The Summer Job
by I. Binder
One of the trainers entered the pen. While another held the door the first clipped a line to first Abby's collar then to the collar of one of the underperforming ponies, then a line from that pony's collar to the other underperforming pony. Another line was connected to the front of that pony's collar and the trainer started leading the three ponies out of the pen. All three were still hobbled with the short pony hobble. This length hobble was really not designed for walking, so they stumbled and shuffled behind the trainer. For the moment Jen was happy to not be in that string of ponies and more so, to not be hobbled, but the fact that she and Abby had been separated raised her anxiety about the future. There was something about having Abby nearby that had helped Jen feel a little better in some of the dark moments. She wondered if that would happen again. Jen could only pray that they would not be separated.
Jen's angle on the now open door was not sufficient to see where the ponies were taken after they left the building. It appeared as if they were going straight, but up to where her view was blocked by the sides of the door Jen saw what looked like asphalt parking area, then concrete and pillars and then the ocean. She thought the concrete area was a pier; she thought there had been a ship there when they arrived, a freighter, but she had not paid attention and she could not remember any detail of how it looked. She could not see it now if it was even there.
The male slave hogtied and held in the silence hood was rolled out the door followed one by one with coffles of the other slaves. As the last of the slaves from the other pen were being removed a trainer returned to Jen's pen. She clipped the remaining three ponies together by their collars to form a string. Jen was in the center between her two opponents. They did not seem happy about being separated. Jen would have gladly traded places, but unlike event seating she had no choice but to be where they put her. The middle was also a lousy place to be. If the pony ahead sped up you got jerked from in front. If the pony behind was slow you got pulled back. Yes, she would happily have traded places with either of them. They were led from the pen.
When they cleared the door Jen could see where they were going. It was a ship, an old style freighter that was more than just a flat deck upon which to stack containers. The hull was dark red trimmed in black but white at the rail. The superstructure was the color of gray that white paint becomes after years of exposure to the elements. It looked to be the length of just over a football field, maybe 350 feet. The front half deck of the vessel appeared flat except for a crane with two arms that reached up from a point midway between the superstructure and the forecastle. One of these cranes was lifting containers (the smaller type, not the type that turn into container trucks) up from the dock and lowering them into what must be the hold. The superstructure rose at midpoint in the ship to a height of four decks, the top clearly being the bridge. A single stack rose from about forty feet behind the bridge. Behind the stack there was a deck with two lifeboats visible on this, the port side which was the side in view. That deck then extended almost all the way to the aft of the ship where it ended leaving just 20-30 feet from the aft where it then stepped down to the next deck which ran to where the aft gently curved to the sea. The two rear decks looked like great places to relax on the ocean and enjoy the night sky. Jen doubted she would be enjoying that experience.
But what most caught her eye were the lifeboats. Maybe there was a way off the boat. How difficult was it to lower a lifeboat into the water? For safety reasons there had to be a way to do it right from the lifeboat station. Did the ship have to be stopped? Maybe not. Maybe a new plan could be hatched around the boats as a means of escape. She would still have to free her arms and of course escape from wherever they held her, but maybe her groom would still be game.
There was a gangplank from the dock just forward of the superstructure. One of the coffles of slaves was in the process of climbing toward the main deck. Several others were held by their overseers at the base of the plank waiting their turn. Jen looked around wildly. If someone saw this scene they would certainly be concerned and call the harbor police to investigate. There must also be dock officials that would check the manifest and cargo before they were allowed to sail. She wondered how they would be listed on the manifest. Passengers or livestock, perhaps they would not even be listed. Jen looked around to see if anyone could see them. They were masked from the harbor by the ship itself. The building they had left masked the view from inland and warehouses seemed to obscure most of the view up and down the dock. Jen could see a sailboat perhaps a half mile from the bow of their ship, but she could barely make out forms on board. No person on the sailboat would be able to see that bound human cargo was being loaded into this ship. Jen gave a thought to calling out, but with the bit in her mouth and trainers standing only a few feet away that seemed like a good way to lose status, gain punishment stripes, while achieving no real chance of rescue. She watched the sailboat tack away from them until it finally disappeared beyond the view allowed by the bow of their ship.
There was a tug at Jen's collar. The first pony in the string had started to move and it was her turn to respond. She followed and the third pony, sensing the movement, fell into line without a jerk on the line that joined her to Jen. The gang plank was not too steep, but it must have been a challenge for the slaves and other ponies negotiating the climb with hobbled ankles. It was nice for the moment to be in a more elite group. As they moved onto the fore deck and toward a set of double doors in the middle front of the superstructure she said to herself, "Presidential Suite please." She chuckled. Boy would she like a bed, even a cot. "Not likely. How on earth does livestock travel on water anyway?"
As they reached the doors she could see a ramp that headed down to below the first deck. As they reached the end of the ramp another ramp continued down to the next deck. They passed a passageway that opened to the left and right onto the first lower deck, but half doors were closed channeling all traffic on the ramp onward toward the next lower deck. From the looks and smell they were not the first livestock to have made this trip. She pictured real horses being led down to what she was now sure would be a livestock holding area below. She could not see what had happened to the slave coffle ahead, including her groom. Were they also down on this level?
At the bottom of the second ramp two doors opened into what was clearly the livestock area. It felt like the ship' hull must be curving in at this point. She had estimated the beam of the ship as about 50 feet when they entered the deck above. The area they were in now seemed closer to 40-45 feet across. Maybe there was a double hull. She did not like the idea of being below the water line. Most of her friends had seen the movie Titanic as a romance, for Jen it was Jaws revisited. She did not like water. Her parents had forced her to sail, so she had learned all the terms and all the things to do, but she did not like it. She already knew she was not going to like this. And she knew ships were slow. This was one of those combination cargo passenger ships. It could do maybe 15 knots (about 17 miles an hour) in good seas, slower if they hit storms. She didn't want to think about storms.
The horse stalls were to starboard and aft. Three stalls, each about 5 feet wide and 8 9 feet long faced forward from the aft bulkhead. There was a space of 6 feet and then three more stalls faced aft opposite the other three stalls. This configuration repeated itself with another six stalls as you moved forward on the starboard side. Each stall was made of metal that was solid on all three walls to a height of about 8 feet. From there to the ceiling, another four feet, all of the interior walls were topped by iron bars set about six inches apart. This was designed for air circulation. Each stall had a gate with a height of about five feet. The inside walls of the stalls were padded, obviously to provide some protection to livestock in rough seas. Water and food troughs were built into the wall next to the gate for water and into the gate itself for food. They could be serviced without opening the stall door. The opening at the end of each bank of stalls also had an iron gate. This gate had a height of 8 feet. It was made of iron bars and could be closed and locked from the outside. Above the gate was a grill of more bars. The six stalls in each bank were like prison cells when the outer door was closed and locked.
To port there were a series of pens that extended about 16 feet from the port bulkhead. The walls of the pens were three feet high but wire mesh extended up from the top of the pen to the ceiling. Jen knew from the smell when they entered the livestock area, but now she could see. There were sheep in both pens. Well, the ship had to use its capacity. It was a bit short because there were only six ponies and they had room for up to twelve. She wondered if any four footed equine occupants might join them before they left. She sort of hoped not, the smell of the sheep was enough. Add in a rough sea and this could be a very miserable trip. There was an air exchange system build into the aft bulkhead between the horse stalls and the sheep pens. It sucked air from the livestock area and vented it out to the rear of the ship. She did not see where the fresh air came in, but hoped there was something. They were two decks down, clearly below the water line. The only thing below them would be the engines. That was likely to make this area pretty damn hot when the engines were running. It was also going to be very noisy. Not exactly the Presidential Suite.
Jen could hear movement in the three stalls against the aft bulkhead and she was relieved when she and the other ponies with her were installed in the three facing stalls. In keeping with her position in the string she was placed in the middle stall. This meant that the top of her stall was open to all four sides (except for the iron bars, of course). Once placed in the stall the end of the line from her collar was attached to a ring near the gate. It was about six feet long so she could navigate most of her stall, all but about the last two feet at the back. Her bridle and bit were removed and as before hung from a hook on the wall of the stall near the gate. As the trainers finished securing their steeds they closed and latched the gates and finally exited the stall area closing and locking the outside gate. She was locked in the bowels of a ship destined for some unknown location to serve as a pony girl. She wondered which stall contained Abby. She wondered where her groom was. Would the grooms be released to take care of the ponies? If not, who? The escape plan for the evening was a bust, but maybe there was a chance before the ship left. Once at sea it would be very difficult. How long did they have?
There was water in the water trough, but no food. It looked like there was an automatic valve that kept the water at a level of about one third full, consistent with allowing for the rolling and pitching of the ship. This was fine for four hoof varieties with their long noses, but proved a challenge for the two footed variety. Jen had to turn her head sidewise and then lower it down into the trough. But almost as soon as she drank the water would be replaced. It was warm and smelled of oil and metal. But she drank anyway. It was wet and refreshing, but tasted metallic with a slight rusty taste. She did not know where they were going, but she assumed they would be on this ship for a long time.
There was no port hole down here. So there was no light from outside from which to gage the time. Jen figured it had been about noon when they boarded. At least three or four hours had gone by since she had been secured in her stall, but she was learning that time in confinement is almost impossible to keep track of. Without an outside reference you can only rely upon the routine of those who provide for you. On the ship there was not yet a routine so there was nothing to use as a standard. Jen was one of those people who are very time conscious. She would usually even check her watch during a movie even the ones she liked. It was almost a compulsion. As far as she knew her watch was still in the locker back in the building they had left. It was unlikely she would ever see her watch again. And unless she could get out of here she may never have need for a watch again. Now, she only went where she was directed to go at the time she was directed to go there. She had certainly learned that in her few days of training. Had it only been a few days of training? It certainly seemed like a lot longer. She did not know how long the ponies on either side of her had trained, but she was sure it was quite a bit longer. She was catching up, but they had a polish she still lacked. Most frightening was that they had an acceptance, almost an enjoyment, of their role as a pony. That would never be Jen. Escape was still her number one priority and the only way this story could end.
Escape would not come now. The ponies remained tethered and locked in their stable for what seemed a very long time. Jen figured it must be getting dark, but with no view to the outside she could not tell. Even the exhaust fan did not seem to open directly to the outside. It must have to vent upward for a distance due to their deck's low position in the ship. Then Jen heard a rumbling and the floor started to vibrate. The engines had come on and were slowly turning. The ship did not seem to be moving so they must still be at the dock, but departure now seemed imminent. Jen wondered where they were going, how long would it take, and what would be waiting for them when they got there.
It was about another hour when the pitch of the engines below started to increase and the ship started to move forward. Jen knew it would travel slowly until it put the harbor area behind it and entered one of the shipping lanes, but which one? The destination was supposed to be some sort of resort so north seemed unlikely. West toward Hawaii or other pacific islands or south toward Mexico made more sense, but as long as she was locked up below she would have no idea. As the ship moved slowly out to sea Jen and the other ponies remained where they were. It was probable that all of the human cargo would be kept secure until the ship was well at sea and fully underway. Jen correctly guessed that it would be a couple of hours.
Jen was not sure where Abby was, but she was certainly in one of the stalls across from her. Standing with her head at the top of her stall gate she spoke in a loud whisper. "Abby, are you there?"
"I am here Jen." Came the voice from what seemed to be directly across. Jen looked to the stall across from her to make out the head of her roommate that had appeared at the gate. Jen was happy to see her and smiled in spite of their mutual difficulties.
"You thought maybe she would be at the Captain's table?" The voice followed by a laugh came from Jen's right. There was a corresponding laugh from her left.
Jen had had it with those two. "I am sorry, but I don't get it. You two prance around like this is a picnic parade and after the award for best costume is given out, to you of course, we will all be going home. Unless I am very mistaken you came here like us thinking this was a job. We would pretend to be ponies during the day like characters in any theme park, and after work like now we would be in the bar drinking or in our dorms partying."
"Don't get your tail in a twist," came the answer, again from her right. "They have had us for four weeks. That is long enough to go through disbelief, then hope, then despair, and finally acceptance. Look around. Can you use your hands . . . or even your arms? No. Can you even get out of your stall? No. If you could get out of your stall could you get past the locked gate over there? No. If you resist and fight them it can be very unpleasant. Have you ever been caned? It is not like some sorority paddling. They strap you over a bar so the flesh on your thighs and buttocks is pulled tight. Then they take their time, waiting with each stroke for the impact of the stroke delivered to be fully appreciated and the dread and anticipation of the next stroke to build. I cried. Then I begged. Finally I just yelled: 'Do it God damn it, just do it.' That only got me an extra stroke. So, since you can't get away and you can't change your condition, you might as well accept it."
"It is not so bad being a pony." It was the voice from the left. "The poor grooms have to get up at the crack of dawn. They have to care, clean and water us. They even have to brush our teeth. They have to clean our tack and our stalls. They have other duties during the day when we are training, cleaning up after all of the other staff. And they don't get to their cells until after they have made sure that we are properly cared for. We are valued and prized. They are punished for the slightest infraction. Others are pleasure slaves. They are sold or assigned to a mistress or master and have to do everything for them even anticipating their slightest whim or desire. We at least have our pride and some individuality. We are not supposed to be able to talk, but I always believed horses could talk if they wanted to, they just didn't find people worthy conversationalists." She giggled. "I have always loved horses, so I really don't mind being one. And . . . I am really good at it. Our team is fast. There are races at the resort. My trainer thinks we can be champions. I have heard her talking to the other trainers about it. You can stand by and watch us in the winner's circle."
"You can't give up. We have to try to escape." Jen was frustrated with their acceptance of the situation.
"Well, you do as you do and let us know just how it works for you." It was the pony on the right again.
"Maybe they are right." It was Abby.
"I don't want to be a pony . . . or a slave. I want to go home." It was a sobbing voice from across and to the right of Jen. The words stopped, but the sobbing continued unabated.
