Title: The Edge of Neight, aka StallionCrest 4/8
Rating: PG-13/All Audiences (if you watch TV soaps, you're good)
Summary:Clover wants Justin. Justin wants Stormy. Stormy wants Skidoodle. Skidoodle wants Fancy. Ransom Paycheck wants Fancy! Fancy wants to be free! Top O'The Line wants to get to Mordor and destroy the One Ring... wait. *whinny*
Feedback: Yes, please! Oh, I thought that said feed BAG. I like those.
Warnings: DID I MENTION THIS WAS A SOAP OPERA ABOUT HORSES? There will be: amnesia! Deserted Islands! Evil twins! Cold, cruel stares as the camera fades to black! Intense looks! Burros! Thesaurus abuse! Loads of adjectives! Throw backs to General Horsepital, All My Children and my favorite, Days of Our Lives! Ahahaha.
Chapters: One Two Three
The Edge Of Neight
click the title to listen to the (newer) theme song!
Part Four - The Flash Backening!
Fancy's spirits sank as she heard the announcement that her marriage to the blackguard, Ransom Paycheck, would happen the next night at sunset. Her mother, Top O'The Line, stuck her sleek chestnut nose over the door to Fancy's stall. "Darling? Everything's going according to plan. You'll be happy. You'll see."
"I hate you, Mother! How could you do this to me? I can't love that scoundrel, I just can't!" Fancy broke down in rib-shaking sobs, tears glinting in her beautiful amber eyes.
"Oh, dry it up. You're about to be married to the most desirable stud-horse alive! Do you know how many fillies would kill to be in your horse shoes?"
"Well, let them, I don't care! I'll never marry him, never!"
Top O'The Line's whiskey-colored eyes narrowed dangerously.
Clover looked at her reflection in the water trough outside the Big Barn. She had her mane and fetlock pulled and combed, not a burr to be found! She had darkened her lips with berry juice to make them more appealing, and had the short English pleasure saddle decorated just to her specifications. Shiny silver studs littered the glossy black leather; the overall look would make a colt blush and stammer. It fit all of her curves perfectly and even concealed some extra curves she didn't want to show. Clover had held tightly to a fence post by her fetlocks as Hank had tightened the girth strap as far as it would go. She couldn't breathe, but she thought it was worth it to look as she did.
Justin Time was coming in for the night; Clover batted her eyelashes as he walked past her. "Hey there, handsome."
Justin Time did a double take, "Clover? Is... is that you?"
Clover stepped daintily in a circle, the Klieg lights overhead snapped with bugs and moths and picked up the glints of steel on her sexy saddle, blinding Justin with their brilliance. "Mmm hmm. What," she looked coquettishly over her shoulder, head tilted to the side to allow her forelock to tickle her cheek in a becoming manner, "like what you see?"
He stammered and stuttered, clearly overcome with how amazing and different the silly pony looked. "Wow, Clover, you just... Wow!"
She sashayed towards the buckskin colt, heavily lidded eyes beckoning him to her. "What, this old thing?"
"Old thing? What the hell have you done to my saddle, you half-witted, ring-horned, sway-backed MULE!"
Clover dropped the sexy charade like a hot potato under the fiery gaze of Stormy the champion Dressage horse. She squeaked, "I-I, Hank just-"
"Oh, Hank did this? I'll take a bite out of him so fast..." She charged towards Clover, who began to cower against the barn door. Stormy bit at the buckle holding her saddle in place. Clover shook from side to side and stepped out of it. She tried to apologize, "Stormy, I wasn't going to keep it, I just-"
"You just what?" Stormy noticed Justin Time finally. She looked between the two of them and realization dawned on her with a cruel smile. "Oh, were you just trying to seduce this colt? Is that it?" She whinnied a bitter laugh. "WHEEEEEEE HEEEEE heeee pbbblllt! Oh, that's the funniest thing I've heard today. A fat little stupid pony like you? I don't even want the fool, but I can tell you this," she towered over the cowering pony, her voice an evil hiss, "he'll still want me even though he hasn't a Shetland's chance in Preakness of ever getting me. And if you don't stay out of my way-"
"Now, that's enough!" Justin finally came out of his daze. He reared back and pawed dangerously close to Stormy's face. "You lay off her, you... you... bitch!"
Stormy narrowed her eyes and snorted her anger. "What did you call me?"
Justin moved to stand between the two girls. "I called you a bitch. Now lay off. Clover is... well, she's the nicest horse in this whole place, and she's more horse than you'll ever be!"
Clover couldn't believe her ears. Justin was defending her? Against sexy and desirable Stormy?
Stormy snorted again, "You two morons deserve each other." She turned her back on them both and made her way back to her stall.
"J-justin? Would you like to come with me to the wedding tomorrow?"
Justin looked down into Clover's furry little face, her forelock now covered in straw and muck, the rouge on her lips gone, and a red welt across her middle from the tightly strapped saddle. But all he could really see was the kindness and devotion in her silly face. "Yes. Yes, I'd like that."
