Title: The Edge of Neight, aka StallionCrest 7/8 (As the Stall Turns? Days of our Rides? General Horsepital?)
Rating: PG-13/All Audiences (if you watch TV soaps, you're good)
Summary: Did Fancy drown? Did Skidoodle perform a flawless half-gainer? Did Top O'The Line start drinking again? Will Ransom Paycheck be able to stud again? Tune in and find out!
Warnings: DID I MENTION THIS WAS A SOAP OPERA ABOUT HORSES? There will be: Kidnappings! Spanish! Amnesia! Deserted Islands! Evil twin cousins! 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 Five Six
The Edge Of Neight
click the title to listen to the (newer) theme song!
On the last episode of Stallioncrest....
Note: because I'm trying to get this animated and on the web, it's important to note - har - that Skidoodle is now Irish. Carry on. (I'll have it retconned soon enough.)
Ransom Paycheck discovered he was paralyzed and may never stud again. Top O' The Line learned that her daughter didn't marry Ransom and was kidnapped. She fainted. Fancy Face, on a boat with Skidoodle and his old circus pals Apple Dapple and Road Hard, slipped on the slick surface during a storm and fell overboard. Skidoodle, grandson to one of the great Atlantic City diving horses, dove in a breath-taking half-gainer after her.
A mysterious horse with a moss-green eye and an identical eye patch to Skidoodle appeared, seeking revenge. Gringo el Burro was nearing the shed with the secret love child that he had aired hidden away.
Part Seven: The Amnesia-ning!
The world was swirling around her and she couldn't breathe. A heavy pressure was filling her lungs, and all she wanted was to sink into the abyss that waited her. Drowning would be like sinking into fresh hay on an autumn day, soothing and peaceful. Hooves and strong fetlocks surrounded her, pulling her back up to the air where the sunlight hurt her eyes and the air made her chest ache.
"No... let me go..."
"I've just risked me life fer ya, lass, I don't give a shite if ye wanna go down the Swanie, I'll no let ye!"
After what felt like an eternity of thrashing in the churning water and anguished cries of "don't leave me, lass, hang on to me!" she could feel a hard surface under her flanks; sand. She was on a beach. A waterlogged horse, dapple-grey and wearing an eye patch stood over her, his breath coming in heaves.
"Thought I'd lost ye. And jest when I got ye, too!"
She blinked. The world swirled in front of her eyes, her mind threatening to snap under the strain and fear,"Who... who are you?"
The horse's face fell. "Ye don't... Don't ye remember me, lass? I'm Skidoodle."
Panic flitted across her face. "I don't; should I?" She bit her hoof, still shod in the magnificent platinum and diamond encrusted wedding shoes. A heavy weight settled in her abdomen. The question must be asked, "And... who am I?"
Skidoodle looked gobsmacked. The worry and fear in his emerald eye chilled her blood to the bone. Clearly she should know who he was from his reaction, and most importantly, she should know who she was. Obviously she was someone important, the fine quality of her shoes said as much. Was he her servant? He was dressed in traveling clothes, nothing denoting social rank.
She shook off the ruined bridal bridle hanging loosely about her neck. She looked at his style of dress and then looked at her soaked and torn Vera Wang, custom-designed gown. I'm dressed in wedding clothes, she thought. She still knew couture when she saw it, that was a blessing.
"But where's my husband?" Her beautiful amber eyes filled with tears, her look one of utter heartbreak. She knew, deep down, that she had been with a horse that she loved prior to waking up in the ocean, near death. She couldn't recall his face, his breed, or even his name. All she knew was that she had been loved, and now she was trapped on some deserted island with an Irish pony of no consequence. Something was swimming in her subconscious, just under the surface. Some defining feature of her heart's desire that she couldn't catch hold of. But it would come, she would make it come!
"What have you done with him? Where is my husband, my love?"
Ransom kept his eyes focused on the note that accompanied a large floral arrangement sent by Schweizerischer Verband für Pferdesport.
We were devastated to hear of your accident. We wish you well and a speedy recovery. The sport and the breeding programs won't be the same without you. Thank god we had you mate with our prized mare, Grote Heupen before your accident. She sends her love and well wishes.
All the best, SVP, a proud sponsor of the FEI World Championship
Ransom couldn't take his eyes off the words "breeding programs." All he felt was a numbness that carried from his heart to his hooves - there was no feeling at all. A nurse came in, checked his vitals, manipulated the sling holding his useless legs in position, but he barely noticed. The sling swayed as someone moved around to approach his head with caution. There was sound, like talking under water, but he paid it no mind.
Not until a nose nuzzled his did his eyes snap from the note to the body next to him. It was Stormy, her face streaked with tears, her eyes filled with pity.
"Oh, Ransom, how could they do this to you? You were so virile, so powerful... I can't bear to see you weak and awful like this!"
He didn't even snort.
"I know it wasn't Skidoodle, I've heard the rumors, but he's not capable of something like this. He's so good and handsome..." Something flashed, then died in Ransom's eyes. Stormy adjusted the flower arrangement to keep busy.
"But let's think positive. You'll get your legs back, you will! And if not, well... You still have your stall, and I'm sure the finest medical equipment can be provided to help you get around. Why isn't there a nurse or doctor in here now?" She glanced out of the stall, with the look of wanting to get out of there in case the disease was catching.
