~ 8 Seconds...Retribution ~
by Roughrider728

Disclaimer: There are times in ones life that events seem out of control. This is one of those times. I do not agree as to how this horse is broken, but the story shows how some people think that animals as well as humans are just objects to be treated with disregard. The main character is in too much self-absorbing pain to look outward at the pain she may be causing others. Once trust has been broken, can it be regained? Will love prove to be strong enough? Only the person inside of you can answer that. This is the second story in the 8 Second Ride Trilogy.

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Part 1

8 Seconds?They Call This Rodeo?

I find that I can't concentrate the way that I need to. My alcohol-dazed brain is making the light blind me and the noises around me are so loud they hurt my ears. Still I push on, as what else is there to do. My life stretches like a blackened tar road endlessly before me with no end in sight.

I saddle my horse to help me round up the mustangs that need working today. I need to feel the pain associated with busting mustangs. That alone will make me feel alive, shoving out the deadened fog that I surrounds me. Riding out, I see the midnight terror that all riders fear. He prances and races back and forth across the field, acting as though he owns the world, strutting his defiance for all to see. It will be either I break him or he breaks me.

I corner him along the rail, forcing him to run in front of me until I have him pinned within the chute. He kicks out and bucks, doing his damnedest to keep me away from him. I climb out of my saddle and leave my horse outside next to the gate, hoping to make the black mustang more relaxed. My head is pounding from too much whiskey the night before and my hands shake as I pull myself over the rails. Picking up the halter lying over the rail, I signal to one of my ranch hands to come in and help me. We manage to back the mustang into the corner where he stands stock still as I, with much fumbling, finally get the halter in place. The halter is snugger than I would like but I know without that control, my life is at risk. Hell, why do I care? I have no life any longer. I reach back out and loosen his halter so that it will not hurt his head. I quickly throw on the saddle blanket and fasten the saddle to his broad back. He blows out his breath but with a hard thump on his side, I get him to expel as I tighten the saddle in place. He tries to buck while in the chute but he does not have enough room.

I leave him penned as I walk away, trying to get my body back under control. I am shaking badly and want nothing more than another swig of whiskey. Looking at my watch, I see it is nine thirty in the morning. I turn and go into the tack room where my office is. Reaching into one of the lower drawers of the desk, I pull out a flask and quickly take several deep swallows. I feel the liquid fire pouring down my throat, making my body come alive again. I turn to set the flask on the desk and damn it, there is your picture in front of me. I pick it up and sling it across the room, watching it crash against the wall and shatter.

God damn it. My heart breaks again as with tears in my eyes I stagger over to the wall, reach down, and pick up the broken frame from the shower of glass at my feet. One shard slices into the palm of my hand as I remove your now mangled picture. Your smile deceives me again as I rip it into a million little pieces. Blood runs down my fingers and drips onto the floor. I toss the bits of paper away from me and watch as they fall into the blood pooling at my feet.

I remove my kerchief from my back pocket and wrap it tight around my hand, stopping the bleeding for now. I shortly think to myself, why stop it, just let it flow. I turn again to the desk and grab my flask, drinking more of the mind numbing nectar found within.

Finally, I hear the stallion scream from his chute and I stagger back out into the pen. My helper is standing close by waiting to see what I need. With a wave of my hand, I draw him closer as I walk to the gate of the chute.

"Climb up and bite his ear," I tell him as I move closer to climb into the chute. He climbs one side as I try to climb the other. My foot slips off the first rung and I fall forward, hitting my chin sharply on the top rail. My teeth slam together causing me to bite my tongue. I cuss and turn to spit out the blood pooling in my mouth. Damn, that hurt. Hell, at this point in my life, even pain is better than the nothingness that I feel inside of my soul. With wounded hand and now, wounded chin and tongue, I finally manage to climb into the chute and settle myself snuggly onto the mustang's saddle.

He tries to buck but my helper bites his ear harder and he settles back down. I pick up the rope and wrap it around my hand. It cuts into the wound in my hand but I ignore the pain as I fasten myself to the black devil. I shift around in the saddle until it feels comfortable and I make sure that the toe of my boots are just inside the stirrups so I can kick out if necessary.

I nod my head signaling that the gate be opened as my body prepares for the rough ride. The gate sprang back, the mustang charges out as my body leans over his neck. He bolts forward and stops stock still causing me to slam forward into his neck. I tense not knowing what his next move might be. Then it comes. With an upward sweep, his whole body arches off the ground, bucking me straight up into the air. Maybe if my hand had not been hurt, my head was not pounding from the whiskey and I had not been shaking so bad, I could have responded appropriately. Instead, I can feel myself leaving the saddle and the horse behind as I fly up and backward through the air. I have no control as the rope tears from my abused right hand. Sights flash by my eyes but all I see is the clear blue of the sky as I feel myself falling hard to the ground. I remember the blow to my back, the air rushing out of my lungs, the singular bounce that causes my head to strike forcefully upon the ground.