There was a noise in the room outside the stable area and all the ponies went quiet. Jen stared over the top of her gate. A trainer unlocked the stable area and the grooms entered, each carrying their cleaning buckets.
"It's about time," said the pony on Jen's left in a voice probably too low for the trainer or grooms to hear, or if heard understood.
'What a piece of work.' Jen thought.
Under the watchful eyes of the trainer the grooms performed their functions, cleaning their charges. They removed their boots and massaged their legs. Then filled up the feeding trough from sacks they obtained from the outer area. The feed had not changed. The pony to Jen's right may enjoy being a pony, and Jen had to admit it had its moments, but the food was clearly not one of them. She enjoyed many different cuisines; horse chow was not one of them.
When the grooms had finished and left them the lights in the room were turned down, but not off. For some reason the conversation among the ponies did not start up again and the only sounds were occasional movement from one of the stalls and an occasional bah of the sheep who shared the livestock area. Jen tried to find a comfortable position and sleep. She was very tired. Plans for escape would have to wait until tomorrow.
It looked like there would be a routine. If she could trust it she could mark days. The grooms were there to wake them and prepare them. Jen wanted to talk to her groom, but all of the grooms were there and the quarters were very close. When Jen started to say something the groom shot her a quick panicky look. She did not finish and stayed quiet. Maybe there would be a chance later. Jen doubted much in the way of training could happen in the confines of the ship, but she also doubted the trainers would want them to go without any exercise. This was likely to be a long journey.
Every morning the ponies would be wiped down with moist cloths; any remnants of their toilet activity cleaned; their bodies were oiled; their hair was undone, brushed, and carefully put back into a pony tail; their teeth were cleaned; their body rings and harness straps and buckles were cleaned and polished; and their boots, bridle and bit were once again fastened to their heads. Their hooves with metal shoes on the bottom were covered with a rubber sack that held tightly to the hooves with elastic and provided better traction on the metal floors of the ship. The entire process took a couple of hours. They were ready for inspection, training or even a show. Each day there would be an inspection. The ponies were taken from their stalls and lined up in the hallway across from the sheep pens. One or more trainers would then carefully examine each of them making marks on a clipboard as the grooms stood nervously behind. Occasionally a groom would be brought forward and shown some defect in their work. This always evoked fearful, even sobbing manifestations of sorrow and intent to do better.
After inspection the ponies were connected together either in teams of two or strings of three. They were then led up the ramps to the forward deck of the ship. This area was about 150 feet long and 45 - 50 feet wide. In the center was the crane shaft, its two arms positioned parallel to the deck and in line with the length of the ship. Fore and aft of the crane were two hatch covers. They were quite large and sealed closed against the sea and weather. On the forward port and starboard sides a solid rail extended up about four feet, it was open for about six inches at the bottom to let water rushing over the deck out. The last 30 feet of rail on each side was open bars. The prow was raised and had a small foredeck set about 8 feet above the deck they were on. Near vertical stair/ladders accessed it on either side.
For at least two hours every day the ponies would be walked around the exterior of the deck. Emphasis would be on form and leg height. Normally one trainer would lead a string while another trainer with a riding crop would walk along side and make corrections. Much of the time this forward deck rose and fell with its travel across the waves and occasionally pitched to one side or the other. Ocean spray often splashed over the side rails further distracting them from their task. It was much more difficult to maintain a proper position and step under these conditions, but a snap of the riding crop expressed that no special consideration was given for this challenge.
Jen wondered where they were. When they were on deck she tried to look around for clues. The sun was high in the sky but seemed to be slightly off the port side, but what did that really mean? She didn't know what time it was, but that could mean they were heading south. She occasionally saw gulls and other birds. Bird populations would be higher if they were closer to shore and not in the middle of the ocean at least she thought that was right, couldn't exactly Google an answer. But if that were right then they were probable heading south. South made a lot of sense. She tried to search the horizon looking for land. She saw nothing, although she did think the cloud formations were heavier to port. Occasionally she would see another ship, usually large container or tanker ships, but they never passed very close. A destination in Mexico seemed a lot more likely. That would be a good place for a resort, even a secret resort.
Jen had not forgotten her planning to escape. It made a big difference if they were heading south or in the middle of the ocean. If she could get her arms loose; if she could get out of the stable; if she could get to a boat and get it into the water, she could head east. If they were on a southern course the coast of Mexico would be within reach. If they were in the middle of the ocean she didn't want to think about that. She looked around for lifeboats. She could see none. It appeared they were on the passenger deck which was out of view from here. She did not know how to get to the passenger deck. She had only seen this work deck and the passage to the livestock area below. Counting up four decks on the superstructure, including the bridge, from the livestock area she would need to go up five decks to get to the boats. But she was willing to give it a try. But first she needed to get her groom's courage and determination back up. She needed her groom to free her from the arm restraints. Jen had tried every means of twisting, pulling, rubbing and manipulation that the wearer could undertake. The device was well engineered. Jen was convinced that no occupant could free themselves.
Her biggest immediate problem, however, was how closely they were all being watched. There seemed to be no opportunity when the grooms were not being watched by at least one trainer standing so close that Jen and the groom dare not talk. And once the grooms were finished and left the stable area the trainer closed and locked the iron door. Even if Jen's groom freed her arms she would still be locked in.
Four days out they hit a storm. Jen could feel the pitching and shifting of the ship even before the grooms appeared for the morning preparation. Jen assumed that they would stay below, but they did not. In strings of three the ponies were each given one side of the deck. A safety line ran from the bulkhead they exited to the bulkhead of the foredeck at the bow. Each pony was attached to the line with a short line and a snap hook. As Jen came out on deck she observed the bow of the ship rising and falling, it looked like an amusement park ride. It was very difficult to move up the pitching deck and every time the bow dropped they were splashed with water. After several times up and down the line and as Jen neared the bow a huge wave washed across the bow and smashed into them. Jen and the two ponies tethered to her were immediately washed off their feet. Without arms the ponies could not grab on to anything to keep from being washed into the sea, only the safety line held them as they were washed into a pile near the bulkhead of the superstructure.
Jen was gasping from a combination of inhaled water and sheer terror. As the trainers got them back to their feet she assumed they would now be taken below. They were not. They stayed on deck moving up and down the safety line on their side of the deck until the trainers determined they had had enough exercise. Jen learned how to anticipate when a wave would wash across the deck and how to lean forward to mitigate its impact. Still she was frequently knocked over by the power of the water. She was utterly exhausted when they were finally allowed to leave the deck and return to the relative comfort of their stalls two decks below.
Normally when the ponies went on deck the grooms first cleaned out the stalls and then cleaned and cared for the sheep. After the ponies were returned from their exercise the grooms would make any corrections to their gear and appearance, attach their reins to the side walls, lock them in their stalls, and go off to do whatever else they were required to do. The grooms would not reappear until time for the evening rituals of grooming and feeding. This meant that for the rest of the day the ponies would just stand in their stalls and wait. With the shortened reins they could not even sit. It angered Jen that they were required to just stand and to wear the bridle and bit throughout the day. They would talk a little in the evening after they had been cleaned, feed, watered and prepared for evening rest, but Jen had long ago stopped trying to talk with the bit in her mouth. Not only was it almost impossible to understand what she was saying she found the very effort dehumanizing.
The storm lasted for only two days. On the next day, their sixth at sea, there was a change in the routine. The deck exercise seemed to go on for a bit longer than before, but when they were returned to their stalls they were not cleaned and prepped like normal. Instead they were put through the routine for evening rest; washing, massaging, oiling, and even feeding. This was very strange; it could not be much past the middle of the day.
After the grooms had left and the ponies were all safely locked in their stable Jen noticed a change in the engines below them. They were slowing. It felt like they were coming into a harbor. Had they reached their destination? If they had gone south as Jen suspected they should be someplace in southern Mexico. That did make sense. But if this was their destination why had the grooms prepared them for rest, even removing their boots? Whatever was happening, it was unlikely that they would be off loaded today.
It was infuriating being locked below with no view to the outside, no information on what was happening, and only speculation as to what was next. Jen was a planner. She had never been a take-it-as-it-comes sort of person. If she had an appointment she was always there on time, or even a few minutes ahead of time. She would worry about being late so much that if she had to drive across town she might leave early and then have coffee near her destination. She was used to having full control of her life, granted her school schedule dictated where she had to be, but that was by her choice. And, although she never did, if she wanted to skip a class she could, that was her choice. As a pony not only was she not consulted about what was to be done to her, she was not even told in advance.
They were definitely docking. Jen even heard boat whistles. Eventually the engines slowed even more and then came to a stop. Jen had not realized just how loud the engine sounds were. At first it was as if they were in a vacuum with no sound at all, then sounds started to return. Jen heard the water against the hull; then she heard the sheep moving and bleating; then for once it was not Jen who opened the conversation among the ponies. "Do you think this is the resort?" The voice came from across and to the left.
"I don't know," answered Jen. "It seems like we have been prepared for a stay below, not for leaving the ship, so maybe not."
"Where are we? Why are we here then?" The anxiety of the speaker was betrayed by a quiver in the voice.
"Based upon the time at sea I would guess we are in Mexico; it could be Hawaii, but I don't think we could get there this fast." Jen shared what she had been thinking. "Also, listen!" Jen added after a brief pause. "Hear all those sounds? Other ships moving, truck sounds, just general noises. This has to be a pretty busy port area. Not exactly the place for a resort staffed with slaves or even a place to unload strings of slaves not even in Mexico. I am guessing that we will stay safely locked up down here, and the other slaves including our grooms will be kept secure until we are once again safely out to sea. I don't think this is the place."
"What are we here for then?"
"Probably to pick up something or someone. Since they are not in the habit of sharing with us, we may never know. If only we could be discovered down here. What does it sound like if you kick the hull?"
"I'll try." Came a voice from across and next to the port side. There was a dull thudding sound.
"I could barely hear that over here," came the voice from Jen's right.
"The walls are all padded, I guess to protect us from injury, but it completely deadens any sound. I really kicked it hard."
"So much for that great escape plan. Any more wonderful ideas?" It was again the pony to Jen's right.
She was really getting to her wit's end with these two would-be thoroughbreds. They could 'drink the kool aid' if they so choose, but she would not. Jen did not intend to live the rest of her life as a horse. Jen retreated to the back of her stall and flopped down on the floor. Once again she tried to go over her options. What options? Unless something presented itself there would be no escape from the ship. Only the trainers had the key to the stable area so even if her groom could help her out of her arm binder she would still be trapped. Every time they left the stable they were tethered together in a string of ponies and watched by several trainers. She couldn't even talk to her groom because the space was too confined and there was always a trainer nearby.
They must have been in port for longer than 24 hours because two trainers came and refilled their food troughs. They took no notice or made any attempt at any of the other care that the ponies had come to expect from their grooms. Jen's mouth felt gritty. She was sure her teeth must have a cover of fuzz. Her hair felt matted and tangled. Her stall smelled from where she had urinated thank heavens that is all it was, but she could tell from the smell that some other ponies had not so confined their toilet function. Jen's entire body was grimy with sweat and dust. It was hot in the stable, and even though the exhaust fan continued to run Jen was dripping sweat. The stall had not been cleaned and the stupid sheep stirred up dust, so if she sat or lay down she ended up with a coat of dust on her sweat covered body. It all dried to a dirty crust only to be interrupted by rivulets of more sweat. She was sure the inside of the arm pouch must be filling up with her sweat.
She had never been left in this condition before. Her body was supposed to be cleaned at least twice a day, sometimes it was cleaned three. Her hair was brushed every day, usually several times a day. Her legs, thighs and feet were supposed to be massaged every evening. She had had a cramp in her lower leg and had hobbled around the inside of her stall trying to walk it off. Her body was supposed to be oiled. Her skin, which had started to look smooth and rich, was crusted with filth, for God sake. This was certainly no way to treat a future champion. She kicked her gate, stomped her foot, and petulantly sat down in the opposite corner from the one she had decided to use for her sanitary needs.
After what had seemed like forever Jen heard the sound of the metallic clanking of engines. Finally, they were getting underway. 'What day of the week was it?' she wondered. She and Abby had traveled on a Monday. They had been held at the warehouse for four days or was it five? It had taken about a week to get here. They had been in port for probably a day and a half although it certainly seemed like much more. She had been gone 12 or 13 days, maybe even two weeks. It must be the weekend. Her friends must have wondered where she was last weekend. They should really be wondering now that she was not in touch for another weekend. They may have thought she went home. She had talked to several about doing that, but they would have expected her to at least text. Her phone was probably filled with messages and texts. Her phone that she had last seen in a locker in California almost two weeks ago. Her phone that she would never see again. Ponies didn't have phones. Ponies didn't text or call their friends. The only way she would see any of her friends again was if one of them ended up as a guest at the resort. . . .
Jen was hitched to a single yoke sulky, but not the type used for racing. This sulky had a larger, more comfortable, seat that could easily hold two passengers. Her leather harness gleamed in the bright sun. It was studded with jewels and the fixtures were of pure gold. Her body was the color of a perfectly cooked waffle, but far more delicious looking. Her white boots were perfectly polished all the way down to the black hoof portion, which also gleamed. Jen stood proudly next to the hitching post by a garden of flowers in front of a clearly five star hotel. Her sulky was approached by two young women. As they got closer Jen recognized Louise Broderick as one of them. She was dressed in white cotton shorts, a halter top and a fine expensive looking lace jacket. Her hair was done perfectly and she was wearing gold earrings, necklaces and bracelets. As always Louise looked classy. At her side was a small Asian girl wearing only a sheer halter and panties. She wore golden cuffs at her neck, wrists, waist, and ankles. The wrist and ankle chains provided a great deal of movement, and Louise held a leash that terminated at the collar.
As they got next to the sulky Louise looked over at Jen. Jen shook her head back and forth and tried to say "Louise". But it sounded more like grunting. Louise smiled and walked over to her. Jen could not turn to face her because she was hitched to the sulky. She turned her head as best she could to look at her old friend standing to her side.
