Hello fellow TBS fans! I have been reading and re-reading the series a lot this winter and i wasn't quite happy with some things in The Black Stallion Revolts. I wanted to add a little something to it. So here goes.
Thanks for reading!
It had been two whole months filled with empty moments, long periods of time lost in thought and welling eyes. There was no escape from the painfully happy memories that assaulted the conscious mind and nightmarish assumptions while lying awake. The worst was the guessing… guessing as to what had happened. To where they are now. To what could have been.
Sometimes they intermingled, producing a time that never happened but struck hard enough to cling to the old trainers waking hours.
Two months of sadness and despair.
Two months of feeling a sense of loss he'd never felt before.
Henry Daily rested his weary body down onto a stack of kicker bales. A tired, time worn hand came up to rub his face in exhaustion and an effort to clear his pained mind. Raising his eyes, the old trainer looked around the barn he sat in. A black head with keen interested eyes looked back at him. For a moment, neither blinked nor looked away. For a small fraction of a second, Henry Daily felt a deep connection to those eyes.
Finally the shining orbs turned away only to rest on the half open barn door… searching… waiting… hoping.
Henry pulled himself to his aching feet and crossed the distance of the barn to the stall containing those eyes. Satan held his head high in anticipation of the trainer. He reached his long nose toward him and swished his tail in anticipation. Satan, the first son of The Black, nickered softly when Henrys fingers found the soft space between his eyes and rubbed lightly on the soft white patch of fur half hidden under a mess of an unruly black forelock.
"Sorry boy… Not yet. You can go out after your dinner."
Satan responded only with a snort and his eyes returned to the barn door. His actions seemed to be screaming to be let out to run off some steam. But the old worn trainer would argue with anyone if asked that those glowing eyes were looking for a person.
Henry had seen such a change in the horses at Hopeful Farms. Whether it was due to a natural 6th sense that he knew nothing about and did not try to understand or because they felt the raw emotions of the humans around them, he did not know. Maybe it was a combination of both. Who knew…
It was clear that a loss was evident on the farm. A presence that touched every single breathing thing in sight had been ripped from them.
Two months since the solace had been cracked in half.
Two months since they'd lost Alec.
Henry was no quitter. He would find a way when there wasn't one. He'd opened holes when no one else could.
But this he couldn't fix.
This he couldn't change.
His experience and knowledge were no good to him now. He'd tried to keep faith but as the long dismal days lingered on, the odds of finding Alec and The Black alive were pretty slim. He'd continued on the search way past the ranger's time line. He hired people, trackers, and even local hunters to go through those hills to look for the boy… his boy. They found nothing and with each sunset with no result, another piece of him crumbled away.
The pain in his heart from the emptiness ripped through his every waking hour and even into his dreams. He didn't want to give up the search… but he had to fall back on how he lived his life. With logic and realism.
Alec and The Black were dead… the mountains swallowed them whole.
The trainer shook his head and squeezed his eyes shut.
No… that's not what happened. It couldn't be. It just wasn't right.
There has to be more…
The old trainer looked up from his tired hands to see Mr. Ramsey standing in front of him. The man's red watery eyes were filled with sadness and Henry had to look away at anything else.
Mr. Ramsey didn't take offense to Henry's lack of greeting; instead he walked ever closer and slowly lowered himself onto a piece of the hay bale as well. Both men stared into nothingness together. Neither knowing what to say.
Henry looked at Alec's father out of the corner of his eye. The man stared down at the clean floor of the barn and the old trainer knew his mind was drifting about.
He looked so lost.
"Is this the same way you felt… when… the shipwreck?"
Mr. Ramsey didn't answer right away. He leaned back slightly to stretch out his aching legs and sighed loudly.
"Yes and no…"
Henry turned his head to finally look at the other man in a silent plea to explain. Mr. Ramsey didn't look back but felt his eyes upon him. He reached down absent mindedly to pull out a few strands of hay from the bail they sat upon.
"Last time… the shock… it was so great. I lived in its fog for many weeks. I was in denial that my son had been lost at sea. I had to stay strong for my wife. Belle wasn't handling it in any way. But when we got the call that he was… still here… It was the first time I'd cried. The pain of what I could have lost had finally hit me."
