Chapter 4:

Something New

Black and White

(Scene one: Sorrow)

Brian came running to the ranch and into the first aid centre. He saw a few ranchers gathered around and started treating Phantom. “Oh, Brian, good timing. Can you calm him down? We can’t even touch to check this boy’s leg like this.” A rancher said. “Okay.” Brian came in front of Phantom and rubbed his head. “Please boy … Calm down … Everything is fine. I’m here.” He whispered to Phantom. A horse specialist rancher slowly tried to unfold the bent left leg of Phantom. At a point it was hard to bear, Phantom neighed too loud and kicked the rancher. Phantom’s hoof landed directly in the middle of the rancher’s chest and threw him off to the wall. “Looks like this is gonna be the hard way. Brian listen…” The rancher went close to Brian and whispered the way they were trying to treat it. “Alrighy boys! The leg was twisted so, GRAB AND HOLD!” the ranchers held tight Phantom, trying hard to hold its movements and struggles. Brian closed Phantom’s eyes and hugged its head, trying to calm it. Stressful minutes later, the rancher (the one who got kicked) untwisted Phantom’s leg. It neighed loud again in pain. “Brian, I have good news and bad news. Which one do you want to hear?” The rancher asked. “The good news.” Brian nervously asked. “The bad news is; you can’t ride your horse for at least one to two or three weeks. Make it walk, and gradually increase the rhythm but, by any means necessary DON’T make it run.” He warned. “The good news is; your horse is alive and doing well. Which is obvious. Why’d I even a say it? Take good care of it.” The rancher tapped on Brian’s shoulder and left the place. Minutes later Brian let Phantom eat a carrot, and took it to its pen in the stable. Brian saw James near the fence gates of the ranch and asked him to take him home. Brian left a note saying, ‘I won’t go to school tomorrow. I’m staying on the ranch with Phantom. Son/brother, Brian.’ And came back to Phantom. He rubbed Phantom and remembered his words. “You gonna pay for this.” Brian grabbed a pitchfork and tried to head toward the Steel-lock in search of finding Pete. “Oh, Brian what’s with the pitchfork? Out of hay?” James probed. Then he saw Brian’s eye in metaphorical eagerness to avenge. More like revenge. “Kill” that’s all that came from Brian’s mouth. “WHOA! buddy stop!” James grabbed and restrained Brian from moving. “The doctor said you can ride after a minimum of two weeks, right? Do me a favour and bottle up your…this rage until…UNTIL the doctor says whether Phantom can or cannot ride. Then decide whether you are opening or destroying the bottle. Deal?” James tried to make a fair deal. Brian sighed in agreement and dropped the pitchfork. “Though you agree or not, if you commit any kind of serious crime…we are not friends anymore.” James said and went home. Brian thought and stayed in the whole evening and slept next to Phantom.

 The next day morning, a rancher called Natasha came to the stable and started throwing hay at all pens. A pitchfork full of hay was thrown right on Brian. He woke up startled. He started to spit out hay in his mouth and stood up while brushing off the hay on his suit. “Oops, sorry. Didn’t see you there Tim.” Natasha apologized. “It’s fine but, call me either Timber or Brian. I don’t have a part called Tim.” He said. “Got it.” She confirmed and started small-talking. “Say, Brian, I heard you made a ruckus in the race tracks after the race. What’s the reason?”. “None of your business Natasha.” Brian dodged the question. “It’s fine if you don’t want to talk about it. Everyone has something to hide in their life. But, remember this. Might be useful someday. ‘Secrets shouldn’t be told to anyone. Otherwise, those ain’t secrets; just statements in shadows.’. My grandfather told me that.” Natasha’s words intrigued Brian only for a few seconds. Sadness in his core drains his happiness, and curiosity and increases distress and boredom. Natasha went outside for a moment and came back. Meanwhile,  Brian woke up Phantom and asked him to eat and he went outside to get water to fill Phantom’s trough. “Brian…” Natasha called and tried to give the saddle and bridle. “I don’t need those now.” Brian looked down and went inside. Natasha’s face showed pouting emotion. Brian filled Luna and Phantom’s troughs. “Well, I don’t care if you need it or not. Just TAKE these. I don’t wanna get to hear Paul’s blabbering.” Natasha said and bumped the saddle and bridle onto Brian’s hand. Brian’s face didn’t change a bit. Natasha went out quickly. Brian went inside Phantom’s pen and sat near the back wall and looked at Luna. She was eating hay and walked a couple of circles and sat and closed her eyes. As in a beauty rest. “And Brian…Paul told me to stick back your ranch member badge. You know how harsh he can be when you make him mad…” Natasha came by with a small oat crate and left for her work. Brian sighed and separated the saddle and bridle. And he found his badges. He rubbed them with his thumb and wondered.