"So this is what became of you." Louise stroked her head and shoulder as she spoke. "We were all very curious when you just seemed to disappear. I really did think you would stay and finish college with us, but I can see that this must have some basic animal appeal. Louise gave her a slap on the butt and then climbed into the sulky. "Hurry up slave." Louise pulled on the leash and the young slave clambered in next to her.
"No. Please help me." Jen tried to say to Louise, but she could not even turn her head sufficiently to see her friend in the seat behind.
"Hurry up pony; we need to get to the track." Jen felt the reins snap at her back.
She tried to look back and speak to her friend. Nothing intelligible came out.
"I said hurry up, pony." The buggy whip snapped painfully on Jen's flank. She turned her head forward and started to pull the sulky.
Then her eyes opened. Dreaming! It had been a dream. Of course, she had been thinking about her friends and what they would think. She got back up, lowered her head into the trough, and drank some water. The ship wasn't back to full speed but the whump whump from below told her that the props were turning and they were moving. It also seemed to Jen that the temperature in the livestock area was at least 15 degrees cooler when the ship was moving even though there was no opening to the outside that she could see.
Finally the grooms came. It took much longer than normal to wash them down, brush their hair, clean their leather and ready them for the day ahead. Jen had never been so happy to see her groom. When she was close to her she even gave her an affectionate nuzzle with her head and shoulder. Her groom looked her in the face, smiled and patted her head. Somehow it all felt right. With some impatient comments from the trainer the grooms hurried to finish their task. Today the outfit had an addition. A piece of reinforced leather was attached to the back of Jen's waist strap. It curved slightly from her waist ending at her tailbone. In the end of this new addition was a beautiful tail, about two and a half feet long. It was clearly made of real hair and looked expensive. It had been died to the same brown as the hair on Jen's head. Jen looked behind her as she attempted to flick it back and forth by shaking her rear. That would take practice.
It was a nice day on deck. The sea was smooth and the combination of moving around the deck and the warm sun on her skin felt marvelous. Jen filled her lungs greedily with the fresh air around her. Jen noticed that the sun was slightly to port, but more aft than before. Were they moving south west? Jen found that lifting her knees and prancing today felt wonderful. She felt beautiful. She was sad when the trainers finally signaled that it was time to leave the deck and return below. Even though they had been up there longer than normal Jen was still sorry to leave. She did not want to return to the fetid confines of her stall. She even resisted a bit outside the doors to the ramp, stopping rather than continue down, but the jerk of the lead line pulled her forward and through the doors out of the precious sun.
Once again they were spot cleaned and prepared. Jen resigned herself to standing in her stall facing the gate for the rest of the day. But very shortly her and Abbey's grooms and a trainer returned. She and Abby were brought out of their stalls. After a quick inspection and some directed adjustments by the grooms the trainer took their reins and led them from the livestock area. The grooms followed behind. They did not go up the ramp to the deck, the only parts of the ship they had seen thus far. Instead they were led through a series of corridors and up a series of steps until they exited a door onto another deck. Jen quickly determined that it was the deck that sat to the rear of the bridge above what must be the passenger cabins. At the far end there was a pool with deck chairs surrounding it. It was the deck with the lifeboats. Up close they were much larger than Jen had thought they would be. The deck was not uninhabited, there were a number of people relaxing on lounges and sunning themselves. They must have had some prior experience with this whole scene because they paid no attention to the new arrivals.
Near the bulkhead forward of the deck a buffet table had been set up. Jen had forgotten how much she missed the adventures of food. She had been eating her pony feed now for two weeks. She saw platters of ripe fruit, salads, soft looking rolls that smelled as if they had just left the oven, Shrimp on ice, and even a side of beef ready to be sliced for the diners. Jen wondered what she and Abbey were doing here. She was pretty sure it was not to enjoy the feast. Jen would have loved to have dived into the food. Even without her arms, even with the bit, she would figure out a way to get some of it. But she was being held by her reins and knew she was as close to the food as she was going to get.
Abby and Jen were taken to one side of the table. She saw an iron bar along the bulkhead. She and Abby were then turned away from the bar; their reins were brought over their shoulders and attached to the bar. They had about three feet of slack, but it kept them at the end of the table where the line of diners would pass them as they came to the table. The trainer then produced four large plumes. Two were attached to the upper harness area at the shoulders of each of pony. The groom then came forward, made a final check and correction of their leather, snapped a hobble on each of them and then left through the door they had entered from. 'Lovely . . . part of the dιcor,' thought Jen.
It did give Jen a good view of the lifeboats. And if she could remember how they came she could get back here assuming she could get free of her armbinder and the stalls. The lifeboats were big, about 25 feet long. They were covered with canvas covers, but it looked like they were not open but had some structure above the hull that even had windows. Each was held by two cranes that were tipped back so the boat could rest on a mount on the deck rail of the ship. When activated the cranes would tilt forward holding the boats over the edge of the ship where they could then be lowered into the water. Jen saw what looked like a control panel on one end of one crane. It had a panel that was closed so she could not get any more information. It did not look easy, but it did appear that if she could get this far she had a chance. 'Fat chance of that,' she thought to herself. Then she turned and looked at the rest of her surroundings.
At least it was something new. The deck area was really quite nice. Young slave girls straight out of an Arabian Nights tale saw to the drink needs of the guests. Jen guessed that these guests had been the reason for the stop. They had picked up guests destined for the resort. That probably meant it was not too far away. As nice as these surrounding were this ship, by passenger standards, was small and Spartan. These people looked like they were accustomed to luxury. This would get old for them in a hurry, no more than a couple of days.
Jen and Abby were positioned at the beginning of the buffet table. They were an attraction for those waiting in line for food. As the guests came by most would stop and inspect the two ponies brought out for their pleasure. A middle aged man and a young woman, about Jen's age, were the first. "They are just magnificent." The young woman said as she reached out and stroked Jen's breast. Jen jerked away and shook herself back and forth. The effect was to jingle her nipple bells, which had been put on for this occasion. "Very spirited, isn't she." The young woman said as she demonstrated her control by giving Jen's breast a firm squeeze. Jen thought of kicking her, but hobbled that was not an available option. Jen glared at her, but it was completely ignored. The couple moved on.
A young, but very well, and expensively groomed man was inspecting Abby. "I hear they are very happy with this group. There are some real potential challengers." Jen's posture improved with this statement. She knew who thought they were the potential challengers, but she was going to show them.
"What a wonderfully matched pair they are." Jen glanced at Abby. They did look a lot alike. Same height, same build, same general coloring; and with the work of the grooms over the last two weeks they looked even more alike. "Do you think we can rent them for a carriage ride to our special place?" A young woman was snuggling up against an expensively clad 30'ish man.
"I think they are designated as racing ponies, but I do have a few connections. I bet I could arrange it." Her companion was stroking Jen's breasts, giving each nipple bell a bounce.
Jen watched as the man looked over to the trainer who was standing nearby. "These are very nice ponies. What are their names?"
"Willow and Misty Night." Replied the trainer.
'What!' thought Jen. 'Now we don't even have our own names. . . I wonder which I am.'
"Thanks, it appears you have done a very good job with them." The man reached over and stroked Jen's breast as he spoke.
"What's with all this breast touching?" she said to herself. Yes she had great breasts. And judging from what she could see on Abby these outfits really showed them off, but you didn't just touch other people's breasts. Well, she didn't. Apparently here it was different, or maybe it was just different with ponies. At any rate, after the first couple of tries she gave up trying to shake them off. Nobody seemed the least bit discouraged by the sound of her little bells tinkling in protest.
"Do you think they will be available for rental when we get to the Island?" the man asked the trainer.
"I don't know. I guess to some degree that will depend upon which stable picks them up. It is unlikely before they are processed and sold."
Jen tried to process what she had just heard. Island they were being taken to an island. That would certainly raise serious complications to any escape plans. And they were to be sold. It should not have been a surprise, but just hearing the words brought home the permanency of their situation.
Another young woman was paying attention to Abby. "Such a nice pony." She said as she stroked her head. Abby actually leaned her head in toward the stroke. Then the woman took something from her purse and put it into Abby's mouth. Then she gave Abby another affectionate pat and moved toward the food giving Jen only a slight glance. Jen looked back toward Abby and watched as she used her tongue to maneuver whatever she had been given to a place in her mouth where she could suck on it. It was a similar act to what Jen had seen one of the trainers do with another pony back at the warehouse. Abby seemed pleased as she continued to suck on her treat. With a bit in your mouth chewing was nearly impossible.
All of the guests had passed them by, collected heaping portions of wonderful looking food and headed out to tables where they were eating. Willow and Misty Night, two ponies, stood near the buffet table throughout the early evening as the guests visited the food table. As the sun finally disappeared to starboard, the deck succumbed to soft lighting. There was music and some of the guests danced, but mostly they sat and enjoyed cocktails. The ponies stood silently watching these creatures from another world enjoy themselves.
Serving slaves came and removed what was left of the food. Jen eyed each platter as it retreated. She was very hungry but she knew she would not be enjoying any of this great looking food. She would be fed in her stall, retrieving her food from a trough, and while it was designed for high nutrition and to meet her needs it would never be on the menu of any restaurant that she would have gone to as a person. With the removal of the food came the removal of the ponies. The trainer released their reins from the bar and led them back into the bowels of the ship and their stable. Jen tried to pay attention to the route, just in case, but had to admit it was a bit confusing especially when you are clomping along behind someone who is leading you on a leash.
When they reached the stable area their grooms were waiting outside the locked door. The trainer unlocked the door and Jen and Abby were led to their stalls for evening preparation. Even though there had been no real exertion standing on the deck they had been in the sun much of the time. The groom wiped and oiled Jen's body, and massaged her shoulders, thighs, legs, and feet. Before she left she checked Jen's water and provided her daily food allotment. When she had gone Jen put her head in the food trough and sniffed her food. Usually by feeding time she was so hungry that the aroma that wafted from the food trough when it was filled was very inviting. Tonight it was forcing the aroma from the banquet table upstairs out of her nose. Jen was very hungry, but she didn't eat right away. She went to the corner of her stall, sat on the floor with her head against the wall and softly cried.
Then she did something she had not done in many days, she jerked and tugged at her hands and arms and twisted her upper body from side to side trying to release the hold of the straps and pouch. Nothing gave, nothing loosened. It had now been two weeks since she had had arms or hands. She had adjusted to this condition. Her shoulders no longer ached. When she sat or lay on the floor she used her legs, thighs, and upper body. Coming from a lying or sitting position to sitting or standing was done by shifting her weight and rolling. If she slipped she did not even try to put out an arm to catch herself. She had no arms. If her nose itched she rubbed it against something. If a bug landed on her body she had learned how to flex the muscles and flesh in a shudder to shake it away. The reflex had become second nature now.
She was still hopeful that her arms were not gone forever; somehow she would find a way to release them. She knew if that happened she would need her arms and hands to work. As a result she had worked out an exercise of opening and closing her hands and isometrically pushing down and then up and then out with her arms. At first she had done it every night. For the last four nights she had not, but tonight she returned to the exercise. She prayed that it would be enough to keep her muscles from atrophying. She prayed even harder that she would find out whether that was the case, and before long. Jen did not share with the other ponies what she was thinking or what she had learned that day. For once she did not feel like talking.
The next afternoon the trainer took the pony pair who seemed perfectly happy with their lot. She wondered what they had been named. If she were asked she would suggest "Perky" and "Clueless". She could just imagine them beaming under the attention of the guests, presenting their breasts and bodies for any and every touch. She dreaded being regaled with the tales of their prowess. She was sure they would not be able to resist talking about how charming they were and how everyone just loved them. But it didn't happen that way. They were returned, in Jen's estimation, quite a bit later than she and Jen had been. They were both very quiet and it took the grooms quite a long time to get them ready for rest. Later that night as Jen laid near the starboard wall of her stall she thought she heard sniffles and a few sobbing sounds coming from just the other side of the wall. "Are you all right?" Jen whispered. The sounds stopped. Jen listened for a while longer there was no response. Then she fell asleep.
The next two days fell back into a fairly normal routine. Weather was nice; there was only a slight breeze and some mist on deck. Late in the second day the engines betrayed a change, recognized by Jen as the probable arrival at a port. "Was this the Island? What Island? Where?" Jen thought. They had traveled another four days from the last port. Assuming that port was some place in Mexico it was now likely that they had traveled another 1,000 to 1,400 miles south. That would probably mean Central America. Even though the prospects of what lay ahead, the thought of being held as a pony at the whim and control of others was daunting, Jen was ready to get off this ship. She truly hoped that this was their destination and not just another stop to pick up another load of spoiled passengers.
The ship came to a stop much quicker than it had the last time the engines had slowed. This must mean a much smaller harbor. Jen hated not being able to see out. She hated not being in control. She hated having to just stand in her stall and await others to come for her. But her emotions would not change the reality. She was a pony, and when they wanted the ponies they could come for them. Until then she had no choice but to stand and wait.
It was not long before they did come for them. Three trainers opened the stable, then one by one unlocked the stalls, removing each pony and connecting them together in a single string. They were then led out and up the ramps to the work deck. As they exited onto the deck Jen could see the land to the port side. There were palm trees close by and behind the land rose in jungle covered hills. Hills might be too gentle a description. Although they did not rise to a great height they looked very rugged. On the bad side, it would be very difficult to travel over that terrain and through that jungle. On the positive side it would be very difficult to find anyone out there. If she could escape and make it to the jungle she could probably evade her captors for as long as she wanted. But to what end? If they were really on an island what good would it do to get away to the jungle? Could she really live in the jungle?
It was still light out, but the sun was descending. It must be early evening. As they were led up onto the gang plank Jen could see that the ship was tied at a dock with its port side parallel to the land just as it had been back in Long Beach. The dock itself was not very wide and was bordered on the far side by a series of animal pens like the ones back in Long Beach and a building that looked like a warehouse, but much smaller than the one in which they have been held during and after her initial capture.
