Lost and Found
Instead of getting used to the smell of the dead animals, my nose seemed to have a
     harder time processing the sickly-sweet odor of the barn the longer we stayed inside
     it.
    As we walked toward the exit, the morbid side of my curiosity won and I went up on
     my toes to look over one of the stall gates. I flinched back in horror, covering my
     mouth with the back of my hand and nearly stumbled over a felled pitchfork.
    "What? What is it?" Kris asked.
    I shook my head from side to side, not sure of what I saw, but certain I didn't want
     to see it again. "I-I don't know."
    Before I could reach out and stop her, Kris stepped forward and gripped the stall
     door, going up on her toes, just as I had, to peer over the side. "No, Kris - wait!"
     It was too late. She recoiled from the gate, covering her face with her hands.
    "I want to go - I don't want to be in here anymore!" she said, taking no time to wait
     for me as she stumbled away from the stalls and back outside, into the fresh air.
    Zoey stood from her resting spot beside one of the Jeep tires, watching us with a
     worried expression. She had also stopped going inside houses and structures she didn't
     know. Her canine senses couldn't take the rancid stimuli.
    We leaned against the Jeep, staring at the barn with the single open door that almost
     resembled a mouth. So much death. Everything had died. Well, not everything .
    "What do you think did that?" Kris whispered, wiping clear snot from her leaking nose.
    I glanced at her before returning my attention back at the barn. "I don't know…some
     sort of large animal, I guess."
    "Think it might still be around here, watching us or something?" Her eyes darted over
     the empty grass fields that surrounded the barn and up the hill that led to the main
     house.
    "No. I doubt it, sweetie. Whatever… did that …well, it'll be long gone by now." I smiled reassuringly but did my own visual inspection
     of our surroundings before pushing off the Jeep and walking back to the trailer. I
     didn't want her to see my face. To see the doubt that I knew lingered there. The horse
     had been mauled to pieces; torn limb from limb and partially devoured. All except
     for the head - which sat picked clean on a bench facing the stall door. No sane animal
     had placed it there.
     
    ***
     
    "What are we going to name them?" Kris asked as she pulled handfuls of hay out of
     the back of the open horse trailer I had parked on the lodge lawn, dumping them into
     a pile on the grassy ground. Tufts of the dry strands stuck to the ends of her curled
     hair and across her shoulders, almost making her look as if the stuff had been dumped
     over her head.
    "Hmmm. Well, you were the one who found them first, why don't you pick?" I smiled
     at her face as it split nearly in half from a grin she didn't display often enough.
    "Okay. Lemme think," she murmured against the friendly palomino's neck as she greedily
     dove into the hay pile - muzzle first. "Well, this one is super sweet and her gold
     coat makes me think of sunshine. Is 'Sunny' too corny?" she asked me.
    "I think that's perfect," I leaned across Kris's shoulder and scratched the palomino's
     ear, "I think you look like a Sunny. How's that sound to you?" I asked the horse.
     She twitched her ear, but didn't stop eating.
    "And the bay? What should we name her?"
    Kris crinkled up her nose at the larger and much darker-colored horse. "She doesn't
     like me."
    "She doesn't like anyone…yet," I laughed.
    "Okay. She needs a name that goes with her reddish-brown coat. Hmmm…something grown
     up and attitudy."
    "Attitudy? Is that even a word?" I asked Kris.
    "It is now," she laughed.
    "What about Foxy?"
    Kris squealed, making both horses jump. They glared up at the teen who was bouncing
     on her toes, clapping her hands softy, before quickly returning to their hay. "Foxy
     is perfect for her!"
    "Foxy and Sunny it is!" I laughed at the giggly girl until she danced off to retrieve
     one of the shedding

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