a quiet morning. A month had passed since the terrible news came of Alfred's passing. As Winifred sipped her tea, she observed her family. The light that was once there gone, it even felt like her mother had given up as she had not gone to the doctor or taken any of Senaida's medical teas. Even her fiery sister Flora started to feel the absence of her older brother.
Suddenly the sounds of footsteps broke the silence as the footman walked in. "Squire Gordon, you are needed at the door." He hesitated some. "Mistress, I suggest you join him."
Winifred's mother looked up at her husband as her two eyebrows almost came together in confusion.
The squire wiped his mouth with the handkerchief before getting off his seat. "Children stay here." He took his wife's hand and followed the footman.
"The bloody hell we are staying here." Flora said as she quickly wiped her mouth ready to follow them once they were of some distance.
"Flora! Your language!" Winifred was getting tired of correcting her sister. She felt at times that she did it to be a nuisance. "I… Did you not hear father?"
"I heard him perfectly. He said children. That leaves Jessie and you depending on your mood this morning." She stood up and ignored Jessica who was sticking her tongue out at her sister.
Without another word, Flora walked out of the dining room. Winifred sighed. She did get a bad feeling from the news. She stood up and before leaving, she extended her hand out. "Well are you coming?" Jessica did not need to be asked twice as she hopped off her seat and raced to her sister, took her hand and followed her to the entrance of the house.
"Just because you are the magistrate, does not mean you have the right to take the laws in your own hands!"
"I really do not know what you mean Mr. Clay."
"The tiny home I have out which I rent out to the family. Remember how you mentioned that it was under dangerous conditions! Do not dare say it is not true when I and the other men heard you."
"Well it is! I would not even have my horses living under such conditions and they are my animals! Let alone a family with children."
"Right, but that did not mean you had to go off and burn it down! If that family wanted to live there, that was there business but now, they have nothing!"
The Mistress gripped her husband's arm. "Mr. Clay, clearly you are mistaken. My husband would never do such a thing as leave a family without a home no matter how he is against the situation; he would do the things the correct way."
"Madame, the problem is far worst than just the little cottage. See, since it way out in the back it also burned down part of where I make my bricks."
"But…brick does not burn, even I know that." Flora whispered.
Gordon turned back giving his daughter a cold look to which she looked down at her shoes.
"Had I had my workers there at night making a speedy order, why you would be in far more trouble then an arson charge, Squire."
"Please Mister Clay, there must be a logical explanation for all this. My husband is not an arsonist."
"There are witnesses Mistress." Clay looked at Gordon rather coldly. "They saw Gordon ride up there with his horse and putting oil and setting it on fire! My cottage and my brick house. You may be the magistrate but you will stand trial. I will not stand for this and you will be behind bars Squire." He turned behind him and it was for the first time Winifred acknowledged there were other people besides Mr. Clay all in uniform.
"These gentlemen here will do some investigation in the estate."
[Black Beauty - End Credits: watch?v=v5PYo8Zk3-I]
Flora turned to Winifred. "You think he did it?"
"Absolutely not, do you?"
"No but I wondered if you did."
The girls were at the sitting room as the adults followed the police around as they investigated the estate.
Flora rolled her eyes as she leaned her chin on her palm. "Father is far too square to do something like that…Alfred on the other hand, I would not have doubted it. He would have done it, come here bragging about and walked away with the police like if he is off to marry Queen Victoria and..and-."
Winifred turned to her sister and was shocked by what she saw. Her sister crying and not just small tears but it was as if someone finally turned the faucets on. She cried bitterly as she covered her face.
Winifred wrapped her arms around her younger sister holding her tightly which made Flora cry louder.
"I miss him Winnie! I miss him so much! Believe me Winnie, I love him. I was just so… I was so angry that I never had the chance to tell him just how much!" She gripped Winifred tightly like a newborn afraid someone would drop him.