Between the dock and the pens was a paved road that extended to Jen's left. There was a town. There were buildings, all inland from the road. The dock did not continue more than a few hundred feed beyond the aft portion of the ship. Beyond the dock Jen could see that there was a beach. There were people on the beach. Some sitting in chairs, some just walking around, a couple had moved over closer to the dock area and were watching the unloading of the ship. Looking ahead at the pens Jen could see that the grooms and slaves had already been off loaded and confined to the pens. And now a string of pony girls, tails wagging in the breeze, arms bound behind them, connected by the neck one to another, were being walked down the ramp and toward an animal pen. The spectators looked on with some curiosity but no alarm, no disgust, no sympathy. Why would they? They were watching animals being unloaded. The animals appeared healthy and probably well cared for. They quickly lost interest in the sight and turned back toward their enjoyment of the white sandy beach.
The ponies were not put in a pen. They were brought past the pens and into the building. Just inside the door was a type of waiting area. There were actually couches against the walls, but the ponies were not allowed near them. On another wall there was a metal bar about 10 feet long extending about 6 inches from the wall at about three feet off the floor. The pony string was broken and each of the ponies was secured to the bar by reins that replaced the string line.
The trainers were only gone for a minute or two when they returned and selected Jen to go with them. She wished another pony had been chosen first, but this time it was her 'honor'. Jen was led through another door and into a smaller room. She was maneuvered forward toward what looked like a metal frame with cross beams at various points. The top bar, at about chin level, had two bars protruding upward. Jen was pulled forward toward the frame. She stopped and refused to go forward, fighting the reins. A second trainer joined in and Jen's head was pushed between these bars so that her chin rested on the lower bar. They were all padded, and as soon as her head was in place straps were buckled behind her head holding her in place. Two more bars hit her just above and below her breasts. She was pushed against those, but not fastened to them, at least not at this time. Another bar at her waist connected with a lock to the front ring in her waist band. Then her legs were secured to bars at her thighs, knees, and ankles. She was held against the frame with little ability to move.
She remembered the last time they had locked her in some frame. She didn't know what they intended to do to her now, but she did not want it. She pulled at her legs, but they were held tight. She tried to back out of the frame, but she was held firmly. She tried to twist her body, she was immobile.
One of the trainers stepped forward and started to stroke the side of her head, telling her "It will be ok, just relax."
Jen didn't think it was going to be ok. None of this had been ok and there was no reason to think this would be any different. But, once again, the stroking had a calming effect, and after all, there was nothing she could do to stop whatever was going to happen.
After she was secured a person in a white coat approached her from in front. She could see something in the person's hand. She thought it was a tattoo gun, but she had never been tattooed so she was a little unsure. It was a tattoo gun. An assistant took a hold of Jen's lower lip and pulled it down. Then the person in the white coat started to tattoo her on the inside of her lip. They did not bother to remove her bridle or bit. In fact, it seemed to aid them by keeping her mouth open and more accessible. She had no idea why they would be placing a tattoo inside her mouth. No one would be able to see it there. Then she remembered that the registry number for horses is often tattooed inside the horse's mouth. She was being registered so that her proper owner could be easily determined.
The tattooing did not take long. Jen wondered what it was. A symbol of some kind, some combination of numbers and letters she assumed. She now had her own VIN number. Lovely. But they were not done with her. The person in the white coat left; but two other women dressed in khaki shirts and shorts entered the room.
They unbuckled and removed the pouch over her arms. Then to her surprise they unlocked and started to unbuckle the straps that had held her arms confined at her back for the last two weeks. As pleased as she was to be getting her arms back she was worried. Would they hurt? Would she be able to use them after all this time? But she was not completely released. The straps at her upper arms were released, but quickly replaced with some type of metal bar with a metal cuff on each end that encircled the upper arm just above the elbow. Only then were her wrists released. They were no longer held across her back.
She remembered how unhappy she had been with herself for giving in so easily the last time her arms were secured. Maybe this was her chance. She straightened her arms bringing them down toward her sides, she was going to put up a fight, but her elbows were held firmly to the bar behind her. She had almost no range of motion and it took almost no effort for one of her new antagonists to fold her wrists back up to the bar that joined her elbows. The bar and her lower arms were then wrapped with what felt like cloth tape. The taping extended to and included wrapping her hands with the fingers placed around her elbows, then the wrapping continued up her upper arms for another four to five inches. Her arms had been free (not even completely free) for less than a minute.
After the tape was carefully smoothed and inspected, the first of these two new tormentors said to the other one: "You apply the epoxy resin. I will go start on the next one." Then she left the room.
As directed the remaining individual went to work. Something was being smeared over Jen's taped arms. Jen tried to see what was going on, but with her head held between the two bars she could not turn and look back at all. She could feel the work progressing. "Epoxy resin?" They were going to encase her arms in a cast. Epoxy was strong. And with her arms wrapped to the metal bar inside the cast she would have no chance of breaking it. She had been a creature without arms for over two weeks now. She had been trained to do without them. She had adjusted pretty well. It was almost as if she didn't need them. But that did not mean she didn't miss them. There was something about the idea of the cast covering her arms that seemed so permanent. It was becoming clear that, unless something else intervened, she was never to have arms again.
The chemical smell was very strong as wet material was wrapped around her arm bindings. It appeared that instead of the normal fiberglass or plaster soaked material strong industrial epoxy had been substituted to make a stronger and more permanent cast. After a liberal wrap had been applied Jen was hobbled and removed from the frame. She was moved about ten feet, turned and positioned between two poles facing toward the wall, but with enough room for someone to move between her and the wall. She was connected to the two poles by short chains attached to metal rings that protruded from the new cast just above each elbow. The rings must be part of the metal bands because although Jen tried to pull and twist against them, they held fast. The worker then left to perform other tasks while Jen cured.
Jen knew that as the cast cured it would confine her arms and hands with only the room and space that could be created now. As soon as she was left alone she tried to twist and move her arms around to weaken the hold of the cast, perhaps to create some space inside, but she had virtually no movement. For the last two weeks she had regularly opened and closed her hands to keep the use of her fingers. She tried to wiggle her fingers to create some space for them, but they were held tight to her elbows and arms. As the epoxy solidified the chance of any movement became just a memory. This new development very much complicated her prospects for escape.
Shortly Jen heard noises and turned to see one of the smaller, now very frightened, ponies brought in and led toward the frame by two trainers. Jen could only watch what was going on from the corner of her eye with her head fully turned because the action was behind her and the chains from her elbows did not allow her to turn her upper body. The new pony apparently saw Jen held with her arms now confined in a cast and must have tried to resist. She twisted and pulled, she cried and whined, she even let her legs collapse and tried to drop to the floor. It was all to no avail and she was quickly and efficiently strapped to the frame. It was then that Jen realized how much smaller than her this pony was. In order to place her in the frame the trainers had to adjust the chin bar down about half a foot. That would make her a full hand and a half shorter than Jen. Jen wasn't sure why she had thought of small pony's height in hands. Jen wondered if they would be measured in hands, and if so what would they consider to be the withers? She would guess the top of the shoulder or the nap of the neck. She remembered that she had been measured to the nap of the neck when she first arrived. Allowing about 10 inches for the head and neck would make Jen and Abby about 15 hands, a respectable height for a classy pony. The tall ponies had long legs, but also long necks, they would probably only be 15.2 if properly measured.
After the new pony was tattooed the khaki-clad workers returned and went to work on her arms. After she was cast and moved to a drying frame to Jen's left they returned to Jen and applied another coat of material to her cast. This time instead of wrapping soaked fabric they actually spread the soft plaster-like material over the entire cast area. As they were finishing the trainers returned with Abby. Abby moved without protest as they directed her forward and secured her to the frame. Jen thought to herself that they should have taken Abby before the last pony because now they had to adjust the chin bar back up to the height it had been for Jen. The plasterers had left, presumably to perform their tasks on the other ponies is the other room, but they were back shortly after Abby was tattooed and soon she joined Jen and the small pony in the drying frames.
After all three ponies had received the overlying coat to their arm casts a groom, not one Jen had seen before, came into the room and watered each pony. Then, one by one she removed the bridle and bit, hand fed the pony, then replaced the bridle and bit before moving on to the next pony. She was not hurried in her task and gentle and caring; but all business. After the feeding, their bodies were cleaned, and then she left, turning off the light as she departed. Usually they had some movement, not this night. Three ponies stood side by side, hobbled and chained by the elbows. No chances were being taken that they might be able to bump against anything while the arm casts cured. The casts would set overnight to a solid strong case holding the metal, bone and flesh below in a single unmovable form.
Sleep was a challenge supported only by a bar and chains connected to her elbows with her arms behind her back, but she did get some. She wished she were in her stall. Jen never thought she would miss being able to lie on the concrete or metal floor of her stall, but right now she did.
Jen had more dozed than slept leaning backwards on the chain and metal bar with her legs held straight in front of her, then letting her arms carry her weight as she shifted forewords to hang from her restraints. Her arms ached. Her legs were tired. It may have been the longest night of her life. She was never so happy to see the pre-dawn light. The advantage to not being held deep in the bowels of a ship is that the room, even without windows, begins to betray dawn. It also appeared that although this was a resort and the guests were almost all asleep, staff, and in particular, slaves, were up and working early to make sure everything was perfect for the pampered guests.
Three grooms arrived to see to the ponies. They were not the grooms who had taken care of them at the warehouse and on the ship. Jen missed her groom, but at this point she was thrilled to see anyone. The groom knocked on the cast testing its hardness in several places. Whether this was part of her task or only curiosity Jen would never know, and the groom didn't say. Instead she set to work unlocking and removing Jen's harness, collar, and boots. Then she removed the bridle and bit. Except for the cast covering her arms and the rings embedded in her breasts and between her legs Jen was completely naked. For a while then the routine was familiar. Jen was washed, her teeth were cleaned, her toe nails were clipped, sanded, and polished, and her hair was brushed.
After the bridle and bit had been removed Jen started to say something. She felt guilty that she had never learned the name of her prior groom so she asked: "What is your name?" That earned her a hard slap on her buttocks with no accompanying verbalization. The message was clear. She said nothing more.
After the groom was satisfied with the cleanliness of her filly she started to install an all-new harness. Jen's last harness had been white leather. This one was silver. Most of it was leather, but the collar and the waist belt were metal over leather. Both of these closed with a locking clasp at the back. From the front of the collar a strap proceeded down all the way to the belt. From this strap a type of halter with two circular holes pulled over her chest. Her breasts were fed through the holes until they popped out. Then the halter was buckled into a strap that ran from the back of the collar to the belt behind her. The straps on the halter were adjusted, tightened and then locked in place. The halter provided about two inches of leather both above and below Jen's breasts as well as some leather between them. The holes were smaller than her breasts and the groom had taken each breast by the nipple and worked it through the hole making sure that all of the flesh of her breasts was outside the hole before tightening the back strap of the halter. Then to Jen's immense displeasure the groom went to each side of the halter with an Allen wrench and began turning something imbedded in the halter. As she turned the wrench with one hand she held up Jen's breast on that side with the other hand. There was a cable of some sort build into each hole of the halter. As the groom turned the wrench the cable tightened reducing the circumference of the hole and compressing the flesh around the base of Jen's breast. Jen could only look down and watch as first her right and then her left breast swelled under the pressure at its base darkening as the flow of blood was restricted. Periodically the groom would flick her breast with her forefinger until she attained what she considered the correct firmness. Jen was very aware of the constriction. It didn't really hurt, at least not yet, but her breasts felt much more sensitive than normal.
She did not like this. Like so much else, she did not like it at all. Jen decided to complaint: "That is too tight." The flick of the finger went from the side of her breast to the nipple. Now that hurt. Jen howled in pain, but she got the point. She shut her mouth.
The new harness below her waist was also different. First bands were fastened around each upper thigh. From these bands a strap ran up each side to the waist belt. Another belt circled her hips. It was supported in the front with a strap that ran from the front of the waist to a ring held just above her sex. It was joined to each of the straps running up her flanks, and it fastened in the back into a flat plate to which her tail, removed from the old harness and installed here, had been attached. Another strap ran from the rear plate up to her waist belt. From the front ring two straps extended down each side of her sex to the inside of the straps around her upper thighs. Jen saw the connecters for the sulkies. There was a set at her waist as on the old harness, but there was also a set on the strap at the sides of her hips. Jen recognized that this would be a much better place to connect the sulkies. She would be able to put a lot more power into her actions with a sulky attached to this better point.
New boots and a new bridle and bit in matching silver leather completed the outfit. After a time the trainers entered the room. After a careful inspection of the three ponies reins were attached to the bit in each mouth and each pony in turn was released from their hobble and from the poles to which they had been secured. It was very frustrating to watch the trainer, with a single hand, unsnap the clip connected to Jen's elbows, the simple clip that had held her standing all night without relief. No effort at all, all you needed was hands. This simple act painfully underscored the degree to which Jen was dependent upon others for almost everything. Jen was tired and depressed. She really just wanted to collapse and get some rest, but she knew that was not going to happen.
They were led out of the building. The pens in front were now empty. Jen did not know where the slaves had been taken. The ship was still there. The cranes on the fore deck were now at work offloading materials from the hold of the ship. Jen watched as a crane lowered a pallet of material onto a low flat cart on the dock. Two male slaves, recognizable from their cuffs and iron collar, were guiding the load onto the cart. Yoked to the front of the cart were two male work ponies. The ponies were similarly clad to Jen and her group except that the harness was heavy and utilitarian. But there was another significant difference that kept Jen's eyes locked on them. Unlike Jen; unlike the other new ponies; these work horses did not have their arms encased in a cast behind their backs. Jen wanted to get a better angle to make sure, but she knew without the better view, they did not have a cast on their arms because they had no arms. A portion of their harness wrapped around the upper body just below their shoulders with straps crossing over the area where arms would extend it they were present. This upper harness was then connected back to the middle of the yoke so that these horses could put the weight of their upper body into pulling the load on their cart. They were utility beasts and clearly worked very hard. Jen had never been so happy to be a girl. Jen and Abby gave no resistance as they were turned away to their left and hitched to the yoke of a two pony sulky.
