The air was cool, and leaves had departed from their shaky branches. Early October had come. Ansadore, the old chestnut mare, was rolling in the browning grass. She snorted, rolled over, and stood up. Not to say standing up didn't take much effort, though. She was, indeed, very old and it took more than a mere push to rise to her feet. After the grunts of weariness, however, she did manage it and was standing on her sleek legs.
Mary, tired after school, was just walking up the hill to the paddocks. Her light brown hair had been placed neatly into two braids that morning but was now in an absolute wreck, looking somewhat like a dead rat sitting atop her head. Her blue-green eyes were shielded off by round, silver-rimmed glasses which she ripped off so suddenly that they scraped her forehead. She hated the glasses. She was certain she could see perfectly fine without them, but her mother had insisted, and she never argued with her mother.
She sighed dramatically as she approached Ansadore. "Oh, Any," she called to the horse by nickname. "I hate it here! I want to move, run away! I want to ride you across the country and back, then fly to London, Rome, Paris!" She collapsed, caught up in her own drama. The horse stared back at her with large, understanding eyes. Mary stood up again.
"I'm gonna go for a ride," she said. She crawled under the wooden fence, dropped her book bag, and put her hands on Ansadore's back. She pushed up and swung a leg over the horse's back. Once on and balanced, she tapped the horse's belly with her sneakers. The well-trained horse immediately took the signal and began trotting down the hill.
Near the bottom, something flew up in front of them. It was nothing more than a quick blur, a glimmer of an intense crimson color. Ansadore spooked. She reared, whinnying, something she hadn't done for over ten years. Mary slowly slid off the horse's back and into the dirt, while Ansadore took off up the hill. Mary, shaking her head in discomfort, caught another glimpse of the crimson glimmer. It was far above her head for a moment, then swooped down into a shrub. Mary leaned forward to get a better glance. There, on a branch, was the object that had caused so much confusion. It was beautiful, Mary had thought. It was the crimson glimmer. It was . . . a butterfly.