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The Adventures of Princess Pearl, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! - Chapter Twelve
by Tonja Taylor
2/16/2020 / Short Stories
After the ride, they had ice cream, then a nap. When Pearl woke, it was almost time for Robin and Lucas to get out of school. Robert kept sleeping, so he stayed with his mother in the house.
She splashed water on her face and put on her jeans and shoes, and put her long hair in a pony tail. “This is going to be so great!” she told herself in the mirror. And I’m glad Robert won’t be there! she thought.
But then she felt a bit guilty. A P.O.W.E.R. Princess is not selfish, she heard her daddy say in her heart. Sorry, Daddy God, but it’s the truth. He doesn’t have to do everything I do! Help me please!
Risa drove up a few minutes later and they were all ready to go. “Great to see you guys and have fun!” she said. “Lucas and I’ll be in the house with Charlotte.”
Watchman danced around them, and Lucas patted him on the way to the house.
“Homework’s all done, right, sweeties?” Burt asked the girls as he swung the saddle onto Aurora’s back. She stood quietly and stuck out her nose in greeting.
“Yes Sir!” said Robin.
He looked at their shoes. “Good job on wearing tennis shoes. If you don’t wear boots, tennis shoes are the next best thing to ride a horse. Never wear flip flops or sandals or such. You need your feet covered.”
“We want to ride to the pond and back while there is still some light, okay?” said Pearl.
“Hold your horses, ladies—“ Burt laughed at his own joke as he picked up the saddle for Splash and put it on her. The girls giggled.
“I’m going to lead you—“
“But I thought we got to do this by ourselves!” Pearl burst out.
“Patience, Princess. You will sit by yourselves and I’ll give you the reins at the pond. We’re going slowly to make sure you understand everything—and to keep your mother calm.”
Burt helped Pearl and Robin mount.
Pearl felt more at ease this time, and patted Aurora. “You are such a pretty Palomino,” she said, then dropped her voice. “You are strong, for this second
“You rode already?” asked Robin.
“Yes, we bugged Uncle Burt till he gave in,” Pearl said.
“I’m a pushover for those I love,” he replied. “But I can be firm when I need to be.”
“We really appreciate you letting us ride, Mr. Williams!” Robin said.
“My pleasure. Please call me Burt, sweetie, although I know your mom would be thankful for your respect. After you ride to the pond and back, I’ll tell you about the surprise!”
“Oh, Uncle Burt, give us a hint, please!” Pearl said.
“Not a hint for now, but just look at God’s sunset!” he replied.
“Gorgeous!” said Robin, who whipped out her phone and took a pic. “And the moon is out, too. Pearl, Horse Girl, pose for me!”
Pearl pretended to tip a hat and smiled big. “I want a copy!” she said, and giggled. “You can email it to me, okay? That means Queen Mother will have to let me online.”
Watchman trotted beside Burt, who shook his head and started walking with the horses. “Back in the olden days,” he said, pretending to talk like a very old man, “you’d have to send off the 35 millimeter film and wait a week or so to get it back through snail mail for a picture! Amazing how fast things are now.”
“Don’t you text and email?” Pearl asked. Surely my cool uncle does those! she thought. “Queen Mother won’t let me text yet," she said, "but she uses those with her clients.”
“I don’t use them that much,” he said. “Computers and phones are good overall, but remember they are tools, not toys," he said. "Don’t let them take all your time…And no texting while riding, Miss Robin!” he teased.
The girls laughed. “We use laptops or tablets at school,” Robin said.
“Yeah, I want one,” Pearl said, sounding disappointed, “but since we’re doing homeschool, Mom says books and paper work just fine. Anyway, maybe when I turn 12 next spring, I can have a computer of my own. But I think I'm getting a phone this week, for our trail rides!"
She was silent a few moments as they rode. They stopped and admired the sunset, which made the far edge of the pond seem to glow red.
Burt handed the girls the reins. Yay! thought Pearl.“Can you talk to her about me getting a phone or a computer, Uncle Burt? Maybe for Christmas on the computer, but now for the phone? You said we'd need one for the trail rides!”
“Hmmm, planning ahead are we? If I remember right, your birthday is in May.” He walked carefully over a rock and led the horses around a big stump.
Watchman climbed over it, then jumped in. He thrashed about happily, barking with joy.