Winifred heard soft sniffling and looked up to see Jessica was crying too as the trail of tears went down her cheeks.
"I… I miss him too Winnie!"
Flora looked up at her sister as well who was huddling herself as she tightly closed her eyes. "I miss Alfred!"
"Come here," Winifred said waving her sister over. Jessica raced into Winifred's arms. Winifred consoled her two sisters as they continued apologizing and confessing the pain Winifred had felt when the news came in. "It's going to be alright. He knows you both love him because he loves you too. He always has and always will, no matter where he is." She caressed her sisters' locks as she realized she was now their oldest sibling and was to take care of them as Alfred did even if he was not obvious about it.
At that moment John came in with his wrinkles deeply visible in his face, he looked extremely troubled.
"Sir John, what happened?" Winifred held her sisters tightly ready to hear the worst.
"They found a barrel of oil in the stables hidden in the hay and oil in the saddle."
"A barrel of oil, do the police believe it was him?"
"The barrel was empty."
"Has father no alibi? I mean did you or Joe see my father come in at night or leave?"
"We saw him go and he told us not to wait for him. He had received letter from a friend who said it was extremely urgent to speak to him and wanted the squire to visit him."
"So father does have an alibi!" She gave a relieving smile.
John did not share her excitement. "Not quite... the man denies the visit, just accepts he sent out the letter."
Winifred's eyebrows almost came together as she gave John a cloudy gaze. "This does not seem right."
"I need to get back. They are still checking the stables. I just came here to get something for the squire."
Once John was gone, Winifred tapped her sisters' back. "Flora, watch over Jessica. I need to check something." She stood up and headed towards the stables.
[Black Beauty - Bye Jerry/Hard Times : watch?v=xGdnJR452rA]
Winifred found Joe leaning against one of the horse's boxes as he was chatting with Beauty who had his head stuck out. Jogging up to him, she gave out a voice that gave a tone of worry and relieve all at once. "Joe."
"Winnie." Joe gave her a small smile.
"I need to ask you…" Her voice trailed off as she saw over his shoulder her father with the men with uniform and Mr. Clay walking off. What intrigued her was that her father was the only one walking on foot.
"Hold on Joe." She said maintaining her gaze at the men. "Fetch a horse for father. Please."
She raced up to her father. "Father, what is going on? Where are you going? Why are you on your feet with these men and not on horseback?"
The squire turned to his eldest daughter. Use to her heated nature, he gave her a reassuring smile. "It's alright Winnie. I am just going to speak to the magistrate in the next town and we will have it all figured out."
"For what? Do they not believe you?" She turned to Mr. Clay. "Mr. Clay, I am disappointed. My father is your friend. He has always done business with you. You know he would never cheat you or be involved in criminal behavior!"
"Winifred." The squire said sternly.
"I have Beauty ready on saddle Squire Gordon." Joe interrupted as he held Beauty by his reins.
"That will not be necessary young boy. He is coming with us." said one of the uniformed men.
"How can you do this?" Winifred spatted out. "I have lost a brother and my father has lost his son. My mother is sick, this house cannot take anymore and now you want father behind bars! How can you be so cold? Father has been nothing but an honest man and the only people that do not believe that are criminals! Now not only are you accusing him of one but treating him like one!" She stormed off as she sobbed loudly.
Winifred turned around and saw Joe and Flora standing. "What is it?"
Flora sat by her sister's side. "Sir John has told Joe that it is not looking good. They are keeping father overnight. Everything points that he did it."
"If he is found guilty, he will be six months in prison and a fine 5,000 Euros and that is just for the arson charges."
Flora leaned on her sister's shoulder. "It's hopeless. It is as if this family is under a curse. I mean did our great-great-great grandfather steal a chicken from someone's barn and the man cursed him and all his descendents?"
"No but mother did say he stole a man's wife."
"Great, now that we know the reason, how about we find a way to break the curse?"
