Little Boy Gone

By: Angel B

7B Ranch

Disclaimer: Never mine never will be

Note: Just a little shortie…it came to when I took a second look at the pictures that were offered during the April’s M7 Challenge. Did my own betaing…If nothing else that alone is good for a laugh.

Ezra wiped his dusty hands on his jeans and grimaced. He had waited until the others were off doing their own thing before sneaking here. Chris and Buck had taken Vin and JD down to the pond to fish. They had invited him along but, he had politely declined. He had waited all week for this day; he would not be dissuaded from his intent now. Earlier, he had nonchalantly pulled a book from the bookcase and sat on the couch and pretended to be engrossed in the novel. He had waited while Nathan collected his belongings for his basketball practice, all the while muttering in his mind about how slow the roommate seemed to be moving that particular day. A deep sigh of relief was released when the senior finally left.

Placing his book back on the shelf, he had double-checked to make sure Josiah was still in the office. The counselor had proclaimed that he had a mountain of paperwork to catch-up on during the weekend and would need to be left alone. Which is the main reason the older brother took the two youngest fishing. Spotting Josiah lost in his work, Ezra had headed for the attic. He had come up here last weekend looking for a new place to get away from his brothers. Family was great, but there were times when it seemed he couldn’t turn around without bumping into one of them. For Ezra, who had grown-up alone, sometimes it got to be too much.

Ezra walked around the stowed boxes of memorabilia, Christmas ornaments, old pictures and odds and ends. He climbed across stacked, dust-covered suitcases that were never used and made his way to the very back corner. There it sat. ‘It’ being a large wooden rocking horse. It’s mane and tail, what little remained, felt like real horsehair. The red saddle that had once been fixed securely on the wooden back, now wobbled. Its paint faded by years of use. Ezra fingered the rope-braided bridle. The twine had begun fraying and working loose from the once-tight- braid. The fourteen-year-old had made up fanciful stories all week about how the horse came to be in this house.

In his mind the horse had been made a long time ago, by a father, for his boy. This boy of course would be much loved by his father and mother. The boy rode this gallant steed to the four corners of the world. He would be a rifleman. Making law wherever he rode. Protecting the good from the bad. Staring down the seedy lowlifes, like in the old westerns, and always coming out winner.

Ezra’s mind wandered, as he sat down on the dirty floor and, using his hand, began rocking the horse back and forth. The boy of course would have one day out-grown such a fine rocking horse, so it had been sold to another family. This family would take it home for their children to practice upon, hoping one day they would be old enough to ride their own horse. Ezra imagined the hours the children must have spent rocking away in front of the fireplace while the mother did needlepoint and the father read from the bible or the atlas. Telling of far away places as the children rode their steady steed to those enchanted countries. Finally, this family, too, had outgrown such a need for a rocking horse. Once again selling it.

The next family would have been very poor, to Ezra’s way of thinking and therefore could not make the necessary repairs to keep up such great craftsmanship. Perhaps the boy had been solely raised by his mother. This boy would have had to keep the horse outside, stored out in the inclement weather but loved just as dearly as the rich boy. This child would ride away from his poorness, away from the impoverishment that settled deep within his small family. He would ride away to a better living. He would have imagined himself as the lone ranger perhaps or a knight for distressed damsels.

Once again the horse would be given away. This boy would ride away from the hate that plagued his everyday life. He would ride towards hope. Hope of being accepted like everyone else. This steed would carry the boy away from the sadness that might have plagued his life and took him to a new and different kind of life. The horse would be faithful no matter who rode upon his back or where he was being rocked to.

The next little boy would need a friend in a lonely world. He would have no one or nothing to claim as his own but, this very mount. He would rock away, forgetting where he was and creating a new world for himself. He would ride the great wide-open plains. Upon this horse, the child chased after desperados, rode with Indians and chased down buffalo.

Ezra was having a hard time thinking of what the next family might be like. It would have been a simple family. Only wanting to give their son what little they could. Perhaps they would sit put under the moon and listen to their child laugh as he rode he big horsy.

Finally the horse wound up here, used, then stored away to be forgotten. Never ridden again. Never enjoying another little boy until once again he was remembered and found; only to be sold to a new waiting family. Ezra climbed to his feet and pushed against the saddle, setting the rocking horse in motion. He didn’t need any such thing. He didn’t need a dumb horse to help him escape. Never would have the need of one. He had a good life. He wouldn’t have wanted such a dumb thing as a rocking horse anyway, so it was a good thing, Maude have never indulged in one for him. Staring at it for a long time, he surreptiously looked around for any unannounced lurkers. Carefully sliding his leg over the back of the peeling saddle, he eased himself down and began rocking back and forth ever so slowly on the balls of his feet. Maybe the horse wouldn’t mind one more adventure.

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