The Horse Lord
by Lisa Tuttle
The double barn doors were secured by a length of stout, rust-encrusted chain, fastened with an old padlock.
Marilyn hefted the lock with one hand and tugged at the chain, which did not give. She looked up at the splintering grey wood of the doors and wondered how the children had got in.
Dusting red powder from her hands, Marilyn strolled around the side of the old barn. Dead leaves and dying grasses crunched beneath her sneakered feet, and she hunched her shoulders against the chill in the wind.
‘There’s plenty of room for horses,’ Kelly had said the night before at dinner. ‘There’s a perfect barn. You can’t say it would be impractical to keep a horse here.’ Kelly was Derek’s daughter, eleven years old and mad about horses.
This barn had been used as a stable, Marilyn thought, and could be again. Why not get Kelly a horse? And why not one for herself as well? As a girl, Marilyn had ridden in Central Park. She stared down the length of the barn: for some reason, the door to each stall had been tightly boarded shut.