Joe crouched in front of the two sisters balancing on the balls of his feet, amused with a spark in his eye that he had thought of a solution. "We can find the solution for that later. I know a better solution for right now. How about we find a way to prove your father's innocence?"
[Black Beauty - Frolic : watch?v=nMNm_6x-f38]
"How would we do that?"
"Find out who really did it."
Winifred grinned. "We can be detectives like Auguste Dupin."
"Who is that?" Joe said curiously.
"Some fictional character that her and Alfred use to read about." Flora said in a rather bored voice. "Its quite boring book, if anyone ask."
"No it is not." Winifred said offended. "Dupin like us is not a real detective but he does solve crimes. The reason behind it is ambiguous really but that does not matter. We need to be like him who proved the innocence of a man who, like father, was falsely accused. He puts himself in the place of the criminal and-"
"But how can we do that when we do not even know who the criminal is Winnie." Flora said matter-of-factly as she rolled her eyes.
"Well right now the criminal is Mr. Clay." She crossed her arms.
Joe smiled. "Right, I bet no one is there. Everyone is probably in the other town. Come on. I can saddle up your horses." Joe said as he started to get up.
"No Joe," Winifred said as he held his arm down. "If they see you saddling up the horses, they will stop us from leaving. Wait for us by the carriages. I'll make sure the nurse is looking over Jessica and Flora can take care of mother."
"No, I want to come too." Flora crossed her arms. "He's my father too and I am not going to sit back and just wait for news."
Winifred raised an eyebrow. Flora was always so unpredictable. "Very well, then go fetch Senaida to look over mother. Do not give her much detail. Say you feel faint and can not look over her."
Winifred raced to where the carriages were to find Joe. "Thanks so much for keeping us informed through your uncle."
Joe smiled. "I understand how you must feel I care for the squire as well; he has been very good to my uncle and my family. To me as well. In a way he is my unofficial in-law."
Winifred started to feel her face burn. Joe raised his eyebrow looking at her with a warm smile.
He looked over his and Winifred's shoulder. Not seeing Flora within distance, he leaned in quickly to give her a small tap on her lips and then her cheeks before whispering. "I've missed you."
"Me too." She wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace. He buried his face on her neck breathing her in.
Winifred pulled away with her eyebrows almost coming together in curiosity. "How did you even speak to Flora?"
"I found her outside crying by Merrylegs' box. Flora can be quite mean but when you see her cry something makes you want to stop whatever it is that is hurting her."
Winifred gave a smile that silently communicated 'I know the feeling'. "Flora is not a bad person; just… she is so young and wants everything already. She also looks like she would not break a plate so you can not help feeling sorry for her."
Joe nodded. "She is very pretty but I am sure she can break the whole crockery if she wanted to."
"I do not appreciate this talking about me when I am not here." Flora voice rang as she had a slight pout and her arms crossed. The two adolescents turned to her as she gave a small scoff.
"Flora. What took you so long?"
Flora let out a bothered sigh. "Well, I went along with what you said and Senaida decided she wanted to brew me a tea. She practically forced me into bed so I had to dress myself again. I am never taking your advice. I should have just said I had a friend's place to go to."
Feeling that time was wasting, Joe interrupted. "Right, we have to go before they return. Come on." He tapped Flora's shoulder and walked up to Winnie locking his hand with hers as he closed in on her. "Come on."
"I am still here." Flora rang out in a sing-song.
[Black Beauty - Kicking Up A Storm: watch?v=5jwT4EdAfQ8]
The three adolescents raced out before any of the adults had a chance to see them. Walking through the woods Flora was speaking about her upcoming birthday.
"So I do not even know if my parents will be up for celebrating but it is my birthday. I wish father would get me the dress I saw. It is pink with many layers at the skirt and light blue ribbons." Flora locked her hands together having a mental image of her in the dress. "I am so in love with it and I already made the list of the guest I would love to invite. You are invited as well Joe."
