A Story About A Young Girl Growing Up with The Gift Of Premonition;The Unwanted Gift VI
The Unwanted Gift: VI
Poppy descended the stairs as if she was navigating a minefield. She clutched the old mahogany balustrade avoiding the places where the stairs creak with the tiniest of pressure.
The wood had worked loose from years of small feet thundering up and down. The children rode the once sturdy staircase until the wood screamed like an old dhow in a storm. Poppy knew from experience that the chance of a quick getaway was negligible, she prayed, "just this once, please God, let me get the better of Nan." The old woman's radar puts MIT to shame.
Poppy made it to the bottom of the stairs, and quietly lifted her blue duffle coat from the hook on the back of the door to the cupboard under the staircase. With her laptop tucked under her arm, she grabbed her shoulder bag containing an assortment of textbooks from the table in the hall. She was home and dry; a triumphant smile spread across the beautiful, quirky face, she breathed a sigh of relief and looked up as she headed for the front door. Poppy's moment of victory was short lived. Nan had blocked her escape.
The old woman stood firmly, her arms folded across her ample bosom, her legs planted firmly on the floor, dark clouds rolled across her face, and Poppy knew that the thunder wasn't far off. Nan was determined to rain on her parade. Poppy braced herself for the storm.
Poppy took a deep breath. “Oh great!” She muttered. Without another word she made her way to the kitchen, tossed the bag containing her books to the floor, laptop and coat carelessly thrown onto the large rustic farmhouse dining table as she flopped down into a chair.
The young girl waited for the interrogation she knew would come. Poppy racked her brains for an explanation that would appease the old fox. Nan could be as stubborn as a mule; she will not relent until she heard a reasonable explanation as to why her granddaughter had arrived home in the early hours of the morning.
Poppy was still more than a little bewildered by the previous day's events; her thoughts kept going back to her childhood, she had loved Richard for as long as she could remember. When she was five years old, she announced to her family, that Richard was her boyfriend, and he would marry her as soon as she was all grown up. Unfortunately, as Poppy grew up, she was forced to watch helplessly, as the older Richard, who would relate to her only as a younger sister, evolved into the handsome, heart-breaker he now was. She watched as he paraded a succession of airhead girls to the farm, some even had the audacity to ride her beloved horses. Well, the horses did not exactly belong to Poppy, but she cared for them as though they were hers.
Poppy would race to the farm when she found out that Richard was home, only to be disappointed to find him with yet another leggy beauty from Uni.
Poppy spent a lot of her spare time at the stables; in fact, she had saved it from going up in flames. Her unwanted Gift saved the day by preventing a disaster when the old barn almost went up in smoke with her beloved horses still inside.
Richard had arrived home for the weekend, on his arm was his current squeeze, the Sloane, horse faced Fiona from Chelsea, Cruella Deville to Poppy. The randy pair managed to escape the parent's prying eyes by going out to the shed for a sneaky smoke. One thing led to another, and In the heat of passion, Fiona carelessly discarded her cigarette butt among a pile of hay.
Poppy was out riding when she sensed that something was not quite right. A sharp pain shot through her head; she felt nauseous, flashing images of the stable on fire and the horses screaming, flashed before her eyes.
Pegasus always enjoy the short brisk canter through Dugan’s folly; Poppy loves sailing through the sea of hazy native bluebells that carpeted the ground. The beautiful flowers spread throughout the forest floor like a sapphire sea before her. The Folly was her favourite ride especially at this time of the year.
Spring is a magical time when the earth is reawakening after so long dormant. The young rider marvelled at the sight and sounds that surrounded her. Birds were happily chirping as they competed for the bumper crop of spring berries, the rustle of squirrels rushing and leaping from tree to tree made Poppy feel alive. She even spied a monk jack deer dashing across her path.
Poppy gave a few short, sharp, tugs on the rein to slow Pegasus down as she approached the narrow bridleway on the homestretch. Her head exploded with pain. She felt like someone had clubbed her over the head with force. White lights flashed before her eyes, and the horse bolted, almost throwing her to the ground. As she regained her composure, Poppy acted quickly, using the reins, she turned the horse in the direction of the farm. She dug her heels in, squeezing the horse’s girth as she leant forward. Pegasus took off at a gallop, horse and rider moved like one single entity.