Although the sight of the poor utility beasts still weighed on her mind Jen's attention moved instead to the road in front of her. The crack (in the air) and then snap (against flesh) of the buggy whip spurred them on. It had been well over a week since Jen had been hitched to a sulky, but she found herself walking with raised knees easily capturing the movement. To her left was the beach. Beautiful white sand extended about 100 yards to bright blue water with almost no wave action. Jen could see that they were in a natural harbor embraced by long arms of land on either side forming a crescent. It was now mid-morning and the beach was already attracting a fair number of swimmers and sun worshipers. They all seemed fairly young, many, particularly the women, were not much older than her. Although Jen and Abby received occasional glances it was obvious that, around here, there was nothing extraordinary about two mostly naked ponies pulling a sulky up the road.
On the right was an open air terrace of a restaurant. Vine covered trellises enclosed the non-sea side and extended over the top creating some protection from the tropical sun. Slave girls with golden cuffs, collars, and belts dressed in billowing diaphanous clothing that hid almost nothing of what lay below were setting tables and preparing to open for the lunch meal, still several hours away. Next to the terrace the sulky passed what appeared to be the interior portion of the restaurant. Most of the activity seemed to be focused on the outside seating.
After passing the restaurant the sulky was turned to the right in front of the next building. The ponies found themselves pulling the sulky up a brick road with stores and bars on the right and a town square type park to the left. It appeared that there was another row of stores, bars, and restaurants facing the square against a roadway that capped the square, and another on the far side. The square was large at least 1,000 feet on each side. There was a large gazebo in the center and paths winding between fountains and flower beds. It was really quite tranquil and lovely a very romantic settling. It appeared empty this morning.
Most of the stores were open. Most of the bars and restaurants were either still closed or in the process of opening. 'The climate here must be generally good.' Jen thought as she observed that the fronts of these commercial structures were designed to open almost fully to the street. Some guests could be seen in some of the stores interacting with clerks. The clerks all appeared to be free persons although every store had at least one slave standing or kneeling by the service counter or performing some task within the store. Most slaves had chains connecting their ankle cuffs, but with plenty of slack so as not to impair their duties. Very few had chained hands. The several that were kneeling were attached to the counter with a short chain from their collar. They held their hands in their lap and knelt motionless with their heads down. It must have been a trained position because they all looked the same.
The street was quite narrow. It would be very difficult for two automobiles to pass each other and in fact, Jen saw no automobiles. She did not even see road signs. Jen and Abby passed two hansom cabs parked by the side of the roadway in front of shops. Each had a team of two fillies. Their harnesses were black and each had a feathery plume extending from the back of her head. The cab was open with a seat for two passengers. There was a small platform for the driver to stand behind them. The cab had been built lightly, but there was still a great deal more weight than the simple sulky Jen and Abby were pulling. Jen was happy to see that the ponies did not seem disheartened or broken like the poor utility ponies that she had seen at the dock. They stood patiently waiting for passengers. One driver stood near his steeds brushing their hair and tails. Jen wondered if the cab drivers also performed the groom functions for their animals. Unless they could afford a slave it was likely. Jen was happy she was a racing pony. At least she hoped she was a racing pony. Could she and Abby end up driving hansom cabs for tourists around the town? That was not going to happen!
They were turned left at the top of the square but continued straight as they reached the far corner leaving the square. Once they had left the town square the commercial businesses quickly ended. As they left the last of these the driver signaled an increased pace and they were moved up to a trot. It actually felt good to be stretching her legs.
The road appeared to proceed straight and then gently turn to the right. The ground here was level with what looked like service buildings and even houses on either side. Where there townspeople here? What must they think of this place? Maybe they were just happy to be employees and not slaves. Maybe they even kept their own slaves. The more available slaves were the more people would vest themselves in the institution. But slavery was not legal anywhere. At least Jen thought it was not legal anywhere. The United Nations prohibited it. At least she thought they did. How did they keep the word from leaking out? Especially when it appeared that the slaves were not taken locally but were captured from other countries. People would care. If they knew people would care and they would stop this.
As they went into the turn at the end of the straight road they started moving inland. Jen could see a large structure ahead. It wasn't quite Belmont Park, but it was pretty nice. They were approaching from the ocean side. The grandstands were on the other side; built into the natural rise of the landscape. It looked like they could accommodate a lot of people. They would look out over the track with the sea behind, a beautiful setting. Below the track, on the ocean side, was what appeared to be a training area. On the far side, from where they were approaching, there were stables. It appeared they were built so that the open end would face the ocean, probably to take advantage of the sea breezes. They were far enough in so as to not be visible from and thus not to obscure any of the view of the ocean from the stands. Below the formal racing track, separated by a hedge and a road, were training paddocks surrounded by training tracks. What Jen presumed to be equipment buildings were nearby. On the side where they approached, on an intersection of the road leading to the track and the other dividing the track and the training area there were several animal pens and a small warehouse or exhibit type building. Double doors opened to the pen area.
The sulky was brought to a stop next to the pens. Jen was detached from the sulky. A serious looking woman pulled back Jen's lip to look at her tattoo. She measured her height, but only from the ground to the nape of her neck. She checked her clipboard, made a check mark then she clipped a cardboard sign to Jen's nipple rings. It was invasive and Jen did not like it, but like everything else here she could do nothing about it. She was led into the pen and hobbled. As she was trying to figure out what the sign said she was joined by Abby who was hobbled and then clipped to Jen at the waist by a line about four feet long. Abby's sign said "Misty Night". Her sign was now clear. She was Willow. "Could have been worse", she told herself.
There were four other teams in pen. The irritating blond fillies from her ship where there. They were "Gullfaxi" and "Sleipnir". There was a team of Asian fillies who Jen had never seen before. Their hair was long and midnight black. It shined in the sun. Their breasts were small but well formed. Their bronze colored skin was smooth and well oiled. They were smaller, but they looked fit and strong. They were "Ikezuki" and "Chollima". Ikezuki looked at Willow. Her expression was confident; there was no hint of fear, desperation or even resignation. She even lowered her head, snorted and dug her right hoof in the ground. 'Really?' thought Jen. 'Get over it.' Jen shook her head and looked away. This just got crazier and crazier all of the time. Jen looked at Abby. She was staring straight ahead into space. seemingly not focused on anything.
The biggest surprise was a stud team. They were young like all the other ponies. It appeared 19-22 was the benchmark. They looked fit, but not muscular. They may have been athletic, but, in their past life, they had not spent a great deal of time working out. They were dressed in similar fashion to the fillies except, or course, for the area between their legs. In the case of studs the end of the penis had been pierced and ringed. The penis was then pulled back and locked to a short chain extending from a band around the top of the scrotum. Willow was comforted by this later arrangement. She did not know what the policy on breeding was but she was certainly not comfortable with a couple of studs in a pen full of fillies. The studs were "Sir Excess" and "Rocinante". Willow laughed; she wondered if Rocinante appreciated his name. She wondered if he had engaged in some unachievable activity to earn him the name of Don Quixote's horse.
The last team in the pen was medium height, darker olive skin, and dark rich hair with warm brown eyes. Their breasts were not large but beautifully proportioned to their bodies. They had very small waists but well formed ample hips. They were very attractive and so similar in look that Willow wondered if they were twins. They were "Lucippe" and Euippe". Willow guessed it was Greek, but had no idea what it meant.
Willow heard the gate being opened. The last of the teams from the ship were led in. Unlike most of the others in the pen they looked downcast. They were already beaten. They were never going to make it as racing ponies. They were "Silver Spoon" and "Flying Tail". That confirmed it; Jen could definitely have done worse than Willow. She doubted these two had any future in these stables. They belonged on the street pulling a hansom cab, not here.
Some of the ponies had strong names. She recognized Gullfaxi from the Norse mythology class she had taken. The golden mane of the namesake worked. She had done pretty well in that class. Wasn't Sleipnir Odin's horse? She wondered if the names signaled how the ponies were valued by the owners. The Norse ponies (as she now thought of them) did not need any more to help their ego or confidence. She didn't know what Ikezuki and Chollima meant, but they sounded strong. (If she had taken a class on Asian history and mythology she might have learned that Ikezuki was the horse of the famous Shogun Yoritomo, the horse was well known for its swimming abilities also for biting. Chollima was the mythical Korean thousand mile horse, winged like Pegasus.)
A woman with dark shoulder length hair and a green shirt with the letters PPA on the back came into the pen with another older blond woman. The blond woman was holding a folder. The dark haired woman would grasp the reins of the pony then peel back her lip. She appeared to be looking from the tattoo on the inside of the lip to her clipboard. Some notations were made on the clipboard and Jen could see the blond woman looking at documents in the folder she held. The dark haired woman would then look over the skin of the pony using the reins to turn the pony one way and another. She used her fingers to touch several red marks on the flank and buttocks of the pony she was inspecting and once again made notations on the clipboard.
After looking at several other ponies the women came to Jen. Jen could now see the words "Pony Protective Association" on the dark haired woman's shirt. Her hand holding the clipboard also grasped Jen's reins. She didn't pull on them, but held them tightly while the other hand, also holding a pen, peeled back Jen's lip. The woman looked from Jen's lip to the clipboard and said "Registration matches." Then she looked over to the blond woman and asked: "Contract or wild capture?"
The woman flipped through papers in her folder and replied: "We have a signed contract."
'Like hell.' Jen thought. That contract was not enforceable. "No way." She tried to say to the PPA woman but it just sounded like snorting. She shook her head back and forth in what she thought was a clear no sign.
"Sssh" the woman said almost affectionately. She had released Jen's lip and stroked the side of her head a couple of times. She looked at Jen's flanks, legs, and buttocks. Other than a few almost healed red marks, none longer than an inch and a half and a large black bruise on her upper right leg where she had fallen when washed by the wave on the ship she was not marked. "You look like you have been well cared for." She turned again to the blond haired woman. "Any use restrictions under the contract?"
"None. Primary categorization is to the pony service but authority to transfer to another division at her owner's discretion subject only to PPA approval. Term is perpetual."
"That matches." Said the dark haired woman as she turned her attention back to Jen's mouth checking her teeth.
Jen was stunned. They were trying to hold her on the basis of the stupid contract she had signed. She hadn't read it. They had told her it was just a standard employment agreement. Jen twisted and shook her upper body. She looked at the PPA official and tried to say: "I did not agree to those things."
The woman let go of her chin as Jen shook and twisted. "I have never understood why someone would irrevocably give up their freedom. It is surprising how many, like this one, seem to have reconsidered the idea, but a deal is a deal." She looked into Jen's eyes. "Sorry little one, you made your bed, your papers are in order, and you are approved for sale. But we will always be here to make sure your treatment is humane."
Jen was completely dumbfounded. "Humane?" What part of this was humane? It was as if her legs were connected to the ground and not just to each other. She felt her stomach knot. She felt sick. She was afraid she was going to throw up. But she didn't.
One by one the teams were taken into the building. About 10 minutes later another was led away. Jen and Abby were the third team to enter through the double doors near the pens. Inside was a livestock show area. Through the doors a short corridor was created by gates opened to block access to either the right or the left. Straight ahead was a display area about twenty feet to a side. It was brightly lit. As they passed into the ring area the gates that had been opened were closed behind them creating a complete pen on all four sides except that on three sides the side of the pen was made up of a wooden wall of about four feet with another two feet of railing above. Behind the wall on each of these sides was what appeared to be about a three foot walkway and then bleachers that angled up for about ten rows. Stairs on either side and at the two corners gave access to the upper rows. There were about forty people in the bleachers. They were seated in small groups and appeared to be carefully examining the occupants of the display area. At this time that was only Willow and Misty Night, there was no sign of the prior teams. They must have been removed already.
In the arena with them was a single handler. Above on the walkway near the rail was a middle aged man with a microphone in his hand. He began speaking with: "Now available, lot 7. Standing at 15.1, an almost perfectly matched pair. Though not purported to be of the same blood one can only speculate if they come from the same sire. Speed and ability is largely untested, but both are strong and agile."
Jen did not like this. Like so much else here she did not like it at all. She was being objectified and sold. To make matters worse, as the auctioneer spoke about them the trainer had stepped up to Jen and put her hand around Jen's breast. Using her breast as a lever she turned Jen to the right and the left stroking her thigh with the other hand. Jen shook her upper body attempting, without success, to free her breast from the hand that gripped it. She stomped her foot within the limits of the hobble to show her displeasure with this experience. "And clearly spirited," added the auctioneer.
Jen gave up and stood still. The bids had opened at $25,000, but they were moving up. As the bid crossed $40,000 Willow straightened her back and looked around the room. How high would they go? She didn't know what the standard was, but $40,000 was a lot of money.
The hammer dropped at $44,500. The handler in the arena opened a case and placed a sticker of a palm tree onto the cards that said Willow and Misty Night. Then they were led out another gate in the side of the arena. They were taken into another area of the building and hitched to a rail. There was only one other team there. Naturally it was the bitchy Norse ponies. Their name cards displayed a bright sun. As if on cue a trainer dressed in khaki with a sun emblem on the back of her shirt walked in, took the reins, and led the Norse ponies away. Jen and Abby were left alone. The symbol must mean the stable, Jen thought. Thank heavens she and Abby were going to a different stable than the Norse ponies. She hoped the palm tree stable was a good place. Twisting at her arms she thought: 'We might be there a very long time.'
She could hear some sounds from the arena, but could not see the team that was in there. Willow was anxious to see how the bidding compared on this new team in the arena but her attention was taken with the arrival of three figures. There was a man, middle aged, dark hair well groomed, wearing a white suit with an expensive shirt open at the collar. The crease in his pants hung perfectly straight without a wrinkle in sight. His leather shoes were clearly Italian, and very expensive. His cologne was musky, but at the same time subtle and not heavy. As he reached up and put his hand around her breast Willow could see perfectly manicured nails. His hands were as soft as cashmere gloves. She could not keep herself from looking into his face. His eyes were a dark green. She felt a stirring in her loins as she looked into a truly handsome face. She didn't know what she should do, so she just stood there and looked at him.