(Scene two: Light)

Hours later in the midday… “oh you mean Brian? He’s in there.” Brian heard Natasha talking to someone. A blond-haired girl who looked to be the same age as Brian came inside the stable. She nervously came deeper into the stable, looking for Brian. She saw a boy laid to a wall next to a black horse with a saddle on his lap. She was frightened a bit by seeing Phantom. “Heh…Hello…Are you Br…Brian?” She nervously asked. Brian didn’t look up. “Yeah.” He kept turning and rubbing the black, racer badge. “Ca…can you come over here? O…out of the pen…” She asked. “Why don’t you come in?” Brian questioned back. She was startled by thinking she needed to pass through the horse. “I…I CAN’T” she shouted. Brian slowly looked up. “Why…?” he asked in a lower volume. “I just afraid of horses.” She replied in a bit of embarrassment and Brian saw that was something she don’t want to share with him. “Fine. I’ll come out.” Brian kept the saddle and bridle aside and came out of Phantom’s pen while sliding his hand over its back to the neck.

Before the girl started talking, Brian raised his hand to say wait. “First, introductions. My FULL name is Brian Timber Bolt. What’s your name and purpose with here;  and me?” He asked. “I’m Whitney Ryte and I want you to help me learn how to ride a horse.” She said with all courage. Brian was astonished. “Wait; Ryte!? Mean Serena is your sister?” He asked. “Yeah.” She answered. “How do you plan to ride a horse while having Equinophobia?” “Equi what?” she was dumbfounded. “Equinophobia. Means the fear of horses.” Brian explained. “Uh…Okay.” She said. “Why didn’t you ask your sister?” “She tried a couple of times and then she got busy with ranch works. And I’m also slow on learning.” Serena sincerely said. Brian had a small flashback of a time before he became a horse fanatic. Brian thought of a simple plan that his father used at him. “Whitney is it? Come over here…” Brian asked her to come near Luna. She was shocked. “WHAT! NO!” She refused immediately. “Oh, come on, she ain’t a stallion. She’s a mare. So, you better able to go close.” Brian misdirected Whitney. “Uh…kay.” She slowly approached. “Luna, wake up lady.” Brian rubbed Luna’s head and woke her up. Luna woke up and stood up. Whitney was frightened by its size. She sat on her knees, covered her ears and closed her eyes. Brian couldn’t figure out what was happening and Luna didn’t do anything frightening. Brian bent down and hit Whitney on the head. “OW. What was that for…?” Whitney shouted in pain covering her head to ease out the pain. “Because Luna didn’t do anything you need to be afraid of. Stand up.” Brian forcibly lifted Whitney. She was too afraid and quivering. Brian drew out Whitney’s left hand and brought it closer and closer to Luna’s head, under her utmost rejection. “Will you just STOP SHAKING? It’s not gonna eat your hand.” Brian yelled to Whitney. Her body stopped shaking but for her fears, she closed her eyes. Luna slowly approached and Whitney felt warmth in her hand. All her fears were washed away in a second. “I touched a mare! ALRIGHT. Like this, I’ll conquer my fears for horses.” Whitney gathered the courage and confidence to touch a horse.

