Scoutman

Many people have tried to put into words what it is to love and have been loved by a horse. It’s something I truly believe only “horse people” can understand, and that makes grieving the loss of one so much more difficult for non-horse people to understand. But I’ll try to do it justice. Try to convey just how much my horse changed my life and taught me lessons no human could ever teach.

Scout knew my deepest secrets and fears and dreams, and loved me in spite of my shortcomings. When I told him what I wanted out of life there was no judgment or questioning. He witnessed the bruising of my pride on more than one occasion, and his sleek neck dried many tears. He was there for me at my most broken and he heard all of the good things I had going in my life. He listened to me pray all the time. He heard when I was praising God, thanking God, beseeching God, and even angry at God. He showed me what it means to love unconditionally and opened my eyes to that aspect of Christ. I trusted him with my life – trusted him to safely navigate steep or muddy trails, and he never once betrayed that trust. That faith I had in him challenged me to show that same faith in my creator. I knew him better than I know myself I think, and I could tell just by a look or by the way he walked what kind of a ride we were going to have.

While he was so wonderful, he could be a sassy brat and he made me laugh. So much. It might not seem it, but horses have such personalities, and a flick of an ear or a sideways glance can convey so much. He laid down on me twice, once when he wanted to play in a pond and once when I was on the phone, not paying him enough attention. For many years I wanted to be a jockey, and he was such a champ when I would shorten my stirrups and we’d race cars along the road. After a horrible horseback riding accident, he gave me the confidence I needed to keep riding. We would walk until I was comfortable, trot until I was comfortable, and finally got to a place where I could canter him bareback with my arms outstretched.

Scout loved me. He respected me. He responded to me. He could read my moods and became what I needed him to be. He helped heal so many wounds. High School years are hard on girls, and there was a time when he was my only friend. And you know what? He was enough. Hanging out with him made me happy. People will ask how you know you horse loves you. Admittedly, it’s harder to see affection from horses because animals like dogs are so over the top about it. But he loved me. I could hear it in his whinny, I could see it in his big, brown eyes. I could feel it in how he responded when I rode him. I could see it in his choosing to trust me and not freak out when I presented him with “scary” situations. He listened to me. He trusted me. He was jealous of me. Country is more outwardly affectionate, but if I were to give him attention, Scout would march over, ears pinned, and come stand beside me.

The most obvious examples of his love break my heart the most because they are when he was hurting. The first happened in the bitter cold of February. He had colicked badly when I was away and when I went to the barn, he wasn’t there. I called and called for him and finally I heard his breathy whinny-fainter than usual. He came to me. Out of the pitch black, freezing snowy night he came to me. And he was covered in ice. From his nose to his tail he was encased in ice and had no body temperature. He was nearly dead but he got up and came to me when I called because he needed me and he loved me and he responded because of that. Through the support of my incredible family and our vet, we were able to get him through the night by bringing him warm blankets and water. Catherine and I stayed all night at the barn in the negative degree weather to be there for him if he needed it.

The last time he colicked I found out because he stood in the pasture where I could see him and whinnied at me. This time he was drenched in sweat, and even though he was in such obvious pain, he followed me up the hill to the house. I don’t want to go into his last week but I need to at least touch on it because that horse was a hero. He did absolutely everything we threw at him. He walked when we needed him to walk. He took shot after shot without flinching. He allowed us to tube his stomach and by the third time, we didn’t need to distract him from the tube up his nose. He allowed us to tape foam inserts to his hooves to try and stop the laminitis from destroying his feet. He was so brave and so steadfast though all of it. I have never been more exhausted in my life. At one point I believe I had six hours of sleep in two days, if that, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat for that horse. He had given me so much that the very least I could do was give him every chance to fight for his life and be there beside him every step of the way.