She realized that she was drooling around her bit as a drop fell from her mouth and landed onto the back of his hand. She was mortified, but he did not jerk his hand away. He did not become angry with her. Instead he smiled and stroked her hair. It was not done as a means of wiping his hand although it had the same effect; instead it felt loving and affectionate. She did not want his hands to leave her body. She hoped that some of his scent might transfer to her so she would be able to sense the closeness of their bodies. In reality no portion of his body other than his hand had actually touched her but in her mind they were rolling naked, completely entwined. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and enjoyed the way the scent played through her nose and into her mouth.
Then he took a step over and lifted Misty Night's chin to look into her face. He was still smiling. Willow did not like this. She wanted him to return to her. She closed up the distance between her and Misty hoping he would turn his attention back to her, but he did not. Instead he turned to the two women who had come in with him. They were both dressed in the now familiar khaki shorts and shirts, except each of them had a palm tree emblazoned on the back of their shirts.
"The scouting reports on this one are very good." He said gesturing toward Willow. "The other one is pretty weak. But they are a magnificent pair. I don't want to break them up unless I absolutely have to. I think she has some potential for endurance even if she shows weak. I want training to focus primarily on preparation for the yearling two mile double harness run. That gives you less than ten weeks to get them ready. Can you do that?"
One of the trainers stepped forward and started touching the thigh muscles of both Willow and Misty. "There is pretty good muscle development. I think that should be enough time. Hopefully we will not have to spend too much time on conditioning. No matter how good a shape they were in before they will be a little out of shape after being confined on the ship for so long. They are a perfect parade pair. I recommend we spend some time making sure that their appearance in the parade is at least not embarrassing."
"Of course." He nodded his head. "But I really want that cup this year. Frank got the blond team. They are highly rated and will be tough competition. I don't know who is going to get the Asians, but I can't afford to buy another contender team so they will go to one of the other stables. I don't think any of the other yearlings pose any challenge at all."
'A race? A big important race. In less than two months. We can do this.' Willow was thinking. She kept looking at him hoping he would look back at here. 'We will work hard. We will win for you.' She wanted to assure him that he had made the right decision in buying them. She nodded her head up and down and pushed herself toward him.
Her breast came into contact with his arm. He looked at her gesturing and nodding and attempts at communication. He wasn't annoyed at her intrusion, in fact he smiled again. She would do anything to get him to smile. He put his hand against the side of her head and neck and stroked down over her shoulder. "Nice pony, I know you won't disappoint me."
"I won't, I won't." She tried to say leaning her head toward his hand as best she could.
He handed her reins to one of the trainers and started to walk away. Then he turned and looked back at them. "We will win. You are free to use the whip at your discretion." Then he turned his back and left the room.
Willow watched him as he walked across the room hoping he would look back again, she watched until he had disappeared from view. As empty as she felt with his departure from her side, she still tingled from his touch. She wished she could put her hands in the places he had touched. She wanted more of his touch. She wanted to make him happy. She needed to make him happy. All she had to do was win. Well, they had to win. He said Misty was weak. That meant Misty had to step up. Willow remembered that Misty was having trouble their last day at the warehouse. She needed to do a lot better. Willow hoped that the trainers would not go light on her. She had been slacking. If she doesn't get it together they should lay the whip on her. He was smart enough to see that, he didn't want Willow held back by Misty. She wasn't going to be. She was going to win if she had to drag Misty and the sulky all the way around the track.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a pull on her reins. The hobble had been removed and she was guided toward a door that led out of the building. Once outside the building they moved in the direction of the stables passing between the training area on their left and the race track on their right. Misty's trainer walked ahead leading her by her reins. Willow's trainer followed behind. Misty appeared to balk and pull back a couple of times, but a jerk on the reins had the effect of moving her forward. When someone held your reins you went where they guided you. There was really no choice in the matter.
The road they followed ran along the back of the formal race track separated by an immaculately trimmed hedge about four feet high. Over the top of the hedge Willow could see that the formal track consistent with normal construction was made up of two tracks, one within the other. The outside track was dirt, the inside grass. A white rail fence defined the interior circumference of each track. The outside track must be about a mile in length (a fairly normal length for horse race tracks) which would make the interior track 7/8th of a mile. Willow wondered if her four legged brothers and sisters might also run here. She had not seen any sign of them so far, but the grass track did not seem at all suitable for the equine inhabitants she knew to be here, including herself. She hoped she would not have to race on it. She knew it rained a lot in the tropics; maybe they used the grass if things were too muddy. There was no sign of rain now. Blue sky with not a cloud.
As they neared the stable buildings Willow could see that each one had a sign hanging from the eve visible from the approaching path. There were no words on the signs, only a symbol. One was a palm tree. That was obviously her new stable. Willow wondered if they were heading for their stalls now. It was early afternoon, but it was getting very hot and she would not mind getting out of the sun.
Instead of turning into the doorway of the stable the trainer guided them into another building next to the stable. It was a type of barn/equipment room. The walls were festooned with tack and gear. Around the inside of the room were various types of sulkies, chariots, and other carts both fancy and plain.
Clearly Willow and Misty were not headed to their stalls for rest. The signs connected to their nipple rings were finally removed and then each of them was hooked into the yoke of a single pony sulky. It looked like Misty was twisting away from the connections making it more difficult for her trainer to complete the task. Willow was pretty sure this obstructive behavior would not end well for Misty. Had she not heard what their new owner had said? Obviously he was right. Misty needed better motivation, and if the threat of the whip did not turn the trick maybe its kiss would. Willow was completely cooperative with her trainer and she finished the task first. If Willow had hands she would have gladly lifted and held the bars of the yoke while it was connected. She even had her bells again. In her mind her owner was standing next to her stroking her head and telling her how pleased he was with her. She was going to make that image come true. She sniffed the air her mind trying to recreate his scent. It had only a hint of cologne. Musky and rich not flowery at all, it was clearly masculine, the scent of a powerful potent dominant male. Just the memory made her knees weak.
Her trainer had mounted the sulky and signaled for her to leave the barn. It actually felt good to be back in harness. She moved into the walk that she had practiced on the deck of the ship. On reasonably level, non-pitching, ground it was easy to keep a pace and lift her legs high. The weight of the sulky seemed negligible. Only a slightly forward angle compensated for the drag at her hips. As they left the barn she was turned back onto the path they had just walked. Just ahead and to the right was the practice area. The major feature of the training area was a large track, about the same size as the dirt track in the formal stadium. Inside were two smaller tracks, also dirt, set end to end or oval to oval. There was no grass practice track. The interior tracks were closer in size to the track Willow had practiced on in the warehouse back in the United States. The outside track was much longer. Willow remembered that the big race, only a couple of months away, was two miles. That would be about two laps of the big track.
Her eyes circumnavigated the large track. That was a long way. In her training so far she had run no further than two laps of the small track. She could see that would be less than a full lap of the big track. She had only trotted four or five laps, and again of the short track. She felt her stomach knot. Suddenly she did not feel so confident. Jen was suddenly thinking that although she could probably jog two miles this was a race. A race hitched to some stupid cart with a passenger being pulled. This just wasn't right. They had no right to do this to her. The stupid protective association wouldn't even let her state her case. So was that the governmental oversight? It was Catch-22 ponies could not speak so the paperwork and the statements of the humans governed. If the government sanctioned this it would make escape much more difficult. With a registration number tattooed in her mouth she could be easily caught and returned to her owners if she did get away.
As they turned onto the large training track, a snap of the reins and the crack of the whip signaled an increase in pace. Jen came out of her thoughts, focused on the task at hand and moved up to a trot. Had it really been almost two weeks since she did this before? It seemed so natural a movement. Suddenly Willow wasn't afraid of the length of the track. She could do this. She would do this. She needed to show her owner that he had made the right decision buying her, well them. She would make sure he was not disappointed. If Misty needed to be whipped, well that was just the way it was.
They trotted for two laps of the track (2 miles). The pace was good, it was smooth and steady. The clink of the bells gave witness to the gait. Willow's trainer worked on bringing her close to the rail. She didn't like being so close to the rail. She would start to drift away and be guided back in. A couple of times she thought the trainer was going to run her right into the rail but she always eased up just short of bringing her into contact.
Willow's breath was coming in deep heavy gasps after the two laps. She was surprised when instead of being brought to a walk she was signaled to run. There was a crack of the whip, still in the air, not on her flesh. She moved to the run gait she had learned. It was a run, not a sprint. It involved reaching out with her legs to cover as much distance as she could with each step. The lower connection point of the sulky became obvious as she ran. With its connection to her body adjacent to the point where her legs connected into her hips she could deliver maximum power to each step. She could lean into the movement using the small resistance from the sulky to keep her upright.
Willow was enjoying the feel of the run. She wondered if her owner were somewhere nearby. He certainly would not expect her to look so good and move so fast on her first day 'off the boat'. She was sure he would be pleased with her. They continued the run for a full lap. As the bells on her nipples and clitoris started to arouse her she thought of her owner. She pictured him in the sulky behind her enhancing her sensation through the gentle swinging of the bells as he guided her to a place where the two of them could be together alone. Her breath was coming faster, she didn't know how much was because of her arousal or just sheer exhaustion. The feeling from the bells gave way to an orgasm. As its waves washed over her she never broke stride, she never varied her gait. But as she neared the end of the lap Willow thought her lungs were going to explode. Her legs wanted to give out. Her legs were starting to cramp. Her body was screaming for her to stop, but she would not. He might be watching. She would not stop until she was signaled to stop or she dropped dead on the track.
There was the signal, slow, first to a trot, shortly thereafter to a walk. She was breathing heavily, no, she was panting, no, she was actually gasping. She tried to maintain her composure and keep her posture straight. It was a losing battle; she slumped forward as she struggled to fill her lungs with air. There was a cramp in her right calf. But she did not fall; she managed to keep walking, the cramp hurt. In another life she would have sat down and massaged it. Here all she could do was keep walking and try to walk it out. Walk or rather limp she did although her knees were certainly not meeting the required lift. But her trainer was cutting her some slack. There was no snap and bite of the whip. As she walked her breath started to return. The cramp started to ease and her limp went away. She started to feel better. She started to lift her knees again. They walked a complete lap of the track before returning to the paddock area near the entrance.
Her body was soaked in sweat. The wet tropical heat kept her from drying off. Her trainer tied her reins to a post, and then she walked back to Willow and watered her from a plastic bottle. Willow took the water effortlessly. The trainer gave her a pat and put something into her mouth. It was sweet and her taste buds exploded in ecstasy at the almost forgotten flavor. She had done a good job. She knew it and her trainer knew it. She was not sure what was sweeter, the syrupy flavor in her mouth or the stroke to her ego from her performance. She held her head up in pride, but also so as not to lose her prize as she worried it with her tongue enjoying each lick.
Her trainer moved off to talk to some other people. They had clipboards and a stop watch. Obviously they had been watching her performance, had he? Was he here? Willow searched all around he was not to be seen. Why was he not there? Didn't he want to see what she could do? There was a lot of training time before the race, but this was the first time she had run for him. And let there be no mistake she had run for him. She looked at the trainers huddled about 30 feet away. What did they think? Were they impressed with her? Would they tell him what a great job she had done? Certainly they would. And in time he would come. He would watch her. She would impress him. She would win for him. She knew it. But for that to really happen she needed Misty to perform too.
She looked around for Misty. She had not seen her on the large track. She had not passed her during her run, and certainly she had not been passed by her. Where was she? Then she saw her. She was on one of the small tracks. She was also hitched to a single pony sulky. She was trotting. The movement was not smooth. Willow could see the sulky yawing back and forth. And for a trot, which was easy to maintain with an almost upright posture, she seemed to be leaning forward. It wasn't necessary to lean forward for a trot, maybe a run, but not a trot. And the bounce of her breasts was too much to be explained by just the movement of the trot. Her head and neck were moving from side to side and from front to back. She was breathing heavily. Then to Willow's horror Misty's foot seemed to slip and she went face down on the track. The sulky bounced and stopped, but did not flip over. Misty and her trainer were quite a ways away, but Willow could make out the trainer shaking on the reins and encouraging Misty to rise. Nothing was happening. Willow saw the whip go back and then fall. Willow could hear the snap all the way to where she stood. Misty jumped, but did not move to get her feet under her. A second stroke, the sound of the snap arriving just after the action was observed. Willow could hear the cry from the downed pony. Her feet and legs were starting to move now. A third snap and another scream issued from the track.
"Give her a chance." Willow mumbled to no one. Lying on her stomach, connected at the hips to the yoke arms, with her arms uselessly held behind her back, Misty was having a very difficult time getting up. She was trying to get a knee under her to lift her body up but she kept slipping forward and falling back. Each failed attempt was greeted with another snap of the whip and another scream from poor Misty. Finally she got a knee even with her waist and was able to shift her weight over onto it. Then she was able to lift herself back up to a standing position. The beating stopped, but she was not allowed to catch her breath. Instantly the reins where shaken and Misty was required to start forward, first a walk, then a trot, and finally even a run, albeit a very slow run. Jen's heart was pounding for her friend. They had run her to exhaustion and then beaten her when she had fallen. As much as she wanted Misty to perform better this was really not fair.
Something wet touched her cheek. Jen looked up and noticed that the blue sky was completely gone. In its place thick dark gray clouds cast a deep shadow over everything. Where had those come from? And as quickly as the clouds arrived it started to rain, gentle at first, but quickly increasing. One of the trainers walked over to the sulky and threw a cover over the seat. Then the trainer moved under a protective wooden canopy with the other trainers. Jen was left hitched to the rail standing completely in the open. The rain fell on her and there was no protection. She looked around for some cover. There was a stand of trees not too far from her but far enough away to provide her with no cover. She had not been hobbled, but her reins were tied to the post. She tried to shy away from the rail but her reins would not budge. She stomped a foot which splashed in the puddle that was assembling around her feet, then she just stood and let the rain fall onto her and run down her body to the ground. At least it was warm, in fact once soaked, a very quick process, it started to feel very good. The only continuing problem was the water running into her eyes which underscored her inability to wipe it away.