“You know; the word ‘mare’ is used to refer to a female horse.” Brian said while smirking. “WHAT!?” Whitney was surprised and took her hand off. “I actually didn’t think you’d fall for that.” Brian chuckled. Whitney looked away pouting in embarrassment. “Sorry I lied but, this was the same thing dad did to me when I was having the same phobia. After that, I became a horse fan.” Brian explained. At the moment Whitney was embarrassed, Luna started playing with her for some reason. “Ha ha…stop it…” Whitney giggled when Luna started playing by eating her hair. “Say, can I keep her? Natasha told me you owned two horses. Hope Luna is one of them…” Whitney asked to own Luna while taking her hair from Luna’s mouth. “Luna IS one and the other is the black Mustang; Phantom. My stallion. I was keeping Luna to give Emily, my kid sis, on her 12th birthday in this October.” Brian said. “Oh, and that’s fine then. Which means Luna was owned by her before you…” Whitney understood Brian’s feelings.

 (Scene three: Aced)

“It’s okay big brother.” Emily came inside the stable with James and Loki. “Sis!? You two skipping classes?” Brian was stunned and asked. “Skipping? What do you mean? Now it’s afternoon and school is over for the day.” James said. While Emily walked near Luna, James put Loki into its pen and fill the trough with water. He rubbed Loki’s head and whispered. “You worked hard today bud.”. “I’ll also learn to ride a horse and race with it. Just like you, at the same age as you started.” Emily said while rubbing Luna’s head and smiling at Brian. “On my big brother’s behalf, this white mare; Luna, is officially owned by you.” Emily spoke like a queen, knighting a knight-to-be. Whitney looked at Brian in confusion. Brian nodded; agreeing with Emily’s decision. “Well, I’ll find you a saddle and a bridle. So, you can start riding it.” Brian said. “Why just that big brother? Teach her too… you were amazing at the race.” Emily said, but that twisted Brian’s thought. He squeezed his hands. Brian walked out without looking back. Just after he passed James… “I’ll teach you. Starting from the day you get the main equipment. Tsk.” Brian said and left the stables. “Hooray!” Whitney and Emily said together and high-fived. James saw Brian’s face before he left the stable. And James understood. He walked toward Emily and Whitney. “Girls, please don’t bring any incidents related to the race. Don’t even give hints about the race. Think he’s mad about what happened to Phantom.” James explained and the two of them understood. All three of them felt sorry.

The next day, the school announced Brian and James' final exams were to be held five days later it was announced, after that no more school life for them. Brian and James had sleepovers together and studied hard. But on none of those days, Brian talked about Phantom, but he replied his opinions with when James talked about Loki. Then after a week, the results were out. “Well, the exam sure is starting today…” James said and sighed. Brian nodded. Seconds later, both of them stopped. “Whi…Whitney!? What are you doing here?” James shouted. “Oh yeah, I remember Serena said his sister goes to our school as well…” Brian recalled. “Yup. Here I am…in my final exam…” Whitney was not happy with the exam period. “It’ll be fine. Now, let’s ace this” Brian cheered up. “Oh, that’s how it’s gonna be eh? How many TIMES I tried to help you cheer up but NO! you wanted to talk to a girl to get cheered up” James pouted. “I was cheered up from the thought that I can freely ride Phantom as a free man in the town.” Brian said. “AND I still envy you cause Serena even told you where her sister goes too.” James said. “Arhh good grief. That was told before I knew she’s an elite rider. Though her horse broke my arm.” Brian said. Days later, participants were notified of their results. Unexpectedly, Brian was passed with a higher score than James. And he also passed his average total with a significant value. Whitney, who was in a different class also passed high enough not to be called barely on the shore. Leaving his entire class speechless. Well, now three of them were free from school and found themselves becoming ranchers of the Gold-key ranch.