"Thank you." Joe said amused and bashful at once.
"I even have in mind the food and…" Flora went on about her plans as Joe and Winifred looked at each other amused.
He squeezed her hand and brushed his thumb on base of her thumb, which sent butterflies to the pit of her stomach.
"I feel I am turning old. I need to find a suitor and my birthday is the perfect-" Flora was instantly interrupted by the sound of a whinny. She spun around. "Is that a horse?"
They turned to see the dark horse racing through the woods towards them at full charge with a loud whinny as he kicked up the dirt as he galloped.
"It's Beauty!" Winifred said shocked the moment she noticed the white star shape on his forehead.
"How did he get out of the stables?"
"Maybe you forgot to lock the boxes because you were to busy sparking with Winifred."
"Flora!" She raced up to the galloping horse. "Beauty! What are you doing here?"
[Black Beauty - Wild Ride/Dream : watch?v=6lERigdOxnQ]
The horse stopped in his tracks startled by Winifred kicked his hoofs up. Winifred was taken aback by Black Beauty's aggressiveness and fell on the floor.
"Winifred!" Joe raced up to her.
"Woo boy what is wrong?"
Beauty squealed and raised his hoofs ready to kick to her. She rolled over on time as she covered herself in fetal position. Beauty noticed Joe racing to Winifred's rescue and charged against him with a loud squeal. With one kick, Joe was pushed back and fell flat on his back. He gripped his chest feeling the air taken out of his lungs.
Beauty jumped over Joe heading towards Flora who led out a high pitch scream as she pressed herself against the tree. He lifted up his two hoofs towards her but seeing that she did not fight him, raced off.
Winifred stood up. "Flora, are you alright?"
"I am but that bloody horse kicked Joe." She pointed at Joe before racing to him.
Winifred sprinted up to Joe who was still lying on the floor. "Joe, are you alright?"
Joe coughed beating his chest. He started to slowly get up with the assistance of Flora and Winifred.
"I'm alright but what is going on with Beauty?"
"Well ask Winifred, she is the one that understands them." Flora rubbed her forehead.
"I… I do not know." Winifred said confused. She thought to herself how Beauty did not say a thing. He seemed quite startled to see her and did not answer her back. Something was not right.
"I say it is all that time he spends with that other devil horse." Flora said accusingly glaring at Winifred.
"You better not be speaking of Ginger. She is not a devil horse. She had a very bad upbringing. She is getting better." Winifred said standing up.
"Well I can not see any other explanation other than she has tainted the horses." Flora stood up as well and crossed her arms.
John forced himself up even though his chest felt tight. "Girls, come on we have to get Beauty and then go to Mr. Clay's house. Uncle John will have my skin if he knew one of the squire's horses is running about for anyone to steal him."
[Black Beauty- Ginger Snaps: watch?v=XCh68Bi-5xA]
As they reached the brickfield, they saw three men trying to tame Beauty through ropes with Mr. Clay looking on, on horseback.
Winifred raced ahead of the other two and shouted. "Leave him alone! He is my father's horse!" She flung the gate into the field open and raced towards Mr. Clay.
Mr. Clay noticed Winifred and pulled on the reins of the horse to face her. "That horse is dangerous! Came into my field attacking my workers and almost took some of my livestock with him. With all that he owes, the horse might be enough to pay back some of the money he owes me for the damage he has done as well as your father."
"You have no right!" Winifred said as she tried to get to Beauty but Clay was quick to block her with his horse.
"I have more than the right. Now not only do I have your father causing damage but his property too."
"Beauty is not property. Now leave him alone."
"Go on home little girl."
Winifred raced quickly around Mr. Clay and his horse, racing towards the men. "Leave Beauty alone!"
Flora and Joe followed and went on to stop the three men from tying down Beauty. Winifred pulled on to the first man closes as he felt the burn of the rope in his palm. He pulled away and Joe raced behind her to tackle him down. Flora had raced against the other man as she jumped him from behind. "Leave him alone!"
