A/N: Whoo, funny little thing I decided to do on a whim. I'm not sure...why exactly I did this, I think it was because I wanted to do something different and horse-styled. And I found there wasn't many stuff for Black Beauty, so viola! x3 Sorry if it's a bit...depressing, but I liked the idea and went with it. I just wanted a small break from Raindrop and to show that I can write stuff that isn't Furuba-related! Well, I hope you enjoy it and I would love it if you gave me a review, just so I know what you think.
In Memory of all the horses I have seen come and go.
I'm like a shadow when faced with the Sun. I'm just fading...that's all there is.
I lie underneath the apple tree, my favourite resting spot for the five happy years I have lived here. The long and well-kept grass sways in the gentle autumn breeze and my breathing bends some over backwards with the force of it. I open my eyes again to drink in the surroundings-the large, rolling hills, the other horses as faded patches of colour in the distance grazing contentedly. I can even see two of my foals now grown tearing across the fields beyond the one I reside in, with the young masters on their backs shouting triumphant woops to the sky in the middle of a pretend game of knights and jousters of days gone by. I used to be the ones they sat on as children, my placid nature coupled with my age reassuring them that I would not bolt and throw them. They would hug me, and love me, and I would never feel so wanted since I had left Birtwick Park. But these were friends in biped form and not equine. Of course, I have had friends here, but none rival quite the friendships I built at my first home.
They say a horse is made by the home he came to first. If it is full of suffering, so too is the horse. That is what happened with Ginger, my sweet, sweet Ginger. I miss her now. I have missed her ever since I saw her broken body being hauled away on a cart. My spirit has never been broken through all the hardships I have suffered, but that day, my heart most certainly broke. I bow my head and let the grass tickle my face, snorting softly at the feeling. I am sure now that I loved her, but I had had no chance to tell her. Until it was too late. But as I remember that plucky, feisty mare, I think of her galloping through the grounds of Birtwick, her chestnut coat gleaming like polished copper in the sun.
I only realise my eyes have shut when I hear voices but cannot see them. "Hey dad, is Beauty alright?"
"I don't think so, Thomas. I've been watching him, he went down at noon and hasn't gotten up since."
"Is he sick? What's wrong with him?"
It was as though I can feel their eyes passing over my ink-black coat, muddied a little from the roll I executed perfectly that morning. I let out a sharp, shuddering sigh, one that sounds tired and resigned, even to me. "He's just gotten old, son. He's a good twenty years old now, he was old when he came to us. Can't you see it? Look at him." I open my eyes blearily and stare up at the two faces I know so well. One haggard and hardened from the harsh winds of the countryside, middle-aged and with small eyes, and the other with the youthful looks of a teenager soon to be coming of age. The youth has tears in his eyes. Thomas. I know I am his favourite, he spends lots of time with me in the stables fussing over me and talking about many numbers of things.
He looks away from me and bites his lip. "I don't want to. He's not...he can't...I don't want him to..."
"Thomas. He's old. He's tired. He wants to go. He's had enough hardship in his life than many of ours have had. Ten of our horses could not account for the stories Beauty would tell if he had a voice. And now he wants to be at peace. Be a good man, and let him go." He puts a comforting hand on Thomas's shoulder, and I see that the boy is visibly shaking.
"Should I get the gun?" he whispers softly, the words no more than a whisper.
I do not stiffen, nor try to get up in an attempt to run. I know of the word 'gun', and of its intentions. My brother befell the fate of the 'gun' when he was far younger than I, after breaking a leg in a hunting accident. I know that the 'gun' means death. I know it puts an end to life. But I also know that it will only speed up my fading, so I resign myself to it. A small amount of pain, nothing more. And then I will be gone.
"No. There is no need. No one need assist him to his demise, he is nearing it as we speak." Thomas's father breaks in, kneeling down beside me. I lift my head weakly to watch him, my forelock falling in between my eyes. He brushes it free, no doubt to stare at my single white star I pride myself so much upon. "My beautiful Beauty." He murmurs, and I know now that I would not have wanted this any other way. My legs uncurl from beneath me, and I know that for a moment Thomas's eyes fill with hope, but I am merely getting more comfortable.
I lay flat out, my ebony mane mingling with the pale emerald of the grass I am led in. This feels better than any gun to the temple. I exhale loudly, my sides slowly beginning to calm as my heart begins to slow its beat. I don't even hear the whispers of my master but my head is then in the lap of Thomas, water dripping onto my muzzle from his tears. I nuzzle him tenderly. I do not want him to worry, for I will be well looked after in the world after life. This only causes him to sob, and I nicker softly in my attempts to comfort him. My eyes fall upwards to the apples sat fatly on their parent branches, their scarlet colour bright and tempting. I see the dew drops drip slowly from their ripened skin, and then I hear the voice.
I move my head to the side, confusion clouding my thoughts. That voice...it sounds familiar.
Then I see her.
She stands under the tree we used to stand under at Birtwick, her almond eyes focused entirely on mine. Her ribs do not show, and her head that was so much like a coffin the last time I saw her is well formed and shows her breeding. Her stomach is gently swelled with the plentiful food she has eaten, and her short mane flies delicately in the breeze like newly ignited flames that flicker and crackle at their birth from the logs. Her white stripe is bright and gleaming, and her coat ripples richly to further show her health. It is as though she has harnessed the fire and concealed it inside of her. She tosses her head and half-rears. Ginger. She has never looked more beautiful. "Beauty, it's time. Come on, we are all waiting for you. I have been waiting for so long to see you again."
Then another form, much smaller and fuller than Ginger's, materialises into my vision. Merrylegs. He is here too. His grey coat, dappled with age, is gleaming and shining as Ginger's is, and his cheeky face holds the expression of longing. "Yeah, come on, we have both been waiting to gallop in the fields with you for too long. Let go, come join us. Your sons and daughters, your masters, they will be alright."
A small tear rolls down my face.
My old friends.
I have missed them so much.
I suddenly feel as though my body is heavier than before, and I move to sit up. My head feels light and dizzy, and I almost fall back again, but I hear their voices urging me onwards. One foreleg, then the other, both are straight and I rise to my feet with a great deal of effort. Once I accomplish this feat, it seems it is a lot easier to move. I step forwards with shaking steps, as though I am a foal learning to walk for the first time. It is difficult, but their words of encouragement spurn me onwards.
I know what has happened. The inevitable has occurred. I have died. I have faded away to nothing. My shadow has been obliterated by the sunlight. I close my eyes. I am scared. What will happen now? I am dead. I am dead. Will I fade away, even like this? Will I be forgotten, known only as the horse with many lives of suffering and joy?
A pair of triumphant whinnies make my eyes open. Ginger and Merrylegs are watching for me, underneath the same old apple tree, their ears pricked and their faces joyful. I realise that there is no need to be afraid. They are here, and we will get through whatever happens together.
"Come on, I'll race you to the orchard!" Merryleg's joyful cry rings out, hollowed and a little distanced from his body. But I am not afraid. I rise onto my hind legs and neigh loudly, the voice not coming from my throat but from my very core as I charge towards them on legs so light it feels as though I can race to the ends of forever and never become tired. A feeling of elation bursts forth from my chest and I feel like my heart, now unbeating and silent, would burst if it were still in use. I am back to how I was. And as I reach them, we break as one into a perfect, powerful gallop that tells me that they have been waiting for me here all along. There had been no need to be saddened before, when I lost them. For they were always going to be here.
I lift my head as we, as one, move into the blank pure whiteness of eternity.
But it is okay.
There is no need to be apprehensive of what lies ahead.
Because we are together.
And always will be.