Disclaimer: I don't own the Thoroughbred Series. I'm just a big fan. Without Wonder is one of my favorite books but I think it was written kinda cheesy. So I decided to do a rewrite. It is a Songfic as well to "Drive" by The Cars. So here it goes:
Ashleigh Griffen walked down the path of Whitebrook farm, leading to the broodmare barn, to check on her favorite mare, Wonder. Ashleigh's Wonder as the mare was officially known, had been a champion when she was a filly. Wonder had gone on to have many foals, but after the last one, Wonder's Legacy, Ashleigh and Mike had decided to breed the mare to Jazzman, Mike's favorite stallion. The pregnancy had gone on without a hitch, but Ashleigh was still very nervous.
She headed down to the broodmare barn. Once inside, she proceeded to Wonder's stall. When she arrived, she got there just in time to see Wonder drop to the stall floor.
"Wonder?" Ashleigh gasped. She slipped quietly into the mare's stall. After thoroughly checking Wonder, Ashleigh's suspicions were right. Wonder was definitely in pre-term labor. Why didn't I see this before? Ashleigh thought as she rushed out to the office phone to call Christina.
When Christina picked up, Ashleigh immediately began talking.
"Mom? What's wrong?" Christina asked, getting the feeling that her mother was upset.
"Chris, I need you to come home right now."
"Why, what is it?" Christina asked confused.
"Wonder's in labor."
"But, shes not due for three more weeks."
I know, but...just come home" Ashleigh pleaded, sounding worried.
"I'm on my way!" Chris said and hung up.
When Christina arrived, she hurried right to Wonder's stall. "How is she?" she asked.
"Nothing's happening yet. "Ashleigh said looking at the mare. "Where's Dr. Lanum?"
"She and Dr. Seymour are out of town." Ashleigh replied, turning to the mare.
"Hey, Wonder, is that baby ready to come, girl?" Ashleigh crooned to the mare softly.
Wonder stood in the center of the stall, her head dropped low. She looked rather miserable. Wonder swished her bandaged tail, as though irritated by an invisible enemy.
She turned her head away from Ashleigh to bite her side.
"She isn't colicking is she?" Christina asked, concerned.
"No." Ashleigh answered. "You can see the labor contractions, so it's highly unlikely." She returned to comforting the distraught mare. Wonder blinked, her beautiful dark eyes crinkling in pain.
"It's all right, girl. You know how to do this. This isn't new to you. Its okay" Ashleigh murmured softly, rubbing Wonder's blaze. Wonder began slowly circling the stall.
"You'll be just fine. "Ashleigh said just as she noticed that the bedding was soaked beneath the mare. Christina rushed to fetch a pitchfork and went to the mare's head.
She began concentrating on Wonder and rubbing her behind her ears as Ashleigh proceeded to check the foal's position. Wonder barely flinched as Ashleigh's hand went in, but then her eyes rolled around, showing their whites and her head shot up.
"The foal's foot is back. I'm going to see if I can get it" Ashleigh said, reaching for the foreleg. Christina looked up from Wonder when she heard her mother cry out.
"What is it?" she asked, suddenly alarmed. "Wonder stepped on my foot!" Ashleigh said.
Christina continued to massage Wonder's ears as a contraction tore its way through the mare's body. "Good girl." Christina crooned in Wonder's ear.
Wonder grunted softly, her breath coming in quick gasps. She looked into Christina's eyes. "You're doing great, girl." Christina said softly, scratching the mare behind her coppery ears. Wonder's gorgeous coat had now darkened to a dull brown color with sweat. "It's okay, sweetie." Ashleigh said as she finally got a hold of the foal's foreleg.
"The foal should come out properly now." She said, standing back to let Wonder go to work. Christina and Ashleigh both held Wonder's halter as they led her around the stall.
