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Part Eleven - Berry Nice Guy

Shehleg and Chaphar ran side by side, both in the same beat. Their strides were equal hoof for hoof. Tom thought it was a weird and beautiful sight at the same time, two horses running as one and yet two opposite colors. It seemed as though he was riding the shadow of the other horse. He almost didn’t notice that the canyon was nowhere in sight anymore.

After what seemed like only a few minutes, but was really around a quarter hour, they pulled up to a log cabin made from redwood. “You know,” Tom said. “I haven’t seen one redwood tree. Where’d all the redwood come from?”

“Good question,” Chaphar answered. “I don’t know. There hasn’t been any redwood as long as my time has been.”

Shehleg tapped on the door with her hoof and a old male voice answered, “Oh, how lovely. Visitors! I’m on my way, hang on.” There was a light tapping inside. As they got nearer the door, it was clear they were footsteps. The door opened and an old, slumped over, gray haired man appeared. “Ah, Sheelah, good to see yah, come in. Oh, who are your two friends?”

“Chaphar and Tom,” she answered pointing with her snout.

“Nice to meet yah both, just please stomp your hooves to keep all the dirt outside. At my age I can’t clean much.”

Tom slipped down and stomped along with the two horses. It sounded like a construction site with eight men pounding nails into boards and another stomping his feet. They all then walked inside with Tom shutting the door.

Chaphar spoke first. “Her name is ‘Shehleg’ you know.”

“Yes, I know, but my voice doesn’t like too many hard words anymore. Therefore you are Saffer to me. Tom, though, has a nice simple name.” He sat down in a chair next to a table. Everything was redwood. “Now what may I do for yah?”

“We were wondering if you would be nice enough to—” Shehleg said, but the old man butted in.

“To let you have some berries. Sure, by all means. Eat as many you want. Just be warned my supply will go down that much faster.”

“Thank you,” Shehleg said bowing down onto her knees.

The old man looked away and said, “Oh the blessings of youth.”

Chaphar only bowed his head and said, “Thank you dear sir.”

Tom just said, “Thanks.” He turned to follow the others but then asked, “What is your name?”

“Oh, I can no longer pronounce it; just call me ‘Red’.” Tom nodded and walked toward where Shehleg and Chaphar were already eating. Upon his arrival, he found whole boxes of berries, all wild and just about all the kinds you could imagine. Tom decided on blueberries and began filling his stomach.

When they were all done, they thanked Red again. “Oh, it’s perfectly all right. Anything for my animal friends.” Chaphar and Shehleg smiled and walked out. Tom shut the door as he left.

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