The horse came back alone. Its saddle was missing as was its stirrups, and for Maggie the implication was obvious.
Her father wasn’t coming back. As she stopped weeding the front flowers to take in the condition of her father’s horse, she tried to place herself in his shoes. Maggie knew her father well. Knew his stubborn head and inflexibility were the key components of his dominating character and strong sense of duty. So no doubt her father realized he was going to end up dead, and sent Gisabelle – the horse – to safety; back home.
Her father must have known she’d understand. Nevermind the fact that she was barely eighteen, or the fact that with her older brother away from home it was only them looking out for each other. Or the fact that she still had many things she still needed to learn from her father, from her parent. He’d never walk her down the aisle, never hold her first born child. She was now alone in a harsh world with out her father to protect her any longer.
Knowing her father died the only way she knew he ever wanted to – protecting his family, her – Maggie straightened her back and took deep breathes to calm her breathing.
Her hands were shaking as she reached out to Gisabelle; she brushed soot and charred hair out her mane.
© Marie Meyers, 2017.