Still Burning - Chapter Thirteen - The Final Chapter
 By Moose   •   19th May 2013   •   2,531 views   •   12 comments
Horse Story - Still Burning

It was the day after Andrew's funeral that she had decided she was going to ride Aquillo for the first time since he died. She sat there on her bed with her arms around her knees, deep in thought, when she felt a chill from the open window. She stood and sauntered to her dresser in search of something to wear over her thin tank top. As she reached past an old t-shirt, her fingers touched something unfamiliar and strange. So in her curiosity, she pulled it out.

Her breath caught in her throat as she recognized what it was. Tears began to swim in her eyes as she gazed at the piece of clothing. She lifted it to her face. The dark gray fabric still smelled like him. It was mixed with the smell of the outdoors, fresh air and horses. It smelled like the night they spent on the roof. Memories began to flood her mind.

Jane saw Andrew’s face, the full moon’s dim light lit a blue cast over him. She remembered the way he looked at her, with wonder filled eyes. His fluorescent blue eyes had a sparkle of excitement and adventure that drew her in every time she looked into them. She fought back the instinctive smile that spread over her lips as she pictured him pulling the hooded sweatshirt over his head to give to her. She ran her fingers over the soft fabric, remembering how warm it was when he had first given it to her.

He was always smiling. That’s what she loved about him. Whether it was that mischievous little half smirk he wore when he knew they weren't supposed to be seeing each other, or the sincere smile he wore when he gazed at her in the moonlight.

Andrew would want Jane to smile when she found his sweatshirt. He wouldn't want her to lose her light. Jane remembered when he told her that same thing about her brother, Noah...

Aquillo. He was the only thing Jane had left of Noah. In her grief, she had abandoned him and with him all of the memories of her brother. She stuffed the sweatshirt back in the drawer and darted down the stairs.

Jane stood at the other end of the round-pen, staring back at him. There was determination in her gaze. She looked at him the way a runner would eye the finish line. Jane didn't dare look away... One. She took one huge, daring step in the sand. Memories came pouring into her head. The first flashback made her heart ache.

Noah’s hands were on her tiny waist as he propped her on Aquillo’s back. It was the proudest moment of her young life. The second he put her on that gelding’s back she saw the world differently. It made her feel as if there was no limit to the things she could accomplish. Noah’s smile was almost as proud as hers as he took Aquillo’s halter and led her around the yard. How big she felt! How powerful and brave she felt as she rode above him. But in a split second, it changed. One of the dogs ran between Aquillo’s legs and sent her flying through the air. The next thing she knew, Noah was picking her up and dusting her off. He held her and looked her straight in the eye as he told her, “Get up, Jane. You have to get back up.” The words echoed in her head. Two. She was another step closer to the stubborn gelding staring back at her. Another flashback. She saw Andrew’s face and her ears began to ring. “Jane, just listen to me, please, don’t push me away. You are so so strong. Don’t forget that.” Jane felt tears, persisting and pressing at her eyes.

I am strong. She repeated to herself.

Then she saw the semi and she remembered the sound it made as it came thundering at them at full speed. She watched the glass hurtle at her face. She turned away and the flashback faded. Three. Jane exhaled as long as she could and as she drew in, she took the third step towards Aquillo. As she did, she destroyed the boundary between them. They were now in reaching distance. Now she could see Andrew in her head, touching Aquillo like they were long lost friends. If he could do it, so could she. All she needed was his trust.

“It’s okay,” she whispered in a voice so gentle and so delicate it was like it was mostly air. Now all she had to do was reach. It was so simple. One movement and she could touch him. Just one...

Aquillo was all Jane had left. He was the one thing that hadn't been taken from her. This was her chance to close the book, move on, and mend the broken bond Noah had left behind. This is what Noah would have wanted. This is what Andrew would have wanted.

If she shut her eyes she could picture anything she wanted. She could picture Noah or Andrew. She could picture her father when he told her he loved her in the hospital. Maybe she could picture her hand on top of Aquillo’s nose, telling her that he trusted her. Jane let her eyes slip shut and slowly lifted her arm. She counted the seconds she held her hand out. Her fingertips hovered just inches away, just waiting to touch him, but she did not move.

Suddenly, she felt him.

Will stepped onto the porch to call Jane inside for dinner. But what he saw left him speechless instead. Lit only by the small rays of light that shot through the trees, was the small round-pen. He could see them from twenty feet away. Jane’s arms were wrapped around the once dangerous, untouchable gelding’s neck as she sobbed. She clutched his mane in her fists and she pressed her face against him in a hug. He didn't believe it at first, he swore that horse was as good as dead when Noah left. He never thought he would see his own daughter getting through to him...

