Last week, as you'll recall, Doll was really annoyed by the Irish actor. Wonder if he improves with age? Guess we'll find out in today's episode! And don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!
Trapped in Time II: Chapter 4
The next morning, shortly after first light, we resume our journey. I admit to being surprised that the actors are willing to rise with the sun. I had presumed them to have a preference for sleeping in due to the nature of their profession. But they seem as anxious to be on our way as we do.
I have given the matter much consideration and have decided that once we reach the town toward which we travel I shall take Frederick and begin my search for Vittorio. Just where I shall search, I have not decided. Perhaps it would be wise to first find a map of this country we travel through. That will give me a better idea of where to look, I think.
I had intended to confide my plans to my father, assuming I would be traveling with him. But Fate has other ideas for me, I fear—sometimes I feel as though I have become embroiled in a vengeful vendetta, one that is determined to keep me from my love. I push such thoughts aside as serving no useful purpose. Vittorio and I shall be together again, that I promise.
By the time I have cleaned up our campsite of all trace of our passage, I find that travel arrangements have already been made. My father is to ride inside the first wagon, Myron and Charlie and Mary in the second, along with our provisions, such as we have. And I am given Frederick to ride.
At first, I am unsure of the wisdom of this decision. After all, I have never ridden anything but my pennyfarthing, which is not the same thing at all. Shaughnessy places a saddle onto Frederick, for my benefit, and a pair of stirrups. But when he offers to help me up, my face grows warm and I growl at him. I will mount the horse under my own steam; I do not need his assistance. He does not seem offended by my attitude. He gives me an amused glance and rides away.
I am not as naïve as some might think, and I can discern his intentions toward me, which are not welcome. As far as I am concerned, he is as alien to me as any of the creatures in a novel by the talented H.G. Wells himself. Perhaps less so, if that is possible.
I think I know the theory behind riding a horse, so I decide to put it into practice.
I slide my left foot into one of the stirrups, but when I begin to add my body weight, the horse shifts and so do I and I end up flat on my rump on the ground. Grumbling, I rise, dust myself off and try again. And again I find myself sitting amongst the nettle-like plants on the ground. They seem to have taken a liking to me, adhering to my trousers and prickling my sensitive areas.
“The wee beastie seems to have a mind of his own.”
When did he return? I am as annoyed with myself for not hearing his approach as I am with him for being here.
Without waiting for my permission, he dismounts from his own steed and approaches Frederick. He strokes him gently and whispers something into his ear, something I cannot hear. Frederick whinnies softly and shakes his head, but he stands quietly, allowing himself to be soothed by the actor’s voice.
“Try now,” Shaughnessey suggests. Like I couldn’t think of that myself. I keep my thoughts to myself, and place my foot in the stirrup once more. Cautiously I place my weight on it. Frederick does not move, so I throw my right leg across the saddle and settle into it with a relieved sigh.
“There you go.” Shaughnessey reaches up and hands me the reins, along with a cheeky wink. But before I can respond, or tell him where he can take his ideas, he has returned to his steed and mounted, riding quickly toward the wagon train, which is already well on its way. I suspect if I do not catch up quickly, he will return to check on my progress, and that I do not wish to have happen.
I’ve seen enough western films to know how those cowboys ride their horses, so I softly press my heel against Frederick’s flank, cluck to him and softly pull on the reins. To my relief, he begins to move, in the proper direction, and then he begins to canter, and I am happy to report that I do not fall off.
The sun is well into the sky and it seems as though we have been traveling forever, but I know that is not so, it only feels that way, when Shaughnessey calls a halt and decides that it is time for lunch. That is a welcome announcement. I’m more than ready to touch the ground again with my own two feet. I have long ago lost any sensation in my hindquarters. I am grateful for Charlie’s help in dismounting.
“Doll hurt?” He gives me a sympathetic look, and I nod at him. Vati approaches, once the wagons have stopped, and he seems concerned, but I reassure him that I am fine. My father does not need to worry about me, but I am glad that he does, nonetheless.
I receive a pleasant surprise in that I do not need to cook, as we are invited to be guests of the troupe. At the moment, I am grateful to simply relax and let the blood rush back into my legs. Besides, there is something I wish to talk to my father about... and Myron. Yes, I do need to ask him something, as I’ve had an idea, so I must set aside my anger with him for now.
Rather than randomly search for my Vittorio, it occurs to me that perhaps they can harness the power of science and magic. That’s the least Myron can do.
to be continued
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Until next time, take care!