Home > The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses #1)(4)

The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses #1)(4)
Author: Amy Harmon

Lucky was a horse I’d been wooing for months, a horse someone had given my dad as payment for services they couldn’t afford. My dad didn’t have time for Lucky’s attitude, and he had turned him over to me and said, “Be careful.”

I had laughed. I wasn’t ever careful.

He laughed too, but then warned, “I’m serious, George. This guy is named Lucky for a reason. You’ll be lucky if he ever lets you ride him.”

“Animals don’t like me.” Moses’s voice was so faint I wasn’t sure I heard him right. I shook off thoughts of Lucky and patted my faithful companion, the horse that had been mine for as long as I had been able to ride.

“Sackett loves everyone.”

“He won’t like me. Or maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s them.”

I looked around in confusion. There was no one in the barn but Sackett, Moses, and me. “Them who?” I asked. “It’s just us, dude.”

Moses didn’t answer.

So I stared at him, waiting, raising my eyebrows in challenge. I stroked Sackett’s nose and down the side of his neck. Sackett didn’t move a muscle.

“See? He’s like a statue. He just soaks up the love. Come on.”

Moses took a step forward and raised his hand tentatively, reaching toward Sackett. Sackett whinnied nervously.

Moses dropped his hand immediately and stepped back.

I laughed. “What the hell?”

Maybe I should have listened to Moses about animals not liking him. But I didn’t. I guess I didn’t believe him. Wouldn’t be the last time.

“You’re not going to wimp out are you?” I taunted. “Touch him. He won’t hurt you.”

Moses leveled his golden-green eyes at me, considered what I had said, and then reached forward once more, taking another step as he stretched out his fingers.

And just like that, Sackett reared up on his hind legs like he’d been hanging around Lucky too long. It was completely out of character for the horse I’d known all my life, the horse who hadn’t bucked once in all the years I’d loved him. I didn’t have a chance to scream or shout or even reach for his halter. Instead, I got a hooved foot in my forehead, and I went down like a sack of flour.

Blood stung my eyes when I opened them and stared up into the rafters of the old barn. I was laying on my back and my head hurt like I’d been kicked by a horse—I realized suddenly that I had been kicked by a horse. By Sackett. The shock was almost greater than the pain.


I focused blearily on the face that suddenly loomed above me, cutting off my view of crisscrossing beams and dust motes dancing in the streaky sunlight peeking through the cracks along the walls.

Moses held my head in his lap, pressing his T-shirt to my forehead. Even in my dazed state, I still noticed the naked shoulders and chest and felt the smooth skin of his abdomen against my cheek.

“I need to get help, okay?” He shifted, moving my head to the floor, still holding his shirt to my bloody forehead. I tried not to look at the amount of blood on that shirt.

“No! Wait! Where’s Sackett?” I said, trying to sit up. Moses pushed me back down and looked at the door as if he had no idea what to do.

“He . . . bolted,” he answered slowly.

I remembered that Sackett hadn’t been tied off. I’d never needed to restrain him before. I couldn’t imagine what had gotten into my horse to make him rear up and then go tearing out of the barn. My eyes found Moses again.

“How bad is it?” I tried to sound like Clint Eastwood or someone who could handle a devastating head wound and still not lose his cool. But my voice wobbled a little.

Moses swallowed sympathetically, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down in his brown throat. His hands were shaking too. He was as upset as I was. It was easy to see.

“I don’t know. It isn’t wide. But it’s bleeding a lot.”

“Animals really don’t like you, do they?” I whispered.

Moses didn’t pretend not to understand. He shook his head. “I make them nervous. All animals. Not just Sackett.”

He made me nervous too. But nervous in a good way. Nervous in a way that fascinated me. And even though my head was pounding and there was blood in my eyes, I wanted him to stay. And I wanted him to tell me all his secrets.

As if he felt the shift in me and didn’t welcome it, Moses was up and running, leaving me with his T-shirt pressed to my head and a sudden insatiable interest in the new kid in town. It wasn’t long before he returned, my mom trotting behind him, Moses’s grandma bringing up the distant rear. Alarm was stamped across her face as well as my mom’s, and seeing their concern made me wonder if the wound was worse than I thought. I experienced a flash of female vanity, a new experience for me. Would I have a big scar running down my forehead? A week ago I might have thought that was cool. Suddenly, I didn’t want a scar. I wanted Moses to think I was beautiful.

He stood back, way back, letting the adults fuss and swarm. When it was determined that I could probably get by without an expensive trip to the ER and a couple butterfly bandages were applied to hold the gash together, Moses slipped away. Equine therapy wasn’t going to heal the cracks in Moses Wright, but I promised myself that I would worm my way into those cracks and corners if it was the last thing I did. Summer had just become a rainforest.


ABOUT A WEEK AFTER MOSES spooked my horse and I got kicked in the head, Dad and I discovered a mural on the side of our barn. Sometime during the night, someone had painted a stunningly realistic depiction of the sun setting over the western hills of Levan. Against the rosy-hued backdrop, a horse that looked like Sackett stood with his head cocked, a rider sitting comfortably in the saddle. The rider was in profile and the fading sun left him in shadows, but he looked familiar. My dad stared at the picture for a long time with a wistful look on his face. I thought he would be mad because someone had used the side of our barn as a canvas . . . kind of like what I imagined gangs did in big cities. But these weren’t geometric gang signs or bubble letters in bold colors. This was kind of cool. This was something you would pay for. Something you would pay a lot for.

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