Tack n' Talk

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Archive for October 17, 2009

Strange occurence at Fairfield Heights: A Haunting Tale…

Story by Libby Keenan

Photos and Art by Larissa Cox

headless horseman - spooky horse

Jenna and Madison seldom rode together. In fact , they really had very little in common except that they both took lessons from Ms. Pamela Leicht at Fairfield Heights not far from Dover.  This particular Friday evening their lessons had been put together. The schedule was all mucked up as it was the night before Halloween and everyone had plans so lessons had been moved , and changed and rebooked the whole week prior.  Ms. Leicht liked both the girls well enough but was suffering from back pain as the weather had turned damp and raw and she, truth be known was in no mood to coach! After about 30 minutes of warming up, she suddenly jumped off the large mounting block she often sat on while coaching and said “girls, why don’t you take the rest of the hour and go for a hack down through the orchard?” …but neither girl really wanted to go . It was cold, they were not friends and both had very different ideas of what made for an enjoyable hack. Madison preferred to walk briskly in a nice , long round frame while Jenna loved galloping down all the lanes and jumping any logs or ditches they came across on the way. It was clear that Pamela Leicht was not in the mood to be trifled with so off they went , a very odd couple indeed.

headless horseman apple orchard

By the time they rounded the corner at the end of the stables  and were headed down the path that led through the old apple orchard twilight was falling and a thick fog was settling in making sounds become muffled and giving the old blackberry bushes along the hedge an eerie sinister look , like so many outstretched arms with knarled fingers.

headless horseman - spooky tree

Headless Horseman - path

They had little to say to each other and plodded along each lost in their own thoughts. Down the lane past the orchard they heard the chimes of the ancient church bells

headless horseman - church spooky

….and wished they were home eating supper and not here in the damp , cold and unsettling atmosphere of the foggy orchard.

headless horseman - barn

They had reached the far end of the orchard and started up along the fence shared by the old church graveyard.They gone only a few yards when the sound of hooves pounding toward them  made them both sit tall , shorten their reins and both horses’ ears had shot up as though this were a sound completely new to them….

The hoof beats came closer and closer, then faded again several times as if the rider were circling the graveyard. Through the thickening fog the girls could not see who it was  but became even more distraught…

Suddenly out of the mist came a gigantic black horse. His nostrils flared and his eyes seemed to be glowing a menacing yellow. On his back was a  tall, masculine figure in a black cape but where this rider’s neck should be was only a large gaping hole!

headless horseman - bruq

Madison, her heart pounding furiously,  jumped off Corky and pulled him quickly behind one of the apple trees. Jenna and Barker seemed frozen, rooted to the ground. “Oh Lord help us… “ Jenna croaked out in a hoarse whisper,“it’s him, the headless horseman”.  They’d both heard the story countless times but no one at Fairfield heights thought it was anything but an old legend meant to scare the girls at Halloween.  After what seemed to be a lifetime of fright, the black horse had vanished in the fog again, off on another one of his seemingly endless rounds of the cemetery. With each beat of the horse’s massive black hooves, a ghost from the old graveyard was stirred into animation…

headless horseman - single ghost

Soon, the whole graveyard in front of which the two girls stood was teaming with spirits from times long gone…

headless horseman - graveyard

headless horseman - ghosts in graveyard

Even the stone wall seemed to have been possessed with a malevolent ghost…

headless horseman - ghost wall

The girls seemed unable to move. They stayed motionless for what seemed an eternity and then finally realized the pounding hooves had stopped.  Silence, except for the odd apple dropping off and thudding on the ground, a few more minutes and Madison recovered her breath enough to squeak “let’s get out of here!!!” In a trot so fast that Jenna had to duck her head under apple branches they turned and made for home. By the time they reached the barn each girl had begun to wonder if the fog and their minds were not playing tricks on them.  Still, there was no denying the alert uneasiness of the horses.

That night curled up under her comforter Madison chatted on her cell to her best friend Julie. “Hey maddy, are ya comin out with me tomorrow night for trick and treat?” Quietly Madison replied ” sorry Julie , I can’t go out this year, my Da’s sick and I have to stay home and help my Mum give out the candy.” Oh  that’s a shame Julie said, “we were all thinking about taking a hike down past the old graveyard by Fairfield Heights… you know like we always do and look for the Headless Horseman! Who knows? Maybe this year he’ll show!” she chuckled, laughing at the ridiculousness of such a notion. “Hmmmm… maybe”  said Maddy in a small and thoughtful voice. ” Well, have fun Julie I have to go now.  Happy Halloween.”

headless horseman - mist and horse

For more scary treats and tales during this Halloween Fete…make your way to A Fanciful Twist!