Roger Lumkin and Judy Woodsmith were young and in love. You can add frustrated to that short list. Since things had become fearful in town, slipping away for some fun became downright impossible. A curfew had been established, all underaged persons were to be at home, specifically their parent’s home, before sundown.
This led to a larger than average volume of familial arguments, in both meanings of the word. Lines were drawn, feet put down and the desire to hear another word on the subject was nil.
Judy, who was Margery’s daughter in more ways than merely biological, had a plan. Her mother had insisted that she strictly adhere to the curfew, after all, it wouldn’t do for the leader of the town council’s daughter to be caught breaking curfew. No, that wouldn’t do at all. What would people think?
While her mother was obsessed with propriety, Judy was more interested in spending time with Roger. It’s understandable that as a teenager, love seems like the most potent thing in the world and no one could possibly understand what they were feeling! Of course everyone feels that way but it takes some perspective, which will come with time.
As I said, Judy had a plan. After arguing with her mum and losing, she broke down, shed a few tears and told her that she loved her and that she understood. Margery, who was keen eyed in spotting the weakness in others, had a blind spot for her daughter, who she assumed was just like her. She was, but instead of bullying people to get her way, and lets make no bones about it, Margery was a bully, Judy just told people what they wanted to hear and did what she wanted.
And so, after her mother left to make sure everyone else was obeying the curfew, and after telling her father that she was feeling ill, due to woman’s issues, which always resulted in no questions and a wide berth, Judy slipped out into the night.
Roger had needed little convincing to sneak out. He was sixteen and had what most teenagers have, a deep belief in their own immortality and a healthy libido. So the two young lovers met and snuck into the woods for a little private time.
There was an old stone building, one story with the roof long rotted away. It was perfect for two things, a restoration by historical academics or a hideaway for teenagers to drink and fool around. If it were not as close to “That Place,” it might have been used for the former, as it was, it was rarely used for the former.
While more adults seemed afraid of “That Place” than children, it didn’t mean that they were unaffected by it. Dares to approach it were taken and then lied about. Since everyone did the same thing, no one was ever called out for it.
The mood in the abandoned stone building was downright spooky. It might be chalked up to the fact that the darkness of the woods at night is perfectly terrifying. If you live in a city or a town, you might think you know what darkness is. Really. I’m not joking around.
Judy who was not about to let stygian darkness interfere with her romantic time had brought a dozen or so electrical tea lights to enhance the mood. Roger, who was less ambiance aware enjoyed them in so much as he got to see what they were up to. A blanket was spread and shenanigans were gotten up to. Things were heating up when a noise was heard.
“Hold on,” said Judy.
Roger, whose focus was understandably not outwards raised his head and looked around.
“Am I doin’ it-“ he began.
“Quiet baby,” she cooed, even as her eyes scanned the darkness.
They both waited for something, but the only sounds were the faint breeze and their own heartbeats. Judy took a deep breath and started up again.
Once again, a noise was heard, this time by both teens. Roger, who was actually quite brave, if not though fully pulled up his jeans and stood up.
“All right!” shouted Roger, “If you think you’re being funny, you ain’t! You’re the opposite of funny! You are totally serious!”
As an intimidation, this was perhaps not that effective but his heart was in the right place, for the moment. He looked out into the darkness with his most “don’t mess with me mate!” expression. The darkness was unaffected.
Judy knew that it was just bluster but it was done for her so it seemed so cute.
“I think you scared them off,” she purred.
“Damn right it did,” Roger replied with the smile that had first caught her attention.
“Come on then,” Judy beckoned.
Things were starting up again when the noise started up again. This time there was something accompanying the sound. Standing at the edge of the electrical tea lights was a… pony.
Judy could not help herself, she uttered, “Awwwww!”
You should not judge her too harshly, this was the most adorable creature she ever laid eyes on. That includes Roger. She crept up slowly and extended her hand. The pony nuzzled it gently.
Roger, who suddenly found himself the third wheel on his own date said, “Where in he-“
“Hush!” said Judy, “You’ll spook him.”
“But this-“ he tried to speak again but Judy, channeling her mother, shot him a glare that made it very clear he had best be silent and pretty.
Judy then turned to the pony. This creature was enchanting, his coat smooth and shiny, the mane as silky as the hair of a shampoo commercial and his eyes were big and soulful, giving the impression that he would understand anything said to him. Judy was entirely enchanted.
“I would so love to ride you,” she murmured.
At that, the pony looked deep into her eyes and Judy understood that he wanted to bear her. And with that look, she leapt onto his back.
“Wait! Where are you going?” shouted Roger.
“Just for a ride…” said Judy as they galloped off into the darkness.
As stated previously, Roger was brave. He followed as best as he could but he lost them almost immediately. Undaunted, he stumbled through the forest, getting lost. Finally, he sat down with his back to a tree and contemplated what he should do. Other than find Judy and get them both home before anyone knew they were out, he was stumped.
Soon, it began to get lighter and he knew dawn was approaching. Since he was on his own, it seemed prudent, though he would not have used that word, to just get home and hope that the pony got her home safely. It was a thin hope at best, but it was better than nothing.
By the time he snuck back into his own bedroom, he had almost forgot how the pony grinned and winked at him as it and Judy rode off into the dark. Almost.