The synergy between Human and Animal can be a magical thing. Especially when a life is on the line.
This story was written in answer to Fandango’s One Word Challenge. Word – ‘Anticipate’
This story also includes: Ragtag Daily Prompt– ‘Tentahooks’
Gallop to the Rescue
There’s nothing better than a warm fire crackling in the grate on a cold winter’s day. Even twelve-year-old Millie Oates had to admit that. It was Saturday so she didn’t have to be at school. Millie was considered lucky by her friends, she lived on a farm with her parents. Even now her dad was out dealing with the sheep. She could hear mother baking in the kitchen too, there was always something delicious to eat around the farmhouse.
Millie had already been out feeding her Connemara ponies this morning. Now, she was sat on the rug before the fire, sketching in her book. She loved to draw and was top of her art class.
It was always a mystery to Millie why her father listened to the police radio. Even now, she could hear police officers calling in incidences through their radios, coming from the device on the dining table. Millie had to admit listening to police business was a little sneaky – even shady.
‘Suspect car has turned left, left, left onto Coney Lane. That’s left onto Coney Lane. I can confirm kidnapped girl is in the back.’
“He’s coming this way!” Millie bounded to her feet, sending her sketchbook and pencils flying across the hearth. She quickly crossed the flagstone floor into the hall. The walls were all cedar panelled here. The intrepid girl didn’t notice, she pulled her riding boots on over her jeans, tied back her chestnut hair, and raced out the front door.
Following the gravel drive around the ivy-covered farmhouse, she arrived at her stables. There were twelve stalls in all, each home to Connemara pony. Millie ignored those and clambered over the fence into the paddock. Even before her feet landed in the grass, she let out a whistle. “Let’s go, Candesco!”
This speckled grey pony nickered and nodded his head as he cantered around behind his favourite human.
Millie ran alongside him, jumped on a hay bale and vaulted onto the ponies back. She had no saddle, just reins, but that didn’t worry her. Millie had been riding all her life and was confident bareback. “Ya! Come on, Candesco – Somebody needs our help!” Millie directed him across the paddock. Without blinking an eye, she gave a pull on the reins. Pony and girl leapt the fence and set off at a gallop.
It was as though, Candesco and Millie were connected at the soul when riding together. He seemed to anticipate her every instruction before she gave it and would comply with a beautiful synergistic trust. His white mane and tail billowed magnificently on the air as he carried her through the farm.
Millie was on tenterhooks aboard Candesco. She knew where the car was going, could she reach him in time? With her heart thrumming in her chest and her nerves jangling, she urged pony on into the woodland beyond the sheep fields. Ducking branches and hurtling between trees, Millie directed the pony through many a twist and turn along the earthen track.
“Sirens! The police are close. Come on, Candesco!” Millie gave a slight squeeze of her knees and the smallest right tug on her reins.
Candesco lifted his head with a determined neigh. Sending earth flying from his hooves, he jinked right and leapt the edge of a rhododendron. As leaves hit the ground, he thundered out of the trees onto the dirt track road.
Millie’s strong amber eyes locked on the red three-door hatchback car barrelling towards her. She knew it was the kidnapper’s car. The pursuing police vehicle was right behind but losing ground. The intrepid girl knew what she had to do. “We need to head him off, Candesco. Let’s go!” Leaning forward she held rein and mane as she was whipped through the air.
Candesco had anticipated his mistress, he galloped left into a field through an open gate. The car missed him by less than the tails width. He flared his nostrils angrily but powered on across the potato furrows to please his mistress.
Millie forced her ponytail from her face as she looked over her shoulder. The police car was struggling over rough ground. She knew the kidnapper would regain the tarmac roads and disappear before it could catch him. “We have one chance with this – trust me, sweet Candesco.” Millie patted his heaving, warm flanks and urged him on.
Candesco nodded his head in full understanding. He angled straight for the far gate.
Millie flicked her gaze between the gate and the splashes of red she could see racing along the hedge line. “Faster, Candesco!”
Candesco complied, lowering his head and streamlining his body as he galloped on in a fury of flying earth, potatoes and terrified pigeons.
Millie’s world became a blur as the gate and car grew closer. She locked her focus upon the two and held on with her hands and knees. “Candesco, NOW!”
The grey Connemara pony let out a nicker and threw himself into the air.
