The first time I met her was in the woods. Markings showed she’d been sold twice, though I didn’t recognize the brands. Skittish, she’d kept her distance. Most make noise when approached. She stayed silent, never took her eyes off me. One wrong move, and she’d bolt.
I talked as I picked the mushrooms I’d come to find, told stories about my boyhood in these woods. I figured if she got used to my voice, maybe she’d come closer and, after a time, learn to trust me. Foolish, considering that she was either a runaway or had been turned loose for being unbreakable, but I always was optimistic. None so far gone as couldn’t be brought back.
Took a few weeks of running across her “accidentally” before she stopped hiding. Leaving her be made her believe I intended no harm, which was Truth.
When I caught her, it was gentle. I had no illusions she came willingly, but the fight was more statement than protest. I threw a blanket over her and tied her loosely, before leading her home. She balked when she saw the cabin, but I coaxed her along.
“It’s okay now. This is home. I’ll be good to you, and you’ll be good to me, and that’s what matters.”
She looked at me, long and steady, nostrils flaring.
“If you brand me like the others, I’ll knife you in your sleep.”
Seems there was work yet to be done, but I could live with her terms.
Written for the Thursday Threads challenge here.