When I had to decide whether or not to end his suffering, it was the easiest and the hardest decision I have ever made. Easy because I loved him too much to keep him suffering for my own selfish wants. We gave him every opportunity we could, exhausted every option, and in the end, the Lord answered my prayers by giving me a clear sign on what to do. He wasn’t getting better and the right thing to do was to end his hurting. It was hard because I don’t know how to do this life without him in it. He was my constant companion for sixteen years. He was the keeper of my hopes and dreams and fears and prayers. He made me a better person. He gave me self confidence and friendship and loyalty. When I lost him, something inside of me broke. I feel different. My heart is not whole anymore. I miss him every single day. The days when I would have gone to ride him are the worst. When the sun is shining and I’m happy or when I’ve had a terrible day and want to lie on his back while he eats are so cruel. A part of me was taken and I am still learning how to do life now. One person has said, “My horse is my right wing. Without my horse I fly in circles,” and that resonated with me so deeply. Since Scout went to heaven my life has felt very much like a tailspin, especially in the beginning. So for people who wonder at why this healing time has been slow, look at what I am trying to recover from. In the most non-morbid, non-worrisome way, I can’t wait to get to heaven and hug his neck and kiss his nose again. I ache for that. I ache for my best friend.

So in the meantime, I surround myself with what makes me happy, and continue to thank God for giving me Scout in the first place. Because as awful as this has been, it’s worth it to have had a horse like him in my life. And while he isn’t physically here anymore, I will carry him in my heart forever and always.

katie scout

If the Avengers did Frozen

I don’t even know how this got started, but I find it to be pretty entertaining. The creative mind never rests, even while sending text messages.

K- *tap tap* Bucky? Please, I know you’re in theeeeeere.
L – I’ve been wondering where you’ve been…I saw you fall from the train…into the deep valley…please let me in
K- We only have each other, from way back wheeeeeeeen, how are we going to liiiiiiiive?
L- Do you want to fight some battles? Doesn’t have to be a battle…but I’m on your left.
K – GO AWAY STEVE
L- Hehehehe
K- Loki? Who let you in?
L- Do you want to hear something crazy? All my life has been a series of Thor in my face and like suddenly I have found a way
K- I was thinking the same thing, like I’ve been searching my recent life to control my horrid rage, and maybe its the battle raging, or the people screaming…
L- Say goodbye to the pain of the past! We don’t have to feel it anymore, Hulk! Power’s an open doooooooor
K- Power is an open doooOOOOOOooooor *hulk smash*
L- hahahaha. Hulk runs out the door, find himself alone. “Green grass in the meadow tonight…not a footprint to be seen…a kingdom of isolation…and it looks like I’m the king…The rage is growing like a brewing storm inside…
K- Couldn’t keep it in, the Avengers know I’ve triiiiied. Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good doctor Banner you’re meant to be
L- Conceal don’t feel don’t like the anger shooooow. Let it go…let it go…don’t hold Hulk back anymore…Let it go (smash!)
K- Let it go…the perfect man is goooone. Let the rage churn oooooon!!!
L- I’ve always been angry anyway.
L- In his town as Hulk is dancing in the meadow: “Technology is better than people, Jarvis don’t you think that’s true?
K- Yeah people are petty and stupid and sad. Every one of them’s bad except you, sir.
K – But people malfunction less than technology, Jarvis don’t you think I’m right?
L- That’s not always true, especially with you.
L- Jarvis shut up and turn off the lights
K- Goodnight, sir.
K- I said shut up.
L- Don’t let a virus biiiiite.

Mischief Managed

We Need to Talk About Frodo

Recently there was a Lord of the Rings marathon on television, and seeing as it’s been a while since I visited Middle Earth, I decided to watch. As I watched, I realized that Frodo Baggins deserves way more credit than he gets. So many people talk about how Frodo is weak, how all he does is walk around and whine and he must be weak because he barely makes it to Mt. Doom. Well. I have a bone to pick with you people.

In my opinion, Frodo’s journey throughout the Lord of the Rings is the most difficult because most of the battles he fights are mental. Sure he walks a long way, but walking that far would take its toll on anyone, and the entire time, the ring is waging war on his mind. As someone who knows what it’s like to feel you have to enter your mind armed to the teeth, I think Frodo needs a little respect. The ring is doing everything it can to be reunited with its master, and as the book/movie progresses, you can see the toll that takes on Frodo. He grows quiet, smiles less, is weakened due to lack of appetite, and all the while the ring is literally digging into his neck. His skin is rubbed raw from the metal, and yet he still goes on. That is brave. That is courageous.

