Monday, 20 May 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013 -

The Cattle Rustler's Bride

by Abigail Armani
Published: May 17, 2013
Words: 24,270
Category: romance, western
Orientation: M/F
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The horse galloped on tirelessly and Cindy laughed, elated to be on horseback, feeling the sun on her face and the wind in her hair. On and on they hurtled, before slowing pace a little.

Half way up the slopes of a hill, Cindy reigned in her mare and peered down into the valley below. She could see the bright sparkle of a stream as it ribboned its course through the gully. With a flick of the reigns, horse and rider proceeded down the slope.

As the mare drank, Cindy sat and pulled off her boots and dangled her feet in the cooling stream. Her feet submerged in the bubbling waters, she lay back and closed her eyes against the heat of the afternoon sun.

The mare came close, inclined her head and snorted warm breath from her nostrils down onto Cindy's face. Giggling, Cindy sat up, petting Savannah as she nudged against her arm, seeking affection.

"You're lovely. I know it. You know it. Ok - off you go and eat some grass while I take a little nap."

Savannah obediently munched on the lush grass by the edge of the stream. Meanwhile, Cindy lay down again; relaxed and happy she dozed, oblivious to the time.

It was after three in the afternoon when the first drops of rain began to fall. Cindy blinked and sat up, rubbing the remnants of sleep from her eyes. The day had changed. The sun had disappeared behind a bank of thick grey cloud and in its shadow, the once sparkling crystal waters of the stream now appeared dull and murky.

Getting to her feet, Cindy glanced at Savannah. The horse was edgy and tense and wouldn't come when Cindy called. Ignoring the mare for a moment, Cindy bent to put her boots back on. The splats of rain came faster now, and in less than a minute, she was thoroughly drenched, the folds of her clothes plastered to her body.

Glancing up at the heavens, what she saw there sent a spine-tingling chill of fear coursing through her body.

The sky was neither blue nor grey, but an ominous sickly greenish colour, punctuated by large, dark and low-lying clouds.

"Oh shit!" she gulped, ineffectually wiping her eyes as the rain hurtled down in torrents so thick she could barely see through the amorphous curtain of water. "Savannah! Here, girl!" she called through the din of the lashing rain.

Savannah's ears went back, and a moment later she turned and bolted.

"Savannah! Savannah! Come back!" yelled Cindy. Her voice cracked as desperation bit and she struggled to keep calm and rational.

But the horse was off in a panic, racing away through the increasingly boggy ground, and was soon out of sight behind a ridge of trees.

"Oh no!" wailed Cindy. She was beginning to feel really frightened now. The little hairs on her arms and the back of her neck were standing to attention and a coil of terror began to unleash itself from the pit of her stomach.