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Big Bay Gelding

Updated on March 12, 2014

From the Wagon Train Diaries

The teenage girl was out horse riding. The horse was not hers; it belonged to the Wagon Master Alastar Brown. She loved that horse and he gave her permission to take it out and give it some exercise. The horse was a big bay gelding, even tempered and beautiful.

She was told to stay close to the wagon train, but after the third leg around the camped wagons, she decided to venture out. She wanted to see what the big bay gelding was made of. She rode for several hours and her muscles were beginning to complain at every bump. As she reined the gelding in, it snorted softly, with annoyance and impatience. The horse loved the hard climb and it let the rider know with several snorts.

“I know big boy,” she said under her breath. “I think I’m lost.”

The gelding tossed his head and kicked the dirt beneath him with his left foot.

“I’m sorry,” she chuckled.

Alastar Brown created the riding trail for the young adults, and she enjoyed settling into that rhythm, but she wanted more. The trail was just not enough for her. Unfortunately the more came with a price.

The teenage girl jumped off the horse and went to the river to drink some water. The gelding did the same. She could feel the movement of the horse, and hear the sound of hoof-beats as it approached the river beside her.

Suddenly she realized where she was. Her own breathing, the wind, and the rush of the river stream paralleling the wagon train trail. She knew that the wagon master purposely followed the river for the water. She smiled a wide smile and decided to mount the gelding. She couldn’t see the train camp, but she knew that it was just toward the central lowlands. Her attention and anticipation were directed toward the high sun, where the trail zigzagged downward.

She knew she’d be okay and she had all the time in the world. But suddenly time was an interruption. Even though some interruptions were nagging, this one was life threatening. She hadn’t realized it, but while drinking from the river she was snake bitten, not once, but twice. She watched the serpent swim down stream and her eyes were open wide in shock.

Her body went limp but she managed to stay on the horse. She felt her speech slur, and she couldn’t utter any commands to the gelding. The sun was still hot, but the air was growing colder, and while she stayed on the horse it was cold enough to provoke shivers.

She was losing consciousness and the air around her was tight and difficult to swallow for breathing purposes. The gelding started moving and she felt an abnormal drift, and that drift shook her bones. Everything around her was still, but every now and again the stillness was broken by the big bay gelding.

She was a young girl and she really wanted to make a home in the new west. She wanted to teach when she was old enough. She had so many plans, and it went down stream with the serpent.

The images of her brothers and sisters stained her mind, and all she could see was her mother crying on her father’s shoulder. She wasn’t a troubled girl, but she did like riding and this time the riding took her life. The wagon train had its share of problems and the joy was rare enough, but precious enough in life.

She saw a dark shadow flapping low and then suddenly disappeared behind the mountains. Everything was strange as the air kept rushing into her and rushing out at the same time. Her pupils were so black against the white. She would blink and realized that it was some sort of movement. She then started praying to God for salvation. She didn’t want to die. She wanted to be home with her mother. She wanted to be on the wagon train, and she wanted to help the scout groom the horses.

The teenage girl saw the images of her family laughing and smiling. She saw the happiness that always blessed their hearts. They were a loving family and she was part of it. She felt herself laughing and smiling too, but it wasn’t real. Reality would intrude soon enough, as she felt her body rock in pain. The shadow of death moved a little closer, veering past the face of the young girl.

The pain had stopped, but everything around her went black. If death had taken hold of her, at least she got to die riding a beautiful big bay gelding.


“The fever broke!” shouted the doctor. “Alastar!”

The teenage girl opened her eyes and saw the wagon train’s doctor standing over her. “What happened?”

“You were snake bitten my dear child,” he replied. “Good old Sandy brought you back to the camp in the nick of time.”

“The horse?”

The doctor smiled.

Her family rushed toward her screaming in utter delight. Their child had returned from the threshold of death.

The doctor gave the young girl a carrot and called the gelding over. She lifted an amused eyebrow and let the gelding take it from her hand.




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© 2013 Frank Atanacio

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    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Frank, simply awesome!....I love a happy ending.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Praise the Lord, for He heard her prayer!!!

      Yes, life will go down stream in a hurry when that serpent comes around no doubt!

      Frank, I really just love these "Wagon Train Diaries" you have going on here!

      When death came a knocking, your vivid and descriptive writing gave me the chills.

      Awesome write.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      tobusiness thanks for checking out my wagon train diary and always Faithful, beautiful comments as always.. you rock!!!! bless you both

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Great story Frank, and not an uncommon occurrence to encounter snakes on the road west either. Up!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thanks X-man for reading my Big Bay Gelding :)

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Wonderful story. Like Faith, I love your wagon train stories. Keep them going please.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Thank you so much becky Katz for following the Train :) bless you

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 3 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Beautiful story with a wonderful ending...... But what's more interesting is your description of someone at death's Door, incredible! As always, Frank, love your writing :)

      Voting up and everything ..... Take care, buddy!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Thank you Lathing for stopping by the wagon train diaries...:)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Aaah! What a beautiful story of adventure and faith. No matter the theme, you tell a good story!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you MsDora :)

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Frank, such a well written story and beautiful. I always have been a fan of the faith theme and "faith" itself. Love the story and message in this. Voted up, awesome, beautiful, and interesting. Your a great writer Frank and your attention to detail is amazing! Keep it up bro.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thanks bro.. I appreciate that :)

    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 3 years ago from USA

      Great job of concocting a dire situation between life and death. It really built a lot of tension. Keep up the great work!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thanks Marlin55 :)

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      What a lovely story, Frank. Sensitive and gentle - and kept the interest going until the end. I love a happy ending, too.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Thank you blossoms bless you :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. Wonderful story. I love horses.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Thanks Gypsy :)

    • samuel hodges profile image

      samuel hodges 3 years ago from Winston-Salem NC

      I had to see how it was going to end.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thanks samual for visiting my train diaries :)

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 3 years ago

      Great story writing Frank....I'm glad the girl made it, wasn't sure though....we don't get too many happy endings..love this series:-))

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      wow am I really that dark..LOL thanks for visiting my Diaries Valleypoet.. Bless you bro

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Keep em comin' Frank! Very well told...keeps the readers interest.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thanks wayne barrett :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      Frank,

      a teenage girl is riding a horse then you suddenly hurl her into a terrible world. You are so heartless. LOL

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      LOL but she lives and all is well LOL thanks Vin :)

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Really good one, my favorite story of yours so far! The happy ending helps but I like the storytelling a lot too. :-) ~Lurana

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Thank you for checking out my wagon train MrsBrownsParlour :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I love finding stories you've written, its like finding a new package under the Christmas tree. You write so beautifully and this is a touching story that could well have happened. Riveting in a quiet way until the snake bite of course.

      Voted up, awesome, interesting and shared.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much for reading my Big Bay.. Til :) bless you

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