Ashleigh looked at the mare she had raised from a sickly filly. "You're fine" she told Wonder, while looking at her lovingly. Wonder sighed softly but then she groaned as she descended slowly to the floor. "Thats good, Wonder" Ashleigh said as the mare lay down to deliver. In time the foal's nose emerged. "Is that its nose?" Christina gasped with anticipation. "Oh my gosh - you're doing it! Good girl, Wonder!" she cried, kissing the mare's velvet nose. Wonder grunted, pressing her head against Christina. The foal's elegant head was soon revealed. "Oh, girl, your baby's going to have your coloring!" Ashleigh exclaimed to the mare. "I knew it!"
Wonder pushed even further to deliver the foal. In time the foal came fully into the world.
Wonder grunted in distress when she noticed the still form.
"Chris, go get towels. We need to get this little guy going." Ashleigh said, clearing out the foal's nose and mouth. "It's all right, Wonder. You rest now. Well get him cleaned up for you." Ashleigh said while Christina rubbed the little colt all over. Ashleigh proceeded to perform mouth-to-nose with the colt, looking as if she was giving him a kiss.
Christina silently willed the little colt to breathe as she watched her mother perform mouth-to nose on him. Suddenly there was a slight jerk, and the little colt lifted his head up, pricking his oversized ears. Wonder tiredly nuzzled her baby as the cord broke causing the baby colt to scramble to his feet with surprise. Ashleigh caught the stump and dipped it in iodine. "Look at his star!" Christina exclaimed. "It looks just like a heart."
Indeed, there was a heart-shaped star on the foal's forehead. With a grunt, the small colt tottered over to Wonder and began attempting to suck on her tail. Wonder nudged him, and the foal scooted over to the proper place and began to suckle with vigor. Wonder nickered softly to her foal. Ashleigh took this as her cue. "I think it's time for us to leave Wonder alone with her baby. They need to bond." She said, ushering Christina out of the stall. "Let's go inside for some hot chocolate."
Later in the evening, Ashleigh went to check on Wonder and her colt. When she arrived, the two were snuggled up together, the little brown foal curled up in a ball beside his mother. Ashleigh smiled at the two horses and set up in the tack room to sleep. If anything was wrong with Wonder or the foal, she wanted to be there. She tried to stay awake, but her eyes just seemed to want to close...
The next morning Ashleigh awoke so she could go see Wonder and the foal. Wonder gave a tired whicker of greeting when she arrived. "Hey, girl. How was your night?" Ashleigh asked rubbing the mare's nose. She noticed something was different. "Wonder, are you all right, girl?" she asked, noting the mare's dull expression. The little colt was scooting around the stall. "Whoa, easy little guy." Ashleigh laughed, scratching his ears.
The foal ventured over to his dam and began to nurse while Wonder stood with her ears limp.
When Christina arrived home from school, she noticed her mother standing beside Wonder with a thermometer in her hand. "Mom, whats wrong?" She asked.
"Wonder has a fever, Chris. She hasn't even touched any of her feed yet". Ashleigh replied. "Is it bad?" Ashleigh nodded. Christina could see the little brown foal looking at her curiously from between Wonder's legs. He ventured out slowly from behind his dam and arched his neck to sniff Christina's fingers. Wonder lifted her head tiredly, flicking her ears back and forth. "Hey, you." Christina said to the little colt, which nudged her arm curiously. Wonder placidly walked over and nuzzled the colt's shoulder tenderly, nickering softly to him. When the little foal almost went for a nosedive, Wonder was immediately by his side, nudging him reassuringly. She put her elegant muzzle under the foal's hindquarters to help him to his feet. Once steadied, she nuzzled him tenderly once more, nickering softly in her special mother voice.
The rest of the day seemed to pass by quickly. Ashleigh was staying in the barn to keep a close eye on Wonder and Christina wondered why her mother hadn't come inside by dinner time. "Your mother's just very worried about Wonder." Mike Reese reassured his daughter. Christina was skeptical. "But what if something happens? Wonder looks really sick, Dad." She told her father. "Don't worry so much, Chris. I bet that Wonder will be feeling better in no time." Mike reassured Christina, winking at her.