Winifred quickly stood up on her feet to help her sister but was held back by the third man. The man quickly overpowered Flora as Joe and the other man rolled on the floor still fighting.
"That is enough! Gordon's children. It is reason why everyone always talks negatively." Clay trotted on his horse up to Winifred who was still being held back by her arms. "Look at you. You miss are no lady."
Winifred's face turned red from anger as she breathed loudly. "And you sir are no gentleman. Accusing my father of a crime he did not commit."
"Everyone saw him ride off with this horse after the fire. Everyone heard him and he did not even show up to his friend's house as he claims. Mr. Martin himself said he sent out the letter but the Squire never arrived."
"Well Mr. Martin is a liar!"
"Get something clear Miss Winifred. I am telling you this because you are the oldest. If you knew better you will stay in your place. You and your sister. Your father is going to find himself in far more problems than just a battle about a burned cottage if his children," He looked up at Joe who had found a way to overpower the other man. "And workers keep revolting in this manner. Good day Miss Winifred. Come on gentleman and bring that horse with you."
The two men let go of the girls and Flora raced up to her sister to hold her for support.
The third injured man lumbered after behind the men and Beauty.
"Did you hear what he said? Father is in far more danger than what we thought."
Winifred huddled her sister. "I know."
[Black Beauty - Jump For Joy : watch?v=XTht3V_hd_A]
Winifred turned back to see an injured Joe who had a busted lip that was bleeding heavily. "Joe!" She raced up to him as Joe lumbered up to the two sisters. "I am alright Winnie. Do not worry."
"You're bleeding." She frowned as her eyebrows almost came together in worry.
He wiped his lip with his arm and looked at the stain of blood on his sleeve a bit amused. "I am fine. Can not say the same about Clay's friend though."
Winifred's lip trembled as she held him tightly.
Flora looked on amused with her arms crossed. "Who knew little Joe Green had fight in him?"
Joe took the compliment quite well as he said haughtily. "Only when it was necessary." He patted Winifred's back. "I can be short but I can defend myself. They were tying down Beauty as if he was a savage beast. He is probably very frightened as Beauty would not try to harm a soul."
"Says the boy Beauty kicked 6 feet across the floor." Flora grinned as she ignored the stare her Winifred gave her when she wheeled around.
Joe shook his head decided to let go what Flora said. "We need to go to the friend who sent a letter and see why he lied about the squire."
"He said his name is Mr. Martin." Winifred tapped her cheek as she tried to remember if she knew anyone by that name.
Joe quickly recognized the name. "Mr. Martin? I know who that is. That is the liquor storeowner. He is not too far, about two miles. It is an hour walk. So we better get a move on."
The two girls nodded and raced off leaving the brickfield.
[Black Beauty - In The Country : watch?v=u8TrRXMJEc0]
Finally reaching Mr. Martin's place they hid behind a broken down carriage. They saw the paddock right outside the house.
Flora whispered. "We should just go in and get Beauty."
"No, we need to have Mr. Martin confess the truth or at least why he is hiding it." Joe said.
"Right, Dupin would ask questions and check for any hesitation or even excitement!"
"Hush Winifred, your excitement is going to get us caught." Flora rolled her eyes as Winifred's cheek started to burn.
Hearing trotting the three adolescents ducked under the carriage.
"Come on, get on with you!"
Joe knew that voice. Braving it, he looked over the carriage. "I know him." The man was pulling on Beauty's rein as Beauty was bucking. He whispered and ducked to talk to the other two that were crouching.
"He is the man that went to trial. Remember when I accused a man of whipping the horses.?
"Right, but what is he doing with Beauty?" Winifred said puzzled.
"Mr. Clay probably sold him." Flora suggested.
