THE MAGIC ISLAND - 8.

A possible continuation of the classic story by John Willie.
As written by Reverie and edited by SirJeff.

 

I woke wondering how much sleep I really had gotten. I freshened up and went down stairs. Mrs. Saunders was the only one up. I sat at the kitchen table and watched as she put a batch of croissants into the oven. The coffee was done and she offered me a cup and sat down.

"I have been trying to remember the harness the Wextons have." She offered after good mornings and how did I sleep and the usual polite chatter.

"I am pretty sure that it was made for three, that of course is the usual number for a racing team. Of course you can race with any number, as there is a handicap system. It has been a long time since a two won and I donít ever remember a single," she continued. "The numbers donít matter in the parade events and often they are won by singles or pairs."

"I know that radiance ponies are rare, but if we were to need a third is there any way to dye hair or find a complementary color as a third?" I asked.

Mrs. Saunders looked shocked, so I had to explain that in England women did occasionally die their hair.

"There is a small village located at the far end of the Island," she started into a story. "They have access to the sea and fish. They are very self contained and have little need for ponies and only rarely interact with the rest of the Island. I havenít been there in some years. Nice folks, they just like to keep to themselves. About the only person who goes there on a regular basis is Dr. Macintosh. When I bump into him I will ask if he has seen a radiance. "

At that moment the morning singing of the birds was interrupted by a brief shriek.

I looked sharply at Mrs. Saunders to see if she thought something was wrong. My worried stare brought a response.

"Just the grooms using a crop," was her explanation.

Pop and Malua came down at about the same time and said good morning. Malua offered hers with a kiss on the cheek. Pop went out the back door and had a chat with the grooms.

Coming back to the table he explained, "Itíll take them some time to get all of the harnessing done so I thought that I had better get them off to and early start rather than waiting around till we are done with breakfast."

"Whatever you have in the oven sure smells great," he told Wendy, as he poured a cup of coffee.

By this time the croissants were giving the kitchen that delicious smell that only fresh yeast breads can.

"They should be done by now," said Wendy, as she took a sheet golden fluffy rolls from the oven and replaced them with a second sheet, ready to bake.

"Its every man for himself when there are hot rolls," said Pop and, "Donít wake the boys Ė no one wants to share." But it was too late. Mutt and Geoff raced in and grabbed the first croissants with practiced timing. Butter and orange juice appeared and there was little talking as we savored the goodies.

Remembering my manners after my second I said, "These are wonderful Mrs. Saunders. How early do you have to start them?"

"Itís an old family secret," she said, "I mix them up the night before, chill the dough and then let it rise slowly all night."

Breakfast and a second cup of coffee were soon over and we headed out the front door.

Wendy shouted to all as we departed, "If you see the Doc ask him if there is a radiance out at the fishing village."

There were three teams waiting at the front door. Maluaís were back in the normal harness looking eager for another day. Next came the radiance pair in a "stepper harness". Joanne held their heads as Pop looked them over carefully and made sure that the pace limiting straps were not yet connected. Suhanee and Judy both looked straight ahead, but I could see some quick glances as they kept track of me. Both were still wriggling even though their hands were virtually free Ė only cuffed at the wrist and joined by a twelve-inch chain.

Suhaneeís bottom showed several red areas. It seemed that Joanne had been encouraging her to behave and not to act like a spoiled brat. They were not in the yoke they had returned home in the night before.

Pop boarded the cart, snapped the whip within inches of the ponies' ears and announced, "Smartly now! Pay attention to your step." A quick shake of the reins and off they went.

This left me along with Pop's groom, who lead forward Victoria. She was hitched to a to a single seat sulky. With her white skin and blond hair, her harness of shiny white leather made her look elegant. She had a simple bit and her hands were cuffed behind her back. More intimidating was her posture and attitude. She was erect and focused. She reeked of confidence and composure. Her body seemed to give off an air of "I know exactly what I am doing and how to do it. You are an uneducated, unrefined, and ill-mannered country bumpkin that cannot possible know what to do with me." The same kind of air you get when you call upon a house and the butler answers the door. Despite her beautiful form and figure, fully exposed as were all ponies, she gave off no attraction at all. Being near her was like being near a frost-covered window. She rated cold.

