The Art Site

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Snip Part 10

It was a truly beautiful horse. Danny sighed as he looked at it, his eyes caressing the tawny-gold coloured mane that was catching the evening sunlight, the majestic head that was held high enough to show its distinction from the barn horses, the pawing hooves, the rippling muscles, the deep brown eyes shot with gold highlights. A horse like that, thought Danny, was not for the likes of him, but someday he would have a horse that was equal to this one. You couldn't have adventures on an old barn horse like, for instance, Clarissa. Clarissa was the oldest horse in the royal stables and she looked it too. It didn't matter how much you currycombed her, she always looked like she'd had a fright and never got over it. Her watery eyes protruded and stared glumly into the dark of her stable. She was good for pulling a cart; nothing else.

Danny picked his way through the piles of horse muck and straw in Alexander's stable and picked up the brush from the shelf. The problem with mighty horses like these was that they made a huge mess of their stables - and the stables had to be cleaned every night - his job. There were only three stable boys: he was the lowest of them all and therefore got landed with the 'dirty work'.
It was worth it though, all the shoveling was worth it once you were actually currycombing a magnificent beast like this one. The brush glided over the silken hair, finding almost no burs or matted dirt. Danny fell into the rhythm of brushing with one brown hand and stroking with the other, the sunlight glancing off the stable windows and dancing on the hair of stable boy and horse.

"What are you doing, boy? Get your filthy hands off my horse this minute!"
The voice split the warm evening air with it's shrill insistence. It was as surprising as a bolt of lightning on a Summer day, as icy as an outhouse in Winter.

Startled, Danny looked round, the whites of his eyes like thin 'O's in shock. What met his eyes was even more unbelievable than the unexpected words: An irate little man stood just outside the stable, one hand clutching a walking stick, one foot draped slightly behind the other. He was snarling, actually snarling, his sharp teeth bared, little jets of spit foaming and spilling out of his mouth. His clothes might have been an obscure freak of fashion sixty years ago, his hands, gnarled and wrinkled with work were hideous, but it was not them that made Danny stare. It was the man's head. To start with, it was little and slightly pointed on top, like an egg, but it was bald as well. On the whole of the man's head, there was not a hair that he could call his own. The sun glowed on his shiny head, increasing the eggishness of it.

Danny could feel mirth bubbling up from somewhere deep inside: something in him was pointing at this man and laughing hysterically. Danny choked back the mad laugh and coughed politely into his hand. Keeping one hand on Alexander to steady him, he inquired:

"Excuse me sir?"
The little man did a little jump.
"You heard me! GET those filthy hands off my horse AT ONCE!"
"Sir," Danny heard himself saying calmly, "If you have any complaints about the service your horse is receiving, please report them to the complaints commissioner."
The man spluttered, choked on his rage.
He half-strode forward, dragging his lame foot behind him. From nowhere, a horsewhip rose in the air, flew down, stung Danny's legs. Again, it rose in the air and laid a stinging blow to Danny's bare shoulders. He felt nothing for at least five seconds, then the pain was there, cutting into his flesh like a dagger. The whip was so fast, the little man so adept at using it, that it was at least five blows before the stunned Danny thought to try and grab the whip. Quick as a flash, his hand reached up to snatch the weapon, but the man was to fast for him, and before he'd had half a chance, the whip was there on his back, clinging to his skin and flying back in the air. Danny let himself fall to the ground, and using some of that new arm muscle, he grabbed the man's legs and pulled. The man fell, his fat belly jiggling, his mouth in a perfect O.

Danny thought at this point that it would be an easy battle. He had the man on the ground, all that needed to be done was to lay a few well aimed punches on the man's hide and the fight would be over.
Then the viper struck. Even though Danny's knees were pinning the man to the splintery wooden floor, one arm came up and caught Danny around the middle. For such a little man, his arms were surprisingly powerful: he flung the boy across the floor and against the wall, where he lay for a moment, stupefied.

The man jumped up as though nothing had happened and limped over to where Danny lay stunned on the ground.
"Was that enough discipline then, stable boy?" he hissed, his face twisting into an expression of diabolical evil.
Danny's face was ashen, he'd hit his head on the heavy wooden panelling and a stream of scarlet blood trickled down his neck. His head started to throb - it was as if some african wild-man was beating a drum inside his head.
He said nothing but stared intensely into the man's bulging eyes. Something in his stare made the man blink and look away.
"You're going to have to learn to get along with me, boy. You have some guts, some strength. You're exactly what I want for the job."
If he expected to get an answer from Danny about that statement, he was disappointed. Danny continued to glare up at him from his broken position on the floor.
"You're going to help me find the princess Arabella, just like her father the King wants me to. We're going to find her, but we won't claim the big reward then," whispered the man. "oh no, we're going to find many uses for her before we ransom her and get a much bigger pay package from her father."
His piggy eyes stared into space, a smile lurked in the corners of his mouth for a brief second. Then he pulled his face into a fierce look, and scowled at Danny.
"If you even breath a word of this to anyone I will have the great pleasure of killing you. Got it, stable boy? Not a word."
He limped away, back to the palace.
Anger swelled up in Danny, words rushed into his head that he wanted to slay this hideous man with. He choked them down. They wouldn't help Bella. It was up to him to help her now.

2 Comments:

Blogger Em said...

oooh very good lyd!!! keep writing :)

10:26 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

thanks Ems!!! When are you going to get a blog, ey?

11:05 pm  

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