Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta stables. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta stables. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 30 de abril de 2016

A horse named Alex

   Every single horse ran immediately, except one. Alex, named like that after the leading character in A Clockwork Orange, had stayed exactly were he was and no matter how much the jockey on top of him kicked him, he didn’t move a single millimeter. Everyone in the team was seriously pissed. They had all invested something in the race and now it was all in the trash can just because a horse had decided to show his opinion during a very important event.

 To be fair, it wasn’t that Alex was especially bright or anything, the point was he had been well trained by his former master. Lady Claire had been only ten years old when her parents had gave her that horse as a present for her birthday. It wasn’t exactly a surprise, considering the family had strong connections with horse that went for years. They had even provided the police and the army with horses and won several contests and shows with their best stallions.

 Alex was, nevertheless, Claire’s pet. He was never supposed to run in any race or to be under scrutiny of any person ever. Yet, when he grew up and transformed into a very well formed horse, more than one person started telling Lady Claire’s father that he was wasting a great horse by letting his daughter have him just running around his premises every day. They saw how he played with the girl and how he ran when she asked for a mount and all the other instruments.

 Those men were always around the house, normally just overlooking the training process for the horses that had been specifically raised to enter competitions or to serve certain institutions. But one of them, called David Byrne, got obsessed with the idea of seeing Alex run in a real race. The man insisted daily to Claire’s father that he had to make that horse run and that he could make a lot of money with him. He also proposed him to sell the horse to him and he would be the one to train him in the best conditions possible.

 But of course, as soon as Claire heard someone wanted to take her away from her pet, she insisted to her father that he couldn’t simply take something he had given to her as a preset. The horse was hers and only Clair could be the one to decide if he ran or if he just walked around their estate. And she had no intention of selling or training Alex for anything, so the answer was always a negative one to Mr. Byrne.

 Annoyed by the fact that a girl was on his way and that her father was a man that couldn’t even control his own daughter, he decided to do what he knew most: manipulate the context. He decided to end various deals he had reached with Claire’s father, which put him in very serious problems with a lot of people, like the government and a large amount of private investors that had invested their money in the very large and modern stables in which all of the horses trained and maintained by Claire’s father lived. Although the hit was not very strong at first, it became a problem after some months.

 Byrne was a very bitter human being and he didn’t like to loose at all. He hated the idea of even stepping aside to make someone’s life easier. The moment he had the idea of making Alex his horse and making him run in various competitive events, he had decided in his head that it needed to happen and he wasn’t going to stop for details, like the horse not being his or the opposition of the real owner. Besides, he was rather accustomed to winning his arguments so he knew it was a thing of time until he had his way.

 Claire’s Father, who she called Daddy even when she got older, came to her room one day and decided to ask her for Alex in the nicest tone possible. She was already a woman, almost off to college. She visited Alex every day in the stables and treated him more like a dog than like a horse. She even had the idea of going to study to a school where she could have him around in order to make some exercise and not to loose her connection to the horse. And it was then that her father realized what he had to do: promising something he wasn’t going to do, like taking good care of the horse.

 The girl trusted her father because he was who he was. She left for college months later and once she was out of the picture, her dad attempted to deal with Byrne. The man was obviously beaming with pleasure when he received the call and he even decided to play dumb and not accept the man’s calls for a while. But he eventually went to the stables and talked to him, hearing his proposal. Claire’s father was not ready to sell the horse as, legally; the horse was his daughter’s property. However, he would let Mr. Byrne trained the horse and earn money that way.

 The man accepted. Claire’s father was very glad because it meant they could do business again and he could access all of his former clients again. The money made from the horses was very important to him and his wealth. So Alex begun training under a very harsh woman hired by Byrne, who was supposed to be one of the best in the field. She was a very harsh person and used a whip to make her results even better.

 She made Alex work a lot more than he had ever worked. Called Françoise, the woman was as big as a small horse and cracked the whip every time she thought the creature was not doing what she was asking or had been doing it wrong for a while. She made him run and jump for hours, until Alex was exhausted.

