Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here! Please feel free to leave comments with suggestions, title ideas, etc.!
Sylvia couldn’t believe herself, couldn’t believe her own bravery, couldn’t believe that she was finally, actually free! She hugged her own bony shoulders as she stepped off the apartment property, a huge smile on her face. She could be Sylvia again, proud of who she was and where she was going.
The track was a few miles away and it would be a long chilly walk, but Sylvia could see the bright lights beckoning her in the distance. All she had to do was follow the light, like a bug toward a bug zapper, only hopefully not so gruesome at the end. It was scary, walking at night like that. Sylvia made quick jerks with her head in any direction she heard a noise, and the walk felt like an eternity. Eventually she found herself approaching the drive to the Walther Downs parking lot, but that would only take her straight to the actual racetrack and stadium. She needed the training barns. Sylvia kept walking until she came across a sign that said “Horse Barns” with an arrow.
Her footsteps were falling slower and heavier now, but her heart was lighter than ever. She was almost there! She could smell the sweet, savory fragrance of horses filling the air. She felt invigorated, alive for the first time in so long. As she neared the barns, she noticed a chain link fence looming in the darkness.
“Damn!” she muttered, fear taking hold of her again. What if the security guards caught her and sent her back home, called the apartment and woke Jackson up, made her go back to him . . . ? Her thoughts began spiraling out of control. She had to get a hold of them so she could think straight! She stood, body trembling, by the fence, studying the guard station that monitored vehicles entering and leaving the training barn area. She took deep breaths to calm herself and soon was recovered enough to notice that the guard was watching tv and probably just keeping an eye out for headlights.
Then, Sylvia did see headlights from inside the training area, heading toward the exit where she stood! She remained still in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to slip through just when the truck drove out and carried the guard’s attention away with its loud diesel engine. She dashed through just as the truck bed passed her. The guard remained riveted to his tv, and Sylvia let out a long breath of air. She couldn’t see the grass she stood on but she was certain it felt greener than the other side. She’d made it.
The barns were quiet, though the lights were still shining brightly as they waited for the horses from the final race to return. As she drew closer, she could hear the crunching of hay, the rustling of shavings, the kicking of an impatient and wide-awake stallion. This was home to her, and she had never even been here before.
Sylvia snuck past the entry to the first barn; not a soul in sight, though she knew people were there to care for the racehorses who would soon return. The smartest thing for her to do would be to hole up somewhere until everyone had left the barns for the night, Sylvia realized. In the morning she would beg and plead and promise her firstborn child for a job with any trainer she found.
To be continued . . .