Poppy prayed that the horses in the stables would be safe as Pegasus flew through the opened side gate, avoiding the cattle grid. She caught sight of Richard’s father, Dave, who was in the process of getting out of his Range Rover.
” Fire... fire... the stable. Tthe stables are on fire,” she shouted. She dismounted Pegasus in one single movement.
The men checked the stable block carefully, but they found no sign of a fire. Poppy saw the look of annoyance on Richard's and Fiona’s faces; she felt sick when she also saw waves of pity and confusion moved across the faces of Richard’s parents.
She knew what they were all thinking; that she had finally lost her marbles. She removed her riding hat and gloves and ran a hand through the mane of long luxurious hair as she looked around perplexed. Still breathing hard from the ride, she wondered what Pops would say when he hears about this fiasco. "God, I look like such a prat!" She whispered.
Suddenly, there it was. A thin stream of smoke like an Indian signal, rising slowly from the shed, Poppy yelled. “There! There...” Pointing toward the shed, but the men were already reaching for the water pump.
Richard and his father managed to put out the fire saving the stables and horses. Fiona left the following morning, never to return.
"If only getting rid of Constance would be as easy." Poppy thought to herself.
As hard as she tried, Poppy could not think of a story that would satisfy the crafty old woman; Nan was nobody's fool. However, the truth was out of the question, since Richard was adamant that his visit to York should be their little secret.
Poppy was filled to burst with excitement when she bumped into Richard at Betty’s, the hope that she was over her childhood crush was just that, a faint hope that disappeared the moment she looked into those mischievous twinkling aquamarine eyes, eyes that can change from green to blue with devastating results.
Poppy waved goodbye to her friend Margaret with whom she was attending a meeting of the student union at York University. They were discussing how the university can participate and play a part in the forthcoming Olympic Games. At the meeting, students were chosen to work as volunteers during the London games, they were all very excited, and the discussion ran over time. Margaret suggested having tea at Betty’s, and Poppy thought it was a splendid idea. However, they ran into Richard, and Margaret discreetly made her excuses and took her leave.
It felt good catching up with Richard, he asked about Nan and Pops; he had kept in touch with Poppy’s brother, Tom, who was also away at university. Richard told Poppy about his love for Constance and how remarkable and beautiful she was, and Poppy gave an Oscar-worthy performance as she pretended to be happy for him. She was relieved when the conversation turned to horses and horse racing.
In his usual off-handed manner, Richard inquired about her Gift, can she still predict the future? He wanted to know. Poppy did not like talking about her so called 'Gift.' An ability she did not seek, nor wanted, and often wished that God had blessed someone else with his gift.
The Gift had plagued the young girl's school days, her ability to see what others could not see, made her different. The Gift was a blight as far as Poppy was concerned; it brought her nothing but pain. Nevertheless, when Richard appeared to take an interest in the Gift, she found herself eagerly telling him all about the pain and agony she endured because of her unique ability.
But as she relived the painful memories of her school days, when her classmates sneered at her and called her a freak, and the little witch, Richard seemed enthralled and could not get enough of her stories.
Poppy was encouraged, and she told him everything that had happened to her since the first incident. It now seems so long ago, the day she saved Richard and her brother Tom, from certain death by an avalanche of falling rocks.
“So does that mean, err… let me see, how can I put it? Can you like...er, predict the winner of the three thirty at York?” Poppy laughed. “Well…. I don’t exactly know; I've never actually tried,” she said nervously.
Secretly; Poppy was thrilled to be able to impress Richard, after all, here’s something the, oh so perfect Connie, could never do for him.
”Go on, lass, have a go.” Richard urged, producing the evening paper from the inside pocket of his overcoat.
Richard pushed the paper gently towards Poppy " let's see if this gift of yours is for real. C'mon, give it a try."
She noticed that the paper was neatly folded at the racing page. “Go on, give it a try.” He pressed on. Poppy took the newspaper from the table.
The information she gave Richard won him £10,000 on the horses the following day. Richard had found his very own Oracle.