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Kia Kaha - Who Dares Wins
 By Valkyrie   •   6th Aug 2011   •   4,014 views   •   19 comments
“Bucket, no!” Claire said firmly.

Horse FictionThe little red filly flicked an ear and dropped her lower lip in a horsey pout, removing her head from the vicinity of Claire's apple-stuffed pocket. With a sigh and a small smile, Claire put one gloved hand into the pocket and withdrew a wedge. Bucket's eyes lit up, pupils rotating to follow the treat as Claire waved it tantalisingly from side to side.

“In another life you might have made a good pickpocket.” the teenager commented, holding the apple flat on her palm.

Bucket inhaled it in a split second. Claire gave her forehead a fond rub.

“But not this one.” The filly just bobbed her head contentedly.

A strand of hair fell across her face and Claire puffed air from between her lips to blow it out of the way as she bent to wrap her slender fingers around the handles of the wheelbarrow. Her sweet tooth satisfied, Bucket ambled over to the other side of the pen to bump noses with her neighbour, leaving Claire to remove the wheelbarrow from her pen in peace.

Claire had just let the latch drop into place when somebody called her name. She looked up the slight rise to see her mother standing on the gravel parking area, shading her eyes with one perfectly manicured hand. Claire raised an arm in half-hearted acknowledgement, then hurried to dump the barrow full of manure and return the tools to the shed.

“Why you want to spend all day with those disgusting creatures is beyond me.” Gloria du Plessis sniffed when her daughter finally reached her.

Claire said nothing, just rolled her sleeves down and uneasily tucked the perpetually loose strand of hair behind her right ear.

“Honestly, darling, you're far too pretty to be slogging around in filth all day.”

Gloria was right, even though Claire wouldn't admit it. She had inherited her father's dark looks rather than her mother's fair ones. Her hair was as black as a raven's wing, her eyes a piercing blue devoid of green or hazel flecks. At five foot eleven inches she was the tallest in her family and built reasonably well with long legs and a short torso.

In stark contrast both her mother and father were of medium height and build. Her father was square-jawed and had a slight beer belly from too many cold ones downed after rugby on Saturday afternoons. He was a loud, brash man, but never unkind. Claire often wondered how he ended up with cityslicker Gloria, and why on earth she had consented to be dragged from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street, Auckland, to the slop and glop of the Hauraki Plains where the names of Louis Vuitton and Gucci were met with blank stares. But then she'd see the way her mother and father looked at each other and know.

Gloria hurriedly ushered her youngest daughter towards the mud-flecked navy blue Toyota Camry like a mother hen trying to get her chicks out of the rain.

“What's the rush, mum?” Claire asked, as her mother yanked open the driver's side door viciously.

“It's your first day of school!” Gloria paused and stared at Claire in disbelief.

“Don't tell me you've forgotten.”

School! Claire groaned and dived into the car. And not just any school – PUBLIC SCHOOL. For the past three years she had been attending a private all girls boarding school six hours away. This year Gloria had finally relented and allowed her to attend school closer to home so that Claire could still work at the stables. But Claire had completely forgotten today was Monday!

With a roar of crunching gravel Gloria slammed her right foot onto the accelerator and sped out onto State Highway 25, narrowly avoiding a tractor. They made record time to the house where Claire neglected showering in favour of not being late and quickly threw on her new uniform of a dark grey knee-length skirt, white blouse with the school logo on the left breast, black woollen jersey and black Roman sandals. Then she dragged a brush through her hair, fished her schoolbag from her bedroom cupboard and grabbed two oranges from the fruit bowl of the dining room table as she ran out the door.

They arrived at Hauraki Plains College just as the nine o'clock bell rang. Gloria wished her daughter a good day, then sped off for her nail appointment in Thames. Suddenly Claire was standing alone in the empty bus bay clutching her lunch and bag in horse-grimy hands. A quick glance around revealed the office nearby and she beelined towards it.

The secretary was very helpful, offering a warm smile and a hearty welcome to Claire who just smiled back self-consciously and said as little as possible. Ten minutes later she had a new timetable in hand and the secretary gave her directions to her new form class. The school was built much like a prison camp, most of the classes separate from one another and arranged around a series of mini courtyards, the grass of which was roped off. With some difficulty she managed to locate Room 16 on the bottom floor of the only two-story building and quietly opened the door.