Mr. Ramsey went silent for a moment. His eyes closed and he sighed once more to control his emotions. Finally he turned to Henry.
"This time… Henry… He-he's gone."
"Do you feel it? Do you feel like he's gone?" It wasn't the first time Henry had asked this similar question to the other man.
"I feel nothing but sorrow. I can't get passed it to see my own nose. But how many times can one cheat death? How many chances do we have to do the impossible? We searched hard for them… and nothing… no clues or signs that somehow they were thriving but lost. No Henry… it feels different this time. This feels different all the way to the core. He just feels… gone to me."
Henry nodded slowly, staring at nothing. He understood but he didn't feel that yet. Not completely.
With all his logic and realistic way of thinking he couldn't get passed that feeling deep in his gut. His head told him Alec and the Black were gone. His heart told his head to shut the heck up.
"I hope I'm not speaking out of turn when I say this…" Henry paused and Mr. Ramsey looked over at the older man. Henry bit is lip and stayed silent, like what he was about to say was going to hurt.
"You've been there for my son. You care for him as your own Henry. Anything you need to say… well… you've earned the right to."
Henry locked eyes with the other man. His words had hit something deep in his heart and now he didn't trust his voice to speak. The trainer stood up slowly from the hay bail, taking a handful of it with him and shuffled over to Satan's stall. The young Stallion's ears perked and his interest was clearly on the hand full of hay coming his way. Henry wasted no time offering the small treat to the son of The Black. It was a perfect small distraction to help control his exploding emotions.
He dusted off the hay bits on his hands and cleared his throat.
"I still don't believe Alec is… gone."
"Bill before you argue with me about false hopes…" Henry interrupted quickly. "… I'd like to explain why I feel this way."
Bill Ramsey stood from the hay as well but remained silent and waited, giving a small nod as a green light for Henry to continue.
"I don't want to sound like I'm… pardon the expression but… beating a dead horse. And I know that it was difficult for you and Belle to let me continue on with the search even though everyone told us it was futile."
Henry put his hands in his pants pockets and looked anywhere but at Alec's father. Up in the barn rafters, to his nervous and shuffling feet in the stray straw by Satan's stall. Anywhere but at the eyes that so very much resembled Alec's.
"I… I just can't accept that they are gone. Alec wouldn't let anything happen to the Black… and that horse loves that boy so much that he'd protect him with his own life. They are a force to be reckoned with Bill. They wouldn't just disappear and that's that. They'd go down in a blaze of glory and take the whole mountainside with them. The whole world would know it."
Henry paused again and brought his eyes up the other man to strike his words home.
"They aren't gone…. They're just… lost."
"I hope your right Henry." Bill said as he ran a hand over his tired eyes.
"I told you before Bill. I'd know if he were dead. I'd feel it."
"I wish I had your strength Henry. Even just a little bit."
Henry smirked sadly and shrugged his shoulders.
"Its not strength… its my overwhelming stubbornness"
Bill Ramsey's mouth twitched briefly at the corners but the moment had passed quickly before the trainer's eyes.
"For all we know they'll show up tomorrow morning, Alec riding that black horse through the gate bareback and carefree with a big smile on his face."
Mr. Ramsey closed the distance between them and extended his hand to the young black horse. Satan inhaled his scent before touching his soft muzzle to the man's palm, searching for a treat.
"Don't think I haven't dreamed that moment over and over again, Henry."
Henry placed a strong hand on the man's shoulder and looked him in the eyes.
"Well keep dreaming it… cause its gonna happen. We'll see them again."
The strong fire in Henry's eyes had Bill Ramsey standing up just a little bit taller… the tallest he'd felt in weeks.
"I know we will… I just hope that it will be when I can put my arms around him and never let go."
An other tear escaped and Henry watched it slide down Alec's fathers face.
"I know… I know…"
Mr. Ramsey wiped his hands over his face to wipe the evil liquid away and exhaled deeply while looking away from Henry and The Black's son. His misty eyes looked around the barn in an effort to change the subject for now.
