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Part Two - Pictured

He turned to leave, but a picture caught his eye. It had a frame that was designed to stand on a desk. It was of a herd of horses. He looked at it more closely. There were seven of them, three up on a hill on the far side of a lake, three in the lake itself, and one on the left side of the lake.

The three on the hill were grazing. One of the ones in the lake was pawing the water making a big splash, another was drinking, and the other was laying in it just off shore. The one that caught his eye, though, was the white one to the left, and almost off the edge of the shot. It was rearing up on its hind legs and clearly looking at whoever took the picture.

The sun was setting, decorating the sky above the hill with orange and purple. To the right stood a cluster of trees. They were all different shades of yellow, orange and red. Obviously the photo was taken during autumn.

Tommy looked up to tell the Mini Marketer that he wanted this picture, but he found himself looking up at the sky. He looked left, trees. He looked right, more trees. Looking down, he saw he was on the shore of the lake, right where the picture was taken from.

The sound of splashing and neighing met his ears. He looked up again. The splashing was coming from the horse pawing the water and the neighing from the rearing white horse. A flock of birds flew over the hill chirping and heading south.

A gust of breeze came in from behind him and Tommy realized it was cool out. But he did nothing about it as he didn’t know what to do. He was also too nervous about scaring the horses into attacking.

The white horse dropped onto all fours and looked at him deeply. It bowed its head snorting. It looked at him a few moments longer before neighing and galloping up the hill. The other horses followed and disappeared over the top, but the white one stopped. It looked back at him before slowly walking down the other side.

Something in its look captured Tommy and he decided to follow. He ran around the lake as fast as he could to catch up. He was out of breath when he reached the top of the hill. There he found a large patch of bushes that stood at least seven feet high. He couldn’t see over them, but he could hear the horses on the other side.

He followed the hoof marks in the grass to the right as he examined the bushes for a place to peek through. He reached the end before he found one. Impatient to see the white horse again, he looked around the corner.

He saw the herd just standing around with their backs to him. The grass had disappeared as he rounded the patch’s edge so why were they here? Were they hiding? Other than a shift in their weight and a couple beep breaths there were no audible noises.

Tommy began to sit down to watch a while, when a horse moved and brought a horse in front of it into view. That horse was striped, but not like a Zebra, it was different somehow. He looked down to find a comfy spot to rest.

When he looked up again, a huge black Stallion was standing there. It towered over him pawing the ground. Tommy jumped to his feet and backed up. The horse followed and Tommy said “No, I don’t mean any harm.”

The horse just jerked his head up and grunted. Tommy looked behind him, but to his dismay a cliff. Glancing to the left he noticed the forest wasn’t too big, maybe fifty yards before it ended at the cliff’s rim. The cliff ran behind the forest and disappeared out of sight.

Tommy returned his gaze to the Stallion. “Honest, I didn’t intend to hurt anyone.” The Stallion responded with a high pitched neigh. “I’ll prove it. I’ll just go back over there and find my way home.” He pointed in the direction of the forest.

The Stallion burst forward a few steps, causing Tommy to back up again. He heard rocks falling and found his feet at the edge. “Okay, then I’ll go that way,” he said pointing right. The Stallion moved a few feet to the left and Tommy decided to take the chance to get away from the cliff.

As he passed, the Stallion reared up on its hind legs and neighed loudly. “I’m going, I’m going,” Tommy said speeding up. He ran as fast as he felt was necessary, as the Stallion stayed on his heels. He got that confirmed each time he looked over his shoulder.

Slowly the Stallion seemed to calm down. Tommy slowed his pace to safely get a good look behind him, but the Stallion pushed him on with his mussel. The Stallion did not release his chase until they were in a grassy field with pine trees on three sides.

Tommy stopped and turned around. The only noise emanating from the Stallion was the sound of his quick breaths. It was just standing there, examining him with its left eye. It slowly switched to its right eye and then back again.

Tommy looked into its eye and was surprised when it didn’t seem wild. In fact, it was doing the reverse with him. The Stallion took a few slow steps toward him, but he got no indication of angry intentions in its eye.

The feet between them became quite narrow relatively quickly. When the Stallion stopped, they were nearly touching heads. Before Tommy knew really what was happening, he was petting the Stallion’s snout with his right hand.

Seeing no negative reaction in the Stallion, he lifted his left to its cheek. It tilted its head in the direction of his left hand and nickered. Tommy felt peace inside for the first time in ages. He felt like he had a friend.

Words met his ears, but he wasn’t paying them much attention. They spoke softly and quietly, “Success, I made an impression. He will not forget me. Later, when the time is right, he will recognize me.” The Stallion put its head down and touched Tommy on his shoulder. “We will meet again, though sadly not soon.”

The Stallion’s head jumped up and it burst into full gallop back toward the lake. Tommy watched as the black horse disappeared over a hill they’d passed over on their way here. He heard birds flying overhead, but when he looked up it was the Mini Marketer standing there.

“Would you like that picture?” he asked smiling.

“Um,” Tommy said looking back down at the picture. It was now of the pine trees and hill he had been looking at. “Ye–” he started to say, but the picture was moving as if it were a movie. It flew over the hill, passed the cluster of bushes. Tommy caught a glimpse of the black Stallion behind them, but it was only for a second.

The picture continued to move, flying over the hill he had originally ran over and revealing the lake. The seven horses were already in their original positions like realistic, three-dimensional statues. Even the water splash was frozen in place.

The picture turned around as it flew over them, removing all doubt of their three-dimensions. The picture settled in its original location and all elements became two-dimensional again. “Are you okay?” the Marketer asked.

“Y-yes,” Tommy said stunned.

“Do you want it?” the Marketer asked again.

Tommy looked at the price: $50. “Yes, I’ll take it,” he said handing the Marketer five Mini Money ten-dollar bills.

“Thank you sir,” the Marketer said taking the money and putting it in the appropriate slot in the register. “Here is your new photo. Enjoy!” the Marketer said handing it to him.

“Thanks,” Tommy said as he took it.

“My pleasure,” he answered. Tommy walked away to go find his parents.

Copyright © 2010 C. L. Richardson, All Rights Reserved; "Untamed Picture" © Nathanael Eisner