Sunday, 1 May 2011

2. The Haunted Hack

The Haunted Hack

It was a cold October afternoon and everyone at EA Equestrian was feeling the chill. David had been talking to his favourite horse, Tamarind, when Abigail the yard manager approached him.

"Hi David, could you do me a huge favour and ride over to the village for me? I was going to get some treats for the horses but we're all out. I thought they could do with some cheering up as it's so cold"

David smiled and nodded. "Of course! I'll just get Tam groomed and tacked up."
He grabbed the nearest brush and gave him a quick clean before he made sure the bridle fitted him properly.

Abigail appeared a moment later with his saddle and a few minutes later they were ready to go. David put on his hat and got on.

He knew his clothes weren't ideal for riding in but he wouldn't be out for long...

They trotted out of the yard and soon came across a fork in the road. He knew that one led straight to the village and that the other to the moors. He had never ridden there before but he knew that you could get to the village from there via an old path - it just took slightly longer. He had plenty of time so he decided to take the left fork and ride on the moor.
It was an excellent place to hack up there, the breeze was cool and the views spectacular, yet there was something about them that give him shivers.
Ten minutes passed by and he hadn't reached the path yet. It was too late to turn back now and it was starting to get very dark. Suddenly Tam spooked and reared!

David went with him and managed to calm him down. What had scared him so much? He would never find out as the horse launched himself into the air again and then galloped full pelt across the hill.

When Tam had worn himself out, David relaxed and gave him a pat. He was worried though, Tam never reared... Something was definetly not right...

As he passed the old ruined castle again he saw a light in the distance. "The village!" He quietly nudged Tam forwards and they headed towards it at a brisk trot.

David gasped. It was the village all right...but it was different - much different. The tack-shop wasn't there and neither was the cafe. In fact, the more he looked around, the less he recognised. Every thing and person there seemed oddly drained of colour, like an old black and white print. It was distinctly odd and the hairs on the back of David's neck stood up for no apparent reason.

As they trotted towards where he knew Henry the grocer's shop was, David was aware of the crashing silence that surrounded them. Only Tam's steadily reassuring hoofbeats broke the stillness. Nervously, David dismounted and tied Tamarind to the side of the shop.

As he looked through the slightly dirty window he saw a collection of objects that he didn't remember the grocer stocking before.

Nervously, he looked up at the sign and gulped.

'Archibald and Son - Ironmongers - Est 1824'

Cautiously he approached the door and turned the creaking handle...

A man stood behind the counter in an old worn apron. He looked vaguely familar to David but he couldn't place him.

"Why hello there son, what can I get for ye the day?" The man said, smiling. "It's a chilly night tae be out and about an' that's for sure"

David smiled stiffly. "Umm..this is going to sound really strange, but could you tell me where and...when I am?"

The shopkeeper laughed. "Certainly lad! You are in the best Ironmongery shop in the land and the date is the thirty first of October 1864"

David paled. 1864?
He took a step back in shock and the shopkeeper's smile faded. "Are you all right lad? Here, I think you need a wee sit down."
He guided David to the door at the back of the shop and the next second he found himself seated in the biggest kitchen he had ever set eyes on.

The shopkeeper spoke but David didn't hear him. "Ah, here's the missus, she'll look efter you. I'd better get back out front..."

David looked up to see a short woman with curly hair approach him. "There, there lad, what's ailing you?"

He tried to explain what had happened but the woman was having none of it. "What you need is a good rest and something to eat. Aha!" She rummaged among the many items on the table and produced a ripe, shiny apple which she presented to David. "Here, eat this, it'll do you the world of good!"

David stood up and raised his voice.
No! Don't you understand me? I'm from 2007, not 1864!" The woman just laughed and David decided to leave.
This was getting far too weird.

Without another thought, he untied Tam and made a run for it.

They didn't stop galloping until they could see the comfortingly familiar shapes of the yard and stable block. As he pulled Tam back to an unsteady canter, her could make out Abigail's silhuette against the light from the floodlit outdoor arena. The sky was getting lighter the closer he got to it.
Had they been out all night?

"Ah David, you're back! I meant to ask you to ask Henry if he had any carrots in - we're out of them as well!" Abigail's words troubled him. "Weren't you worried about us?" he said as he dismounted and began to untack Tam. "I mean, we were out for hours!"

Abigail laughed. "Hours? You weren't gone twenty minutes!"
David gasped. "! It got really dark and we went back in time...1864....ironmongers...scary... ghosts...."

"Time travel?" Abigail roared with laughter. "I don't think so're not The Doctor you know!"

David sulked. Abigail didn't believe him.


He was just about to put Tam away when Abigail called over to him.

"Not yet David, I'm just going to give Andrea here a quick five minute ride on Tam. She's thinking about having lessons here and she wants to 'have a go' beforehand to see how she does."

David turned round and stepped back again in shock.

"Hello there...My, you look peaky! I brought an apple for your horse but you look like you need it more." She held it out ot him. " Go'll do you the world of good!"


The End...

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