Clover felt her heart swell with joy. She didn't care that her tongue was lolling out from her enormous grin. Someone picked her over a champion, and that's all she needed to know.
Skidoodle trotted along the fence line, deep in thought. There was a mystery at the ranch involving that harpy, Top O'The Line, and he be damned if he was going to let it go. He tossed his ebony mane, his green eyes flashed with fury and longing, and his tail whipped back and forth in his consternation. Dammit, he didn't have time for a mystery, he needed to meet and marry that elusive beauty, Fancy Face. He had only caught sight of her for a moment, but he could tell she was everything he could want in a mare. She was beautiful, her auburn coat was so glossy it would show a stallion's reflection in it, if he could only get close enough.
There was a sweetness about her, an innocence. He could use a little sweetness in his life. The lassies at the circus were rough, coarse. Most of them were from the French circus, or cirque, and dressed in their feather headdresses and corseted saddles. They were all about looks and pure sex. Oh, they were fine to practice on, but Skidoodle needed someone to love. Someone to have a family with. Fancy could be that someone. Dammit, he'd make her that someone! If only he could get that damned mother of hers to see reason, and not Ransom.
He snorted and kicked at the fence at the thought of the black bastard that delighted in rubbing his nose in his upcoming nuptials to Fancy. But in that brief moment when he had first arrived at the Star W Double T Walking F Rocking U Flying C Circle K Ranch, when his verdigris eyes and Fancy's ginger eyes locked in that one intense look that was only a second long, but felt like a lifetime... It told him everything he needed to know. Fancy didn't love Ransom, couldn't! She felt the same thing Skidoodle had felt, he knew it. His heart raced at the thought of being with her, holding her close, their hooves intertwined as they took a lover's walk. He tossed his mane.
"Look at me, I’m acting like a wean just taken from his Mam! She brings it out o’ me... " he chuckled.
What he needed was a way to get Fancy on her own. "That Oinseach of a mother won’t let her more than a few feet away from her claws," he grumbled ferociously. He needed a way to distract Top O'The Line. He needed someone to occupy Ransom Paycheck so he didn't catch wind of Skidoodle and Fancy falling in love. What he needed, was a plan.
His face broke into a grin. His mischievious green eyes danced and flashed. He knew just what to do. He'd have to find a way to get a message to his old circus mates, Apple Dapple and Road Hard. He was sure they'd be up for what he had in mind. One thing was sure: Fancy would be his and there wasn't a damn thing Ransom could do about it.
Road Hard rested his flank against the railing in the Big Top, chatting up some of the new mares in the act, Wildfire and Spitfire, two buckskin sisters.
"So... what's a couple of fillies like you two doing in a dog and pony show like this?"
They giggled a flirtatious whinny, tossing their manes as Apple Dapple approached. "Sorry ladies, but I'm going to have to steal this stud away from you." He turned his gaze to his old pal, his look intensifying. "We're heading out at nightfall. Skidoodle needs us."
Road Hard's eyes widened.
Clover, the silly-faced pony, was grazing out on the back forty where the grass and nutsedge were sweeter. But not as sweet as the look she and Justin had shared as he left her for the night...
She saw movement out of the corner of her eye and turned towards it, her mouth still chewing. She sputtered, sending bits of grass every which way.
"S-skidoodle? What are you doing out here?"
Skidoodle shook his head, then rested his front hooves on the fence rail, lost in memories. "Remembering. Remembering a time when," he gave a soft chuckle and shook his head, amused at his own nostalgia, "a time when it was easier. A time before... Never mind."
"I know people think I'm not that smart, me being just a pony and all, but I'm a very good listener."
Skidoodle turned and looked deep into Clover's funny, furry face and saw that she meant it. That silly forelock of hers hanging in her eyes gave her the appearance of a little sister, eager to please her big brother so she could come along on an adventure. He heaved a great sigh - talking to his old pals had brought a flood of unwelcomed memories back. He felt like he was drowning in them. He knew Clover was offering him a life line.
"Back when... when I was with the circus, I was one of the showcase performers. Vaulting, walking on me back legs, you know the drill. But a few years ago, the circus hired a new trainer. He was a cruel, hard man. A bastard, really."
He turned away; Clover patted him gently on the back to encourage him. It was fortunate she wasn't wearing shoes - that would have hurt her newfound friend.
"He wanted me to learn a new trick, a collected canter for jumping. I... I didn't take to it at first. He -- he beat me. Whipped me, really. The night air would be pierced by my screams, and there wasn't a damn thing anyone could do about it, or they'd suffer the same as me, maybe worse."
He pounded his hoof on the top railing in his frustration. "And then, one night, while we were working on a few new things for my act, Moira Comes A’ Calling - you would have liked her, she was a hell of a mare, just a hell of a mare..."
His voice drifted off, turning his head slightly so Clover couldn't see the tears in his eyes at the memory.
