Prompt: Late summer. You’re wandering, lost in the woods. You come across a gypsy wagon, and you call out…”hello?”
“Hello! Is anyone there?”
The Gypsy Vanner stands quietly beside me. Such a docile giant I’ve just found wandering lost in the woods. I give him a gentle pat on his strong yet soft piebald neck, his thick mane tickling my fingers. He followed me willing, as if grateful for the company. Surely his people must miss him.
I call out again.
“Hello! Hello! Hello!”
The handsome horse tosses his flowing mane and let’s out a powerful whinny.
Then, a woman’s voice.
Finally, from between the curtains of the brightly coloured wagon she appears. Middle-aged and quite beautiful, her dark hair knotted in a nest on top of her head with tendrils of its brunette silk dusting the sides of rosy cheeks. Dark brown eyes dart while acclimating to the daylight. She sees me holding onto my belt which is loosely tied around the horse’s massive neck. It was how I was able to lead him here. The gypsy’s eyes widen in horror.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing with my Chiron?”
She jumps down from the wagon, skirts flying, and rushes over to where we’re standing some 20 feet away. Immediately she grabs the belt from my hand and releases it from around her horse’s neck, throwing it then to the ground where it withers into the grass like a dead snake.
“Answer me,” she yells to my face, “what are you doing with my Chiron?”
For a moment I am taken aback. I watch as she runs her practiced hands over her horse to make sure he’s okay. She plants a gentle kiss on the end of his muzzle and turns to me again, her expression not so tender.
I don’t feel like defending myself. It was she who allowed her horse to wander and I who found him and brought him back.
“Next time I find your horse wandering in the woods,” I answer in a tone every bit as strident as the gypsy’s, “I’m taking him home with me. He’s too beautiful to be left to the wolves.”
I lean down to retrieve my leather belt from the grass and turn to walk away. To hell with her.
And I do because I’m unhappy with the way this has resolved. I turn back. There’s a tear in the woman’s repentant eyes, her arms are wrapped around Chiron’s massive neck. I walk closer.
“I’m sorry,” she says haltingly in a thick Hungarian accent I didn’t recognize before. “It was unfair of me to take my anger out on you. Chiron means the world to me and I am angry at myself for not securing him properly so he wouldn’t wander off. Thank you for bringing him home.” She brushes the tears from her cheek and stands once again upright. “I am Erzebet. Except for my cat and my horse I travel alone. I am a fortune teller. Please, let me speak yours in gratitude for the return of Chiron.”
Now I’m uncomfortable in a whole other way.
“Really, it’s fine,” I say. “I’m just happy to have been able to restore him to you. The woods are a lonely place for the lost ones.”
Erzebet’s eyes seem to deepen in colour; almost mesmerizing. She turns to Chiron.
“What do you think, my beauty?”
Chiron puts his muzzle against Erzebet’s chest and sighs.
“Come … what is your name?” she asks me.
“Come Grace … let Chiron, my wounded healer, be your guide.”
As the two of them walk away, bidding me follow, I feel their heart connection.
Erzebet calls back to me …
“You think you found Chiron in the woods today,” she stops, turns and smiles knowingly, “when, in fact, it is he that found you.”
My response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.
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©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014