Texas, USA, ten days ago…
Fretlock bucked and whinnied as Kansas tried to bring him under control. He was a small horse but ‘My Gaaad, what spirit!’ the seasoned handler mused. “Where d’ya get this ‘un from, Auguss?” he asked his brother, as Fretlock stubbornly stomped dust.
“He was tooken from some place in Englan’, Kansas. The Duke brung him over laass week.”
“The Duke? That feller giives me the heeby jeebies… Whooooaaaah!” Fretlock had bucked again.
“You ain’t wrong, Kansas. But he always got goood produc’. This howss is one uncommon creature. You see that physique? I ain’t never seen anythin’ like it, not in awl mah days.”
“He sure is funny lookin’ alright. Should fetch a faaahn price at stud.” Fretlocked neighed strangely. “Such unusuality.”
Berkshire, England, twelve years ago…
Anxiety wasn’t the word to describe how Freddy felt. Adrenaline and noradrenaline and more adrenaline coursed through his veins till his body was fit to burst and he nearly fell feinted down the stairs. He tried to breathe, to regain his composure. He walked falteringly down and into the sitting room where his unsuspecting parents were reading the papers.
“Mmmum, Dad…” He heroically supressed an impulse to vomit. This was his worst fear; the thing he’d dreaded and put off for the last four years. But this was the time. This time, he’d tell them, no matter what. What was the worst that could happen? ‘A heart attack of my own.’ offered his brain.
“I… I’ve… I’ve got something to tell you.” (more…)