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Connecting With Destiny
By Cynthia Zaczyk
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Cynthia Zaczyk
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOver two thousand miles of pure dread. You'd think if the pilot was a close personal friend of your parents' and your boyfriend was sitting next to you, it'd be easier. Well it's not. I've done a lot of crazy things like hang gliding, bungee jumping, repelling down the side of a 153 foot cliff, but I've never been so scared in my life. I don't know why, but I've always had a deathly fear of planes. And the kid kicking the back of my seat and the baby screaming and crying, in the far left row, were not helping. But luckily, I had Trevor Cason to keep me calm.
Trevor's aunt and uncle invited us to stay at their horse farm in Wyoming. A whole month with Trevor on a horse farm. Three words: Best. Summer. Ever. I couldn't wait to get there.
"Katey, are you sure you're okay?" He glanced over at me.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just can't wait to land. I hate planes."
"I can tell. You've got a pretty tight grip on that arm rest," he joked.
I looked down at my hands. My knuckles were turning white and the muscles in my hands were straining. I slowly released my grip, only to tighten it again. A voice came over the intercom.
"This is your pilot speaking. Please fasten your seat belts. We are experiencing a little turbulence. Thank you."
"Oh great. Just what I need."
"It's going to be okay. I promise nothing is going to hurt you, ever, not while I'm around." Trevor said reassuringly.
The rest of the plane ride was a nervous blur. I was so happy when we finally landed four hours later. We walked through the small airport. There were business men running to catch their flights. There were families heading out for vacations. Trevor and I made our way through the crowd. We went outside to wait for Mr. and Mrs. Archer.
"I think I'm going to like it here," I smiled. The airport was in between two mountains. The grassy inclines were lit by the sun shine. Cars rumbled down a busy road heading out to the highway. The smell of pine and dew was crisp on the air.
"Just wait until you get to the farm. You'll love it. Wide, green pastures, a small pond, the woods. I spend every summer out here. It's a peaceful get-a-way from home."
Just then a small crimson red pick-up truck pulled over to us. A well built man with broad shoulders and short, sandy blond hair got out. He looked to be somewhere in his mid thirties, early forties. With him was a woman who looked to be about the same age. She had shoulder-length dark brown hair with a few grays peeking out. They came over to us.
"Aunt Jen, Uncle Rob, this is Katelynn Mitchell, but she prefers Katey. Katey, this is my Aunt Jen and Uncle Rob," Trevor introduced.
"Mrs. and Mr. Archer, it's so nice to meet you," I said politely, shaking their hands.
"Please, honey, call us Jen and Rob."
"Um, okay. Thank you so much for inviting me to stay at your farm. I can't wait to see the horses." I said with a lot of excitement.
"Ah, so you do like horses?" Rob chuckled. He turned to Jen. "Pay up."
"Darn!" She took a twenty out of her pocket and handed it to Rob.
"Aunt Jen! Uncle Rob!" Trevor scowled, gesturing to me.
"Oh calm down. It was just a small wager. You know how we can be," said his uncle.
"Yeah, I know." He shook his head and turned to me. "Aunt Jen and Uncle Rob like to bet each other. Aunt Jen usually loses.
"You better be nice. Don't think that just because you brought someone doesn't mean I won't still paddle you," she said to Trevor, laughing.
"Oh shut up," Trevor said playfully, rolling his eyes, looking embarrassed.
I nudged him with my elbow and winked at him. He smiled his breathe taking smile and there was a twinkle in his brown eyes that always made my heart jump. Trevor was always the best looking guy at school, or at least I thought so. He had a gorgeous head of light brown hair that always covered his eyes but not enough to completely hide them. He was very thin but not an unhealthy thin. It wasn't like he didn't eat. God knew that boy could eat anyone out of house and home. He dressed how he wanted and never cared what others thought. I always admired him for his self-confidence.
"Come on kids, climb in and we'll get going." Rob sounded a little impatient.
"Don't pay any attention to him. He's just anxious to get back to the farm. We got five new horses this morning and he wants to get them settled in," Jen reassured.
"You didn't tell me you were getting some new horses," Trevor said. "Are they all broken?"
"All but one," Rob replied. A tremor flowed throughout my whole body.
"Hey are you okay, hun?" Jen was studying me.
"What? Oh, yeah, I'm fine."
"Are you sure? You had a weird expression when Uncle Rob said they weren't all broken," Trevor asked with a look of concern.
"I'm fine. It's just my grandmother used to take me to my cousin's farm to ride the horses. And there was a horse that wasn't completely broken and, well, he kind of killed one of the stable hands. Trampled him to death. I saw the whole thing. I told them he wasn't ready to be ridden yet."
"What do you mean?"
