A Devastating Circumstance.

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If only you could speak.

They picked up the lantern hanging by the range, lit it, and walked across the dark yard with Samson following.

The night was cool, with autumn beginning to close in upon them. It would not be long before they had a frost. Sounds carried; a fox screamed in the far distance, eerie sounding, with the cry answered; an Owl was hunting, and small animals were scurrying in the leaf litter in the garden over the edge of the terrace. You could hear worms moving too.

Sounds that would have scared Anna before, no longer scared her.

She could hear an animal snorting in the barn. Perhaps dust had got into its nostrils.

Tornado? He may have heard them.

As they opened the stable door and spoke gently so as not to wake Jarvis, who slept somewhere over here, or wake those who slept above the stable area, she heard Tornado let out a low rumble, glad to see both her and Samson. Hetty stayed by the door.

Four-legged animals, other than cats, bothered her. At least it was warm over here, with all of the large animals in it.

She opened the stall door and reached up to touch him as he pushed his nose into her chest.

“So, my friend. What secrets could you not tell me if I but knew the key to opening up what you must know?"

She scratched between his eyes. “Where did we come from, you and I?

“What is your master’s name? He is in my mind, my every thought, but I cannot see him.

“Where is he? Is he wondering about me, and where we are?"

Of course he was.

“Why do I not remember him?" So many questions.

“Where was I for those two weeks, and why do I know you so well, and you, me, but nothing else?”

Endless questions to which she had few answers, and the horse could give her none.

“Thank god, one of us knows something. Even two of you. But neither of you can tell me what I most need to know; about where we were and who was with me."

It was nagging at her.

“There was, someone with me, wasn’t there? Someone else in my life. A man. And you are his horse, as you are his dog, (she felt Samson close to her), yet you are now both mine to look after until I see him again.”

She also belonged to that man now, herself, just as the dog and the horse did, and in a very intimate way—she had a vague recollection of that—and she knew she would see him again after what they had shared. She would wait.

Tornado nuzzled into her as she scratched his forehead and spoke to him.

Hetty would not be able to hear her, standing as she was, just inside the door, suspicious of the smells and what she might step into, and the great brutes of animals, moving in the low light.

“What can you tell me, I wonder, of that man who was riding behind me. He was on your back, and you were both chasing after me, so you should know him well, but I can see no clear image of him, even though he caught me, and we....

"Perhaps if I go back to sleep, I shall have that dream again. I hope so—though I think Hetty did not approve—and this time I shall strive to get a better look at him, and learn who he is and where I can find him somewhere across the river.”

She needed to know everything that had happened after that initial meeting too. It was too important not to remember, but it was also nothing that she could speak about or share with anyone else.

Hetty held back, watching and listening; nothing clearly heard.

It would not be long now that the weather would turn again, and the frosts would be on everything, but where they were was warm enough, even with some of the windows held open. She hoped they would not have the severe frosts through September and October that had been common for the last few years, freezing the water in all of the troughs.

And Mr. Crabtree would be coming tomorrow; weeks sooner than she'd thought, with her having been robbed, somehow of another two weeks.

Anna closed the stall door and returned to Hetty.

“I am tired enough to sleep now, Hetty. I’m sorry I was responsible for getting you out of a warm bed, and out here with me.

"I shall sleep well for having done this and shall go to sleep with very different thoughts than I might have done, if I had tried to go to sleep too soon.”

Hetty could only hope so, after what she had heard when she'd first walked in on her.

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