Excerpts

01/29/06

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Chapter 1

                The Fall

 

Flash didn’t stumble as a warning he was going down. The saddle pad, which usually kept Libbi more in tune with her horse, was no help. There was nothing she could do. At one instant Flash was walking, at the next he was on the road.

Being turned, asking her mom if she could run her horse, Libbi was unprepared to catch herself or brace against the inevitable impact with the pavement. Her fall was like a dive—head first over Flash’s right shoulder. Impact was with the right side of her skull, and she was knocked unconscious. Luckily no cars were traveling on Beachler Road at the time. Equally as lucky, Flash didn’t land on her with his full weight, but he did roll over her. Then he rolled back over her to gain the momentum he needed to get his 1300-plus pounds into a standing position.

Elaine quickly and expertly regained control of her horse, who had spooked at the site of his fieldmate falling. She jumped off and, without a word, handed the reins to Earl’s son, who had doubled back when he heard the commotion. She ran to where Libbi lay and grabbed the loose reins to Flash’s bridle and pulled him away from the scene. 

Already dismounted, Earl, Elaine’s boyfriend, held the reins to his horse as he knelt next to Libbi, calling her name, asking if she were okay. Holding the ends of the reins to Flash’s bridle behind her so as not to lead him back, Elaine joined Earl—in position and activity: “Libbi? Libbi?” and then “Li-Bee,” in the singsong she used when she had a treat for her daughter, like licking the batters after she whipped up a cake to bake in the oven. Nothing worked.

Turning her face to Earl, Elaine said matter-of-factly, “She has a concussion.”

E-mail the author at libbi@elizabethevansfryer.com.

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