In the Two Towers film, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum have been brought to Osgiliath by Faramir, and a Nazgul attacks. There is moment when Frodo is done. He’s tired. He’s had enough, and he goes to meet the Nazgul on a bridge, ready to give up the ring and be finished with it all. I don’t see this as weak. I see this as realistic. When you are so mentally exhausted and an outlet is presented, the temptation to give in is so strong. It’s in this moment when Sam saves the day, knocking Frodo over and removing the ring from the grasp of the Wraith. When Frodo realizes what he’s done, that he nearly gave in and put a sword to Sam’s neck, you can see the horror wash over his face. Sam, being the incredible friend that he is, gives Frodo the encouragement he needs to hear the form of this incredible speech- “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding onto something.” And then Frodo looks at Sam with such despair and hopelessness in those big, blue eyes and asks, “What’re we holding onto, Sam?” And Sam Gamgee, the wonderful, steadfast gardener gives Frodo the hope he needs when he says, “That there is some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” This simple truth is enough to get Frodo up, to get him on his feet and ready to keep going. The reminder that the shadows pressing on his mind won’t linger, that when the sun comes again it will be more glorious than ever compared to the present darkness gives Frodo something to cling to. It’s amazing that he can keep going and it’s true; he wouldn’t have made it very far without Sam.

Which brings me to another point. A side note, really. There are those who mock or twist the relationship between Frodo and Sam; try to make it into something it was never meant to be. That makes me so angry because what wouldn’t you do for your friend? If your friend is struggling, do you leave them to wallow and thrash in the muck or do you offer to help them? To carry them if they need it? Of course you do. You sit with them and remind them of the good things, you cry with them, and encourage them, and you love them. You do everything Sam did for Frodo because that is what friends do for each other. Okay. Done with that. Back to Frodo.

I relate to Frodo and his mind wars so much. The devil loves to attack my mind, to wear me down and try to get me to quit, and there have been two times in my life when Frodo and his determination have been so encouraging to me. In the Return of the King film, there are three scenes that will always bring tears to my eyes.

The first comes after he evades Shelob the spider for the first time and he collapses, just so tired. When he “wakes up”, the Lady Galadriel is before him and she reminds him that he is the only one who can complete the task set before him. When she extends a hand to Frodo, he looks from her face to her hand, resolve settling over his features, and he decides to keep going. Even though the odds are overwhelmingly against him, he gets to his feet and keeps going. People underestimate how difficult that is. And, like before with Sam, having Galadriel show faith in him is enough to keep him believing in himself and his quest.

The second is when he and Sam are crawling up the side of Mt. Doom. Their lips are cracked, steam is curling up from the rocks, and Frodo falls. He lands on his chest and eyes the top of the mountain. They are so close to their goal, and Frodo is at the end of his strength. But even so, he still tries to crawl up the side of the mountain; inching his way up until he grabs a loose rock and falters. The music in that scene is incredible. You can feel how hard it is for him, how he’s trying everything to accomplish what he set out to do, but his body is spent. It’s at this point when Sam proves his loyalty and strength as Frodo’s friend. He reminds him of what will come when the task is completed. He reminds him of home. And when he sees how mentally lost Frodo is, he carries him to the top. He can’t take the ring from Frodo, he can’t get rid of the burden for him, but he can help him make it to the end. I can’t tell you how often this has mirrored my life. When I’m struggling, my friends and family come alongside me and help me make it to the end of the day or week or hour, depending on the situation.

The third is a scene that isn’t in the book, but I love it so much. After Frodo and Gollum have fought over the ring and Gollum and the ring have been consumed by the lava, we see that when Frodo went over the edge with them, he managed to catch himself. Just barely. He’s holding on by a hand, and when Sam reaches over to help him, Frodo tries to grasp his hand, but misses. Then we see Frodo look down to lava and then back to Sam. Elijah Wood kills me in this scene. His face is so sad, so tired, so ready to be done with everything. He wants to let go. It would be easier to let go. The physical and mental battles have taken their toll, and letting go means an end to all of that. Elijah manages to convey all of that perfectly with just a look and it’s heartbreaking. Sam can see what Frodo is thinking. He sees the look on Frodo’s face, and it scares him into pleading with Frodo, “Don’t you let go. Don’t let go.” It takes a moment, but Frodo clenches his jaw and reaches for Sam again, and this time it works. Sam grabs Frodo, pulls him up, and they race out of Mt. Doom. As they sit on a rock, Frodo glances around, looking more light and free than he has in ages and proclaims, “It’s over. It’s done.”