But that was not going to happen because when Christina arrived home from school Monday afternoon, she came in the barn to see a very sad sight indeed. Ashleigh was sitting beside Wonder, who was breathing hard. Dr. Seymour was standing close by. Christina could see her mother was crying. But, why? Her eyes widened when she saw the little colt standing alone, nudging his mother's hindquarters in bewilderment.
Ashleigh looked up to see Christina standing in the doorway, and shook her head.
"Mom, what is going on?" Christina asked in confusion.
"Wonder's bleeding internally." Ashleigh choked out. She gazed into the wise mare's eyes as she began gnawing on her lower lip. "We have to put her down."
"Put her down?" Christina cried, suddenly realizing the severity of her mother's words. "You can't possibly mean you're going to put her to sleep after all you have been through together?" Dr. Seymour put up a finger. "Christina." He began. "You don't understand. Ashleigh and Wonder have been through a lot together, but your mother isn't giving up on her. There are toxins in the blood already, which in time will ultimately kill Wonder and cause her further agony in the process. Her body is shutting down, Christina. You have to understand. Wonder will die either way."
"What about taking her to a clinic? Surely we can do that for her? "Christina said softly.
"If only life were that simple. It would only prolong Wonder's suffering. It's just not fair to her." Ashleigh responded. Christina looking at the suffering mare. "What about her foal? He needs Wonder!" Christina said but stopped when she noticed her mother's expression turn stony. "We'll deal with the colt later." She said, her face expressionless.
Who's gonna tell you when it's too late? Who's gonna tell you things aren't so great?
You can't go thinking nothing's wrong. Who's gonna drive you home tonight?
Christina thought of the song that she had heard many times on the radio and seemed eerily perfect, considering it could be viewed as a depressing song. A shrill whinny answered her thoughts. Wonder's foal! The poor thing was still standing alone. Christina rushed to him and threw her arms around his neck. She thought of the rest of the lyrics to the song as Dr. Seymour ushered her out so that Ashleigh could spend her final moments with Wonder.
Ashleigh stroked Wonder's ears and face, as she poured all her love into the dying mare.
She had done all she could and now she was about to lose her best friend.
"Oh, girl!" She cried, sobbing into the mare's coat. "I dont want to lose you! You're my special friend, my companion. This can't happen! Not now! Not after all we've been through." Wonder flicked her ears at her friend and nickered weakly.
Christina's thoughts suddenly flashed through Ashleigh's mind and she was confused. What did they mean?
Who's gonna pick you up when you fall? Who's gonna hang it up when you call? Who's gonna pay attention to your dreams? Who's gonna plug their ears when you scream?
You can't go on thinking nothing's wrong. Who's gonna drive you home tonight?
Christina and Dr. Seymour came back inside. Ashleigh was resting her cheek against Wonder's forehead. Wonder was whickering in pain. "Shhhhh. Easy. You have to rest, girl." Ashleigh said softly to her beloved Wonder. "I love you so much." She sobbed quietly. "Never forget that." Christina ran back to the foal and hugged him tight as she watched Dr. Seymour run his fingers gently along Wonder's back. He then picked up the syringe and took off the cap. Ashleigh was concentrating so hard on Wonder's face. She was breathing hard as she stroked the mare's blaze. I love you, Ashleigh's Wonder, she thought, looking in Wonder's dark eyes.
The little foal squirmed in Christina's arms, nickering softly for his mother. "Shhh. Its okay, baby. You're going to be just fine." Christina soothed in the little colt's ear.
Ashleigh continued to gaze into the mare's eyes as the vet administered the injection. Wonder's chest heaved up and down. The foal squirmed against Christina.
Who's gonna hold you down when you shake? Who's gonna come around when you break? You can't go on thinking nothing's wrong. Who's gonna drive you home tonight?
Christina thought as silence filled the room. Wonder was gone.