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The Tenth Walker  by Lindelea

Chapter 59. I make my wishes known

Two more scouts have arrived in the night, or at least they join us when we are led out to pasture in the morning. The old mare says that these are the last of those who were sent out to gather news of… of Them, and of the surrounding lands.

They are as close-mouthed as the white one, moreso even, for at least the white one told me a little of what he and his Rider had sought, and failed to find. No, but they use their mouths only to pull hay from the racks, eating greedily as if they hadn’t eaten a full meal in days. …which they probably have not, for I can see their ribs plainly, and their necks are thin. They have travelled far, and been pushed to return quickly from where ever it is they journeyed, or so I deem from a stray comment that passed from one to the other, as we gathered around the hay racks.

But I am interrupted before I can gather any more stray wisps of gossip, for my Sam is walking towards the gate!

I turn away from the hay racks, I gallop to him, planting my feet to stop just short of the gate. I nicker and toss my head.

He laughs, delightful sound it is, and I would stop to savour it if I weren’t in such a taking. I must make him understand me!

‘You’re glad to see me, are you, Bill?’ he said, reaching out a hand.

In spite of myself, I stand still to feel the touch of his fingers, I lean into his caress, he is my Sam and I am his, and none shall ever part us, at least if I have my way, my heart’s desire, to stay with him to the end of my days. Even to a dark end? something deep inside me seems to whisper. Even to your doom?  I shudder, but crowd closer to the gate, to my Sam. Even so.

‘Steady now, steady, Bill!’ he says with a laugh. ‘I haven’t forgot your carrots! I have them right here, in my pockets, as you very well know… all you have to do is find them!’

Take me with you! I say, nuzzling at his chest.

He thinks that I am seeking the carrots, for he says, ‘Not that pocket! Try another, Bill…’

I push against him, a little nudge. Take me with you! I insist. Don’t even think of going off without me! You need me!

‘That’s right!’ my Sam says, well pleased. ‘You’ve got the right pocket!’ He fumbles with his fingers to retrieve the pieces of carrot residing there, fending me off with his other hand.

Unlike our customary game, I could not care less what my Sam has got in his pocketses! Not for the first time, I wish that an Elf, or Tall Hat, might accompany my Sam out to the field, that I might tell one of them, and have them tell him what I wish him to know.

Somehow I must make him understand!

He is holding out the carrot to me in his palm now. Tempting, the smell wafts to my nostrils. I widen my nostrils for a good sniff. My mouth opens of itself and I lower my head…

But recalled to my urgent need, instead of taking the treat, I push past his outreached hand. I lay the length of my face against his chest. I rest it there, leaning lightly against him, speaking with all the wit and will I can muster.

Take me with you! Take me with you when you go, where ever it might be that you are going!

For a moment I think I have been successful, for he croons to me, soft, and his hand (the one without the carrot) strokes my jaw. ‘Aw, now, Bill.’

But then he adds, ‘What is it, old fellow? What’s the matter?’

In my exasperation, not quite meaning to, I give a sudden shove against his chest, and he sprawls backward, falling to the ground. I am relieved to see him promptly prop himself up on his elbows, staring at me in accusation, but I’m not at all sorry about it.

‘What’s got into you, Bill?’

I meet his eye, my determination stronger than ever. Somehow I must make him understand. If you don’t let me go with you, Sam, I’ll follow on my own!

We lock gazes for a long moment, and then he rolls over to get back on his feet.

‘Well, old lad, there’s an eye-opener, and no mistake,’ he says under his breath, reaching his hand out to take me under the jaw, to stare into my eye. I return his look, willing him to understand, with all that is within me.

He nods, he caresses the spot between my eyes with his free hand, nods again, turns, and walks away.

I watch after him for as long as I can see him, until he is lost from my sight.

He has dropped the pieces of carrot. I stick my neck through the bars of the gate to lip it up, and then I lift my head and stand at the gate, staring after my Sam, to see if he will return.

I will wait. For ever, if need be.

Or if he does not come to the field to see me to morrow or the morrow after, as he is daily in the habit of doing, I will win my way free and find him. If he has gone and left me behind, I will follow.

Even to my doom.


A/N Some material quoted from "The Ring Goes South" and "A Journey in the Dark" from J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring, or perhaps from New Line Cinema's film of the same name.

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