So. There you have it. Frodo Baggins is an incredible character. He is selfless. It would have been easier for him to ignore the problem with the ring and go back to the Shire and live his life. He is determined. He keeps going. Seems like a little thing, but it isn’t. And he is brave. He is so brave to keep going when everything is screaming at him to stop. When the ring and all the darkness that comes with it are trying to pull him under, he has the courage to look up, grit his teeth, and keep going. That is so brave. And so overlooked. So, here’s to you, Mr. Baggins. Here’s to your amazing strength of character and here’s to getting the appreciation you deserve.

Dragons are Time Wasters

This actually happened a long time ago, and I’ve been meaning to post it because I think it’re pretty funny. Once upon a time, I was working on the book in a Barnes and Noble in KC when my mind wandered. Sherlock was at lunch, so I just gchatted her until she got back and it was awesome.

me: Once upon a time, a girl named Katie sat in a Barnes and Noble cafe while she worked on her book. It was great fun for her, and even though she had to pee, she wanted coffee
Sent at 1:52 PM on Friday
me: She stared blankly at the cover of a book, trying to get a sentence right in her head, and as she watched, the dragon on the cover of the book moved!
She squinted, convinced her eyes were playing tricks on her. But no, the dragon was alive!
It crawled out of the book and roared, sending the people of Barnes and Noble into a panic
All except the girl. She stared the shiny green dragon down, and it didnt blink as it stared back at her.
Cautiously, the girl stretched her hand toward the creature, and it pushed the end of its nose into her hand. The moment they made contact, the girl was transported with the dragon into a whole new world
Sent at 1:55 PM on Friday
me: This new world was strange. The ground was pink and the sky was gold, and giant flowers rose into the sky.
The dragon stretched its leathery wings, and the girl decided to see if she could ride it. The dragon didnt protest as she struggled onto its back, and once she was settled, it leapt to the sky.
Cold wind bit at the girls face as they flew, but she was too happy to notice or care
Cali: I WANNA FLY ON A DRAGON
me: Suddenly the girl noticed a glittering dragon approaching, and on its back sat a very familiar face. It was her friend Pretty Princess!
Her dragon was stunning as to be expected – its scales were finer than any diamond, and it glittered like a tiara in the sun
Cali: MY FACE RIGHT NOW IS SO HAPPY
Sent at 2:04 PM on Friday
me: “How did you get here?” The girl named Gravity asked with a laugh,
“I was at work,” Pretty Princess said, “and then this dragon crawled out of the computer screen.”
Sent at 2:05 PM on Friday
me: “I wonder why we were brought here,” Gravity mused.
Pretty Princess nodded, pushing her blond hair out of her eyes.”Maybe they need our help?”
(its almost scary how easy this story came to me hahaha)
Cali: (eeeeeeeeeeeeee I love)
me: Suddenly a great black dragon dropped from the sky, causing the glittering dragon and the green dragon to dive toward the earth. Gravity and Pretty Princess shrieked as they spiraled to the earth, and Gravity squeezed her eyes shut, convinced her dragon wasnt going to stop in time.
The green dragon landed with a jarring thud and when Gravity opened her eyes, she saw they were standing alongside Pretty Princess and her dragon
The mighty black dragon stood before them, and the girls nearly fell off their dragons in shock with it spoke to them
“My name is Smaug,” he said in what can only be described as a sexy voice. “And I require your help.”
(Ignore that I think Smaug is red in the book?)
Cali: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
me: “Smaug?” Gravity said, exchanging a glance with Pretty Princess. “Why do you need our help?”
Sent at 2:13 PM on Friday
me: Smaug sighed, and his great shoulders slumped. “It is understandable that you would be wary of me. That wretched hobbit changed the story and made me out to be the villain, but that is simply not the case.”
“Oh it’s not?” Pretty Princess asked doubtfully.
Cali: sarcastically
me: You’re right haha
“Oh its not?” Pretty Princess asked sarcastically.
Sent at 2:16 PM on Friday
me: “No,” Smaug snorted. “The wretched hobbit and that filthy, thieving Thorin Oakinshield stole from me. I was the true king under the mountain. Thorin is a greedy dwarf and concocted a ridiculous fairytale about how I stole from him.” The dragon huffed, sounding amused and irritated.
“Why should we believe a word you say?” Gravity asked, gripping the green dragon as the creature shifted.
Smaug regarded the girls with a fiery gaze. “I suppose that is a fair question,” he said finally. He took a step back and growled, which caused the green dragon and the glittery dragon to shake both girls from their backs and onto the ground
Sent at 2:22 PM on Friday
me: Before the girls could protest, the green dragon pressed its snout against Gravity’s temple, and the glittering, diamond dragon did the same to Pretty Princess
And once their minds were filled with the histories of the dragons, and they saw that the story Smaug told was true.
(Plot twist – holler)
Cali: I am loving this
Sent at 2:28 PM on Friday
me: Hahaha me too
Sent at 2:29 PM on Friday
me: When the presentation was over, the girls looked at each other, and then at Smaug, who was watching them sadly.
“You had a family,” Gravity whispered.
“And Thorin took them from you,” Pretty Princess said angrily. “Of course we’ll help you.”
Sent at 2:31 PM on Friday
me: “You are greedy though,” Gravity said after a pause. “If you were to give up the mountain, Thorin would return your family.”
“What’s left of it,” Smaug said bitterly. “And yes. Dragons love treasure. After what you were shown, you should understand this.”
Gravity winced, but nodded.
“So where do we begin?” Pretty Princess asked, leaning against her sparkling dragon.
“We begin,” Smaug said, sexy dragon voice growing determined, “by waging war on the Lonely Mountain.”
Bum bum bum to be continued
This is an odd headcannon fanfiction thing. Brought to you by the mind of Katie. Haha
Cali: J’ADORE.