As quickly as it came it was gone and within half an hour the sun was once again shining. Her skin dried quickly, but the leather straps and bands of her harness took longer. The wet leather was not comfortable against her skin, but there was little she could do about it. The edges of the harness that constricted her breasts now seemed to be cutting deeply into them. She tried to twist her body inside the harness it would not move. She shook back and forth to see if it would relieve the pain around her breasts it did not help. She tried to leverage against the attachments from the harness to the yoke of the sulky, but that did not work either. Everything was measured so precisely and connected so tightly to her form that it was if the straps were a part of her. She wondered if the water would loosen her arm cast. She tried to twist her arms inside the cast nothing. She tried to look back at it hoping to see its integrity compromised. She could only see the portion on her arms, but it was completely intact and from the appearance of the small beads of water left on its surface it was water resistant.
Jen knew it was only the middle of the afternoon, but she was very tired. She had not been able to sleep well anchored as she had been all night in a standing position. She had been sold at auction. She had been run for miles on a track. She had been left to stand in a tropical downpour. What would be next? Abby pulled her sulky up next to Jen. Her trainer got out and secured her reins to the rail a few feet away. Jen looked at the bright red marks on Abby's back, buttocks, and legs. There were a lot more of them than could be accounted for in the events of the fall that Jen had witnesses. The trainer must have been laying on the whip even before that.
Abby's head drooped. She looked at Jen. Her eyes were glassy and distant. There was a pain there that made Jen gasp. Jen knew it was much deeper than just the reaction to the physical pain betrayed by the many marks on her body. She had never seen her friend look so despondent. The look of fear that she had seen in her on earlier occasions was gone. It was replaced instead with a something that felt like dark desperation. It was the look Jen expected from someone who had completely given up and was ready to take their own life. But even that road to escape was denied them. They absolutely had to get out of this place. Jen didn't know how, but she knew they needed to get away.
Jen hoped that she and Abby would be stabled close together so they could talk after their bits were removed. They had to come up with an escape plan. And, if nothing else at least she could try to provide some comfort to her friend. This was truly monstrous. Jen's thought returned to the PPA woman. 'Humane . . . humane my ass.' She would like to see that bitch hitched to a sulky while someone unmercifully whipped her ass. She wondered how humane she would think that was.
The trainer had returned. She removed the cover from the seat of the sulky and shook away the water. Carefully folding it, she put it away in a nearby cabinet. The sulky seat, unlike Jen, was dry and after retrieving the reins the trainer climbed inside. 'Wouldn't want her to get her ass wet.' Jen thought.
There was a pull to the right and a shake of the reins. Jen was exhausted, her hair was matted, her wet harness cut into her body, her legs felt like tree stumps rooted to the wet ground. There was another pull and shake on the reins. Jen looked over her right shoulder toward her trainer and glared; then she twisted her head straight forward lifting her chin in a deviant gesture as she snorted through her nose and mouth. Her legs remained planted. But then there was the snap and the bite of the whip. The fire seemed to run through her entire body. Her knees moved slightly but she recovered and held her pose. Then there was a second snap. Did they know different places to hit? This really hurt much more than the last strike. Reluctantly Jen stepped out to the right and started to walk. The track was wet and slippery. The sulky felt like it had gained at least 100 pounds. She didn't know if it was her tired condition or the muddy track, or a combination of both, but it seemed to take great effort even to move it forward.
She was guided toward one of the smaller tracks. Although still an effort the movement started to smooth but it was taking all she had just to move forward at this slow pace. Certainly her trainer was not going to expect more but she already knew the answer to that question. It came only a short distance into the small track. There was the shake and the signal to increase pace. Jen stepped up her pace, held the trot for about six steps, and returned to a walk. It just was not in her. The snapping pain delivered the message of who made the decisions. She tried again. She was having trouble controlling her legs; they felt like they were going to collapse. She was certain she was going to fall to the track in utter exhaustion. She remembered seeing Abby struggling in the dust to rise from her fall as the trainer put her to the whip. Fear surged through Jen's body and with it enough adrenalin to keep the trot.
Fortunately the trainer had some recognition of her condition. This session was not extreme. Although they trotted an entire lap it was a much smaller track and after each lap there was a lap of walking. And, somehow it became easier as they went on. When she was finally guided off the track and directed toward the stable area she could not have been happier. She only hoped that they did not stop until they reached the stables. She was not sure she could get her legs moving again once they stopped, even for a minute or two. She had never been so tired.
They did not stop until they had returned to the barn. There the trainer disconnected the sulky. Then the trainer gave her a quick visual check and handed her reins to a groom who had come into the barn. It was not the groom Jen had had in the warehouse and on the boat. It was not someone she had seen before. She had the look of the grooms; small in stature, and she was naked except for metal cuffs locked on her wrists and ankles and a collar. But there were no chains connecting any of them and she appeared, unlike ponies, to have complete freedom of movement.
Jen was led toward the stable area. She forced her legs to move and stumbled forward behind the groom. She could not wait to get to her stall. The stable was a long building. An open corridor led up the center. One opening faced toward the sea so that the breeze from the bay would provide some cooling to the building. Along each side of the corridor there were stalls. The first two were larger, about 18 feet wide and separated by a rail fence. Each had some type of frame standing in the center, the purpose evaded Jen. Then began the regular pony stalls. It looked like there were eight on each side. The stable could hold sixteen ponies. There were signs on the doors to a little more than half of the stalls. Most were carved wood, but Jen could see the cardboard sign 'Willow' up a head on the right. Happily, 'Misty Night' was on the next stall. They would be together.
The gate to her stall was opened and she was led inside. It was similar in size to Jen's first stall back at the warehouse. The stalls on the ship had been smaller and more cramped. This floor was concrete, the walls wood, and the feeding and watering troughs were connected to the wall just inside the gate. The water was self filling like the trough on the ship. That was nice. There were several hooks on the wall to accommodate tack, but they were set high enough that she would not accidentally knock into one and hurt herself or, of course be able to use it to aid in removing any gear. The gate to the stall was just over five feet and when closed was secured with a heavy bolt with a flange that had to be lifted as the bolt was slid to the closed position and then dropped over a metal loop that could be padlocked. The gate was wooden, but sturdy in construction. The stall was clean, reasonably comfortable, and secure. Each wall extended up about eight feet and then had about four feet of lattice extending to the ceiling. This allowed air to move freely thought the stable but provided no view from one stall to another.
Due to Jen's condition it took the groom a great deal of time to perform her evening tasks. She removed the bridle and bit; she produced a wrench and loosened the constrictions around Jen's breasts; and she removed Jen's boots. Her skin was washed and oiled. Her leather was cleaned and conditioned. Her hair was washed and brushed. Her leg muscles were carefully massaged. At first this was very painful, but Jen could quickly feel relief from the effort and began to enjoy it. Jen had tried to talk to the groom, but she had been shushed. She was just too tired to persist. Finally, satisfied with her work the groom filled the feed trough and left. Jen heard the rasping and then the clunk of the bolt on her door as it slid home confining her to her stall. She wanted to lie down and rest, but she knew once she did she was going to have a lot of trouble getting back up. She needed to eat first.
Jen wanted to talk to Abby, she wanted to see how she was holding up, but after eating she had curled up on the floor and almost instantly fallen into a deep sleep. Bird calls and sounds awakened her. Jungles are not quiet places and the stables were built on the very edge of the jungle. Jen did not know what time it was. There were no clocks she could see. The groom was back. It was the same groom, so maybe this was to be her groom. She missed her little groom from before. She wondered what had happened to her. Had she been sold at auction also? Was she bought by one of the stables or was she off to some other life on this strange island? Jen felt bad that she had not forced herself to stay awake and talk to Abby. She had looked so down and broken. Now it was too late and she would have to wait until the end of the day.
As Jen tried to move every muscles in her body complained. Every movement took twice the effort and was accompanied by extreme pain. This was going to be a very difficult day. The groom seemed to anticipate this. Before anything else her muscles were massaged and liniment was rubbed into them. Jen had to admit, this was working, the muscles were beginning to loosen up a bit but only a bit. This was still going to be a difficult day.
With her teeth cleaned, her hair brushed, her skin cleansed, and her leather polished she was beginning to feel better. Finally, the groom replaced her bridle and bit, tightened the constrictors that encircled her breasts (Jen could very well have done without this), attached her reins and led her out of the stable and toward the barn. She heard sounds from Abby's stall, but could only catch a glimpse of her and her groom over the top of Abby's gate as Jen and her groom passed by.
Seemingly recognizing the effects of the previous day's activity this was an easier day. Stiffness, knots and kinks were worked out slowly and once again Willow began to feel one with the sulky and the track. She recognized the importance of the training, the need to develop endurance for the race. They had trained hard, but the schedule was short and hard training was necessary. She had made a promise, not stated but a promise none-the-less, to him that she would prevail and that meant hard training. She was up to the task. Even when the rain came in the afternoon it did not darken her spirits. This time they were on the track trotting and the rain actually felt good as they continued their pace unabated by what Willow came to understand as a normal pattern of the weather in this place. It seemed like every morning was bright and sunny but every afternoon was visited by showers. When it rained it rained hard, but it never lasted for more than twenty or thirty minutes, the rain was warm and actually pretty refreshing, and although remaining humid the signs of the rain quickly disappeared.
That evening after they were groomed for the night Willow did get a chance to talk to Misty. But it did not go well. Willow found herself becoming upset. Willow could not understand Misty's attitude. Misty was obsessed with how she believed she was being mistreated, even though it was her own fault. She couldn't stop complaining and feeling sorry for herself.
"We have to work hard so we can be a team and win the race," said Willow.
"What has happened to you? Are you crazy? I am not going to willingly submit to being owned and whipped," Misty retorted.
"This is here and now. We have been bought by a good stable. He didn't bring us here, but he spent a lot of money making us a part of his stable. He has confidence in us and he is putting resources behind us. He cares for us and we have to show him that we care and that we can do it."
There was no reply, only silence and the sounds of crying from the other side of the separator. Willow tried to talk to her a few more times, but Misty was no longer responding.
Over the week they continued training on the single pony sulky. Willow was fearful that Misty was being too resistant and that Willow's hope of them being a team was being undermined by Misty's bad attitude. Willow's endurance was clearly increasing. She could now easily follow a trot of several laps of the large track with three laps at a run and then go back to a walk as if she did this every day. Well, now she did do this every day.
It was halfway through the second lap of a run, on the far side of the track, that Willow glanced across the field and saw. She could not be sure, but it looked like it has him. It seemed to take forever to make the turn and come onto the stretch that propelled her toward him, but as she did her hopes were confirmed. It was him, elegant in his white suit and perfectly pressed shirt. Standing next to him was a woman. She was clearly not staff; well coiffed blonde hair, dressed in a white lacy dress and protected by a parasol against the sun. Standing next to her and holding the parasol was a slave girl, her wrists loosely linked with golden chains that were also loosely connected to her collar in front. There was sufficient length to the chains so as to not restrict almost any motion. It was more as if the chains were there to remind the slave of her status.
As Willow and her trainer passed the stand area where he stood Willow saw one of the trainers with a stop watch. They were going to time this lap. She was going to make it a fast lap. She increased the pace, just a little. Her trainer noticed but did not make any effort to slow her. Instead she seemed to join in the idea that this would be a show lap. The trainer moved Willow close to the rail. They had practiced this; there was no more fear of stumbling or catching the sulky. The uprights holding the rail began to flash past. The sulky was moving very fast. After they had made the last turn and came onto the straightaway moving toward him she could see all eyes on her. But most important, she could see his eyes on her. He was smiling. She pulled in gasps of air and pushed with all she had into the last furlong. As they came across, the trainer signaled and Willow eased up just a little. Although they were now all behind her she could hear the woman clap her hands.
It took half way to the turn to reduce speed from the run to a trot and finally to a walk. Willow wished they could just turn around and go back to him, but she knew they would walk the entire balance of the lap, almost an entire mile at a walk before she would get back. She prayed he would wait. She had put everything into showing him how much she cared and how hard she had worked. Please let him wait for me. On the back stretch, she could finally see. He was still there. He was talking to the other trainers. The woman had moved over by the rail and was intently watching Willow. Willow, for her part, was strutting with her head held high, occasionally tossing her mane, as if leading a victory parade up the Via Appia. But soon she was past the center point and no longer able to see what she hoped was an appreciative audience.
As she came around the far corner and into the home stretch she could see that they were all still there. Certainly now they would wait. But he wasn't looking at her. He was still talking to the other trainers. She wanted him to look at her. She needed him to look at her. She needed to join eyes with him. She wanted his smile. She wanted to feel his touch. She needed him to recognize her.
She hoped they would not go by. She hoped that they would stop. But as they came closer Willow was fearful that her trainer would take her past them and continue on to some other task. Her heart began to sink, but she abided by every signal from her trainer. Then, there was the signal. Willow was guided right up to where he stood. And as they closed the last twenty feet he turned and looked at her. He smiled. You can't smile with a bit in your mouth, but joy exuded from every pore of Willow's body. She strutted right up to him and then stopped keeping her eyes locked in his. She wanted so much to touch him, but she did not want to soil his perfect suit with the glistening sweat that coated her body. She nodded her head and moved it from side to side hoping it would draw his touch. It did. He reached out and stroked her face. Electricity surged through her. It was the most heavenly touch she had ever felt. Then he reached into his pocket removed something and put it in her mouth. A reward, he had given her a reward. The sweetness of the treat was almost overwhelmed by the identification of the giver. He had recognized her. He had given her a treat. Even though he then went back to talking to the trainers (including Willow's who had now joined the small group) she was thrilled. In the fashion she was learning she held her chin high and used her tongue to keep the treat in her mouth, worry it with her tongue and collect and enjoy its sweetness.