Now it is very black. I hear nothing. I feel nothing. I see nothing. Am I dead? To think, they call this Rodeo?

Moral ? think before reacting in anger, for that anger can not be taken back once it's been acted upon, friendships as well as true love can be destroyed by it.

Part 2

8 Seconds?Out of Darkness?Into the Light

My head is pounding. I ache and hurt all over. I force my eyelids open and the bright sterile light sears into my very soul. Blinking, I finally look around. I am lying in a colorless hospital room with tubes connected to me. Lifting up my arm, I see a white dressing wrapped around my right hand. My mouth is dry, making it hard to swallow. With my free hand, I reach up to my aching head and feel the dressing wrapped around it. Damn, I am alive. Life continues despite what I may desire.

I am still shaking and I miss my whiskey. I have no idea how long I have been in this place but I have to get out. I don't want to think, I simply want to drown my sorrows, loose myself into oblivion. The door opens and my Foreman comes tentatively through the door.

He looks at me as if I am fragile and going to disappear before his eyes. I try to speak but no words come. I swallow again and finally manage to get out a word. He stares at me startled that I have spoken but he continues to draw closer.

"Boss, I thought you were dead," he says to me as he constantly turns his hat round and round in his hand.

"I wish." I answer as I wonder why dying is so hard and living comes so easy. It shouldn't be that way. The world is backwards. On the other hand, is it just me?

We stare at one another with very little to say. He is nervous and I have no energy to make his calmer. Finally, he leans toward me and says, "They are going to put him down. He will never hurt another rider."

"What! Who! What the hell are you saying?" I begin to panic with the thought of anyone wanting to destroy the black mustang. "NO!! He is mine and no one is to touch him but me. I demand that he be left alone."

Oh God. How did I let this happen? How could I, in my misery, allow an innocent animal to become the pawn in my black heart? I had to fix this misconception. I needed to fix this before he was destroyed because of me wanting to destroy myself.

I order my ranch hand to go back and stop any more actions against the mustang. I let him know that I would handle him myself once I returned home. I set my goals on getting well for now I have something in my future that needs me. I am no longer trapped in limbo, wondering what or where I need to be. I work hard in therapy to regain my lost equilibrium caused by the blow to my head. I go through alcohol withdrawal and with the aid of good drugs and better counselors; I manage to get my addiction under control. At least I have as long as I am within the hospital walls. I only hope that I can conquer the addictive monster inside of me when I go home.

I still remember her and how much I have lost. I have to right the wrongs that my pathway into self-pity has caused to others, especially to an undeserving animal. I could blame this on her too, but now that I am thinking clearly I see that what I had for her was love but so much more; so much that it nearly consumed my soul, my very humanity. What should have been right and good had become wrong and evil. I nearly let it destroy me and all that I stand for. I am better than this. I know better than this.

The road back is hard and cold with only memories to sustain me. They are not always good and constantly challenge me to stay well. I have thrown out all the whiskey I could find within the house and every other hiding place I may have had. My strongest drink now is tea. Every day I struggle not to sink back into that black, black pit but I see progress made as I over come each obstacle that blocks my mind.

I am working with my black mustang, taking it slowly. I look at him each day as I groom him. Sorrow for my actions enters my heart as I look at the white streaks of hair that have grown in where he was lashed to back him away from my crippled body. They beat him back with ropes and whips as he tried to stomp my broken body into the ground. At the time, had I been awake, I would have called them off and let him grind me into the ground. Now, I am glad I am here.

I will never look at his black beauty streaked with white without recalling my travel into hell and back. It never fails that I see similar scars when I look at my hand or my chin in the mirror. The outward scars simply are a shadow of the deeper, inner scars within our souls. I work with him daily, working to gain his confidence and trust. I am gentle with him as I spend hours touching him and stroking him, never trying to force myself onto him. I whisper into his ears of how sorry I am and how I will care for him the rest of his life. He will never fear cruelty or harshness again, only love and gentleness.

He has finally allowed me closer without shying away. His ears still lay back but not as much as he will now stretch out his neck to take the sugar from my hand. I run my hands softly over his silken coat, letting him feel the love that I have not been able to give to anyone but him. He needs me as much as I need him. He is my soul and as such, his life is my life. I will spend a lifetime regaining his confidence in me, working with gentleness to train him to become my horse. He feels my bond after these many weeks and I know it will be just a matter of time before he gives me his full trust and allows me to control his total behavior. I find he brings peace and, yes, love back into my heart. So far, it is reserved only for him. His need for me and mine for him has brought me out of darkness into the light.

Moral? even when the black night overcomes the soul, there is always a light to show the way. One must open her eyes, look for it, and be willing to accept the pain of living and loving and realize that life does go on despite emotional pain that exists.

Feedback to roughrider728@yahoo.com

Copyright 2004 by RoughRider728. All Rights Reserved.

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