"Well… looks like we need some more bags of feed." Bill nudged his chin in the direction of the feed room's open door.
"Yea… I was going to head out tomorrow."
"Why not now? I admit I have to get away from this place. Everywhere I look I think of him…"
It wasn't normal that Alec's father would keep up with their feed supply. Granted he did a lot with the budget but Henry was well aware that Bill knew very little about how much feed they needed and when. It was clear the man needed something to keep himself occupied and wanted company while he did it.
"I'll go get the keys to the truck."
The trip to the feed store didn't help either man. The store was mobbed on a Sunday afternoon and they were both bombarded with sad looks and gentle condolences from the local farmers and horse owners.
Needless to say, they both couldn't wait to get back to the farm.
Their ride back was quiet but not uncomfortable. Henry had left a Jazz station on low to fill the loudness of silence and the warm sun greeted them as they pulled out of town and back home.
As Henry and Mr. Ramsey drove closer and closer to the farmhouse, Alec's father spotted something ahead. He leaned slowly forward in his seat and Henry watched as the other mans hands started to shake as they gripped the old worn dashboard.
There on the front porch of the farmhouse was Jinx, their stable hand, trying to console Belle Ramsey. The woman's cries could be heard as they approached. Her tear stained face came into view and Henry's heart stopped beating.
"No…" Mr. Ramsey's voice was barely a whisper but he didn't even wait for the old Chevy to stop before flinging open the car door and hitting the gravel driveway in a run. Henry watched, mouth agape, at the man running to his distraught wife. Seeing her husband, she transferred her weeping body into his arms, leaving Jinx still looking stunned. A piece of paper in his hands.
Henry looked away, straight ahead into nothing. He squeezed his eyes shut and lowered his head, demanding the tears that were threatening him to hold off until he got somewhere private. The anguish building in his heart and soul made him grip the steering wheel tight. He worked hard to block out Mrs. Ramsey's loud sobbing by concentrating on the old trucks engine.
This couldn't be happening… But it was. The official word that he lost his boy had come.
He was wrong... all wrong…
His whole world was crumbling down around him as the old Chevy's engine puttered on.
The old trainer looked up from the steering wheel. He'd barely made out the words as his mind blurred with grief.
Bill slid himself into the old leather seat, thrusting the piece of paper in front of him. Henry barely made out an address in Arizona and looked up at the tear stained face of Mr. Ramsey. A beaming smile slowly pulled at the sides of his mouth and Henry froze.
"Here… Go get our boy."
"He asked for you Henry… He needs that stubbornness right now."
Bill Ramsey reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. He pulled out a handful of bills that he planned on depositing in the bank and shoved them out Henry.
"Bring them back to us fast… And Safe."
"Them!" Henry blinked hard and didn't care one bit that he let the tears he'd been holding wash down his worn checks.
"Yes Them! You were right Henry! You were right! He's alive! They both are!"
Mr. Ramsey reached and took hold of Henry's hand, shaking it swift and hard with excitement and gratitude. And with that, he let go and slid back out of the old truck, shutting the door and hitting the roof as a signal to get going.
Henry wasted no time and gunned the old engine, sending gravel out from behind him.
Henry barely slept a wink on the Train ride home. Not only was he busy taking turns watching The Black but any time he'd shut his eyes he was afraid when he opened them that Alec wouldn't be there.
He tried his best to act as normal as possible when inside he was slop. Emotions he still wasn't altogether used to came crashing over him. He resisted the urge several times to grab Alec into a hug again. Not because Alec would have a problem with it… just that Henry still didn't feel comfortable with all that mushy stuff.
He couldn't have been more thrilled as he drove the horse van up to the farmhouse. At least now he could take time from a distance to control the waves while at Hopeful Farms.
They arrived just at the break of dawn. A pale light glowed around them as Alec slid sleepily from the front seat. His first priority was his horse.
Henry shut the door as gently as he could. He didn't want to wake the family so early. Alec needed some sleep. There would be plenty of time later for them to smother the boy.
The duo worked together to open the back gate and Black stepped out with excited steps onto the ramp, happy to be home.
