Declan puts Rosie away in her birdhouse. He’s told me a million times what it’s really called—a mew—but I still think of it as her shed and yard. It’s inky dark as we make our way down the path to the barn to feed Red Mare. I hate calling her that, so I’ve been thinking up names for her. Also tried to find out her real name, but since Declan doesn’t know her breeding or the name of her sire or dam, there’s no place to start. It’s a dead end.
Inside the barn, Declan goes through the same routine of dumping her grain, calling the mare, and running back through the stall, slamming the door shut.
“Stop.” He half turns but his hand doesn’t drop from the stall door’s latch. I sigh. “I can’t stand watching you treat her like a man-eating tiger. She’s a horse.”
He stands straighter. “She’s unpredictable, Reg. I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
“She hasn’t hurt me, has she?” I’ve been brushing her, picking up her feet, getting her more comfortable with humans again. I remember his words and throw them back at him. “How do you build trust?”
Red splotches bloom over his cheeks and he looks down into the empty grain scoop in his hand.
We look out into the dark night. Red Mare hasn’t appeared.
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