"But that is not Mr. Martin. Something does not make sense." He looked over the carriage again and saw the man go inside after having left Beauty in the paddock. He crouched. "You two wait here. I have to go check."
Winifred quickly reached out to grab his arm. "Don't. This man almost hurt you before."
"I'll be fine. I just need to know something." He pulled away from her grip and took her hand and gently kissed it before he quickly got up and raced into the house.
Flora sat on the floor. "I am tired. That long walk exhausted me."
"I'm exhausted too." Winifred sighed.
"Joe is really brave."
"It's really hard to accept your true feelings for him, I have noticed."
"What are you talking about? Flora, you know very well I have a fiancé."
"It is not stopping you from holding his hand and that stupid face you put whenever he's present."
Winifred felt her face burn.
"I do not understand why you are not honest with our parents and just tell them the truth. I mean, sure you'll live a life of complete ruin where if you die, you'd be lucky to be burned to ash but you would be happy."
"Flora… if you only knew. It is far more than just an engagement. Plus I gave my word."
"Well you know better than I do. I just think it is unfair to Joe what you are doing to him. If you are going to be honorable then be honorable because all I see right now is that you are deceiving him into believing something more is going to happen."
Winifred shook her head. "I am not taking him for a fool. He knows. He knew from the start."
"What a woman says and what a woman does is two different things."
Winifred sighed. "When you are my age you will understand." She stood up. "Joe is taking far too long. I am getting worried. Come on." She took Flora's hand and the two raced up to where Joe had gone inside. They crouched like cats and open the door slowly.
[Black Beauty - Wild Ride/Dream : watch?v=6lERigdOxnQ]
"Are you going to talk or not!"
Winifred and Flora hid behind a barrel with materials. Winifred looked over some to see one man who had held Joe back by his arms and the other trying to get information out of him through physical force. Viciously slapping him, he bellowed. "WELL!"
The resounding slap echoed again in the room.
Joe stood quiet and the man looked at the other one. "Lock him up in the back storage."
He struggled with the boy as he tried to drag him over to where the storage was. Winifred jumped up ready to confront the men when Flora held her back. "Winnie." She pulled her arm back down to the floor. "It's dangerous. Those two men can hurt us. We should take Beauty and send for help."
Winifred turned back to her blonde sibling and knew she was right. "Right, come on."
They raced up to the paddock. "Beauty, come on boy." Winifred said nearing to him to which Beauty lifted up his two front hoofs making Winifred fall back.
"Winnie!" Flora grabbed her sister by the arm pulling her up quickly on her feet. They both ran as Beauty chased after them with a loud aggressive squeal.
They pulled the paddock door and tripped on their own feet. They dragged their bodies away as Beauty almost reached them. Flora kicked the paddock door close. Thankfully it was an automatic lock so Beauty would not be able to pass. "What is wrong with that animal? It is like if he has rabies!" She stood up dusting herself.
Winifred was still on the floor and watched the horse kicking the paddock door as he squealed loudly trying to find a way towards them.
She gasped as she pulled herself up realizing something. "Flora!" She stood up, pulled Flora closer to the paddock, and pointed at Beauty's legs. "He does not have a white foot!" She turned to her sister. "He's not Beauty!"
"Quite the wild one isn't he?"
Winifred and Flora turned around to see the man who had assaulted Joe earlier.
"Just like Black Beauty."
Winifred and Flora looked at each other worried.
As they pushed the two girls inside closing the door behind them, Joe rose up. Winifred raced to hug Joe as he held her tightly. "Why do you always have to be so brave?"
Flora sat down and leaned against the wall. "Right now, the idea of me being home waiting for news sounds appealing."
Joe took Winifred's hand and took a seat next to Flora. He smiled at her. "At least you are the first to know everything."
"First hand experience is not as good as I thought it to be."
Joe turned his body towards Flora as he gave a small chuckled. "Come here Winnie. We all have had a bad day."