"Go on. I'm here for you, Skidoodle."
He bit his lower lip and forced the words out, "She couldn't get it! She couldn't master that tight canter, she was a Western! He started lashing her with his whip and I intervened. 'Take me, instead!' I shouted. Well, you can guess he liked the sound of that. Didn't care for me interrupting his training."
Clover just nodded, aghast.
"He struck me across the face and I couldn't take any more, wouldn't! I reared back and kicked out at him. He... he fell into a lamp and set the whole kibosh ablaze. I barely made it out with me life."
Clover, her hooves covering her mouth in her horror, "D-did... did she make it? Moira Comes A’ Calling?"
He whirled to face her, reared back and grabbed her shoulders, squeezing his fetlocks so tightly it began to hurt her. "She died! They all did that night! Moira Comes A’ Calling, Trojan, Thunder Hoof, even Clarence the spotted, dancing mule! And it's all my fault!"
He collapsed on his side, panting, crying for the loss of friends, of loved ones, crying for his own sake and his misery at being the cause of such senseless destruction. Clover leaned back, resting on her hocks and shushed his tears, petting his sleek charcoal grey mane back in a soothing motion.
"It's not your fault. It was a tragedy."
"No, it is my fault! I killed her, and I swore from that time on I'd never canter again!"
Stormy stepped out from a copse of trees, all thoughts of paying back that damned pony gone in an instant. She had heard the whole thing. Now she had the means to keep Fancy from loving Skidoodle - he was a murderer! She'd see that those two never got together. If she told Fancy what she'd heard, the guileless thing was so dim-witted that she'd believe whatever cock and bull story Skidoodle said and forgive him. No, she needed to make sure they didn't just stop loving each other, she needed to make sure they hated each other. A cruel smile stretched across her midnight face.
Fancy languished in her stall. She overheard Hank discussing her wedding attire and her heart sank. It's really going to happen. I'm going to be forced to marry someone I don't love, someone I could never love. Great tears welled up in her soft golden eyes. She clung to the memory of first seeing Skidoodle the day he came to the ranch, to his dashing and roguish smile, to the fine sight of him running free, untethered in the clover. He would only live in her dreams, now.
A great sob welled up inside of her, daring to break free. She gasped. Her whole world was unraveling and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Even her own mother wanted her to be miserable! She bit at the lock to her stall gate, hoping she might be able to break free. A sultry laugh bounced off the walls of the great barn.
"Who- who's there?" Fancy had halted all movement, terrified.
"Someone that can help you." Stormy stepped out of the shadows, tossing her shining crown of obsidian mane over her neck.
"Stormy! What do you care if I marry Ransom Paycheck!"
"I care, because you're all wrong for him." She walked slowly but with determination towards the thoroughbred. "You're all wrong for him, Fancy, and you know it. He's brash, wild, dangerous. You're too.... Well, forgive me, but you're too innocent for the likes of him. He needs a real mare."
"Like you?" Fancy spat out.
Stormy smiled, showing her perfect teeth, "Yes, exactly. A mare like me. You know who would be a better suit for you? A colt like that Justin Time."
"J-justin? He's just a friend!"
"Then perhaps someone a little more... daring? Say, Skidoodle?"
Fancy gasped. She couldn't let Stormy know her feelings for Skidoodle! That wicked hellhorse would just exploit her emotions for her own cruel enjoyment!
"Whatever makes you say that? I... I hardly know him."
"We both know that doesn't matter. I'm quite close to him, you know. We're just the best of friends." Stormy smiled seductively. "I could put in a good word for you?"
"Oh, would y --. But it's too late for that! I'm due to marry Ransom tomorrow, and there's nothing that can stop it! Nothing!"
"You just leave it to me, kiddo. I'll find a way to put a stop to it, or delay it somehow. And if you get the chance to be alone with Skidoodle, then you need to work some feminine magic on him."
"But I... I'm not very good at that." Fancy blushed to her crest. "What... how do I do that?"
Stormy examined her hoof, not making eye contact. "You could start off with something simple. Ask him for a walk, or a canter. That way you can see all of his hot muscles rippling and writhing, mmm."
Fancy was scandalized, "Stormy! That's... that's not very ladylike!"
"Oh, drop the innocent act. You know you've thought about it. And if you're not willing to lift your tail, then just ask him if he'd like to go on a canter, just the two of you."
Fancy beamed. "Oh, thank you Stormy! And you'll really help me stall this wedding? If Mother could only see how happy he makes me, how happy we'll make each other, she might relent!"
"Don't count on it," Stormy muttered under her breath. She tried for a nice smile, "Sure. You have to at least talk to him before you're Mrs. Paycheck, right?"
For the first time in a long while, Fancy felt a surging sense of hope. Stormy smirked and sashayed her way back to her quarters. If Fancy went ahead with this wedding, then all the better for Stormy. But if something did go wrong, she'd make sure that those two lovey doveys would never get together. Not ever.