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image from Willow at Magpie Tales

Millie looked at the trophy on the mantle, and it brought a sad smile to her face.  It reminded her of her youth, freedom and fun.  More specifically, it brought from the deep recesses of her memory the summer she was fourteen.  She was with her grandparents for the entire summer and her only plans were to ride her favorite horse, Morningstar’s Captain Jack.

Cap was a gorgeous paint and she was to show him in the county’s largest horse show the weekend before she returned home to her parents and school and reality.  Each day was idyllic, cavorting with Cap in the woods for a morning run before heading to the training ring for those jumps.  It was their one weakness.  It required complete trust on their part; if either one hesitated, Cap’s foot would catch the top rail and knock it to the ground.  That alone could be enough to cost them the title.

Even though they worked tirelessly on the jumps, it was still the area to cause problems.  She thought of their evening walks when she would pour her heart out to Cap.  She’d secretly share how her parents were less concerned with her than their jobs, about her older brother’s incessant teasing and the name of the boy she liked.  Cap was a good listener and she knew she could trust him with her secrets.  Over the summer that trust grew and just before the competition, they mastered those difficult jumps.  She knew in her heart that their hard work would be rewarded.

The day of the competition was perfect–sunny and hot.  She was grateful for the small breeze on her face as they cantered into the ring, so focused on her task, she did not even notice her parents standing with her grandparents in the crowd of spectators.  Over the water, around the corner, low jump and high jump and racing to the home stretch, they performed perfectly.  Their work and trust was rewarded with the trophy.  It had seemed so important to get that trophy.

Now, as Millie thought back, she’d be happy to give it back if she could change that fateful drive home.  She felt a tear slide down her cheek, cold by the time it dropped from her chin as she remembered the sound of crunching metal, the screech of tires on pavement, and the memory of her own screams.  That trophy had cost her the life of her dear friend, Cap, and her grandfather.  Instead of a champion’s trophy, it seemed more of a tombstone to her loss.


Be sure to visit Magpie Tales for more writings based on the picture prompt.  Thanks to Willow for hosting this great meme.

19 thoughts on “Champions

  1. The twist to this tale took me by surprise; full range of emotions reading this anticipation, triumph, and tragedy. Good reading from good writing!

  2. Oh my God! Such a sad tale… but so beautifully written, Teresa!
    Although the trophy is a reminder of the unpleasant – pleasant memories, she sure has something to remember her dear friend Cap and her grandfather by! I think that really accounts for something… and yet, so very sad… (sigh)

    Very well written, my dear…

  3. And it was all going so well. You caught me by surprise with that ending, I was expecting maybe a small tragedy like her parent’s not noticing the trophy, but losing her horse and her grandfather–very sad.

  4. Teresa, how sad! A split second episode ended it all. The sweetness of success to the sadness of tragedy showed a talented mind that invoked contrasts in your presentation. Very good piece!


  5. Such a bittersweet tale.
    I’m not sure how the trophy cost them their lives? Because they were coming back from competition when they died in an auto accident?
    Such a sad last line!

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