Mischief Managed

Horses are Magic

The human-equine bond is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to trust. It’s almost indescribable, this bond. It’s a mutual and unspoken promise that I will keep you safe no matter the circumstances. It’s beautiful and comforting and I have been so lucky to have had that for sixteen years with my equine soul mate. But this isn’t about Scout. Not yet. I can’t yet. When I do, it will encompass more than just trust and it will be a beautifully written tribute to him and our years together. I could write about my Country Bumpkin, but he and I have such an odd relationship that this post would be pages and pages long. I know him pretty much as well as I know Scout, but ours is a quirky pairing. He’ll get a post sometime as well. He’s earned it.

Instead, I’m going to focus on when I was working at the Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, Montana. Even though I was only at the Bar W for two months, I can think of several times where a foundation of trust was laid and built upon. I’ll go horse by horse to keep it simple.

Walter. My darling little Walter is a chestnut gelding with a wide blaze and two socks splashed on his lower legs. He’s not the biggest horse at the ranch, but he is solid muscle, and he was the first horse I rode on a trail ride in Montana. It was a loping trail ride which meant that we were galloping up old, rocky fire roads in a group of around ten or so people. Having had a horse trip and fall on me while cantering once, I’m uneasy when it comes to galloping over unfamiliar ground, so I was a little wary when the ride started. But Walter kept me safe-he listened and responded to every command and by the end of the ride, my nerves were gone. Walter was who I wanted when I had to take my first trail ride out by myself. He’ll do anything you ask him to, and that unwavering dependability makes him a treasure. Having ridden him frequently, I was extremely happy when my barn manager, Lindsay, suggested I ride him for the photography week photo shoot. Part of the shoot required that we gallop the horses as fast as we could across the pasture. No problem, except that the pasture is littered with gopher holes (see previous uneasiness due to riding accident). Walter and I were slated to go first, and I made a joke about being nervous and then explained why. Which got an, “Oh. Well that makes sense,” form Lindsay. Then she looked at me and said, “Just trust Walter. He’s a good horse and he knows where to put his feet.” And there it was. As soon as she said it, it was so easy. The fear was gone and we shot across that pasture faster than I’ve ridden in a long while. And Walter didn’t so much as stumble. It was exhilarating and solidified Walter as my go to horse for any situation I was unsure about.

