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Ch. 23 - Unpredictable

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A slice of light cut through the darkness. The light was warm, but the floor was cold.

The floor.

Rhianna was lying on the floor.

She bolted up clawing at her face, but there was nothing there. No mask. No Grayson. Just a ray of midmorning sun cutting through a window from above. The storm had passed and the unreasonable heat has returned with a heavy dose of humidity.

Rhianna brushed bits of straw from her jeans, and ran a hand through her disheveled hair. "What happened?"

A horse whinnied loudly. Rhianna!

"Kasubia it's ok." She went over to the stall. Kasubia looked like Rhianna felt. The whites of her eyes were showing, her mane hung in frazzled strands and there was a crispy layer of dried sweat on her fur.

I could not get to you. I do not like being in this box.

"It's ok," Rhianna said, slowly opening the stall door. "I'm fine. Come here so I can comb you. Then you can go out into the field again."

What did he do to you? Are you Rhianna? Kasubia danced backward, eyes rolling.

"Of course I am Rhianna." She reached out for the halter as she approached the horse.

Kasubia tossed her head up, keeping the halter just out of reach. Her eyes were wild. There were hoof print sized splintered gouges on the inside of the stall door.

A cold trickle of sweat seeped down Rhianna's back. It never occurred to her to ask herself if coming in here was a good idea. All of the fear her mother had instilled in her had been forgotten these last few weeks, she had even been tempted to take the horse's offer of a ride once or twice.

Fear came far more easily than bravery as she watch those hooves grinding the straw on the floor into gritty flour.

RHIANNA!

The mental shout made her wince. "Kasubia, it's me."

Why can't I hear you.

"I am speaking, can't you hear?"

Words, but no mind song. Rhianna where are you?

The horse reared and Rhianna ducked. But the hooves came down solidly onto the floor and Kasubia shimmied around her to the other side of the large stall. Cutting her off from the door.

"I am right here. Maybe if you just let me past, I can just open the door and you can go out into the field. Would that make you feel better?"

The horse's sides heaved and her nostrils flared. She didn't move, staring at Rhianna unblinking, like a bull contemplating a matador.

"Subi!" Gran's harsh voice made the horse blink. It was not the gentle voice one used with an ill-tempered horse. It was more like the one used for scolding an ill-tempered child.

But Kasubia bowed her head, and tucked it back like a bird trying to hide it's face under a wing. Her tail kept swishing, but Rhianna used the moment to run for the door.

"Maybe you aren't as ready as I thought." Gran closed the door and cast a look at Rhianna over her shoulder. "I was looking for you. You weren't in your room."

Her voice was calm but her hair looked a touch more gray than usual where it had come loose from its bobby pins. One of her boots wasn't even laced all the way up.

"Aren't those the same clothes you wore yesterday?" she asked, tilting her chin down with a frown.

"I-I was in a hurry this morning. I guess I wasn't paying attention."

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