"You know, they make those wheelie carts for dogs that lose their legs, maybe they can make something for you? Only the finest material, of course. I'll mention something to Hank immediately. Mahogany wood, polished to a shine, and silk to line it, won't that be nice? I'll make sure that attention is paid to every detail. Ha ha, then we can say we've put the cart before the horse!"
Something snapped inside him. "Get away from me! You think I want your pity? Get out here!"
"But I only-"
"I said get out!" he roared.
She fled, the sounds of her hoof beat echoing on the hard tile of the animal hospital until he was in silence with nothing but the steady beeps of the machines monitoring his progress to keep him company. Ransom snorted his mighty nostrils and shook his head back and forth in fury.
"WHEEEE HEEEEE HEEEEE heeeeee!"
He snatched the note off the stall-side table and chewed it, then spat it on the floor.
"I'll show them. I'll show them all!" He would get the use of his legs, and more importantly, his stud servicing back. He'd get it back if it killed him. Or someone else.
Top O' The Line leaned against the alabaster column in her stall that separated the entertainment area from her private suite. She felt empty inside, and not even the sight of her golden Louis XIV chairs nor the rich tapestries that hung on the wall could fill her with anything but fear and loathing. Thoughts and voices swirled in her head like amber whiskey in a glass.
"She... she died, Gringo. She wouldn't wean and... they put her down."
"Ay, mi corazón! ¡Ella no está muerta! ¡Ella no puede ser! "
"And you'll stay here until I can decide what to do with you. I'll not let one night's indiscretion ruin all of my life's plans!"
"Mama, no! Mama, I'm scared! Don't leave me here!"
"She's dead, Gringo. I suggest you move past this. I... I can't be with you anymore. Please, leave me alone. Never speak to me again!"
"Mother, do I have to learn stadium jumping? The bars frighten me!"
"Fancy, if you don't develop these skills, how will you ever attract a worthy sire to your get?"
"Ye foul-faced besom!"
"You're looking a little tired around the eyes, Toppie. Have you considered... surgical options?"
"Ah, she's a good old nag, getting up in years, though. Still, maybe if we put her on low calorie hay, she might fool folks into thinking she's younger than she is."
"I hate you mother, I hate you!"
"...glue factory for the old, washed up nags."
Top O' The Line looked at herself in the mirror She straightened her lavender turban with the large amethyst and diamond brooch in the center and steadied herself.
"Fancy–" She broke off with a choked sob, and poured herself another drink.
Road Hard stood next to the captain, pointing to the small island ahead. "He's there, I know it!"
The captain grunted, "Can't get any closer, mate. The shoals'll rip the underside of the boat and we'll all be swimmin' to Davy Jones' Locker."
"We can't just do nothing!"
The Captain grinned, revealing a few gold teeth. "Didn't say we's doin' nothin', now did I?"
Apple Dapple, listening outside the cabin door, grimaced and then quietly moved aft. He pulled a satellite phone out of his harness and punched a series of numbers.
"They're ashore. And they'll be there for a long time. The captain knows the plan. Carry on there with Plan B. You'll find your instructions in the hay loft behind a rotten piece of wood under the third window on the right."
He quietly slipped the phone back into his harness and looked across the water at the small speck of land in the distance, his eyes haunted.
"Why did you make me do it, Skidoodle? Why?"
Gringo awoke with a start. He shivered with el frio. Next to him on the grassy meadow was an empty bushel that smelled strongly of fermented hops. He must have become bebido and passed out dormido. Every joint creaked in his aged body, but the pain in his coyunturas couldn't match the ache in his heart.
His lost bambina... He only was allowed to see her that one time, his hija solo . Top O' The Line had been so sad to lose their bebé precioso, she could barely set her eyes on him again. The loss of both of his loves had almost undone him utterly.
Gringo wanted to die, but he wanted to see the place where his bambina had come into his heart so briefly, but like a fierce wind across the Chihuahua desert, searing into his every pore, stinging his eyes and skin with the strength of it.
Slowly he got to his hooves and lumbered slowly to the broken-down shed on the next hill over. After a while, he finally stood in its shadow, his heart breaking anew. He rest one hoof on the door, a single tear balanced on his delicate lashes, holding on to him before spilling down his soft nose, like a final hug from the world.
"Ay, mi corazón. Te quiero tanto. Soon, I vaya con Dios and I weell see you agains. Eet ees my life's strongest weesh."
He let out an anguished sob, but stopped suddenly. He could hear something inside the shed. Was it los demonios? A strong kick made his hoof skitter off the door. An unearthly scream came from within and Gringo felt his blood turn to hielo.
"Ay, Dios mio!" Gringo clapped his hooves to his mouth.
"She's... locked me in here... please! Let me out!"
"No, no eet cannot be! Ees eet... Mariquita?"
Whatever was inside the shed went completely quiet. After a moment, the girl - for it was female, demon or not - asked with anguish and hope and want and fear in her voice, "Papa?"
Grote Heupen = Large Hips in Swedish. Hahaha. Ahem.
ILUENTRENOUS! I'll "see" you all Monday with tales of Red Carpet splendor!