Best Short, Short Story (General)
FREE TO ROAM
(Argo to the rescue!)
Disclaimer: Xena, Gabrielle and Argo are characters of XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS, which is the sole property of MCA/UNIVERSAL TELEIVSION and RENAISSANCE PICTURES. No copyright infringement is intended. The story however, belongs to the author and may not be copied or used without permission.
Story synopsis: Argo hears a cry from the wild and runs to the rescue.
This story is intended for general audiences.
Xena, onboard Argo and Gabrielle riding her chestnut beauty, make their way along a dirt road. Without warning, Argo stops dead in her tracks, her ears seem to stand at attention. She bolts into a mad gallop, like a bat out of Tarterus,
taking Xena totally by surprise and leaving Gabrielle behind to catch up, Xena pulls at the reins.
Whoa...Argo!...Argo, slow down!
Argo, paying no attention to Xena's pleas, seems to pick up steam!
In the distance Xena spots a fallen tree lying across the road. She prepares to guide Argo in an attempt to jump it.
Taking a solid grip on the reins, she cries out..."Yah!", Argo bolts, tossing Xena through the air. Loosing her grip, her backside slams to the ground. Her right foot becomes entangled in the stirrup. Xena is being dragged by Argo as she continues her gallop down the road. Gabrielle has gained ground and is fast approaching. Xena does her best to go along for the ride, reaching out for a branch, she manages will all her might to slow down Argo. It works, Argo comes to a complete stop. Xena takes a moment to catch her breath, still panting, she tries to free herself from the stirrup.
Gabrielle has reached the site of the fallen tree. There, she tells her horse to stay and runs to meet up with Argo and Xena. She reaches them...
Xena, are you all right!?
Just cut me loose, will yah!
Gabrielle grabs a dagger from her boot and cuts away the strap, freeing Xena's ankle. Her face is beet red with frustration, her arms and legs are covered in dirt. Not far from the beaten path, they would make camp for the night.
Night falls, Xena is propped up against a giant rock with her bandaged ankle stretched out. A roaring campfire lights up the night. She peers through the flames, for on the other side Argo is grazing along side Gabrielle's horse.
She falls into a deep trance, her mind racing with the events of the day. What has happened to her lifelong companion?... What could it be?...She has never acted this way before?...
Gabrielle brings Xena a furskin blanket and places it in her lap. She cannot help but notice Xena's face. She looks to see what Xena is looking at and turns her head towards the horses. She looks back at Xena and says...
"Is everything all right?" Hesitating for a moment, Xena breaks away from her trance and turns to Gabrielle.
Yeah, let's just get some sleep.
Day breaks, Gabrielle gives Xena a helping boost and they are on their way again. Xena finds it odd how normal Argo seems to appear....that will change shortly.
They came upon a fork in the road, it was Xena's intention to go left. Argo had a different idea. She held steadfast on all fours and refused to go in that direction. Xena clicked her heels and tugged at the rein. Argo motioned her head to the right, as if she was speaking her mind. Gabrielle came along side and said "Xena, what is it, what's the problem?"
"I don't know Gabrielle, but I am going to get to the bottom of this!"
And with that, they rode off, taking Argo's lead. Not long after Argo came to stop at the foot of a grassy hill over looking a meadow. With both their curiosity's peaked Xena and Gabrielle dismounted. Placing her right hand on Gabrielle's left shoulder, Xena hobbled along until they reached the edge of the cliff. Down below there was a sea of wild horses, corralled together with not much room to roam. At the gate, a man stood guard. It appeared that they were two more men holding camp off to the right.
By the gods, they must be a thousand of them!
Horse thieves, they sell to the highest bidder. Maybe some warlord set to do battle.
I guess I never realized that it just isn't people who die in battle.
Gabrielle left her horse behind for safe keeping and then led Xena and Argo down the mountain side.
When they got to the bottom, Gabrielle helped Xena down from Argo. Having been given final instructions from Xena, Gabrielle quietly made her way through the brush. Xena turned to Argo, while brushing her head fondly, she whispered in hear ear...When she was finished, Argo galloped away leaving Xena alone in the brush.
Meanwhile, the man who stood guard at the became distracted by something. It was Argo. She appeared out of nowhere and took him by surprise.
Hey there, where did you come from?
Her approached her, his arms stretched out, motioning her to come remain calm and she did.
He grabbed her loose rein and said..."There, there...that's a good girl." Suddenly, Argo began to turn in a circle, dragging the man along. Around and around they went. He cried out for her to stop! This brought the attention of the other two men at the campsite. To their amusement they both laughed out loud uncontrollably. Too busy being entertained by the site of their friend's folly, they never noticed Gabrielle standing behind them.
Hey guys...what's so funny?
Both men turned around at the same time. Not missing a beat, Gabrielle swung into action! Throwing punches and kicks, hoping to have the "last laugh". While Argo and the guard continued their revolving dance, Xena snuck up to the gate.
Still hobbling, she managed to go unseen. She unlocks it, placing two fingers in her mouth, she whistles and then let's out her signature cry..."LaLaLaLa...yah...yah!" Stepping behind the gate, she watches as the wild horses charge through. The ground shakes with motion of the thundering hoofs. Finally, free to roam.
Xena cries out to Argo. Argo comes to a full stop, the guard stopping also, wobbling a bit stands in front of her.
A broad smile comes to his face, thinking his ride was finally over. All of a sudden, Argo head-butts him and sends him flying in the air!... She runs over to pick up Xena, with the aid of the fence Xena manages to climb aboard.
Off to help Gabrielle lasso the other two men.
Xena soaks her feet in a shallow lake. At the other end Argo and Gabrielle's horse drink at the water's edge.
Propped up against her elbows, Xena splashes her feet in the water. Gabrielle comes to sit beside her, with her legs crossed, she stays on dry land.
Do you think animals can really communicate with others?
Yeah, sure....why not?
Gabrielle springs to her feet, her face full of wonderment.
I've got a great idea for a new scroll...I wonder what they'll think of it!
Gabrielle runs off to "talk to the animals". Xena throws back her head and lets out a big chuckle!
Judith L. Raymond aka "MOSES"
75 East Main Street
Falconer, NY 14733-1336