"Do you have the neighbor's cell number?"
He's calling down from upstairs and I'm curled up in my book and blanket and sick like dying - hacking into the atmosphere like I might dispel a demon from my lungs. "No, why?"
"Their horse is stuck in the fence and freaking out."
I moan my way up the stairs and stand on the back step looking out across the freshly cut hay field. Poor thing is on the wrong side of the fence, stone still and tangled while momma horse worries from the other side.
"What do we do?" he asks. "They're not home. I rang the doorbell twice."
"I don't know," I say. "I don't know anything about horses."
One leg is caught up in the fence and we know it's electric and he must be terrified. "We can't just go untangle him," I tell him. "He'll be all worked up and horses can kill you, you know."
His head suddenly flies back and he kicks out his back legs and tumbles back to his mothers side and is caught down on his flank, panic thrashing at the sky and shaking himself back to his feet before he takes off for the barn, still tangled, snapping the top line from each post as he runs, spooking the other two until they're tearing crazy and whipping manes and it's all hooves and terror and chaos and they're pounding the field like a frantic heartbeat leaning close to hyperventilating.
"There's probably a gate or something you can close," he says - because, remember, I am a tank and he is a pansy.
"I might die," I tell him.
"You won't die."
I cross the field and follow the line of the broken fence to the gate before I realize I have to go in with them to be able to close off the gate that gives them access to the field. Gulp.
Momma eyes me up and I reach through the gate and let her nudge my hand with her nose. Her flank is trembling and she's breathing hard and she's all huge and beautiful. "It's okay," I tell her. "I'm you're friend." And she huffs out a breath and shakes her head like she doesn't believe me.
The colt is quivering against the barn and he's scratched up from his falling and his eyes are huge and shinning and his skittish feet dance up dust beneath him.
I unlatch the gate and I keep talking softly and my heart's pounding because they really can kill a person and I know nothing about horses. I mean, I love having them for neighbors - I love sitting out on the deck and listening to them run when they're playful or whinny across the field in a 'hey look at me, I'm big and gorgeous and you're really living in the country now!' kind of way - but I know nothing about them. I've never ridden a horse. I've never cared for a horse. I don't think I've ever been on the same side of the fence as a horse.
I hear the steady tick tick tick of the electric fence and I have to duck underneath it. She watches me like I'm watching her and I set my hand on her nose and tell her how I just want to keep her safe. Straw pricks against my feet, inappropriately sandal-clad and she nuzzles against me and I'm accepted into the fold. The colt neighs, frightened.
I seal the inner gate, clicking the clasp tight over the hook that holds it. Now I've sealed myself in with them. But they've lost interest. Not even a thank you.
So I slip back beneath the electric ticking and stick a note on the neighbors door and nearly cough up a lung on the way home.
"Did you do it?" he asks. "Did you close them in?"
Because I am a mighty woman.
And sick certainly can't quell my inner hero!