The vet didnt seem to be too worried. “He`s ok!,,,Just getting old, dont forget, he`s done well for his age!”
Frankie wasnt listening. His friend wasnt well, and needed his help. “I`ll give him a jag of Penicillin, that should do the trick!” With that, the vet was on his way. Silver indeed did improve, and a week later, they were out together enjoying the late Autumn sunshine. Hi Aunt Vera, a buxom woman, warm hearted and eager to help anyone, had invited Frankie over to stay. Frankie`s Aunt Vera lived on the West coast, about twenty miles away. Of course the invite extended to Silver!
“They`re welded together those two!” Was her constant comment, “ Should `ave been an `orse, him!” Getting to Aunt Vera`s wasnt a problem, they would ride the twenty miles!
After three days on the road, Frankie and Silver arrived at Aunt Vera`s, apart from the usual effusive welcome, the kisses and the constant chatter! Nothing had changed. Silver, his black coat now intermingled with flecks of grey, was given the run of Aunt Vera`s old paddock. As Frankie watched his long time friend, he wasnt sure, but he felt uneasy, Silver didnt seem to be eating as much as usual, and he stood for very long periods in the paddock. The morning after Frankie and Silvers arrival, was a real beauty! Blue sky, sunshine, and a warm breeze playing off the sea. The front of Aunt Vera`s house looked directly onto the wildest part of the coast. here the sand dunes extended for some distance, before giving way to the blue Atlantic Ocean. There was a low snicker from the paddock, Silver was standing in the corner nearest to the house, and pawing at the fence.
Frankie left the porch and made his way to the paddock. The greeting from Silver was more than usual, it was softer, deeper, and slower. Frankie felt something stir in his own heart. Without thinking, and with nothing in mind, he opened the paddock gate and let Silver out. Silver didnt go anywhere, he stood next to Frankie, his shaggy head slightly lower than was normal. “C`mon Son, lets take a walk!”
That day was the best day in Frankie`s life, for some reason he was closer now to Silver than at any other time. He couldnt explain it, but it was as though this old horse was telling him something. Frankie knew, he just didnt want to believe it.
It was some hours later and well into the afternoon, that they found themselves on the edge of the dunes, looking out to sea. Frankie liked this time of day. “Its time we went home old friend”. Silver didnt move. Instead he lay down. Frankie, stunned, knelt down beside the shaggy head of his friend, “ Whats wrong Son? C`mon, up we get!” The horse didnt move, the only sounds were heavy breathing from a tired horse. Frankie began to cradle Silvers head on his lap, the weight inconsequential, he began to stroke his friends face. He knew what was coming, but he refused to accept the finality of it all. The horse lay quietly, its eyes open and clear, Silver seemed to be watching the setting sun, as it dipped its toe in the deep blue. Frankie`s eyes were full of tears, he couldnt think of anything to comfort his friend. He just stroked the neck of this fine animal.
As the sky turned orange and then to red, the final shafts of golden sunlight seemed to fall on Silver, that once proud and strong horse, his eyes large and loving finally closed for the last time. Frankie`s tears fell among the grey hairs on Silvers face, as the last and final breath of a beloved friend disappeared into the evening sky.
The pain in Frankie`s heart was unstoppable, it tore at his soul and rent the night sky asunder. There was anger, loss and above all the one question, “Why him?” Frankie shouted it into the night, he screamed his frustration across the sea, and when he was to tired to cry anymore, he lay back on the sand, with his arms across his friend.
Aunt Vera was beside herself with worry, she had gone looking for Frankie and “That bloody Horse!” when they didnt come home for supper.
She found them. Aunt Vera cried. She didnt know why, but she wept tears like never before. Silver was given a fine burial, among the sand dunes, next to Aunt Vera`s place.