The thing she saw standing in their dirt driveway was the poorest excuse for a horse she’d ever imagined. Where in Hell did it come from? It was early in the morning and she was just heading to the chicken coop to gather eggs when she saw it. She called for her father as she slowly walked around the beast but not getting too close.
It was so dirty she couldn’t tell what color it was, its mane & tail full of leaves, twigs and burrs. It was also extremely thin as she could count each rib bone under its mud-covered coat.
She heard the screen door of their small house open and her father’s footsteps as he came up beside her.
“Jesus Christ Abigail!” he exclaimed, “What it God’s name is that?”
“Well I’m assuming its a horse dad, but I’ve never seen one in such horrible shape before.”
She could sense the creature’s labored breathing as she walked slowly towards it, holding out her hand and whispering softly, “It’s ok, don’t be afraid. No one here will hurt you.”
It turned it’s head towards her slowly, regarding her with its large brown eyes that were the only thing on it that gave of any sense of life. And then it moved, more like hobbled towards her and snapped at her hand before it fell to the ground screaming in pain.
Her father ran towards the horse as it shakily got to its feet and reared, barely missing his head with a lash of its hooves. She was surprised it had enough energy even for that as it settled back down, shaking and stomping its feet. Abigail tried whispering to it again to calm the frightened horse down as her dad went to the barn. He returned a few minutes later with a syringe full of a mild tranquilizer and as she put her arms around its neck he injected the liquid. It jumped slightly but seemed to be much more relaxed and they were able to lead it into an empty stall.
“Wow Abby, what are we going to do with this guy?” he thought for a second then looked underneath the horse. “Yep, I was right. It’s a guy.”
She laughed, “I think the first thing we need to do is call animal control to see if anyone knows anything about him, and then give him a good bath and some food. Doesn’t look like he’s eaten in a while.”
Her dad pulled out his cell phone and stepped outside the barn to make the call as she poured some water into a bucket and set it down in front of the emaciated animal. He acted like he wasn’t even sure what to do until she pushed his head towards it, then he smelled the water and greedily started gulping it down. Not knowing how long it had been since he’d eaten she put a cup-full of oats in a smaller bucket next to the water and she wasn’t surprised at how fast he inhaled them. Abby gave him a bit more water then went to get the supplies together to give him a much needed bath.
It took several hours and gallons of water later to get the horse clean, and even then he was a sorry sight. He was even thinner than she thought at first and was so tired from all the exertion his head was hanging almost to the ground. Having been around horses all her life she felt extreme anger to whoever had let him get in such a deplorable condition. He got very agitated again and dad had to give him some more tranquilizers so they could complete their work on him. She had finished brushing his coat and dad was picking his hooves clean while she put away all the cleaning equipment. He’d given all the information he could to animal services but no one had reported a missing horse, especially one in his state. He had no halter or even a rope on his neck…they had no idea where he came from so for now I guess he’d have to stay with them.
Abby had finished fixing up the stall for the horse when something spooked him. His eyes were wide and almost white, ears back and he made the strangest noise, unlike anything she’d ever heard come out of a horse before. He glared at her while she backed up trying to talk to him, calm him down and it seemed to work. He wouldn’t let her near him though as she tried to set him at ease, just kept stomping at her when she came too close as maybe he was trying to warn her away. She checked his water before closing the stall door and just stood there for a while looking at him, trying to figure out if she’d ever seen him on any farm in the area. His coat was dry and it was a dull gray, sickly and pale. His eyes were clear though…his head was right in front of hers and staring into them it seemed she could see ancient cities in flames. She laughed & shook her head blaming her imagination, knowing full well it was impossible to see such things in the animal’s eyes.
“Goodnight old fellow” she said. “Maybe you’ll do better in the morning after a good rest.”
She heard him whinny softly as she walked out of the barn but it had an ominous sound to it, and she shivered as she entered the house.
Abby could barely sleep that night…she was having horrible nightmares of burning cities & rivers of fire. She woke up several times and after the last one she went into the kitchen and sat at the small table waiting on coffee to brew. Thinking hard she tried to remember more details about the dreams…she’d never had any so terrifying. She heard a noise in the direction of the barn and it was then she remembered the horse had been in all her dreams…standing on a rocky ledge overlooking the inferno in the presence of a shadowy hooded figure. The sounds continued and against her better judgment she put on her coat & boots and headed towards the barn.
She opened the door and choked back her disgust as she took in the coppery scent of fresh blood. Holding her stomach she realized one of the other horses was lying in the middle of the floor dead with his stomach ripped open. The gray horse was hovering over him, scowling at her with his icy eyes and teeth covered in blood. He had gone through a dramatic transformation; still horribly thin but his ashen coat gleamed bright in the light of the lantern she held. She slowly backed up against the door and reached for the handle to open it when she saw Him in the corner of the stall. She couldn’t move and His glowing red orbs were burning deep into her soul. She tried to scream but with a quick flash of steel He was in front of her, his foetid breath smelling of sulphur and brimstone, the last thing she saw before her eyes exploded.
The Queen of Hell
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