Alec bedded down Black's stall and went over to pat a nickering Satan and Napoleon. Black had shown now ill will toward his son and Henry relished the wide smile on Alec's face.
Alec turned around and caught Henry watching him. The boy knew that his friend wasn't acting like normal since Arizona but he didn't push. He even refrained from mentioning any details that would just make things harder on the older man. Henry was strong when he needed to be but right now he was weakened and Alec saw right through his stern looks and demands right down to the heart of it.
Henry had been hurting… he was still hurting.
It was going to take some time for everyone to get over almost losing him… again.
Alec shook out of his thoughts and sat down on the hay bails in front of Black's stall. He was wary from the long trip and leaned back against the wood, peaking over the bars to watch Black chomp on his hay. Satan's head peeked back out over his door and gazed at Alec, his mouth full and munching meaningfully. He let a small laugh out as the younger horse seemed to be making sure Alec was still there.
"Looks like they missed us…"
Henry shook his head to emphasize. "You have no idea…"
Alec looked at Henry briefly before smiling lightly. Henry walked over and put a hand on the boy's shoulder.
"Bed for you…"
"Sounds wonderful. But I just want to make sure everything's fine here first."
Henry shifted and took a swift look around the barn before turning back to Alec. "Well… Looks fine to me!"
"Henry… I've been gone so long. I just want to sit here a little while and take it all in. I have the rest of the day to sleep."
"Fine… ok… yea." Henry looked about the barn and nodded his head, accepting the answer.
Alec smiled and leaned his head back against the stall. "Thanks Henry."
"Listen kid… I'm gonna go help Jinx feed those mares out there. But when I come back you're going up to that bed. That should give you a good amount of time to soak it all in." Henry put his hands on his hips and stood firm, looking more and more like the normal Henry that had been missing.
"Of course Henry."
"Good." Henry turned and headed toward the barn door.
The old trainer stopped at the door and turned back to look at Alec. "Yea kid?"
Alec leaned back on a higher stacked bale. "Nothing…. Ya know… just… for not giving up on us."
The old trainer paused, staring back at the red head in front of him as he once again had to check his emotions.
"Never Alec… Never."
Alec beamed a tired glowing smile and Henry nodded before continuing out of the barn, hell bent on getting his eyes dried out before meeting up with that stable hand.
A Half-hour later, Henry walked back into the barn. Hay clung to his clothes and hat and he worked on brushing off as much as he could as he moved along. "Alright Alec. Hope you've soaked up enough… its bed time."
Henry looked up from his pants in Alec's direction, only to find the young man fast asleep on the hay bail. His legs were pulled up to his chest as he leaned sideways against the Black's stall. The stallion stood close by, his head lolling in sleep as well.
Henry sighed and shook his head with a grin. He walked over quietly to an old chest by the feed room and pulled out an old and tattered but clean blanket. The trainer covered Alec gently with it, tucking it smoothly around the boy's shoulders. Black inhaled deeply at the movement, making sure there was no danger.
"Watch over him Black." Henry whispered. "Always…"
The Black horse flicked an ear lazily in Henry's direction, almost in a silent answer and the old man reached down and brushed a stray lock of red hair from Alec's sleeping eyes.
"You need a hair cut kiddo." He whispered with a smile.
Henry straighten up and rubbed his tired eyes… It was time to wake the Ramsey's and let them know their boy was home safe and sound. Maybe it was for the best that Alec would sleep through it all.
He didn't need any more tears or sadness. Alec had been through a lot, a plane crash, major injuries, walking in the dark with no memories and fear of who he may be and what he may have done.
Alec deserved to open his eyes to his happy parents, ready and waiting with a smile and some home cooked food.
And he'd make sure his boy got just that. He was looking pretty thin…
Henry walked quietly up to the farmhouse. A light in the kitchen had been switched on, ready and waiting for the day and its events to begin.
The house seemed to glow warmly as he got closer. A light breeze blew through the trees as the sun peeked brightly up from its nightly resting spot.
It was starting out to be a pretty beautiful morning.
Two months of sadness and grief were now being melted away as the sun continued to rise on this new day.