Phantom | Teen Ink


March 13, 2015
By Gypsyvanner BRONZE, Cortez, Colorado
Gypsyvanner BRONZE, Cortez, Colorado
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you see the best in people you miss the rest of people.

The carriage bounced and shook as young Eliza gazed out at the passing countryside; lost in her own thoughts, aimlessly twirling a lock of yellow hair around her finger.
    “Eliza. Eliza!” her older sister, Johanna, struggled to get her attention.
    “Hm? Yes?” Eliza asked, awakening from a daze.
    “Goodness, Eliza, I have never seen you so distracted, is all well?” her older brother, William, voiced his concern.
    “Yes, just lost-” Eliza stopped, from the corner of her eye Eliza spotted the most beautiful creature she had ever laid her eyes upon. “Stop the carriage,” the young woman instructed the driver.
    “Eliza where are you going?” her siblings called as she dashed from the carriage.
    In the pasture was a wild stallion, his coat was as black as ink. His dark eyes shone from under his forelocks. Wearily, Eliza approached. She was close enough to touch the animal when her father called out. “Eliza! What on Earth are you doing?”
    Startled, Eliza spun around. “Eliza, get back in your carriage this instant!” her father barked.
    When Eliza turned to look at the horse it was if he had vanished. “Like a phantom,” she murmured under her breath.
    “Quickly now, Eliza!”
    The young woman hurried back to the carriage.
    “What was that?” Johanna asked.
    “Did you see it? How close I got to him?” Eliza could not keep the excitement from her voice.
    “Do you have any notion of how dangerous that was?” William scolded.
    “I was never in any danger.”
    “Eliza, a horse killed our mother, do you not remember?” they said in unison.
    Eliza ignored her siblings.

    When the family returned to the manor the sun had already set. Eliza’s father was approached by a groom, “Sir we found a horse wandering around the grounds, what would like me to do with him?”
Before her father could speak Eliza instructed the groom to leave the horse in the round pen for the night.
“What are you going to do with the horse?” Johanna asked.
“Eliza will do nothing that beast, for I will put a bullet in its head tomorrow morning.”
“Father no!” Eliza cried. “Please, let me train him. I can use Mother’s journals.”
“Why do you insist on putting yourself in danger?”
“Please, give me a week, let me prove to you these animals are not dangerous.”
“Let the girl do it,” Eliza’s step mother spoke up. “What can it harm?”
Her father gave a long sigh, “Alright, you have a week, after that, I will terminate him.”
    Eliza went to bed without her supper that night, when her lady’s maid came in to help her get ready she sent her away.
Eliza sat on her bed in her silk night gown, pouring over her mother’s old journals. The clock chimed midnight when a knock sounded at the door. Johanna, wearing a pale, pink robe, entered.
“Eliza, I wish to know why you insist on working with this beast?”
“Our mother loved horses, she was the best trainer in Britain.”
“Eliza, you were young when our mother passed, you cannot possibly remember how she died.”
“I was nine years old, Johanna, I remember perfectly well.” Eliza remembered all too clearly. Her mother was working with a client he got too attached. One night he got drunk and tried to bed her, when she refused he slipped out in the middle of the night and set fire to the stables. Her mother ran out to rescue the horses, one terrified horse reared up and kicked her mother in the head, causing her to lose consciousness, the rest of the horses trampled her. Her father was the one who found their mother. He ordered all but the carriage horse to be sold. Since the accident their father had remarried, a thirty-five year old named Hannah Burkley.
“Johanna, it was not the horses’ fault that he hurt our mother, but the client, he set fire to the stable.”
“Good night, sister,” Johanna left the youngest member of the Connor family alone.   
The sun had barely risen when Eliza stepped into the round pen. Her trousers were made of denim, the plaid button up shirt had belonged to her mother. Her scuffed leather boots stopped just below her knee. Her blonde hair was tied back in a braid, and her blue eyes glinted with excitement. Armed with a halter and lunge-line Eliza entered the round pen.
“Alright, Phantom, are you ready?” She approached the black horse. He let her rub his muzzle, but when she tried to halter him the horse scurried away, head held high. She tried repeatedly, each time the horse galloped away, whinnying with delight.
Eliza went into the tack room and returned with a bucket of grain. Upon seeing the delicious treat, the horse eagerly let Eliza harness him.
The young woman stood in the center of the round pen and lunged the black stallion around the pen. Once, twice...twelve times before ceasing. She turned her back on the horse. The horse tossed his massive head over her shoulder, begging for attention.
“What did that accomplish?” Johanna called from outside the round pen.
“Mother wrote about it in her journals; she called it ‘joining up.’ Now I get the saddle and blanket,” Eliza grinned.
“Johanna, leave your sister alone,” their step-mother called.
Eliza switched the halter out for a bridle. She tossed a fleece saddle blanket over the horse’s side. The horse stood still. He must have some basic training, Eliza thought. The horse stood still while Eliza threw the small, black saddle over his back and while she tightened the cinch. As Eliza lifted herself off the ground with her left stirrup the horse started walking.
“Woah,” Eliza tugged softly on the reins, she was still hanging off one side of the horse. Phantom stood, nervously, as Eliza eased back to the ground. “Easy, boy,” Eliza lifted herself off the ground again, the horse stood still. He must have some basic training, Eliza thought. Eliza attempted to mount the horse again. Phantom stood still. Eliza dismounted and praised the horse. She repeated the procedure, each time praising the black stallion for his patients.
When the sun set Eliza was confident in Phantom’s abilities.
Early the next morning Eliza sent a servant to retrieve her family. As they gathered outside the round pen Eliza came loping around the stables on Phantom, he leapt over the fence and stood in front of her father. Phantom’s main and tail glistened and his coat shone magnificently. Eliza’s siblings and step-mother cheered at the graceful performance, but her father’s face was impassive.
Eliza dismounted to speak to her father. He turned from his daughter and began to march back to the manor. A large black head was thrown over his shoulder. Slowly he turned to face Phantom. He put his foot in the stirrup and, for the first time since his wife’s death, threw his foot over the saddle. He spurred and clicked to the horse. Phantom walked a few paces before being stopped. He began to realize what he had been missing all these years.
“Thank you,” he whispered, so only Phantom could hear. “Thank you, for bringing me closer to my daughter and late wife. Thank you, you beautiful creature.”

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This article has 1 comment.

Bridgett said...
on Mar. 17 2015 at 2:17 pm
Excellent read