TITLE: Elemental Fire
GENRE: Upper Middle Grade Fantasy
The bay mare tied to the rail drove away that nagging inner voice that waged a war between blame and guilt. She allowed me to forget … me. Vienna nickered as I scrubbed the winter coat from her body, leaving it slightly more prepared for the eventual hot and sticky western New York summer.
As her shedding coat flew in the spring breeze, so did the ache in my heart. My lips almost curled into a smile as she jostled my elbow, as eager to ride, to thunder across the countryside as I was.
“Hey! A little patience, maybe?” I lifted my ancient saddle onto her back and for once, she didn’t sidestep. Maybe we had made progress. Vienna was my first horse and while no one would describe her as well-trained, I loved her Arabian beauty and the dreams she’d fulfilled. Desires whispered to my mother at bedtime. Vienna became my fourteenth birthday present to myself. My only present. Happy Birthday, Brook.
I pressed my forehead against Vienna’s, determined to focus on her and the present, not the pain that had gnawed at my insides since that December day four months ago. My hand wound through her thick mane and found her favorite itchy spot. She leaned into my hand while her lower lip quivered. Nothing else mattered for a glorious minute.
Guilt and anger fell away as I settled into the too-big saddle. Vienna claimed my attention, prancing down the driveway, ignoring all but the sharpest tugs on the reins.