We galloped all night until a fringe of orange-red light began to outline the mountains, still far in the distance. There were five of us now — four plus the dark horse. Two of the horses were from the White Horse Ranch, but the other was unfamiliar to me. He had a stronger odor than the horses I was used to, and his coat was thickly matted. It was obvious he had spent his whole life on the plains.
“Where are we going?” he said.
“We are going toward the enemy camp,” the dark horse replied, having just returned from a drink at a nearby stream.
“How far is the enemy camp?” asked one of the schooled horses.
“As far as it will always be if we keep moving.”
We were quiet for a few moments, acting like we understood when we didn’t. The plains horse finally spoke up.
“I don’t understand.”
“As long as you run toward the enemy camp,” said the dark horse, “you will never reach it.”
Now what kind of donkey-talk was that? I had run all night pursuing a target I didn’t want to reach? Suddenly I found myself thinking about the White Horse Ranch — my hay-carpeted stall, hot mash for breakfast, the attention, the routine, the grooming. Then the thought hit me — a cold jolt in my tired bones. There was no going back. I had left the White Horse Ranch for good. This wasn’t just a lark — a trot down the road that would be over tomorrow. I was standing tired and muddy in a strange land following a strange horse who spoke strange words and pursued a strange destination we didn’t want to reach! I felt very alone.
Then the plains horse broke in on my thoughts, already the one to say what we were all thinking.
“I don’t understand.”
“The enemy dwells in darkness,” said the dark horse. “He thrives in it. He can only do his work in the dark. If we run toward him, he must flee from us — we have the light of the White One in our eyes, and he can’t bear it. But if we stay in one place, we begin to doubt whether there is an enemy at all. Then as we take our ease and enjoy our comforts, he moves his camp closer and closer to ours until he is able to influence us without our even knowing it.”
I immediately thought of the jealousy and strife that went on at the White Horse Ranch. Could that have been caused by the “influence” the dark horse was talking about? Then there was the deception of always trying to appear white. Dishonesty. Even then I was beginning to recognize it as one of the enemy’s favorite weapons. It kept us from knowing the power of the White One himself.
“So we just keep moving?” asked the plains horse.
“No. There is a season for everything. But even when we rest, someone must stand guard. It is in times of ease that we are most susceptible to the enemy’s devices.”
“How do you know the way?” asked one of the ranch horses. “There is no path.”
The dark horse was patient with our questions. He seemed eager to answer.
“There is a path,” he said, “but it is known only to the White One. He reveals it as we go. You cannot see where it leads — only where to take the next step.”
Sleep mounted my shoulders like an impatient rider, eager to gallop into sweet oblivion. I barely heard the dark horse’s answer to the last question before, warmed by the sun, I fell into a deep sleep.
“We travel at night because this is the age of darkness. Darkness is the reality … daylight is the lie. Run in the daylight and you’ll be fooled by a lesser light or a well-worn path. The White One would lead us along new paths … paths to be found at night, for then we see only what he reveals to us. A morning comes when his light will ride the plains of the sky — the beginning of eternal day. But until that morning we run at night, because it is truly night in the world.”
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