Burt smiled. “Good for you to get a bath, dog!”
He touched Aurora’s reins lightly. “Girls, you can gently nudge the horses to go forward to the edge of the water, and then loosen the reins. They will
probably reach down to get a drink. They did, and the horses took advantage of the fresh water.
“Can we go back now?” Wow, I get to ride Aurora all by myself and guide her and everything!
“Hold on, Pearl, let’s pause a few more minutes and just enjoy this beauty, okay? Look at those trees—they look like they are on fire! And we have a full moon tonight!”
Burt sat down on a big stump near the edge of the little lake. “Thank You, LORD,” he said quietly.
“I love to see sunsets,” Robin said. She got her camera back out.
“You mean it even takes pictures in the dark?” Pearl said.
“Well, it’s not night yet, really, just a sunset, but yes— it has a night setting that I used last Christmas for some really cool Christmas light shots.”
“Wow, I want one like that,” Pearl said.
“Oh, they’re not expensive,” Robin said.
“We’ll see,” said Burt. “You’ve already put in a request for a laptop, and now you want a phone? But, Daddy God is a big, generaous God and His pocketbook has no end! Why don’t you write out a petition?”
“Petition?” Pearl said. “What’s that?”
“Isn’t that something official, like law papers or something?” said Robin.
“That’s right…..Tell you what, I’ll teach you kids and your moms about that, and it’ll be great. How about Friday night?”
“Well, Mr. Burt,” said Robin, “I apologize, but that night we really need to finish getting stuff ready for the Hallelujah Hayride and Festival Saturday. How about
the next week?”
“Oh, that’s right,” said Burt. “And Risa may even need my help…Let’s just set it up for the next Friday. You guys can come over and I’ll grill or something.”
“Yum!” said Pearl.
“Great!” said Robin. “Deal!”
“Now, said Burt, "let’s be quiet for a bit, so we can hear the whippoorwills.”
They hushed and sat still, enjoying the lovely oond, the deep purple-reds of the Bradford pear trees and the bright orange-reds and yellows of the oaks. They felt a slight wind and heard some locusts far off, then the galumph! sound of a bullfrog.
As they sat, the sun sank a little lower into the horizon, and the moon came out. They heard the bird, faint at first, then louder.
“A whippoorwill!” Pearl said. “I hear it! It sounds like it says its name.”
“Sure does,” said her uncle. “Maybe there are two. Now, I’m going to give you girls the reins and use the flashlight to go ahead of you. Pearl, you ride Aurora right behind me, and Robin, you guide Splash beside her, okay?”
Pearl and Robin smiled at each other. She was quiet, remembering to listen for the other bird. The first bird sounded far off, but the second was very near.
They sat a few more minutes, and then Splash suddenly whinnied and backed up, bumping into Aurora and pressing against Pearl’s leg. Burt jumped up and grabbed the reins of both horses to steady them.
“Quiet, girls, I think it’s a snake,” he said in a low command, then pulled out a flashlight from his pocket and the gun from his boot so quickly that Pearl was amazed.
“Ewwww!” Pearl said in a strong whisper. Help us, LORD!
“Yuck!” said Robin.
Burt shot into the mud at the edge of the water, and this time both horses whinnied and backed up. The girls clung to the horses' necks.
In the moonlight, the girls could see the snake slithering and surging in the water.
Oh my gosh, it looks 10 feet long! thought Pearl. She was glad to be up high.
It struck her uncle’s boot!
“You are dead, snake!” he said, and shot again.
This time, the thing stopped moving. “So shall all our enemies be exposed and defeated, never to rise again!” he said.
He shined the flashlight on its head, that now lay limp on the bank. “Nasty water moccasins!” he said, and kicked the carcass into the water. “Thank You, LORD, for helping me kill it and keeping us all safe!”
“Good job, girls—all four of you!” He patted the horses and took the reins.
“My apologies, but we are going back, and you can take the reins another time. Also, please keep this quiet, because it would just scare your mothers and Robert, ” He started walking quickly and the ride back was a little less smooth. But they returned safe and sound.
No one talked, but Pearl said in her heart, Thank You, LORD, You are faithful!
You’re always watching over us!
Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, via River Rain Creative Arts (You Tube, God Tube), their church, and beyond.
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