For example, I had to take a trail ride out as storm was rolling in, and Walter was my guy. As a rule, the ranch rides in all weather except lighting, and after watching the radar, we figured we would be fine. I had two women from LA with me, and one had never ridden before, so I was hoping the dark cloud would veer away. As we set out, a chilly breeze picked up and light rain pelted our faces. We got almost halfway through the ride without getting terribly wet, and then the skies opened and we didn’t stand a chance. Luckily we were already in the woods, but even so, we were soaked to the bone within minutes. Thank goodness the girls took it all in stride. Yes they were cold, but they “felt like legit cowgirls” and laughed about it while trying to take pictures without ruining their phones. That was a relief for me, because while they were enjoying themselves, I had an eye to the sky and an eye to the trees. The wind was blowing hard; the Tamarack trees groaned and snapped as they were pummeled by the breeze, and I needed to be ready to act in case a tree fell. In the midst of unpredictable weather, it was such a blessing to know that Walter was solidly beneath me while my attention was elsewhere. He plodded along, completely unfazed by the driving rain and hail, and we ended up having a fun time, despite nearly freezing to death. It was also cool to see that, while I trusted Walter to be awesome, he trusted me enough to go where I asked him, despite the rain, wind, and hail.

Pilgrim. My sweet Pilgrim became my favorite and I don’t know how it happened. He is a big, mahogany bay with three socks, a stripe smeared down from his forehead to his nose, and he is scared of everything. Our first interaction involved me accidentally scaring him with a rake and him pulling back against the hitching post so hard I thought he was going to rip it from the ground. Then the first time I rode him on a trail ride, a mountain biker came screaming down a hill behind us and he spooked badly. But there was something endearing about him when he was scared. He responded to me, to my voice and my legs, and I developed a fierce protectiveness over him. I didn’t want anyone else to ride him because they might not understand his quirks, they wouldn’t know how to reassure him. He was a horse I had to be confident for, and we worked well together. There were also times, like with Walter, where I had to just blindly trust that he would get me up or down a mountain and, like Walter, he never let me down. He was a blast to ride on the steep hills-cantering up them and jumping over fallen logs, and his excitement and energy were contagious.

I took him into several situations where he was nervous, but because I exuded confidence to him, and he trusted me, we made it through the scary stuff flawlessly. One time Monica and I were given permission to explore a new trail, so we set off, curious as to what we would find. One of the first things we came across was a collection of giant, yellow earth movers. Monica’s horse, Jose, is also afraid of everything, and when we saw the terrifying machines we exchanged grim smiles and a, “well, this will be fun.” As we rode near the yellow beasts, I pressed my legs against Pilgrim’s sides, and murmured encouraging words to him. Much to my surprise and delight, neither horse so much as snorted at the machines. It was a wonderful feeling, and we had such a blast exploring the new trail with our favorite horses.

On one of the last days at the ranch, Eli and I were asked to bring the draft horses from the front pasture to the barn. We decided to pony the horses (lead them back while we’re on horseback) and I picked Pilgrim as my mount, knowing this would be a test. Both Pilgrim and Eli’s horse, Jill, were nervous when we got to the front, and when we led the draft horses over to them, they stiffened, eyes growing wide. Eli and Jill were leading the two Percheron geldings, Duke and Dutch. They are monstrously huge horses, but they couldn’t be sweeter. Pilgrim and I got the Clydesdale mares, Missy and Bee. Also huge, but sassy over sweet. So, after saying a quick prayer, I tied Missy and Bee together, mounted Pilgrim, and we set off down the road. We started off badly; Bee kept trying to crowd my sweet Pilgrim, edging close to him and trying to bite him. I could hear Eli laughing as I kept up a steady stream of “Back off, Bee, I like Pilgrim better than you. If you bite him I’ll hurt you. It’s okay Pilgrim, you’re doing wonderfully, and I’ll give you grain when we get back.” We kept this up until Bee snaked her head out and tried to bite Pilgrim on the neck. Supremely annoyed, I flicked her on the nose which was a mistake because she pulled back and I lost my hold on the lead rope. So, I had to get off Pilgrim and catch the girls again which was a process because Pilgrim did not want to get close to them. He followed me like I asked, but very stiffly and I was just so proud of him for that. Eventually I got the girls and we continued to the barn, encountering a trail ride and a vehicle along the way. After being bopped on the nose, Bee behaved herself, and while Pilgrim pranced the whole way back, he did everything I asked him to. He trusted me enough to let me take him on this scary adventure and he’s big enough and strong enough he could have easily bucked me off and sought the safety of the barn. It’s incredible that he trusted me so much, and it made all the work I did with him prior to that extremely validating.