"Jake had been abused by his previous owner and was still learning to trust again. He was almost there, until the stable hand tried to put that saddle on him. He got scared and panicked," I said, remembering the day the pretty light gray stallion had trampled the twenty-four year old stable hand to death. Crushing his skull into the ground. I was surprised at how well I could remember that gruesome day. I could still feel the light breeze blowing, the loud, eerie scream for help, and the crunching sound of a human skull being squashed into the dirt.
"Oh, that must have been awful to see." The look on Trevor's face was pure shock and terror. I had never told him about that day.
"Yeah, it was." I shook my head as if to clear it and bring myself back to reality. "They had to put Jake down. They thought he was dangerous but he really wasn't. He let me brush him and stroke him and everything. He was a great listener and gave pretty good advice." They all gave me a strange look when I said that.
"What do you mean by he gave good advice?" asked Rob.
"Well, I was six, he didn't actually talk. It was just like he could. My grandmother always said I had quite an imagination." I faked a laugh, trying to read their expressions.
"Ah, I see," Jen replied, still looking a little uneasy.
There was an awkward silence, then Trevor broke it. "Did I tell you guys that Katey was the valedictorian?"
"No, that's great. Congratulations," said Jen. She looked relieved at the change of subject.
"Thank you," I beamed.
"Yeah, if it hadn't been for her tutoring me, I probably wouldn't have graduated."
"That's not true. I already told you, you didn't need a tutor. When he came to me, he was doing just fine. I think it was just an excuse so he could spend time with me. "
"Well, who wouldn't want to spend time with you? You're amazing."
"Awe. That's so sweet," I said. I leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. His face turned a light pink as he blushed.
"Well would you look at that. Trevor is blushing," Rob teased.
"I am not!"
"Yes you are," I chimed in.
"Do you see what you did? You turned my own girlfriend against me."
"I'm not against you. I just agree with him. You're blushing and you know it. So stop acting like a wimp and own up to it." I leaned in and whispered in his ear. "Besides I think it's cute."
Chapter TwoIt was a longer ride than I had anticipated. We landed at about 11 and didn't make it to the out skirts of town until around 2:30. I was told it was at least a twenty minute ride to the farm, not that I minded. Rob and Jen were nice. As we turned down a long dirt road, the little farm house appeared. It was a quaint three story house with white panel siding. Poppies, daisies, pansies, and other little, colorful flowers lined the rails and perimeter of the porch. On the porch was a white wicker rocking chair and a white lined swing. Rob pulled up the wrap around drive way and got out. "Trevor, why don't you show Katey around the place. I'll take your suitcases and put them up in your rooms. Jen will unpack for you," offered Rob.
"Okay, come on Katey."
He took me all over the property and back again. We went to the pond and I saw the tire swing that hung out over the water's surface on a sturdy branch. On the other side of the tree was another swing with a wide seat that looked like it could fit two people on it. As we walked away, I could hear a bullfrog croaking. Then we went to the barn. It was old and it had a large hay loft, that when looking down off of it, you could see in every stall. I could tell I was going to spend some time up there, reading and drawing.
We went to the paddock closest to the barn to see the horses. Seven horses were grazing on the fresh hay. Trevor pointed out each of the horses that he knew the names of. Four of them he didn't know.
"Hey guys," greeted Jen as we strolled over to where she was leaning against the side of the fence. "You came just in time to see the show."
"What is Uncle Rob doing?"
"Trying to make me a widow." She chuckled, then explained, "He has been trying to get a saddle on that horse for about an hour now. But she won't hold still. Every time he tries to get close, she rears and takes off running around the outer edge of the corral."
"What's her name?" I asked, laughing at Rob. He looked like a goon chasing after the horse with a saddle in his hands. As he was chasing her, he tripped over his own two feet and face-planted. Jen, Trevor, and I laughed at him. He got up and looked over to us, laughing at himself.
"She doesn't have one. Have you chosen your horses yet?" Jen was trying to calm herself.
"What do you mean?" I was caught in a trance now.
"Well you are going to be here for a while so Rob and I agreed not to name any of the new horses yet. We were going to let you two pick a horse to name and care for while you're here."
"Really? That's great. We looked at them, when I was showing Katey around, and I liked the black stallion."
"Oh? He's pretty. Did you think of a name?"
"Yep. He looks like a 'Buck' to me. What do you think Katey?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, sure," I said not even looking at him. I couldn't tear my eyes off of the horse. She was a beautiful, chestnut colored mare with a dark black mane and tail that glimmered in the light from the setting sun. "She's beautiful, isn't she?"
"She's dangerous, too. She nearly crushed Rob when he was getting her out of the trailer."
I barely heard what Jen was saying. I was staring at the gorgeous creature. When Rob finally got close enough to try to put the saddle on, she neighed, reared on her hind legs and took off. As she was coming around the corral, I got my first look into her eyes. They were a deep, deep blue. Beautiful, I thought. Absolutely beautiful. It was like she was looking into my soul. I could feel a connection with her that I've never felt with any horse, other than Jake.
