“You’re to dispose of his old things and come straight home,” Raven’s mother stated for the thousandth time.
“I know, and I don’t see what everyone’s so worried about,” Raven herself was quite calm, in fact, she thought going to see her uncle’s farm in Illinois exciting, as she hadn’t been outside of Montana since she finished college. “It’s not like I’ll be gone long.”
Raven’s truck sputtered and died as she pulled into the drive of her great-uncle Darren’s farm. “Come on Daphne…” she pleaded, but the engine remained stubbornly silent. Raven sighed and turned away, resigned to staying in Illinois until she could get it fixed. Her eyes swept over the farm she had come to see, which stood eerily silent, empty of all vestiges of life. The land looked just like she had expected- all rolling pastures and green grass accented by big, empty barns.
“Why hello there, madam, you must be Miss Finch.” Raven turned to see a short, rather plump gentlemen squinting at her through his glasses. “I’m Mr. Rubik, no relation to the cube. I’m here to see to the disposal of your uncle’s effects. Now first of all something must be done about the horses, I suggest-”
“Horses?” asked Raven, “I was told my uncle sold all of his stock before he died.”
“All but two, my darling. Very fine young thoroughbreds, I am sure you will get a good price for them if-”
Raven ignored him and began walking towards the nearest barn. She was eager to see the animals. Having grown up on a cattle ranch, Raven had been around horses all of her life, but she had never seen a thoroughbred up close before today. She entered the barn and smiled as the smell of horses hit her, she had been right in guessing the animals would be kept near the drive. A furry grey head popped out of the stall nearest her and whinnied cheerfully. Raven approached the stall, looking over the filly carefully. She looked young, not quite mature, and seriously lacking muscle tone. In other words, she needed work.
“Yes, that one is… Farmbox,” Mr. Rubik explained, rifling through papers to find the right form. “She’s two years old, Darren was apparently quite fond of her.” Raven raised her eyebrows at the name, but decided against saying anything, who was she to come between these crazy easterners and their horse names. Farmbox nudged her impatiently, begging for attention. Raven scratched her briefly, then turned to look for the second horse.
“Bartlett’s Amour,” Mr. Rubik was already at the next stall, “Three years old, in good condition. Tall, lovely as his name.”
Raven didn’t exactly thought the name ‘lovely’, but again kept silent. I could always call him something else anyway, she thought. The red chestnut colt was tall and gangly, but hardly what Raven would call ‘in good condition’. He was fat. Unlike Farmbox he hovered in the back of his stall, pretending not to notice that he had company.
“Someone needs to work with these animals,” she commented to Rubik.
“No one has the time or experience, and besides that they must be sold, as none of your relatives are-”
“Didn’t you mention your firm closing when we talked on the phone?” Raven cut Mr. Rubik off.
“Well yes, regrettably our firm is no longer to keep up with the cutthroat-”
“Great, you’re hired. I’m going to need a manager,”
“Of course, the first thing we need is a trainer. After that we’ll see about starting these horses on a workout regimen at the track- there’s one quite near here, I believe?”
“But won’t your family be expecting you home?” Mr. Rubik searched for a way home.
“Not really, they know I’m not the type to pass up on something new, this will work out just dandy.”
I think that’s enough diarrhea of the keyboard for one sitting. You get a cookie if you can guess where I stole Raven’s last name from.