Joe wrapped one around Winifred, over her shoulder, across her chest to her waist. Winifred placed her hand on top his as he caressed her hair with the other hand.
The door at that moment flung open and the two men walked in.
[Black Beauty- Ginger Snaps: watch?v=XCh68Bi-5xA]
"You can not keep us here. They will notice we are missing." Winifred was quick to say.
"It is not my intention. We just need to get rid of the horse."
"Evidence." The man said simply.
"Evidence?" Joe turned to Flora and Winifred. "It makes sense. Your father was not the one the people saw on Beauty."
"No, Joe it's far more than that. That horse is not Beauty." Flora bit her lip and looked at the man not sure if he was menacing or not.
"Correct." The man nodded.
"So you were impersonating my father and since Beauty was a one of a kind horse, you found another like it and used him so people can believe it was my father." Winifred said ready to launch at him but Joe held her tightly. He did not want her to do something stupid that can cost her terribly.
"What about Mr. Martin?"
Joe turned to Flora. "Mr. Martin was paid handsomely to lie."
"What do you all have against my father!"
"He put me in prison for three month over a bloody animal!"
"You seemed to repent your actions. That is why the squire cut your time." Joe was confused having had believed the man had repented because he was drunk when it happened.
"Little rascal. You are lucky I have not done more to you after being witness during trial."
"Alfred was right, you are the same man sober or intoxicated." He said suddenly connecting everything.
"So what does Mr. Clay have to do with this?" Winifred mentioned bitterly.
"Nothing." Flora said as she stared at the brick wall. "Mr. Clay is just angry because he thinks it was father. Just sees it as a betrayal."
"Right and now the squire will pay for his injustice. Revenge." With that, he got up and left closing the door behind him.
[Black Beauty - Goodbye Joe: watch?v=ga4dsdHWPGQ]
Joe felt Winifred's chest lift from anger. "Shh." He said passing his fingers through her hair. She did not know how much time had passed. It felt they were there for hours. Although she felt comfortable in Joe's arms Winifred's mind was on her father who was standing trial. She rested her head on his chest as Flora rested on his shoulder. She started to feel a sting of guilt for having brought Flora along.
"Winnie, we have to find a way out of here." Joe said finally breaking the silence.
Flora placed her hand over her forehead. "Can we rest a bit before we do? I do not think I can take on anymore. I have walked for miles, fought a man and ran away from a savage horse. I do not think my body can take on anymore. Either way he is going to let us out."
Winifred stood up straightening out the skirt of her dress. "Right after he kills the poor horse and my father is behind bars with no way to get him out. Please Flora, a bit more of strength."
Flora sighed. "Very well, so what is the plan?"
[Black Beauty - Wild Ride/Dream : watch?v=6lERigdOxnQ]
The adolescents started to kick the door hoping the wood would break. Suddenly the door flung open and the three of them jumped on the man.
"Winnie! Flora! Go on! I'll catch up!" Joe said as he struggled to hold down the older man.
Winnie helped Flora get on her feet before they raced out. They were already in the woods with Joe not too far behind.
As they passed through the field with wheat, Winifred heard the loud whinny. Not the man but the horse was now chasing them.
"On the tree! Climb the tree!"
Flora tried to climb the tree and with a lift from her waist by Joe she was able to get up with Joe climbing after her.
The horse had cornered Winifred between two trees.
"Why are you so angry? Calm down boy!"
You are the one I understand! His ears were laid flat back, his lips were tighten in the corners with his teeth showing, and his eyes showed his whites, as he shook his head. This is my territory! Humans trying to ride me! I'll show you all that no one can tame me starting with you!
"Winifred! Stop staring at him! Come here." Joe shouted.
"We are not getting in your territory! Go away horse. We will not bother you!" Winifred shouted with the same aggressive tone as the horse but the horse continued to be aggressive.
