It was around 6:00am in the morning when my father drove me up to the old stables for my Sunday morning riding lesson. When we pulled up on the gravel drive my dad realized he needed to use the washroom, so I went to ask *Mr. Timmons* (name changed), if we could enter the barn at this time, he said "I don't see why not, just remember to turn on the light and be careful in there". How right he was, but this comes later in the story..
Well we slid the creaky rotting wood door open and looked for the light switch to no avail, but my dad really needed to use the washroom and that wasn't going to stop him!.
He asked me where the washroom was and I pointed him down the isle to the left and straight ahead towards the tack room. He ran down the isle and disappeared into the darkness of the musty old building. Being an impatient 11 year old, I decided to just go and get *Cherokee's* grooming kit and tack ready, even if the lesson was 2 hours away. I then proceeded to the tack room, but before I could get one step ahead a horrible stench hit my nostrils (mind you, I love regular horse smells, but this wasn't even manure or urine) I also felt a sudden rush of fear and coldness surround me, which was impossible because even though it was winter, the door was securely closed behind us and central heating was on, so this wasn't an element of the Canadian winter. This panic I felt was very unusual since this was the one place where I felt so comfortable..the horses suddenly began playing up (rearing, side-stepping, throwing their heads back and bucking at the stall boards) by now I was totally freaked because I was the only one besides my father in that barn. The horses seemed to be looking towards the arena, which was weird because the doors were padlocked every night so that the horses turned out wouldn't be able to wander and possibly escape or injure themselves during closed hours. The stench became stronger and was making me nauseous, but it was my responsibility to close the arena door as a student and volunteer of the old facility, then I heard wheezing, not human wheezing..more like that of a very sick horse. By now the odor was very noxious and I was fighting to keep my coffee down. Bang! Bang!!!,the arena door was being hit heavily with something, or better yet, by flying hooves..I peered into the musty wooden doorway and my sight met the image that would burn it's way into my thoughts forever..
There stood a dappled grey horse with a glazed look in her eyes. Her eyes were bloodshot and her face was very skeletal, but thats what scared me most, this horse had large flesh wounds and hardly any flesh on her face. She had holes in her head where her ears were supposed to be and blackened fur where the wounds were. Her tail was a wisp of bones and burnt hair, she looked me in the eye and reared almost striking my head with her thin burnt legs, but her legs went straight through me, sending chills into my soul. Then her mouth opened and bared her bloody tongue and broken teeth, releasing a shrill and sharp whinny that should have gotten my dad out of the washroom, but to no avail did he ever come out. The horse gargled blood in her decaying head and spat up black fluid that also seeped through her eyes and out her ears, then with a sick gasp the horse disappeared along with the dark presence it carried with it. I looked back through the isle and the horses were sweating with a wild look in their eyes, petrified by what was in the arena, needless to say, none of the horses wanted to be ridden that morning including the ones turned out at pasture.
My dad never made it to the washroom..even though the lock was on the outside of the door, it was an old latch and eye lock that could have easily been opened with a simple movement. I asked my dad later that morning and he said the door seemed to be cemented shut!! I also asked him if he saw or felt anything wrong, he did tell me he felt uneasy and an overwhelming sense of dread and depression overcame him in the tack room, which is smack dab next to the arena!.
Also, one last thing. The wood in that stable is blackened by.....you guessed it........fire. Sometimes if you wait until dark and turn out the lights..and listen, you can hear the crackling of the flames and the terrified cries of the horses.
Well thats all folks.
I hope you enjoyed this true tale of my experience in an old stable. I guess old man Timmons was right.."be careful in there and turn the lights on".
Was he ever right!!