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Written by kkc bauder
Art by
Lynda Lehmann

His name was Algernon.

He was a sleek, white horse that could run like the wind. Penetrating eyes and a voice that spoke in whispers, “I’ll take you wherever you want to go.”

Sam loved to ride him, throughout the countryside - past forests and castles and mountains that reached so high that they seemed to touch the heavens - anywhere he wanted to go. That was the promise.

On this particular day, he chose to explore India. "Hello, boy! Are you ready for another adventure?" He climbed aboard Algernon and whispered, “India. I would like to see India, my faithful steed,” and they were off, galloping at a frenzied pace across the lawn, building up so much speed that his hooves lifted from the ground and launched them both into the air across the countryside and beyond.

It didn’t take them long. Algernon was a fast horse. The fastest horse ever in the history of fast horses, and Sam was the best rider in the history of best riders. He was brave and strong and never once lost his grip or his nerve.

They had traveled to so many places, since they met in the park this past year. Places that would send a chill up your spin full of danger and dread. Sam was strong, though, brave and strong. He loved the adventure. Nothing stopped him from picking the most perilous points on the map.

Today, however, he wanted something a little different. He wanted to see a peaceful place where the landscape was beautiful and where people cared for all that surrounded them. Where animals were treated with the same kindness as kings.

So, as they rode through the clouds, Sam thought on dreams of India.

They touched down on a small plot of land with trees to the south and mountains to the north and a solitary figure seated on the ground.

An old man sat under a tree with his legs crossed beneath him and his eyes fixed on nothing in particular.

He seemed not to notice the horse and rider descend from the sky as if horses dropped from the sky all the time.

As Algernon came to a rest, Sam climbed down and examined his surroundings. Other than the man, there was no one in sight except for a great large cow looking on with amused interest. His interest satisfied, he turned back to the patch of grass he was munching on.

Sam approached the old man and started to ask, “Sir, could you…”, but he was quickly cut off by the man who raised a finger to his lips as if to say, “sssshhhh!”

Not only was Sam brave and strong, he was also polite. He immediately stopped talking and waited.

He waited for quite a long time for the man to speak. He waited for what seemed like forever for the man to even move a muscle. The man just sat there frozen, staring off at nothing at all or so it seemed to Sam.

Ready to abandon this pointless pursuit, Sam walked back to Algernon.

“There’s nothing here, boy. I wanted someplace peaceful to go today, but I didn’t realize it was this peaceful.” Algernon turned his head, shook his mane and whispered back, ”There is so much drama in his silence, listen.”

Sam coiled up his face in confusion, drama in his silence? What could that mean? So, he turned back to the man.

He approached him, sat down facing him and tried to find the drama in the silence. The man remained there unblinking.

After a long while, Sam noticed the deep ridges in the old man’s face began to recede. His eyes began to change from black to a faint blue. The gray hairs on his head slowly changed to a rich black and all the pain and burden of a lifetime began to lift.

Sam sat there in astonishment. He wondered what had caused this miraculous transformation. Was it a potion or some sort of magic spell? What could the man be thinking about that would make him young again?

Finally, the transformation was complete. No longer was an old man sitting there in front of Sam, but a young vibrant boy who was strong and brave and ready for an adventure.

The boy smiled a great huge smile and whispered a soft, “Thank you.” He gathered himself up and strode over to the waiting Algernon. "Hello, boy! Are you ready for another adventure?"

Sam sat there in astonishment. He wanted to stop them, but his body wouldn’t move. He tried to shout out, but he couldn’t find his voice. He just sat there under that tree. The cow stared at him and Sam thought he heard him laugh.

Sam looked down at his unmoving legs and saw his hands: deeply wrinkled and gnarled up with age. His quickly threw his hands up to his face and touched the heavy ridges that now stretched across like the face of an old, old man's. He pulled a lock of his hair, once brown, now a brittle gray.

He cried out, but no sound followed. He reached into his mouth to discover his tongue was gone. His life was almost over and his crippled legs sat unmoving below him. As he looked up...

The boy climbed aboard the faithful steed and whispered, “Montana.”

Algernon was off, building up so much speed that his hooves lifted from the ground and launched them both into the air across the countryside and beyond.

The End

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Karen Kaye Cecilia Bauder About the Author: KKC Bauder

Karen is a writer, an artist and the creator of Phoophie Tales and feels that creativity is fun, but sharing creativity is a blast! Her writing appears on Summerland's Illumation Project and you can see her art at: CAOS Cool Art On Stuff

Lynda Lehmann About the Artist: Lynda Lehmann

Even as a child, I reveled in the wonders of nature. As an adult, I realize that my love of beauty has inspired my life. I celebrate the 'ubiquitous beauties of the world' in my art. Much of my photography is realistic, while most of my painting is abstract. I am drawn to abstract subjects conveying ambiguity and mystery, more than to recognizable scenes. I savor the freedom and musicality of abstract work. And to me, it's more fun to see 'what isn't' than to see 'what is.'

Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography

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