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The Ark

by

Lana Star

Chapter 1

Our story is not one often heard by your kind, humans I mean. To your kind we are just the creatures that walk your world for your own pleasure. We are just the things to either love or hate, depending on the mood your in. Well, we are tired of being your play things. Itís time you knew the truth, animals have feelings to.


By Land

I awoke early to the sounds of the stable brought to life. I rose and was greeted by my handler Brian. He patted my neck as he talked quietly to me. "Todayís the day, Jem old girl." I snorted.
"Sorry, I forgot, your not old are you?" he said laughing as he headed off to do his other chores.
I was only three years old and the fastest horse in the whole state of Colorado. I was a tan mare with a blond mane and tail. A pure bred racer.

I breathed deeply and inhaled the smells of the stables, but also the smells of the dessert in the morning. I could hear the other horses talking wildly around me. I turned my right ear toward Jessebelle, the stable gossip, in the stale next to me. "Did you hear? Old man Walkerís going to put a horse out to pasture this afternoon. I hope itís that Cobalt. Heís a fine horse, but a bit to wild for my taste," she said loudly. "If he was your taste Jessebelle, heíd be as dry as those twigs you call straw," I said tossing my head.

"Well, excuse me your highness, I didnít realize you were awake," she said with fake sympathy.
"I could hardly stay asleep with all that ruckus your making that you like to call talking," I said as I stomped. Just then old man Walker came by. "How are you doing this morning, Jewel?" he asked as he handed me a carrot. I ate it happily as he stroked my neck.

Brian and Walker talked about up coming events and if I should enter. Brian was not only my handler, but my jockey as well. "I think sheís ready," Brian said. "I donít know. She was almost run off the track by that Night Hawk," he said as he rubbed his chin. He looked to my head hanging over Brianís shoulder. Brian had been sad enough most of the week, I just didnít see why old man Walker wouldnít let him race. Weíd beaten Night Hawk before.

"I just think itís to soon to tell if your ready," he said as he placed a hand on Brianís shoulder.
"But Jewelís the fastest horse around," Brian protested. "I was talking about you lad. I donít know if your ready to ride in your fatherís place." So that was it. Brianís dad was the best rider around. He was supposed to ride me in the big re-match between Night Hawk and me, but something must have happened to him and now Brian wants to take his place.

I had to agree with old man Walker, Brian wasnít ready for the big leagues yet.
"Weíll wait a few days and then weíll see how you are," Walker said as he started to walk off.
"Just put Jewel in the pasture for now," he called back.
 
As Brain led me to the pasture, I nudged his arm. "You always know how to make me feel better donít you girl?" he said quietly as he patted my neck. "What can I say? Itís a gift," I said. Of course he couldnít understand me, but I didnít care. Suddenly the quiet, still air was shattered by a loud neigh from a jet black stallion. "I guess Cobaltís glad to see you," he said as he let me into the pasture.
I walked calmly into the field. Cobalt met me at the gate.

"Morning Jem," he said happily as kind of bowed his head. "Good morning Cobalt," I said stiffly.
Why did I always get so tense around him? He kind of laughed at me. "You donít have to be so formal, Iím not going to trample you," he said calmly. I relaxed. Something about his voice made me see him, the real him. I heard muffled laughter behind me. Brian stood at the fence. He seemed to know what was going on and found it rather amusing.

Cobalt seemed to see he was bothering me and charged at him. Brian fell backward, narrowly missing Cobaltís rage filled charge. I suddenly felt light on my feet. I took off at full speed and neighed as loud as I could. I could feel something following me. It was Cobalt. He matched my speed and pace exactly. We raced each other around and around the field until we could hardly pick our feet up anymore.

Brian came back later and took me to a training ring where he tacked me up. We walked in circles, trotted and cantered. Once I was warmed up did we start the real work out. A man came and watched us work. He was tall and looked old, but he also looked familiar. "Dad!" Brian called when he saw him. So this was the famous Michael ĎHurricaneí Hunt. I watched Mr. Hunt as he watched me.
"Sheís beautiful horse son, but she looks restless," he said. "She is, she wants to race," Brian said proudly.


"No, I think she wants to go back to that stallion in the pasture," he said as he pointed behind me.
I looked to see Cobalt at the fence, waiting for another race. He neighed loudly and I returned it.
"I also think sheís worried about racing with you in the big race. I donít think your ready for the Dust Bowl," he said.


"But Mr. Walker is giving me a few days to prepare," Brian tried.
"I donít think thatís going to be enough," he said shaking his head.
"Well, you just wait and see. Iíll show you, Iíll show you all. Jewel and I are going to be champions," Brian said, standing firm. His dad only laughed.

"You sound just like me when I was your age. Well I guess Steve knows what heís doing so weíll see what he has to say," his dad said as they both fell silent.
I was beginning to wonder if Brian had even been in a big race like the Dust Bowl.
I guess weíll find out soon, I thought.

Chapter 2

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