Her groom introduced herself as Amanda. "I will be walking along and giving you pointers until you get the hang of driving," she said.

All of this was making me feel like a small child facing a first bicycle ride.

Amada showed me how to hold the reins; both in the same hand held loosely at the center off my lap. She did not suggest that I take the coach whip form its holder though I noticed that she carried a crop. She covered the basics for go (clicks in the cheek), stop (whoa), as well as moving the hands right and left for direction.

She nodded, I clicked and we started forward down the lane. Victoria moved with a precise strut. Each leg was raised to an exact height and then forward with a smooth precision that would have been the envy of the sentries at the Buckingham Palace. She proceded forward in a straight line and we began to drift toward the right side of the path. I moved my hand with the reins to the left and we made too sharp a turn to the left. I moved right and left, and right. After several zigzags I yelled, "Whoa" - just before she hit a shrub.

Amada took her reins and backed her to the middle of the track. We tried again and I did slightly better. By the time we reached the village road I was able to keep her on the track. We turned left and made the furlong to the nearest training track without running into any other traffic. There was one other team on the track as we turned in. Both ponies were laying face down in the grass. When they got back up, I realized that it was my team and that Pop was busy using the pacer. I was able to do a successful right turn and we headed around the outer dirt track. After several laps we were moving along nearly straight.

Amada set out several markers. After several tries, I was able to go through the marked path. This complete, Amada instructed me on giving the pony commands to move forward at a trot. She also taught me how to slow the pony back to a walk. Everything seemed to be going well. I was beginning to relax and enjoy the ride. Victoria even at a trot had an elegant and measured stride. But I had relaxed too much and nearly had another crash with the rail.

I had hardly had time to notice Pop and my team working on the infield, but when I did look they were down as often as up. Amada suggested we go back to the house for lunch and we followed the radiance team back up the lane. Amada took Victoria back to the stables for lunch, and I followed Pop onto the porch.

Mrs. Saunders brought out a pitcher of lemonade and asked no one in particular about how the morning had gone.

"That team could be alright," was Pop's reply, raising my hopes only to dash them with, "Jim here barely got started though."

He patted me on the knee and continued, "Driving at low speed on a closed track is pretty simple. This afternoon we'll get you up to a gallop and see how you do. After you get the feel of that, we will try some maneuvers, and then let you practice on the roads with some traffic."

"Your team has progressed quickly, and I already have them down to two inches of slack on the pacer lines." Pop reported. "If they give a good effort this afternoon we will be able to move forward to the synchronizer by tomorrow. Whatever Joanne did has had an effect. There has been no repeat of yesterday's fuss."

"The boys brought back the harness from the Wextons," Wendy reported. "Itís actually two complete sets, one for show and one for racing. Such workmanship is not often seen these days. I think that the race harness can be adjusted for two, but the show harness only will work for a three"

About this time Malua arrived, her team breathing hard and sweating.

"Back out on the road right now!" shouted the Saunders nearly together, "Walk them down till they cool off."

"You really know better than that Malua," Wendy scolded.

"I got some good news!" Maula shouted, wheeling the team back out the drive.

Maula came back in ten minutes with her team well cooled down. She handed the reins over to her groom and came up to the porch with a bound. "Dr. Macintosh says there is another radiance out at the fishing village," she gushed. Then she regarded the table where the harnesses on loan from the Wextons had been laid out and exclaimed, "These are fabulous. I donít remember ever seeing them. How long has it been since they were used?"

"Itís been more than 20 years," replied Mrs. Sanders.

"It would be a shame not to fill all three," she continued. "Who should go and see if the girl from the fishing village is interested."

There was much discussion, with the conclusion that Wendy and I should go. We would take Popís show team and she would help me with driving lessons along the way. Pop was going to continue to work with my team and Maula had things to do with hers. Mutt and Geoff even volunteered to clean and polish both sets of harnesses.