"Rob, it's time for dinner. That's enough for tonight," Jen called.
"Okay. Hey kids, did you enjoy the show?" he said, walking over to us.
"Yeah," replied Trevor, enthusiastically.
"What about you, Katey? Did you enjoy watching me out-smart the all mighty beast?" he said, puffing out his chest and bearing his teeth. Jen and Trevor started laughing and walking away.
"More like she out-smarted you," laughed Jen.
I couldn't move. It was like she was drawing me to her. I just kept staring into her eyes, trying to make some kind of connection to her.
"Katey, are you coming, or what?" yelled Trevor.
"Yeah, I'm coming," I responded, trying to pull myself together.
Dinner was great. We talked and laughed and ate. Jen made roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy. Green beans, biscuits, and for desert, apple pie. It was delicious. Then, Jen asked me to help with the dishes.
"You have quite an interest with that mare?" she said without looking up from the soapy dish water that was filling the sink.
"Huh? Oh, yeah, I guess. Honestly, I don't know what it was but it was kind of like she was trying to make a connection. I know, I probably sound crazy but-"
"You don't sound crazy at all," she interrupted. "I know exactly what you mean."
"Wait, you do?"
"Yes, I do. You can't explain it but when that magnificent creature makes eye contact, it's like she is looking into your heart. Into your soul."
"That's exactly how I feel. How did you know?"
"I felt the same way when I first saw her. She looked so scared but now she is trying to show her independence and power." We heard her nicker from the corral. "Katey, I'm going to tell you something I've never told anyone else, not even Rob. I grew up on a farm just like this one and when I was about fifteen my father decided to buy another horse. He trained them, for races and contests. We had fifteen horses already but my father insisted we buy another. We looked all over and just could seem to find anyone that was selling. And one day, I went with him to repair a fence on the farthest side out our property. He saw a chestnut mare, just like the one here, and he and I roped her and brought her back to the farm. My father spent weeks trying to break her but she just wouldn't give in. I would spend every moment I could with that horse. I named her Dyna, short for Dynamite."
"She had a bad temper and it showed and I thought it fit her pretty well."
"Oh right. Continue."
"Well Dyna and I got close, very close. It seemed that she was only calm when I was close by. My father didn't understand and he forbid me to ever go near Dyna again. So I started sneaking out at night and going to her corral. I felt a deep connection to her, like the one you feel with the mare we have here. After a few nights, I got brave and tried to ride her. She panicked and threw me. I tried to get up and get to the fence. But she caught up to me and she kicked me really hard. I was in the hospital for quite a while. A few broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and major bruising. My father put her down. It was a long time before I got back on a horse. The moral of the story is that no matter how deep a connection you feel, there is always danger lurking around the corner. Do you understand what I mean?"
"I think so. Like no matter how connected you feel, there is always a chance that it might not be as strong as you thought. And you risk getting hurt," I answered.
"Exactly. Could you hand me the big pot from the stove?" I grabbed the pot and got back to work drying the dishes as Jen washed them.
"I still want her to be my horse," I whispered to myself, not expecting Jen to hear.
"No. She is way too dangerous for you," she said sternly. "Listen, until that horse is trained, I don't want you going anywhere near her. I would never forgive myself if you were to get hurt. I don't want you to go through what I had to go through. Promise me you will stay away."
"You can stand and watch her all you want, but do not go into that corral."
"Okay. I'm sorry if I upset you."
"It's okay. I like you. Out of all the girls Trevor has brought here, I like you the best and he would be heartbroken if Rob or I let anything happen to you."
"It's late. I can finish up here. Why don't you go on up to bed."
"Okay, see you in the morning."
"Goodnight. Sleep well." Jen said as I started to walk away.
Chapter ThreeI went up to the room that Jen had indicated was mine. I walked in and was awe struck. The room was huge. It had a full sized closet, a king sized bed, a vanity table, a bed side table, a full length mirror and an overstuffed chair sitting in the corner by the window. All my things were already set up. My clothes were hung up in the closet, my make-up and hair supplies were set up on the vanity table, and my reading books, notebooks, and sketch pads were in the drawer of the bed side table.
I got undressed and put on a baby blue spaghetti string tank top and a pair of matching plaid boxer shorts. I went over to the window to open it a little bit and discovered I had a clear view of the corral. I could see the mare drinking from the trough. Then, surprisingly, she looked up and made direct eye contact with me. Even from my room, I was mesmerized. I couldn't break the hold she had on me. Then, out of nowhere, someone grabbed my waist.
"OH MY GOD!!!" I screamed, whipping around.
Excerpted from Connecting With Destiny by Cynthia Zaczyk Copyright © 2010 by Cynthia Zaczyk. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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