Millie felt a shriek leave her lips as the gate flashed beneath her. Like a grey streak of lightning, Candesco had leapt the gate. Everything seemed to slow as his hooves thundered onto the bonnet of the kidnapper’s car. The windscreen glass shattered and then the pony was airborne again, flying over a second gate and landing neatly in another field.
On the ponies back, Millie punched the air in delight. “We did it!” she yelled amid the car’s brakes screeching as it crunched sideways into the hedge. She turned Candesco and trotted him sedately out of the field and put him in front of the car. “Good boy my sweet, Candesco. Look at the hoof marks in the bonnet, you nailed it good!” She remarked while admiring her handiwork at turning the car into a smoking wreck.
The driver’s door opened revealing a man wearing jeans and a dirty leather jacket. His nose was bleeding into his stubbly beard. Millie reckoned his head must have struck the steering wheel when he crashed.
“What the hell! Now, I’ll bloody kidnap you too!” Yelled the man.
Millie gripped Candesco’s mane. “Stay where you are or I’ll have him kick you!” she warned as the pony flared his nostrils and pawed the ground.
The man drew a knife. “No chance, I’ll cut his head off first!” He lunged causing the light to glint upon the edge of his keen blade.
“Well, we warned you,” Millie felt Candesco’s muscles tense beneath her. He reared high, kicking the kidnapper in the wrist. The knife flew from his hand as the pony drove him to the ground and pinned him beneath a hoof.
“Argh! The horse is killing me. Get off me now!” Screamed the man writhing and unable to escape from beneath a large pony.
Millie slipped gracefully down from Candesco’s back and grinned at him. “He’s a pony actually!” Sticking her tongue out, she added, “You look comfortable down there to me. You can stay put until the police come. Hold him, Candesco.” Grinning victoriously, she waved to the police car trundling like a lame cow along the lane.
“No, let me go!” Demanded the man.
Millie ignored him and went to the still smoking car. She leant into the driver’s open door and smiled at the girl in the back. She was maybe seven and had on a pink dress and blonde pigtails. “Hi, you can come out now. I’m Millie, Candesco and I saved you.”
The little girl had been crying, but now she was smiling with tears still glistening on her cheeks and wonderment in her powder-blue eyes. “Y-you were riding the pony?”
Millie nodded and held out her hand, “Yes, come and meet him.”
“Thank you. That jump was amazing!” The little girl took the offered hand. “I’m Natasha but daddy calls me Natty. Mummy doesn’t like him doing that,” she explained as she clambered out between the seats.
Millie grinned, “I wonder why, Natty sounds cute.”
“I agree,” said a police officer coming over. “I’m glad to see you’re okay, Natasha. Your mummy and daddy have been worried about you.”
The little girl began to cry “I want my mummy and daddy!”
Millie put an arm around her. “We’ll get you back to them very soon, I promise.”
“We sure will, little one.” The officer ruffled her pigtails drawing a smile then focused on Millie. “That was some epic riding, Miss. However, I must ask you to get your pony off my suspect so I can arrest him.”
Millie giggled, “Of course, officer. Candesco won’t hurt you, don’t worry.” She whistled and smiled expectantly at the grey pony.
Candesco nickered and made the kidnapper scream as he removed his hoof and stepped right over him to his mistress’s side.
“What a wonderful pony.” The officer remarked as he went to make his arrest.
“Thank you, Officer.” Millie smiled proudly as she handed Natasha the reins. “There, you hold him and we’ll walk him back together.”
Natasha looked a little scared of the much larger pony but she held the reins anyway. “Thank you, I never been this close to a pony before.”
“Well, I think you deserve a treat after your kidnapping, “said the officer now holding the fuming kidnapper in handcuffs. “But you can’t stay with him long. We have to get you home.”
Millie nodded in agreement while smoothing the pony’s silky snout. “Yeah, we do. Candesco and I live at Coney Farm. Why not bring her parents there?”
“Yes, please, please!” Begged Natasha.
“I think that’s a good idea,” said the officer putting the kidnapper in his car with a smile at the girls. “You go on ahead, I’ll arrange it over the radio.”
“That’s great, thank you,” said Millie.
And so Millie took Natasha to the farm where she met the sheep and rest of the ponies and had a wonderful time until her parents came to collect her. Millie was branded a hero, she and Candesco were awarded medals for their heroic rescue. And from that day on Millie always listened to the police radio in the hope that she could ride to the rescue once more.
Have a great day!