“No way you saw a ghost-horse!” laughed Carrie.
“It’s true,” said Billy, “I saw a phantom horse with an eerie silver glow.”
“It could have been a white horse – ”
“It was glowing!” protested Billy.
“As I was saying, it could have been a white horse with moonlight reflecting off it.”
“That’s what I thought at first,” admitted her classmate, “but when I approached it, it ran off. That’s when I realized it was no ordinary horse.”
The way Billy lowered his voice intrigued Carrie, so instead of criticizing his skills with animals, she asked seriously, “What was so strange?”
“It was right close to me, so I should have heard it. But when it galloped away it didn’t make a sound. I looked where it was this morning before I came to school. There weren’t hoof prints either.”
“Sure you didn’t dream it?” asked Carrie. No noise was interesting but no prints probably meant no horse.
“I’ll prove it! Come to my house tonight and we’ll see if it appears again.”
The chilly October air was almost enough to make Carrie change her mind. Almost. But she knew Billy wouldn’t shut up about the ghost-horse until she came to see – or not see – proof with her own eyes. She shivered as a breeze rushed past, scattering dead, brown leaves everywhere. The old barn where they would be spending the night loomed up ahead. Even though Billy’s parents weren’t farmers and their family didn’t own any horses, they kept the old barn the previous owners had used. Mostly Billy’s father stored tools there, but about half of the building had been turned into a clubhouse for Billy and his friends. It had never seemed spooky before, but today Carrie wondered if it might be haunted after all. She remembered hearing odd noises the last few times she’d come to visit.
“You came!” The sudden shout caused Carrie to jump. Billy laughed.
“You wish,” replied Carrie. The two hurried to the old barn to set up their sleeping bags as their parents caught up on each others’ lives. Stupid adults, talking about ordinary things when they could be preparing to stake out a ghost’s haunt.
“Look, there it is!”
“Huh?” Carrie had almost fallen asleep. She moved over to the window and directed her gaze toward the field Billy was pointing at. Sure enough a faint glow caught her eye.
The kids ran to the field as silently as they could, making sure not to be spotted by their parents or the ghost. They crouched down when the silvery beast was in sight. A magnificent horse stood before them, shimmering with an unnatural silver radiance.
“See, I told you!” Billy’s whisper was much louder than he’d intended and the ghost horse froze. Carrie and Billy froze too. It may have been a horse, but it was a ghost too. Who knew what it could do? After a second that felt like ages, the silver horse bolted in the other direction, making no sound at all as it ran. To Billy’s horror, Carrie took off after it.
“Are you nuts?!” Billy stood as he tried to stop her, but he did not dare move closer. Carrie ignored him. She’d seen something that she had to be sure of. The phantom horse slowed and stopped. Carrie inched closer as it started grazing again. She glanced back to see Billy, still standing where he’d been when they first saw the ghostly creature. Good. If she was right about what she’d seen, the boy would only be in the way. She sneaked forward as silently as she could.
By the silver-white aura projected by the horse, Carrie could see a long, pointed spike emerging from the center of its forehead. Carrie smiled in awe at the single horn. She was right. It wasn’t a ghost after all.
©2010 by Emelie E. Strother, all rights reserved.