"You need to leave. They are going to kill you because when you escaped you almost gave their story away. If you do not leave they will find you and be done with you!"
No one will harm me especially not you! He stuck his head between the trees almost biting Winifred' face. She jumped back and tripped on a rock behind her.
"Stay here Flora." Joe jumped off the tree and raced to the horse. "Here I am! Try to catch me horse!" The horse quickly turned around and did not hesitate to chase Joe.
"Winnie!" Flora shouted from the tree. Winifred quickly got on her feet and ran to the tree where Flora was. She extended her hands to her as she tried to climb. As Flora strained, Winifred pulled herself up by supporting her feet on the bark. Finally, on top of the tree, Winifred shouted for Joe to climb a tree as well. Joe quickly raced to the tree they were in. He made a leap and climbed. The wild horse bit him in the ankle as Winifred and Flora pulled him up.
Holding him Winifred shouted. Did you not hear me! Go away! Your life is in danger!
The angry horse kept squealing as he tried to climb the tree himself.
Joe watched the horse in mesmerized fear. "I use to think it was adorable when Beauty would do this when I played with him but this horse sure took away that endearing memory."
Winifred turned to him with her eyes narrowed. "Honestly Joe, you still find a time to joke in a situation like this?"
"Joe your pants, they have blood!" Flora shrieked.
"The horse bit me as I was climbing up." Joe said as he lifted up his pants to look at the wound.
The horse's efforts to climb were in vain so he circled the tree hoping to find a boost.
"What is wrong with him Winnie?" Flora said as she gripped Joe for emotional support.
Winnie looked at the horse with pity. "He's very angry. It seems he was a wild horse and he was recently captured. That is why father never buys a horse from the wild. Imagine you were taken from your home. You would be very angry at everyone too."
"While I admire your sympathy towards the horses, love, he is not showing much of it towards us."
[Black Beauty - Jump For Joy : watch?v=XTht3V_hd_A]
"Is that Beauty?" Flora shouted as she pointed out to the other horse that was galloping towards them from the distance. The loud whinny echoed as the handsome horse with his coat the color of a rook's wing shone in the sunlight. Winifred saw the white leg and smiled. "Beauty!"
"Well that does it. I am losing my job as a stable boy." Joe raised his hand up in exasperation.
Beauty let out a strong high-pitched squeal showing that he was very angry. Stay away from the children! Leave them alone!
The wild horse got off the tree and stood ground responding in the same fashion. Get away from me now!
I said stay away from the children!
Beauty let out a high-pitched squeal to signal he was ready to fight. The two horses charged at each other, kick, and bit one another.
"Go on Beauty! Kick him!" Flora shouted. Joe gave encouraging shouts as well but Winifred stood quiet covering her face at the sight.
The wild horse bit Beauty that made Beauty back away.
"Come on Beauty! Kick him!"
Beauty obliged to Joe's request and gave a strong kick that caused the wild horse enough pain to run off.
[Black Beauty - Frolic : watch?v=nMNm_6x-f38]
Flora cheered as she hugged Joe. Joe returned the embrace and then jumped off. He was far too happy to feel the pain on his ankle. He helped Flora down and then Winifred.
Once he brought Winifred down, she embraced him tightly. Joe kissed her cheek numerous times. Winifred flashed him a toothy grin and snaked her arms around his neck. "Thanks for distracting the horse for me." She pulled him to her and kissed him.
"I am still here! Honestly, you trust me so much to not go to mother with this?" Flora said a bit annoyed but with a smile on her face.
Winifred giggled and pulled away to look over Joe's shoulder.
"Beauty!" Winifred raced up to the horse. "You saved us Beauty!" She went to hug him.
Miss Winifred! Miss Flora! Joe! I was at Mr. Clay's stable being held there when I heard the news of how they had taken you three.
The three of them held Beauty in a group embrace. "Thank you Beauty…"
Beauty gave a soft neigh happy to be there for the ones he cared for.