Title: The Edge of Neight, aka StallionCrest 5/8 (As the Stall Turns? Days of our Rides? General Horsepital?)
Rating: PG-13/All Audiences (if you watch TV soaps, you're good)
Summary: The Wedding! Intrigue! Spanish mourning from a tender-hearted burro! A MAN IN BLACK!
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: Kidnappings! Spanish! Amnesia! Deserted Islands! Evil twins! Cold, cruel stares as the camera fades to black! Intense looks! Burros! Thesaurus abuse! Loads of adjectives! A beautiful and meticulously made banner so you can get a visual! Ahaha.
Chapters: One Two Three Four
The Edge Of Neight
click the title to listen to the (newer) theme song!
Part FIVE: The Weddingening!
Gringo leaned against a pile of saddle blankets, utterly forlorn. Today would be a wedding, a day of celebración, yet he could find no joy in his broken corazón. He did not carry hard feelings for the sweet and innocent Fancy. She had always been so kind to him, something that he could not say about many of the others who lived at the WTFUCK Ranch. He knew that Fancy would not have her padre walk her down the aisle, as he had been sold to a racing farm years before. Gringo felt keenly the loss of his own beloved on days of romance such as this.
He buried his nose in a trough of fermented hops, attempting to drown his sorrows; it only served to intensify his dolor and longing. He hiccuped. He looked out the barn door across the far meadow where no one would go. They said it was haunted, that death and espíritus malos lingered beyond the far hill and the tumble-down rock wall. Well, maybe he would go and let them take him. Maybe he should just end his miseria!
He took a long drink from the trough, hung his cabeza and slowly trudged up the far hill to let the demonios take him. He had nothing left to live for. He turned for one last look at the place he had called home and whispered, "Adiós, mundo cruel," before continuing his path to what he expected would be his muerte.
Skidoodle stood in the brush on the outskirts of the pasture where the sham of a wedding would take place. The workers were too busy setting up troughs of delicate and exotic foods for the wedding dinner and flower arrangements of orchids and rare hothouse flowers to notice anything in the forest that ringed the grounds. He checked his friends on the far side from where he stood. They gave the signal that they were in place. Skidoodle checked the folded black material at his side - everything was there. Now all he needed was the bride to appear.
Top O'The Line stood proudly, hooves stepping lightly in place, such was her satisfaction at this job accomplished. Soon Fancy would be a brood mare to the most sought-after foal in history, Ransom Paycheck's get, and she would be the grand dam to that precious, priceless bundle. Once that happened, her name would be secured in history. Nothing could mar it, not even if --. Well, that would never happen. No one would ever find out about her indiscretion, no one!
The organ played the wedding march and Fancy came slowly down the aisle, a vision of white beauty. Her veil and head piece built into her silken bridal bridle were adorned with Swarovksi crystals. A spray of cream and blush pink roses that made up her bouquet were affixed to the cream velvet-lined throat latch of her bitless bridal bridle. Her hand-made ivory Vera Wang gown hugged her curves with a series of clever darts, encrusted with more Swarovski crystals, from her crest all the way to her dock. The farrier had arrived that morning and fitted her hooves with platinum shoes, embellished with round-cut diamonds along the outer edge.
She was breathtaking in her exquisite couture, even if her face was the picture of abject misery. She scanned the crowd looking for a grey dappled face with piercing emerald eyes. Nothing. Skidoodle wasn't at the wedding. He wasn't coming. Nothing could stop this horrible event from happening. Her heart was breaking. She tried to hold back the tears that threatened to flow with abandon as the remaining guests settled in their gates facing the chaplain and Ransom Paycheck.
Fancy blanched for a moment as they made the quarter turn down the home stretch to the podium, and Hank had to tug hard on her lead to get her to continue walking. Top O'The Line flicked her tail in nervousness, looking around at the crowd. "Just nerves, is all. Thoroughbreds are high strung, everyone knows that!" She laughed, hoping to lighten the mood, but flashed menace from her whiskey-coated amber eyes at her daughter.
Something in the distance caught Top O'The Line's eye. Some strange horse stood at the edge of the trees dressed in a black cape that covered him withers to dock, and a black mask with eyes that were familiar... No matter. The Star W Double T Walking F Rocking U Flying C Circle K Ranch was an envied breeding farm, friendly with the best horses on earth. He must be one of the Spanish Lipizzaner cousins. She paid him no mind.
Ransom reared back and showed his mighty belly as Fancy grew nearer to him at the podium. His coat gleamed with ebony fire, but his eyes burned with unrequited lust. His bride was coming to him. To him! He had won. That sad sack from the carnival, or where ever, hadn't bothered coming. Probably knew what was good for him, he thought. It didn't matter to him that Fancy was being drug down the aisle. He didn't care if they had to put her in cross ties and bring the wedding to her, she would be his, oh yes. She would be his.