The teacher must have known she was coming and had warned the students, because when Claire stepped into the room every head swivelled her way in eager anticipation. She felt like a yearling at Karaka under their scrutiny, their eyes searching for every flaw and no doubt passing swift judgement within moments of her arrival.

“Welcome Claire!” the teacher said, sweeping an arm theatrically.

He looked to be in his mid-forties, his hairline had not receded but it was flecked with grey. The smile he gave her was warm and inviting.

“My name is Mr. Webster. I'm so glad you could join us here in 12WB.”

He beckoned her towards the front of the room. It can't have been more than eight metres but it felt like the green mile. Her Roman sandals made slapping sounds against the linoleum and the silent heads of her new classmates followed her progress like creepy dolls from a horror movie. Claire prayed she wouldn't trip and inwardly breathed a sigh of relief when she reached the front desk unscathed.

“Why don't you tell us a bit about yourself, Claire?” Mr. Webster asked her with a smile.

“Uhh ...” she began, feeling her cheeks colour. “My name is Claire du Plessis. I just transferred from Sacred Heart Girls' College --”

“Hamilton?” Mr. Webster asked, apologising for cutting across her.

“No. New Plymouth.”

“Ah, I see. Carry on.”

Claire swallowed, keeping her eyes on the lino. It was a fascinating shade of grey.

“I'm 17 and I ride showjumpers.” she went on, hugging her bag to her chest.

“Showjumpers?” one of the students asked. Claire flicked her gaze up but couldn't identify the speaker.

“Horses.” another girl clarified before Claire could answer.

“Don't be so daft, Brook.”

“Well excccuuuseee me for not caring about pretty ponies.” said the original speaker in a snide voice.

Claire finally found who he was, a rather heavy-set tall red-blonde boy with freckles, sitting in the back row of the seven science benches. He had his nose wrinkled in a sneer aimed at Claire's saviour, who had turned around in her third row seat to glare daggers at him.

“Brook, shut it,” Mr. Webster advised.

“Thank you Claire, you may sit down now.” He indicated the only empty seat, one at the very end of the first row.

Claire hurried to sit down, letting her long hair fall fully across her face to hide it from view.

Six more hours until she could go back to the stables.
Just six. More. Hours.
Horse News More In This Category:  Horse Fiction      Horse News More From This Author:  Valkyrie
FreeRein  
I like it so far! I like the end. Just six. More. Hours.
  Aug 6, 2011  •  2,721 views
 
No Walkin Farms9  
Good start. Can't wait to read more.
  Aug 6, 2011  •  2,759 views
 
Stay Untamed  
Good story so far. :)
  Aug 6, 2011  •  2,754 views
 
weezapony  
This is great, I can't wait to read more! :D
  Aug 6, 2011  •  2,722 views
 
All That Jazz  
Good story :)
  Aug 7, 2011  •  2,727 views
 
lovehorse  
Great story, the ending is very effective! Just six more hours
  Aug 7, 2011  •  2,720 views
 
DustyRider  
Great!!!I normally dont read these stories but i cant wait for the next one.
  Aug 7, 2011  •  2,728 views
 
Simplicity  
I think it's great
  Aug 7, 2011  •  2,720 views
 
Arialr  
I like it a lot. Keep writing
  Aug 7, 2011  •  2,752 views
 
MoMoz  
Nice article! I can't wait to read the rest of the story!
  Aug 9, 2011  •  2,754 views
 
DustyRider  
When are you going to post the next one???I cant wait!!!
  Aug 10, 2011  •  2,750 views
 
Heaven Sent Creatures  MOD 
can't wait to hear what happens next
  Aug 11, 2011  •  2,761 views
 
Splodge  
Wow, your really good at writing stories, can't wait to hear the next one!
  Aug 15, 2011  •  2,745 views
 
Soul Horse  
Please make more!
  Aug 19, 2011  •  2,754 views
 
All That Jazz  
Love the detail. :)
  Aug 19, 2011  •  2,724 views
 
Emmurr  
I can't wait for the next instalment, I love this so far :)
  Aug 19, 2011  •  2,724 views
 
kingfisher  
I want to read more! This is a great story!
  Aug 23, 2011  •  2,722 views
 
JumperEventer1st  
nice so far!
  Aug 27, 2011  •  2,736 views
 
Sapphire Flames  
i love it! :). good job.
  Mar 30, 2012  •  2,727 views
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