Dark Horse: Confrontation

th-7We continued on until we reached the wall where the path they called Death Walk began, and I was able to see the truth about this place. Earlier in the day when I was here, the path had appeared to run up the canyon wall all the way to the top. But now, I could see that it disappeared into the canyon wall halfway up. It was an illusion by day; but by night, with the aid of the White One’s eyes, I could understand how so many horses had perished here.

“This is why we travel at night,” I said. “This is not an exit at all. It’s a trap. Come on, follow me.”

With that, I took off at a run for the waterfall. When we got there I knew just what to do.

“Wait here,” I said to the others. “There may be another way — an escape route behind the falls.”

“There’s Black Magic behind those falls!” squealed one of the stallions.

“The White One is stronger than any magic. Where he leads, we have nothing to fear.”

“I’m coming with you,” said the mare. “I don’t want to miss anything.”

“No. It’s best you stay. The others need your eyes right now … until they begin to see on their own. Without either one of us here, they might talk themselves into going back.”

“All right.” She was disappointed; almost trembling with hunger for adventure.

I crossed to the other side of the stream and followed the canyon wall in the direction of the falls. It was slippery going finding the pool again, and when I did, I was in a different spot; higher above the pool than I was earlier. I thought about finding a lower place to jump from but I didn’t have time. I would have to jump from here.

It took all the faith I could muster, but I called to the White One for help and jumped. Once again, this pool took my weight and I swam further into the earth, marveling at the warmth of the water and how the White One was leading me. I had peered into caves before and found them to be blacker than any night. But here there was a dim, blue glow that seemed to come from the rocks themselves — as if they had been ordered to cooperate with our escape. The glow moved along with me as the water grew shallow and the cavern turned into a tunnel. I followed the tunnel until I was confident that this was a passageway formed by an underground stream. Our only hope now was that it remained passable for a horse and that it would lead us out. But that we would have to find out together.

Bursting out of the pool and away from the falls, I immediately sensed danger. I could hear sounds of a great commotion, even over the cascading waterfall. What I saw filled my heart with dread. There was going to have to be a confrontation. Should they choose to go back, the young stallions would not have to return to the herd. The herd had come to us.

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