 Even the other trainers, the ones supervising the horses that would go to other owners, seemed appalled by the way Françoise treated Alex and her energy around the stables. Every single horse got quite restless when she appeared and would only calm down after a while. Alex would always respond to her arrival by kicking the wall of his small room with his hind legs. He kicked so hard, he broke the wood once and that had to be mend by Claire’s father.

 He witnessed one day how the woman did the job and was horrified by it but he didn’t say anything because it seemed Byrne was very happy with the results. Françoise stated that the horse would be ready for a race in just a month and Byrne had already booked him for three different events taking place just within days of each other.  The only thing Claire’s father did was checking his calendar and making sure his daughter wasn’t going to be around for those dates.

 He had dodged any questions about her horse for days now. He would always answer to her vaguely over the phone and change the subject abruptly to her studies and she didn’t say anything because she was grateful to her father that he had understood her choices in life and that she had chosen to study a liberal art and not the career he had always wanted for her. So she went along and never insisted on speaking about her horse or anything else really.

 The last month of training was simply brutal. Françoise cracked her whip more times in those days that in all the others days combined. Her trained was becoming so intense, that some of the stable workers decided to ask her to relax a little and let the horse rest for at least a day or she would kill him from exhaustion. But she simply cracked her whip at him and they never insisted again.

 The day of the race, Byrne and the whip women were really confident that Alex was going to win. They had run tests with him against other horses and he had won every single one of those. So there was no doubt they had a winner in their hands. So it was baffling, to say the least, when Alex stood still and didn’t budge one bit.

 What they didn’t know was that Claire had found out some days earlier about the whole thing and she had visited her pet in secret. Having spent her life with him, enable her to just tell him what he had to do when he heard the gun going off at the racetrack. She claimed her horse back after that and decided not to forgive her father for his behavior. Claire just took Alex and moved him closer to her and away from betrayal.

viernes, 18 de marzo de 2016

Palace pursuit

   The Tanjima pace had been deserted for half a century and it was now a museum. No one really knew why the palace had been evacuated one, out of the blue. The point was that people never returned and decided to settle in other areas, leaving the palace to decay rapidly. It was only recently, some five years ago, that a local businessman had decided to acquire the land and remodel the palace in order to exploit it commercially, as tourism was becoming more and more important in the region. His goal was been fulfilled, as it became one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country in only a few years.

Nathan and George were a couple that had just arrived from Japan and had decided to visit the palace. It was the beginning of winter, so the level of tourists in the place was not that high. They paid the entrance, grabbed a map and started walking. The palace was enormous and it also encompassed several land used as gardens and as farmland, so people could see how the rice and vegetables were grown for the inhabitants of the palace when it was occupied. It generated the first fight between the couple: Nathan wanted to go to the farmland, as they had a place where you could touch cows and horses. But George wanted to go to the gardens and see which flowers hadn’t yet died due to the winter.

 Of the two, Nathan was the more positive and upbeat one. He was always willing to help people and loved to sing pretty often. George, on the other hand, was cranky all the time except when he was in a romantic mood. The only way to calm him down when he was pissed about something was for Nathan to kiss him softly. Many people thought they were not the best match ever but they did get along well. The thing was that they always had these silly arguments that always took their time.

 Trying to decide what to do, they came to a crossroads: one-way the gardens, the other way to the stables. They looked at the map to know what was best but then something ran past their feet. When they looked for what that had been, they realized it was a dog. It was small and very hairy. It was one of those little dogs that need their facial hair to be cut regularly in order for them to see where they were going. But apparently he didn’t have any problem. He just sat there and stared.

 Nathan kneeled that and stroked the dog’s head. He didn’t do any noise, so Nathan proceeded to pat his back and stroke his ears too. And the dog just stayed there, moving his tail slowly. When Nathan was finished, the dog stared at George but George didn’t really like dogs. He thought they were always full of ticks and dirt and he just didn’t like pets all that much. That’s why they didn’t have any at home and Nathan had decided not to fight for one.

