/   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
November/December 2012

Brooke Ashton Maret

Sprint trotted through the peaceful town. The sun was just covering the horizon, causing joyful rays of light to bounce off her shimmering coat. We trotted by houses and fields, occasionally passing a barn or two. Sprint bounded off, wanting to trot. I gracefully pulled on her reins, urging her forward. This was it. I’d been waiting for this day forever. This was the day I could keep my beloved horse, Sprint, permanently.

Maybe I should back up a bit. My name is Ashley and I live with my mother on a small, green hill. Our two-room house, or should I say cabin, is made of thick, dark wood. There was a bit of furniture and books scattered about it, and that was about it. We had just enough things to be comfortable. Although, a bit more wouldn’t hurt. My father died two years ago, breaking off a huge piece of our family. I’ve never had a brother or sister, so I have no idea what it’s like.

The sun now shone so high and proud, showing off its fluttering light. I pulled Sprint to a stop, for we had reached the training center. Since Sprint was now mine, I was thinking about training her for a race or two, a perfect place to show off. Plus, she deserved it. Having to sit in a barn or wander in a small field all day, a place where no one except Mom and I could see her… I mean, there is no reason to hide her golden-brown coat, especially when there are so many people to see it!

“Hey, Ash, you got it?” Jake, the head trainer, but also a really good friend of my mother’s and mine, asked with a hopeful tone. I slipped off Sprint, but before I could answer a worn-out car with chipped blue paint pulled up to the empty house next door to mine. It’s been told nobody has lived at that house in quite a while, although not long enough for it to be haunted. Without answering Jake’s question, I ran off, headed to the house, wanting to know what was going on.

Friendship best friends riding horses

Here I was with my best friend, my first best friend, my only best friend

What I saw once I got there was so exciting I had to lean against Sprint to keep from falling over. Standing in front of me, looking straight back into my eyes, was a young girl about my age. She wore a yellow top and a pair of short skinny jeans. The morning light reflected off her golden- brown hair, causing it to shine like a dog standing in the moonlight. Speaking of dogs, in her arms was a small puppy with fur the color of her hair. He wore a fancy red collar around his neck with a jewel here and there.

“Hello, I’m Shannon, we just moved in here, me and my parents, and I was wondering if you could tell me a little about this place,” the girl spoke while glancing around. I just stood there a few seconds when I realized she was trying to start a friendship.

“Sure, why not, I’m Ashley, by the way, and I live right there,” I nodded next door. “Well, there’s not much to know except that there is a training center at the bottom of the hill and plenty of fields surrounding it. Why don’t we go check it out?” The words left my mouth as fast as they entered.

“Sure,” she agreed, while heading downhill.

We spent the next hour laughing and playing. We told each other jokes and stories until we were so worn out that we wanted to just sit and do absolutely nothing. We also learned quite a bit about each other and it turns out Sprint and the puppy, Pip, like each other just as much as we do. My mom invited Shannon and her family, the Rosens, over to our house for dinner, and our families have a lot in common. Both Shannon and I are an only child, we both love horses more than anything, and we love to spend our days outside, enjoying fresh air and sunlight. Plus, we get along really well and so do our pets. I knew right then that Shannon and I were going to be best friends.

*          *          *

The next few days were some of the best ever. We found an abandoned ball in a field and continued to play kickball every day. I also let Shannon ride Sprint a lot, just as she let me hold and play with Pip.

One morning, when the air was cool and smelled of dew, I had a little surprise for Shannon. I brought her outside while at the same time making sure she wasn’t peeking. I had already explained to her that I had gathered the money by putting Sprint in the races. People sure do pay for good entertainment. Once I pulled off the cloth that was tied around her head, she screamed so loud the whole town could have heard us, for Shannon had her eyes locked on a lovely brown pony.

Dozens of colors blended together like someone mixing the rainbow. Pecks of light fluttered together, it was so magnificent that you’d think someone was spray-painting the sky. I watched the unbelievable view while racing down the rough, gravel road. Sprint never wanted to stop. But this time I wasn’t alone. Next to me, enjoying the view even more than I, were Shannon and Lizzy. Lizzy was her new pony that now glided so gracefully that if you hadn’t known her before you would have thought she was a professional racer. The thought flashed through my mind. Here I was with my best friend, my first best friend, my only best friend. I smiled at the thought.

Friendship Brooke Ashton Maret

Brooke Ashton Maret, 10
Rowlett, Texas

Friendship Christine Troll

Christine Troll, 11
Somerset, Pennsylvania

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