The dim, orange light of my flashlight darted up the path ahead of me as I walked up the hill to the horse barn. I could still hear girls whispering in their cabins, trying to muffle their laughs. It was my night to do the loop: checking the camp, making sure everything was in its right place and counting animals and boats. Jesse was suppose to be with me that night but she didn’t feel well so there I was walking up the gravel.
All the lights on the barn were out, I aimed my light at the pony barn, which held no horses anymore, just tack. The red bar was laid straight across the opening as it should. During the day if the bar was like this, the girls knew not to come up to the barn because no one was there. I turned to the right and continued walking to the larger barn. All around me was black silence. The wind whispered through the trees and a cold chill ran down my spine.
I arrived at the opening of the big barn. I flicked on the lights and walked down the center of the massive barn, lined with about 30 stalls, light wood trimmed and still brand new looking, lite up. I scanned by each stall, and counted them: Coco, Big Ben, Calypso, Cosmic Brownie, Fergus, Claire, Pal, Billy, Pepsi....... I stopped. Billy was not in his stall. I stepped back to his stall, looking inside of it. Where is he? I counted the other horses to make sure that they were all here. Maybe there was a mix up and he got put in one of the rings by accident. So I turned off the light and continued towards the small and mega ring. I scanned my light out into the small ring. Two massive bodies rose their heads to see where the light was coming from, their eyes glared white. It was Piper and Sports. I moved my light to see the back of the ring, I slowly scanned the light waiting for something to pop out. But there were only two horses there.
I moved to the mega ring where there was a shed. I walked behind the shed and eagered the horses to raise their heads. Out of the darkness a massive head swooped up from below. I jumped back, heart racing. I counted them 1, 2, 3, 4. Billy was nowhere to be found. I started to panic. So I retraced my steps to the small ring, and made sure that there were only two horses, and Piper and Sports still galred at me with the light reflecting in their eyes. My heart rate picked up. My hand became sweaty. I decided to check the large barn again. I tried to stay calm but I felt like there was something wrong. Why couldn’t I have taken someone to come with me? The breeze picked up and blew my hair from my neck sending an array of shivers down my body.
I turned into the barn and flicked on the lights. Once again I walked down the aisle, this time a bit more briskly and counted. Coco, Big Ben, Calypso, Cosmic Brownie, Fergus, Claire, Pal and Billy. The tall chestnut horse stood in his stall like the rest of the horses. I swear that I hadn't seen him before. Were my eyes playing tricks on me, was I going crazy? “I have to get out of here, I can’t do this” I told myself. I abruptly left the barn and walked towards the cabin area at the bottom of the hill.
I approached the pony barn from the side and as I turned and looked up the red bar was no longer blocking the door, but rested on its holder to the side. Fear struck me like lightning. My breathing stopped, I felt my throat compressing and panic set in. I swore the red bar was straight across before. I saw it with my own eyes! Then I realized, why would it be open at night, the barn staff always put it across. Then what could have done this? This was too much to think about, I backed away, mouth wide open and turned to the hill. As I turned my back to the black silence fear overcame me and I ran down the hill, only the tiny flashlight to lead my way.