Instructions were given to the grooms and Wendy and I were presented with Popís dress team. Wendy placed a small package aboard and we got in. She took the reins through town, but handed them over once we were out of town. I was able to keep us on the track and guide the team through the turns with Wendy's direction. She held the whip and did a good job of snapping it above the heads of our looping team. On one straight stretch she told me to bring them to a gallop and after several snaps above Victoria, she landed the whip over each of her shoulders, causing small jumps and much harder pulling.

It was a long way out to the fishing village. We had several stops at small farms along the way for water and rest for the ponies. At the first stop after the whipping, I noticed that Victoria had a small red welt on the top swell of each breast. I thought it might have dented that icy reserve a little.

The country changed from all farms, to scattered farms with more dairy, and finally to green and pleasant forest. The path shrank to a one-way trail with grass and moss covering the surface. The flowers and birds were everywhere.

We finally broke back into a small village, less than ten houses. There were several people moving about and they all waved and said hello to Wendy. Many gave me a curious look. I noticed that most of the females did not walk on their toes, as did the rest of the islanders. I thought I caught sight of a radiance, and Wendy left to inquire. I was left to hobble the ponies and release them from the cart. I also had to ask for a water bowl, as the houses here did not have the shelf for the ponies. Everybody was friendly. The team was soon slurping water and being admired by several of the locals.

After about a half-hour Wendy returned with a radiance that was even more stunning then the two I already had. She was three inches taller with a fuller figure. She wore a short warp skirt and nothing else. Wendy introduced me to Kathy. She had the long multicolored hair that simply glowed in the sun. She was also walking on her toes. Wendy explained the need for a third pony for about a month. Kathy replied that she had little interest in being a pony and liked her freedom. She did look over Popís team after Wendy introduced her and they spent several minutes talking.

"I hear that the winners are given special high heels," she stated, "Is this true?"

"Yes it is," said Wendy. "Would you like to see a pair?"

"Oh yes," Kathy gushed.

Wendy took out the package and handed Kathy a pair of jeweled sandals with the silver spike heels.

You could see Kathyís eyes widen and knees grow weak. She looked at them from every angle and let the sunlight play on the jewels. She stroked the heels with a caress that was making me weak. After several minutes of pure adoration she asked Wendy if she might try them on.

Wendy told her that a brief trial would be OK. The girl took a seat and Wendy handed me the heels for fitting. I lifted her long, trembling left foot and fitted the sandal. I tightened the ankle strap. She made me wait several minutes before fitting the other as she admitted the sandal on her foot. Her other leg was also shaking from the thrill as I fitted the second sandal.

When she rose it was like watching a magnificent bird take flight. She walked, strutted, marched, twirled and pranced about in the heels, watching the sparkle and shine of the jewels. It was clear to all watching that here was a woman who was born to wear the jeweled slippers. It was with great reluctance that she allowed me to remove them, me enjoying the smooth muscles of her calves as I did so.

There was then an extended period of discussion on how long she might be gone, where she could stay while in training, and many other concerns. Finally all was agreed and I had my third radiance. We hitched up the team and she followed us out of the village, not wanting to submit to harness near her home. Once down the road, we stopped. Wendy told me it was my duty to transform her from free woman to pony. She gave me a bridle, some head straps and a set of modesty beads.

Kathy presented her wrists. They were soon strapped behind her back. She presented her neck for the bridle collar. I reached under that waterfall of hair and closed the collar Ė it gave me a great sense of owning her. I snapped on a lead and attached it to the back of the gig. Removing her skirt was simple - a single button held it. I stood behind her and had a great view of her shapely bottom. The modesty beads were donned on a single strand around the hips. Et voila, she was properly dressed as a pony.

Wendy had to remind me several times on the trip back to watch the team and not turn to watch Kathyís body in full motion. We arrived late for dinner and a lone groom met us, taking the team around back before anyone got a look at Kathy.