Jane reached one arm over Aquillo’s back and whispered something Will could not hear. Will could not believe what he saw next. He watched Jane climb onto his back. Although he was ready to run to her side and stop Aquillo before she was thrown to the ground and crushed, he didn't have to. Aquillo was a different horse. He did not move, he did not twitch or spook or run. It was then that Will realized how strong she was.

People could argue that what Jane was put through that summer was a tragedy, but she believed that everything happened for a reason. As Will watched Jane ride Aquillo without a saddle or bridle, he knew that there was a reason for even the most hideous of tragedies. Andrew had given her courage and strength, but Jane had to stand on her own in order to realize her potential and take action. Will sighed and under his breath, he whispered, “Thank you, Andrew.”

“Sometimes it helps if you can find some closure with the person you've lost.” Dr. Clark explained softly, “Now, let’s pretend that Andrew is sitting in that chair. What would you say to him? Do you have anything you’d like to say to him?”

Jane glanced up and fixed her teary blue eyes on the chair across the room. For a moment she could see him. He sat there, leaning over with his hands folded neatly between his knees. He stared back at her. One side of his smile curved up into a smirk. It was that playful little gesture that made her begin to smile. Then she heard his voice.

“You are so so strong, Jane. Don’t forget that.”

As Jane looked at the empty chair she seemed to understand, he was still there. Andrew would always be in her thoughts and their memories would never fade. She knew then that Andrew was still taking care of her like he did when he was alive. At the time when he said those words, they meant one thing. But now that he was gone, they meant more.

There was always going to be a little flame somewhere in her heart that was still burning. That flame was Andrew. He would always be there, no matter how much things changed. He hadn't broken his promise. Andrew had never left her...

“Jane?” Dr. Clark’s voice broke through Jane’s deep thoughts and brought her back to reality. “Is there anything you want to say to him?”

She felt the familiar feel of tears building up at the rims of her eyes. One tear escaped and slowly rolled down her cheek and dripped off her chin. Jane looked back at empty chair and felt a smile grow on her lips as she whispered, barely audible, “He knows.”
PonyBox  MOD 
Wow! Amazing story! I certainly hope you are going to continue this series.

You definitely have a future in writing.
  May 19, 2013  •  4,127 views
What do you mean, the "final" chapter?!
You can't end this!
I won't let you!
Don't do this!

Amazing story, I loved it :D
  May 19, 2013  •  3,142 views
That was amazing! Still not kind to make me cry, but it was truly amazing! And i am not an easy crier. Write more! Please!
  May 19, 2013  •  3,551 views
Amazing! Great story, sad to see its over. You MUST writer more! Please .-.

You're going to be a great writer! And I'm going to buy all of your books ^.^
  May 19, 2013  •  3,187 views
Foxchase Farm  
That was incredible!
  May 19, 2013  •  3,136 views
PonyBox  MOD 
Agreed, you can't end it here.

We want more :)
  May 19, 2013  •  4,008 views
Ok just looking at it, I'm curious. Chapter ten has more views than chapter nine, and chapter nine has more views than chapter twelve. Don't you have to read them in order? This isn't meant to criticize you Moose, I'm just really confused.
  May 20, 2013  •  3,018 views
*wipes away tear* That was a lovely story. So sad it's over. How about an epilogue?
  May 20, 2013  •  3,269 views
gahhh. such a beautiful ending to such a beautiful story. i really think this should get published. this is better than some of the books ive read. PUBLISH IT!!!
  May 20, 2013  •  2,890 views
Ok, The Truths...

1- Iam literally balling my eyes out now, which such a sad but beutiful chapter to end the amazing story.

2- This is my favourite book in the whole entire world!!!

3- You are amazing!!!!!

4- I WILL be the first person to buy this book when it is published!!

5- Iam still crying of happieness)

6- Thank you so very much for letting us, PonyBoxers, share your brill story and your amazing talent
  May 21, 2013  •  3,089 views
Paint A Scene  
this book was amzing! i started reading it at 10:00 at night and ended it at 11:40. you NEED to continue with this work, no no not work, art! i think you have the ability to be an amazing writer. someday i hope this gets published.I started crying in the last two chapters!:)thanks for posting this masterpeice!
  Jun 20, 2013  •  2,839 views
This was amazing. I too, ended up crying. Especially the last part.
  Jul 18, 2013  •  2,559 views
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