 The dog, realizing George wasn’t going make a move, come closer and then bit George hard in the sheen. It was very fast because when they started screaming and looking at the leg, the dog had already left. George was so angry he decided to run after the dog, even when Nathan told him that there was nothing wrong: the dog had not even left his teeth mark on the leg. But nothing could stop George when he was that angry so Nathan followed him.

 They ran downhill, towards the crops. George saw the dog going that way and ran after him because he wanted to grab him and file a complaint. He was like that, always thinking he was making a better world by complaining about everything. Nathan had learned how to handle it, often not even acknowledging his boyfriend, but sometimes it was difficult. For example, this dog thing reaction was disproportionate, especially when George, unaware the land around the crops was flooded, decided to run across them to get the dog, that had sat down on the other side, waiting.

 The result was George getting wet up to his knees with water and a security guard coming and telling them they could be fined for disturbing the crops. Nathan spoke with her and explained that George had just made a mistake and that he didn’t meant anything by it. She decided to let them go, seeing he had just ruined his pants but not any of the plants, and told them to stay away of the area. So Nathan had to push George away and the dog followed them until they were just in front of the stables.

 There, they quarreled for a while. George said that Nathan never really defended him when he was right but Nathan said he wasn’t even right in the first place. He was just being all crazy because a dog had bitten him softly on the leg. George declared that was an example of how his boyfriend always tried to make things that happened to him smaller, as if they weren’t really that important.

They were raising their voices so much that the tourists going into the stables looked at them and some even took pictures. It was only when the dog barked and ran inside, that the two men decided to stop talking and enter the place.

 It smelled like a proper farm and it had room for seven cows on one side and seven on the other. That was half the building. The other half was occupied by the horse area, were George ran to just after entering because he had seen the damned dog going that way. Nathan, not wanting to participate anymore, decided to caress some of the cows and take pictures with his cellphone. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his boyfriend; it was that he was very high maintenance and that was tiring.

 After fifteen minutes or so, Nathan went to the horse area and took some pictures in there too. He didn’t realize George was standing on the doorway, until he was closer. He asked him what he was doing and George responded that he was looking for the dog. Bored with that silly chase, Nathan decided to take picture of the horses, which were enormous. Then, a chilly gust of wind entered the building and he saw George just stay there and then walk like a zombie. He had to go after him.

 He caught up with him not very far, en route to the garden area. Then, out of the blue, the dog appeared and barked and George became crazy and launched himself at him. There was no way to stop him from behaving like that because the dog was doing exactly what drove him crazy: tainting home and making him fall and trip and follow running. The dog, Nathan thought, was smarter than any of the humans in the palace.

 He didn’t really run after George, just trying no to lose him. But then found himself with his boyfriend that had ran out of breath in front of a beautiful field of roses. He touched Geroge’s back and that made him raise his head to watch the beauty that unfolded in front of them: rectangular gardening area were roses of every single color had been planted. And they really were in every single color: red, blue, yellow, pink, brown, black…

 The couple got closer to look at them and realized there was a sign that said: “Please feel free to take any rose you want. You may only take 1 and it has to symbolize something to you”.

 They tried to decide and right then the dog appeared on one side of the rose field and had a red rose in its mouth. He got to Nathan and pushed him gently in order for him to grab the rose, which Nathan did. According to another sign, red meant passion and love. So he gave that flower to George without even thinking about it because he had just realized how much he loved him. He didn’t cared about having to run after him or stand by as he fought his battles. He could do that and more because he loved him.

 George’s eyes were watery but then he remembered he had to take a rose for Nathan. He looked at the dog and asked him which one he should get and the dog barked and both guys laughed. He went for the blue one, which was meant to symbolize all feeling that can live through time, like trust. And he trusted his life and his love to Nathan so he gave him that one.

 The dog disappeared as the two men kissed softly and embraces each other, running through the bushes to find another couple that maybe had come to the palace in need of some advice, without even knowing.