The stables on the hill were shadowed and quiet in the moonlight. As the two men in dark clothes crept down the long hall, they could smell the warm scent of clean horses and fresh hay.
“Go right to the end,” whispered the leader.
They snuck into the last stall, where Pebbles was sleeping. She was short and stocky, silvery white with some darker gray dapples across her rump. Her eyes were soft and brown in her pretty face.
“That’s not a racehorse!” the smaller thief snarled. “We’re in the wrong stall!”
A tall black stallion sprang to his feet. The men heard his hooves strike the floor. They felt the rush of his powerful body, and now that their eyes were used to the darkness, they saw his shape.
“That’s Midnight!” exclaimed the boss thief. Before the stallion knew what was happening, a rope had been thrown around his neck and looped over his nose into a halter.
The horse’s eyes rolled white with fear and rage. He jerked back and reared, his strong front legs slashing the air. The thief holding the halter was thrown into the corner of the stall. He rolled out of the way just as Midnight’s hooves thudded down.
“Forget it!” the smaller man screamed. “I’m not going to get killed just to steal a horse!”
“Be quiet!” said the boss thief. He opened the stall door and pushed the other man out.
The stallion pawed the floor, snorting in alarm.
The thief ignored him. He rubbed the silver mare between her ears and breathed gently into her nostrils.
“What are you doing?” the smaller man demanded. “That’s not the one we want!”
“I’m guessing this big guy doesn’t go anywhere without his little friend. And when you’re worth as much as he is, what you want is what you get.”
The boss slipped a rope halter over Pebbles’s head.
Text copyright © 2012 by Wendy Orr
Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Patricia Castelao