Here is her winning entry:
The Bond of LoveMy name is Dominic and I’m going to tell you how I found the person I love today. Her name is Lisa Tilling. She is thirteen. I was born far from any humans, in the hills of Denmark. My father was the herd leader, my mother was a flashy buckskin, whose colors I inherited. When I was around three I was kicked out of the herd and went to roam on my own.
One day I smelt a strange new smell. I looked around till I found the source. In a clearing there stood a little wooden building . In a fenced in area there were three bay horses covered in the strange smell. I walked up to them and asked, “Why are you not running free?’’ One of them lifted its head from the brown grass it was eating. “Why would we want to run free when we are protected and fed good food?’’ Before I could answer, the door of the cabin opened and out came a young girl. She was tall and skinny and her hair was tied tight in two braids. “Mom, Dad there’s a buckskin mustang out here,’’ she called softly into the house. Out hurried Mr. and Mrs. Tilling. “My, what a beauty he is,’’ sighed Mr. Tilling. If horses could blush I would have. I looked at them for a minute or so, then I turned and galloped back into the woods.
The next morning when I returned, resting on a post there was a shiny, round, green object. I sniffed it cautiously. I questioned one of the horses . “ It’s an apple you dummy,’’ he laughed.’’ The girl left it for you.’’ I knew it could be a trick, but it did smell delightful. I ate it. It tasted like nothing I had ever eaten before. So juicy and crunchy. I made sure that I left no remains.
For the next week I kept coming back and every time there was an apple on the post. But the last day I observed the girl placing the green fruit on the post, but instead of going into the cabin as she always did, she just walked a little way and played with her braid. I was scared at first, but seeing that she wasn’t going to do anything to me, I snuck out of the trees and out into the open. I trotted up to the post and ate my treat. I was leaving the clearing when I heard a soft clicking sound. Curious, I looked behind me and saw Lisa with an outstretched arm, holding another apple. I couldn’t resist. I turned around and trotted over to her.
I halted a few feet away from her and stretched my bur covered neck to snatch the apple, but the little blighter kept moving her arm closer to herself, forcing me to step closer. Finally however, I was inches away from the apple. I snatched it hurriedly and ate it. But as I munched away I felt a warm hand on my nose. I looked up and saw Lisa’s brown hand caressing my velvety nose. “Good boy,’’ she soothed softly as she slipped a rope around my neck. At first I was terrified, but after a few minutes of soft pats I was relieved that nothing was going to harm me.
Lisa stood up slowly, as not to startle me. She led me into a small shed beside the cabin that I had never noticed before. Inside she poured me a bucket of tiny golden kernels. I shoved my nose into the bucket and ate. Oh they tasted even more glorious than apples. When I had finished every last kernel, Lisa backed me into a box like room and left me. I was beside myself with terror by now. I kicked frantically at the walls trying to escape.
About an hour later Lisa returned, this time with her Father. “I told you I would capture him,’’ she said triumphantly “You did, but he does not look happy,’’ her father observed, studying my sad eyes. They then left the shed, leaving me alone by myself again. How I hated both of them. I struck my black legs out and hit the walls.I tried to escape all night, but nothing I did helped. By morning all my strength was gone. When Lisa came to check up on me she carried a bucket of those sweet golden grains. I ate them greedily. Then she slipped a cold metal bit in my mouth. I was too tired to object.
Lisa continued to come every morning and feed me, and every day she introduced a new piece of the horrid tack. But one morning everything was different. She put all the tack on me and lead me outside. It was the first time I had been in the open since that day when I was taken prisoner. She placed a stool on my left side and slowly eased her way into my saddle. The minute she was seated properly I became a demon horse. I bucked, reared and even rubbed against the fence post. But she would not fall off. At last I got to my knees and was about to roll and then she hurriedly leaped out of the saddle.
Lisa slowly unsaddled me. When she finished she lead me out to the yard. There she slipped my halter off. She was letting me go. Joyously I started to trot back to the open plains, but as I looked back, I saw Lisa crying. It was then that I realized that I couldn’t leave her. All that time I had spent with her, I had a growing affection for her. I turned around and ran to her and nuzzled her with my big head. I couldn’t tell if she was laughing or crying, but I knew she was happy. And so was I.
Written by Esther J Denhollander, age 13