So intent was his lascivious gaze at the innocent Fancy Face, he didn't notice the two black-masked Morgans sneaking up behind him. Only when he felt the oat sack over his face and the crowbar pounding on his spine did he understand. A pain like nothing he'd ever felt raced through his hindquarters, and then... nothing. He collapsed to the floor, unable to feel his lower half, unable to see with the sack over his face. He snorted and screamed in agony.
Fancy was confused. Her hand-tatted ivory and crystal veil covered her face so that she could barely see, but she could scent things were afoul. A soul-crushing scream sounded before her, Is that Ransom? she wondered. Fear and panicked movement surrounded her. Before she could catch her breath, she heard Hank cry out and a thump where she supposed he had fallen. Someone then bit her hindquarters, grabbed her lead and began running off, bringing her in tow at a devil-may-care pace. She barely had time to scream out they were racing so fast!
They ran several furlongs before her kidnapper dared to slow down. She caught her breath and shouted "Stop! Unhand me! Stop, I say!" He said nothing. The run had caused her veil to slip askew and she could see that her abductor was covered in a long, black cape that swirled around his powerful legs. His face was hidden by a black mask, only his eyes showed. They were somehow familiar...
"It’s tree- tirty -tree, lads. Toime to be movin’ off, I’d say. Into the truck, m'lady," came a thick, Irish brogue.
"What? Where are you taking me?" She tugged back on the lead, but she was no match for his virile strength. She stepped up a ramp and into a trailer. Before she could turn her head to protest, she saw the back gate close and felt the truck pull out. Where was she being taken? The worst day of her life had become an utter nightmare. The tears that had threatened all day finally spilled down her soft face, staining the silken bridle of her bridal costume, withered flower petals from her bouquet falling to the trailer floor.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
Chaos and confusion overtook the wedding party. Ransom's piercing screams had stopped; he lay on the vetch-covered field unconscious. Horses were racing back and forth, ears pressed flat against their heads with fear. Justin Time and Clover had raced away to keep out of harm's way. The whole affair was complete pandemonium. Top O'The Line raced up and down the aisle looking for Fancy, calling her name. She scanned the empty stalls and saw someone in the distance, heading towards something that was better left forgotten.
Gringo el Burro was walking over the hill towards... She clasped her hooves to her mouth to keep from screaming. After all her plans to marry off her daughter! Her one daughter that had a chance at everything! On top of the destruction of the wedding and her dreams, the abduction of her beloved Fancy Face, was her secret to be discovered after all these years? After all her effort in hiding the other --.
The world began to spin before her eyes, and as she blacked out, she thumped heavily to the pasture floor.
Where was she? She was in agony, Top O'The Line knew that much. Her eyes came back into focus and she saw Gringo standing before her. But wait, this wasn't Gringo as she knows him to be, this was Gringo as she knew him, years ago! His mane was in an older style and he was wearing an out-of-date saddle. She looked down at herself, and she, too, was wearing items from years ago. She caught sight of her mane and fetlock, styled with swept back waves from before Fancy was born. What was happening?
Gringo was talking to her, whispering softly in her ear. He nuzzled her gently, with love. She snorted with pain. She could hear music in the background, mariachi music and the sounds of a fiesta. Gringo's whole family had come to witness this. Her shame flooded her whole being. How could she have gotten herself in such a situation! One of Gringo's relatives was by her side, an uncle by the name of Sancho. She recalled Sancho running back to her stall to check on her progress, then racing back to the celebración with all of Gringo's familia. A rotund burro on a vihuela guitar and a miniature donkey on a large guitarrón played jalisciense music; their large sombreros perched jauntily on their heads with holes to accommodate their long ears. Ladies were clapping their hooves together while dancing their Folklorico, the baile de los sonajeros.. Young burros were laughing gaily over a game with a piñata.
An almighty wave of pain washed over her. Gringo laid his head over her withers and soothed, "Empujón. Empujón, mi amor. Geeve me what I wants, mi corazón. Geeve mi un bebé! ¡Ahora! ¡AHORA!"
She gasped, crying at the horrible pain coursing through her. She felt the baby try to come into the world and sobbed. Uncle Sancho saw the baby crest and ran back to the party. "El bambino! He is coming!"
The noise halted on an out-of-tune twang from one of the guitars as the crowd turned in unison for the news. Another wave of pain crashed over her.
Sancho ran back, saw the progress and hollered over his shoulder to the crowd as his eyes kept indefatigable attention on the birth, "The baby's hoof is coming, no, eet go back. Wait, eet coming again, I see all the leg, the leg... the leg... the head... FOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALah!"
The crowd erupted in whoops and cheers, the music started back up with a festive noise. Top O'The Line sobbed and cried. She was so ashamed. Top O'The Line, the champion, the thoroughbred that won millions competing and who had hoped to one day give birth to an equine dynasty, had birthed a mule.
TBC! The aftermath!
Translation for Gringo's loving words during the delivery: Push. Push, my love! Give me what I want, my love. Give me a baby! Now. NOW!! Also, a vihuela is a small guitar for mariachi music, and a guitarrón is a very large guitar for the same purpose. :D