Willow was lost in the enjoyment of her treat when she felt something. Her right breast was being stroked. In the surprise she dropped her head and turned quickly to the right. What was left of her treat fell from her mouth to the ground. She had lost his treat. She looked around and saw the remnants of the small white cube on the ground next to her feet. She was terrified that he might think she had spit it out or rejected his offering in some way. She would never do anything like that. She had been surprised and the surprise had caused her to lose her treat. Angrily she looked to her right and saw the woman that had come with him. The woman now had both hands on Willow's body. She was manipulating her breasts and playing her fingers over the nipples, flicking the rings in each of them. Today Willow was not belled. Willow recognized that the movement was supposed to be sensuous, but it did not feel sensuous to Willow. It had made her lose her treat. Had it been his hands she would have been in ecstasy, but they were not his hands. He owned her, not this woman, and Willow did not want this woman touching her. Especially out her in front of all of these people.
Willow had become use to people touching her breasts. The harness showed them off nicely and it seemed that the natural thing to do was to give them a squeeze. But this was more. This woman's touch was not meant to be an acknowledgment. Her actions were not meant to be just affectionate. Her actions were meant to be sexual. She was doing her best to arouse Willow. From her face she was doing a pretty good job of arousing herself. Willow twisted her upper body to pull her breasts from the woman's hands, but as she did one of the woman's hands moved to between Willow's legs. Her fingers were rubbing up and down over Willow's sex. A finger was starting to dart between her labia. The invading finger was now flicking the ring at her clitoris. Willow looked all around. Nobody seemed to notice how she was being invaded. He was still turned away from her talking to the trainers. If he noticed certainly he would stop this. Willow tried to say stop, but it sounded like nothing more than a snort.
He did turn his attention back to Willow, just as the woman withdrew her hand from between Willow's legs, although she continued to stroke her breast with the other hand. He walked over to Willow, put his hand to the side of her head and looked her straight in the eyes. He gave her a big smile, a couple of pats to the side of her head, and then he turned and walked down the path. As he turned to leave he took the hand of the woman guiding her to join him. Willow hated that woman. She had made her lose her treat, her treat from him, she had put her hands on Willow, but most importantly, she had left with him. He had taken her hand and she would certainly feel his touch. As best she could in the restrictions of the sulky yoke her eyes followed them. She wanted to go with him, but Willow could only watch as he walked away, holding the woman's hand.
Willow had a difficult time concentrating on her training for the rest of the day. She still performed well, but she knew there was more in her and she couldn't quite reach down and get it. How was she going to get his attention?
That night, back in her stall Misty tried to talk to her, but now Willow did not feel like talking and did not answer. She quietly ate and then tried to sleep. Usually she had no trouble getting to sleep, even with her arms permanently locked behind her, even on a concrete floor with only a light coat of straw, but this night her mind gnawed on the image of him walking away hand in hand with that woman, that horrid woman. Willow could not find any comfortable position.
Willow was tired the next morning, but a good morning of training seemed to make her feel better. At some point in the night she had decided that she was going to be the very best he had ever seen. She was going to make it impossible for him to not take notice of her. Her trainer seemed pleased with her and she even earned another treat, although it had not been delivered from the hand she so desired. The training for the rest of the week also went well.
Late on a following morning as it came close to the time they would usually take a break Willow noticed a two pony surrey coming up the path toward the rest area. Just as Willow was coming around the back turn and into the final stretch it stopped. Willow saw the woman the one that had been with him, the one who at touched her and made her lose her treat get out. Today the woman was dressed in tan shorts and a yellow halter top. Her feet were shod in high-top boots with heavy socks folded down to the top of the boot. She wore a wide brimmed hat as if she were ready for a jungle expedition. Even though she was driving a two seat surrey there was no one else inside. Her slave girl had been made to run along behind, attached to the back of the surrey with a line that connected to her neck collar. Her wrist cuffs were fastened together and to a ring in the front of her belt. When the surrey stopped so did the slave girl. She stood there with her head down just to the rear of the surrey. Her mistress left her there as she hobbled both ponies and walked over to the rail in time to watch Willow come by as she closed for the clock on what had been a three mile run.
The run had been fast, not her fastest, but respectable. After they had past the rest area she was brought to a walk. Seeing the woman made her think of him. She wished he was here and not her. Maybe her arrival meant he was coming. She tried to look back over her shoulder to see if he was arriving from somewhere, but the action caused her to stray from her line and a corrective tug on her rein and crack of the whip in the air near her buttocks straightened her head. She went back to concentrating on her breathing, which she knew was an important part of her walk after the run.
She was not able to get a look back at the rest area until they had completed the stretch and come all the way through the turn. It seemed like forever. She was sure the arrival of the woman must mean he was coming and that as soon as she was around the corner and into the back stretch she would see him. But he wouldn't have been able to see her run. He would only have the reports from the others, including the woman. Willow was sure that she would not be kind in any evaluation she gave. As they turned into the back stretch and she was finally able to scan the far side of the track she saw no indication that anything had changed. He was not there.
She lost sight of them again after as she moved into the far end of the back stretch and did not get a good look at the people until she was in the back turn and the final stretch walking toward the rest area. Willow knew they would stop there so that her trainer could confer with the other training staff that manned that station. She carefully examined everyone who was there looking for him. Maybe he was nearby and she just hadn't seen him. There was another sulky from the Sun Stable stopped in the rest area and that trainer was conferring with other trainers and the evaluation team from the Sun Stable. There was the evaluation team from the Palm Tree Stable, her stable, talking and looking at their clip boards and there was the woman standing near them, close enough to hear the conversation, but apparently not a part of the conversation. He was not there.
Willow's trainer guided her to a stop in the usual spot. Willow glanced at the other pony resting there. It was Gullfaxi. She shot Willow a defiant look. Willow snorted and tossed her mane. They had not been allowed any type of competition in the training thus far. She could not wait to show this arrogant Norse pony what speed was. Gullfaxi responded by shaking her head and upper body and straightened to her full height. She wanted to make sure Willow realized that she was taller than her.
Willow's attention was pulled away by a touch to her breast. She looked to her side and saw that the woman had approached, and once again was putting her hands on Willow's body. She was massaging and stroking her breasts and tweaking her nipples. Willow tried to shoot her a withering look, but it did no good. She tried to shake her upper body to pull her breasts free from the hands, but that did not work either. Then once again one of the hands descended to between her legs and started to play with the ring through her clitoris.
Willow heard a snort to her left. She looked over to see Gullfaxi looking on with mirth and satisfaction. Rather than empathizing with the plight of her fellow pony she was enjoying every moment of Willow's distress. Willow looked back at the woman with fire in her eyes. It is not easy to bite with a bit in your mouth. Your teeth do not meet because of the dowel portion that sits between them, but if you can get some flesh between the dowel and your teeth well; she did, just a bit of upper arm, but enough to make the woman squeal and jump away. This accompanied by a well placed kick to the woman's shin did the job. Thankfully they rarely saw the need to hobble the racing ponies during rests at this facility. And Willow was not now hobbled.
The woman massaged her arm and then her leg. She took a step toward Willow, but then she stopped and backed off. She looked over at the training staff; they were involved in their own business and had not seen anything. The woman removed the hobbles from her team and got back in her surrey, her slave still chained and leashed to the back jerked into motion as the woman cracked her whip and the surrey started to move. As she left she laid the whip to both ponies. Willow smiled, knowing she was the pony she really wanted to whip. That would show her. "Keep your hands off the merchandise," she said to herself.
The rest of the day's training went well and Willow returned to her stall that night with a sense of satisfaction. She gave only brief thought to the woman and then only with regrets that he had not been there to see her perform. She was able to get to sleep quickly. In her dreams she had won a big race. She was wearing a horseshoe of flowers around her neck and he was walking her proudly to the winner's circle as the crowd cheered.
Something was happening. Her body was being pulled. She opened her eyes and could see that there was somebody in her stall. She had been pulled around so that her back was near the end of the stall and now this person had just connected a line to the link at her right ankle and was securing it to a ring in the side of the stall. Willow tried to sit up but was jerked short in the effort. She had been pulled onto her back and her collar connected to a ring in the back of the stall. With her right leg held to the right side of the stall and her neck anchored to the back all she had was her left leg. Her assailant was attempting to get a hold on her left leg. Willow could see the line in her hand with which she intended to clip and secure that leg. There was no artificial light in the stables, but there was enough moonlight to clearly make out the position of this person. Willow let go with a vicious kick. Had it connected it would likely have changed the contest, there would have been a horse shoe mark that would have lasted for days, but it did not. The attacker grasped at her leg extended in the kick, but also failed to get a hold on it.
In this action Willow got a better look at her assailant. It was the woman who was becoming her personal tormentor. Now she really wanted to deliver a good kick. The woman moved to the far left side of the stall. With Willow's right leg secured and pulled to the right side of the stall she could not exert any power to the left side and the woman was able to move past the striking range of her hoof. From this position the woman was able to grab her upper left leg and then, in spite of the kicking and flailing of that leg, to work her way down the leg intending to clip the line to the ring at Willow's left ankle. Willow's legs were very powerful now and she was able to buck and shake the woman about, but eventually she succeeded in attaching the clip. The woman then fed the running end of the line through the ring on the left side of the stall. With that done, she began taking up slack. Willow fought back, but the woman would wait for her to twist or move and then collect the precious inches of slack given up by the movement. The woman was patient and Willow's strength was not insurmountable to sideways movement. The further her legs split the harder it became for Willow to use her strength to fight back. Finally, the woman was satisfied and the line was tied off. Willow was secured on her back with her neck linked to a ring in the end of the stall and her legs spread wide to each side. She was completely helpless.
The woman came up to her and with her face only a few feet from Willow's suddenly shoved something into her mouth. It was a wedge shaped gag. "You like to bite. Let's see you bite on that." She said as she secured it around Willow's head. Then stepping to Willow's side she produced an Allen wrench and began tightening the constrictions in the harness around Willow's breasts. These were normally tightened to make her breasts firm, but the woman continued twisting beyond the normal setting. Willow watched as first her left and then her right breast grew dark as they became swollen with blood. The woman tested the tightness of each by flicking Willow's nipple with her finger. Only when Willow flinched from the pain did she finally stop tightening. Willow was afraid that her breast was going to burst under the extreme pressure.
Satisfied that her victim was ready the woman returned to the gate area and produced a ridding crop from a small bag she had obviously brought with her. Tapping the palm of her hand a few times she smiled as she approached and knelt down between Willow's extended legs.
"You may be his prize pony, but you will learn to respect your betters." The word "betters" was punctuated with a stroke of the crop to Willow's inside right thigh. Before the pain even finished shooting through her body the left thigh was struck. Willow looked down and even in the dim light of the stall could see a red mark evidencing each stroke. Then she began working up and down the inside of each thigh sometimes returning to hit the same spot previously struck. Willow howled into her gag and tried to twist out of range, but she was held tight and completely vulnerable to the attack.
"You are my property too, and if I want to touch something I will do it." With that comment the crop landed directly on her sex. "Do you understand?" This was also punctuated with a strike landing on Willow's clitoris.
Willow said nothing. She could say nothing; all she could do was shake her head back and forth trying to make the pain stop. Her eyes were open wide and must have looked wild to the woman. "I asked it you understood." Again the strike to the most tender part of Willow's flesh. The pain was extreme. If she was not gagged she would have pleaded for it to stop. All she could do was shake her head up and down. This did not prevent another hard strike to the same part of her anatomy.
"Ok, I trust you will be respectful in the future. But just to make sure you remember I am not going to ignore those wonderful breasts." The crop fell on her right breast. Tightened at the base to almost exploding Willow's breasts had become very sensitive. The pain was severe. Unlike anything she had ever felt, except maybe the attack on her vaginal area. There was nothing Willow could do to make it stop, and she knew that it would not stop until the woman was satisfied that the lesson had been learned. Willow could feel the tears in her eyes. She closed them not able to watch the fall of the crop on her tortured breasts. She thought she would lose consciousness under this attack, but she did not.
"I have decided not to be too severe with you this time. But I trust you will remember this lesson." This final admonition was punctuated with another swipe to her sexual region. But then it finally stopped. The woman's hand then went to Willows vagina and Willow felt fingers probing her insides. She withdrew the fingers and began to flick the ring at Willow's clitoris with her finger. "But don't worry. It will not be all pain. I know how to bring pleasure as well. But, as you will learn, that is something you will have to earn." With that she withdrew her hand, but once again provided a final reminder with a dead center hit to Willow's sex.
Willow lay back exhausted from the ordeal. The woman released the line from her collar, and then did the same with the two securing her legs. Willow pulled her legs up toward her chest and cried as the gag was removed from her mouth. As if to make her final point the woman massaged and caressed Willow's right breast, still tightly constricted and painful from the recent beating. Willow did not move. She lay quietly on her left side on the floor of her stall. She had been attacked and punished in her own stall. It was painful and it was humiliating. The woman gave her right nipple a painful twist and then she stood up and walked out of the stall. Jen could hear her humming some tune to herself as she left.
Jen was still crying an hour later when she looked toward the stall gate, light was coming in from the side. She looked again and noted that the gate was not closed and secure. About two inches of space showed between the edge of the stall gate and the frame where it was normally secured. The light was increasing, but it was still night. She got to her feet and walked to the gate. She carefully pushed against the door, it moved open a little further. Through the space she looked up the corridor of the stable. There was no sign of movement. The woman had forgotten to latch the stall when she finished her "lesson". Was this her chance? If she was going to do anything she needed to do it quickly. The grooms would be appearing before long. She pushed the gate all the way open and looked up the corridor in the other direction, still no sign of any movement. She stepped out into the corridor. She had never been here before unless she was being held by reins. Now she had a chance to escape.
End of part 2
Copyright© 2011 by I. Binder. All rights reserved.