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Unexpected Betrayal

A short fictional tale about a girl and a horse and an act of betrayal.

By KJ AartilaPublished 29 days ago 5 min read
Unexpected Betrayal
Photo by Karin Zabret on Unsplash

I hopped off the school bus, hitting the ground at a dead run ahead of my two younger brothers; dropped my book bag at the house door and ran down to the barnyard. I couldn’t wait to touch the little horse who would be waiting to see me, after a full day of going through the motions of attending my Middle School classes. I wanted to get home to continue the training of my young horse. He was coming along so well!

The horse had been purchased for a small fee from a poor-quality situation. He was of unknown breeding, and a non-extraordinary brown color. I thought he was beautiful! The first time I caught his big, dark eyes with mine, I knew he was special. We had a connection. I spent many weeks just working to earn the trust of the fearful gelding. As we progressed, his potential and the experience with him consumed me. He wasn’t my first horse, but the first one I took on as a project and my first time to train a horse under saddle.

Upon reaching the paddock, my grin was replaced with a confused frown as my sweet boy was nowhere to be seen, but a huge Palomino met me at the gate. I gently pushed the big horse aside and frantically searched the entire pasture, afraid my young gelding was hurt and in need of help. He was not anywhere.

On the verge of tears, I ran to find my mother to ask her where my boy was, and about the unfamiliar horse in the pasture.

The answer was unexpected and heartbreaking but delivered as tersely as ever.

“Mom?” I questioned apprehensively. “Where’s ToiBoi, and where’d that new horse come from?”

“We traded. I’ve always wanted a palomino. Now, I’ll have a horse to ride, too.”

“Oh. Okay.” I dropped my gaze and walked away, knowing she would not elaborate. It was just expected of me to accept it. I picked up my book bag from where it lay on the ground and trudged up the wooden stairs to my room. I seethed internally, quietly. I tried to understand. I always tried.

I sat heavily on my bed and started sketching, Sketching in my sketchpad always helped me calm down and think. This time, it hurt too much. This time, no matter how I focused my efforts, I couldn’t find the love. ToiBoi needed me, as much as I needed him. How could my parents ignore that?

I began devising a plan. I would get my ToiBoy back and my mother would never do this to me again. It had happened several times before – upon my return from the school day, I would come home to my life devoid of my pets, which was pretty disturbing, but it had never been a horse. After twelve years of wondering and believing all those hurtful actions were made in my best interest, I decided those choices should have been made with my input. Now my input would be taken seriously. It was time to take a stand. I knew what I needed to do. I put my sketch book and drawing pencils back in the drawer, emptied my backpack of school supplies and packed a change of clothes in it instead, along with the few dollars I had saved up from babysitting. I went downstairs to join my family for dinner. While doing dishes afterward, I grabbed a few snacks to add to my pack.

In the evening, I sat with my family to watch a couple of mind-numbing sitcoms on the television as usual, then went up to my room. I read my book until I heard everyone else go to bed. When I was sure all were asleep, I opened the window from my bedroom to the roof over the outcropping of the basement and crawled through. I slid down to the edge, then dropped down lightly the eight feet to the ground. The dog greeted me with a happily wagging tail and a playful grin. He badly wanted to follow me, but I commanded him to stay in a loud whisper. In resignation, he finally went to his spot on the porch to lay down with a soft whimper of protest.

I looked at the house for a moment, and envisioned how upset my parents would be when they found me gone the next day.

In the dark, I set out to locate my boy.

I started down the driveway and down the paved road toward my family’s horsey friend’s house. I knew they were involved in the “trade” and disappearance of my boy. They would probably tell on me, but first they would give me information and I would be well on my way again, before my parents showed up, feigning concern and dismay at my act of defiance. My strides grew longer, and I clenched my fists tighter as I marched on in intensifying anger.

As the sun began to rise, I started up the driveway to our friend's house, but then passed quickly by the large structure and the hitched-up horse trailer, when the idea suddenly hit me to check the barn first.

Through the tackroom, I entered the dim space in the breaking dawn.

Peeking through the cracked open door into the stable, I whispered for my boy. “Toi? Are you here?”

A soft, familiar nicker answered me. It was Toi! I raced over to the stall where he waited and grabbed the rope from off the wall. He tossed his head up and down in restless excitement and searched my pockets for treats. With a grin I couldn’t contain, I hooked the rope to his halter and led him from the stall. His black hooves clopped on the cobblestone floor as he scooted forward.

“What are you doing here, girl?”

I turned quickly to face the husky voice that startled me.

Looking the guy straight in the eye while grasping ToiBoi’s lead, I replied. “I came to get my horse.”


Written from a prompt supplied by Reedsy.

"Start your story with an unexpected betrayal."

Young AdultShort StoryLovefamilyAdventure

About the Creator

KJ Aartila

A writer of words in northern WI with a small family and a large menagerie.

My Substack

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (5)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock29 days ago

    The things children are so oft just expected to accept. She will never be their little girl again.

  • No horsin' around! Well-wrought!


  • Babs Iverson29 days ago

    Loved your adventure story from start to finish!!! Super cliffhanger too!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Cathy holmes29 days ago

    Good, she found him! But now, what does she do? Hmmm

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