If I could, I would buy both of these horses in a heartbeat. Pilgrim has the potential to be an amazing horse, and while he is skittish, he doesn’t scare me. I want to put the work into making him awesome because he proved he has a beautiful ability to trust and learn. Walter would be the horse I would never have to worry about. I logged so many miles on him- rode him to Canada even, and I could ride him without thinking about what I was doing. In the midst of working through insurmountable grief after losing Scout, there was something comforting in being able to find a couple horses that I could bond with. No horse will ever be able to replace Scout, but these two helped me to work through the pain, reaffirming my belief that horses are magic and that equine therapy is the best therapy.
pilgrim and walter

Mischief Managed

Sin CIty

Waaaaaay back in the day, my bff Bek and I watched Sin City and then decided to narrate walks to class as if we were in the movie.  Everything was dramatic and bloody and it was glorious.  These little verbal stories turned into Facebook posts, and a little novel was born.  Like the Wolfman story, Bek and I alternated telling the story, and like with Wolfman, I can’t remember who wrote what.  I think I am Diamond and she is Ruby.  It’s incredibly gruesome but hilarious, so enjoy! 

It was a dark cold night as I turned down that deserted street with my partner. The moon burst forth from behind the thick layer of clouds, but only for an instant, as if to show how quick death can come for you. I look at my partner. I think to myself, ‘she looks ill’ but not wanting to alarm her, I tell her she will be ok. “you will be ok” this pain in my knees wont go away. ‘pull yourself together old woman and get this last job done. the pain is only temporary.’

The cold breeze of death brushed past my skin as I walked along the cold, lifeless street. The sound of my feet hitting the hard pavement was the only sound of life. My partner was lagging behind. She was weak. I knew her time was running short. she couldn’t go much longer. You’ll be okay I said with fake assurance. “you’ll be okay.”

I glance to my right, sensing death, but see only dead trees. Their branches look like long skeleton fingers, reaching towards the heavens. The air is still, except for the soft clicking of my partners shoes on the frozen cement. The air is freezing, the wind cuts through me like a knife. I feel like I’m being watched. My partner needs to know this. “I think we are being watched” I tell her, and we pick up the pace, bringing us only quicker to our impending doom.

I see a car approaching, then another- then another… it was a trap and we had fallen right into it’s evil clutches. There was no way out, this was the end. We were sure to be tortured until our intestines hung from our stomachs and our eyes were brutally scooped out. I tell my partner to hurry. “hurry” she notices the danger and we both take a sharp right turn down a dark alley…

The dark ally we have turned down is completely deserted. A few scattered newspapers are blown across our path. An old dumpster is seems to be lurking in the corner. A foul stench is coming from it. Probably an old rotting corpse. Someday we will all be rotting corpses. A car pulls up to the entrance of this dark as a tomb ally-way, and a large man gets out. Good thing my partner and I have our guns with us. Suddenly the man pulls out a machine gun, and before you can scream “we’re dead” he riddles our bodies with bullets. Lucky for us these are minor flesh wounds…

The car suddenly turns and drives away. It vanishes in the darkness- just like life does. My partner and i had each been shot at least 178 times but we get up and proceed to walk it off. with blood spurting from our bullet wounds we stumble out of the alley and I realize it’s a trap!! “it’s a trap!” I yell- but it was too late…

“its a trap” my partner yells, and before I know it we are surrounded. We stand back to bloody back and point our guns at our attackers. Our attackers aren’t fazed and they begin to approach us. This is the end. A heck of a way to end a partnership. I tell my partner that it’s been great “it’s been great.” Our attackers get closer, but then, lucky for us, the blood spewing from our many bullet wounds blinds our attackers! The stuff that makes up our blood is beginning to eat out their eyes! i tell my partner to run. “run!!”…

we make a run for it and our attackers try to grab us- but we are so blood soaked that we slip out of their grasps. I jump into one of their cars and my partner jumps in the passenger side. With some of my fast and furious driving we easily get away. Soon the car runs out of gas so we slide out of the car and begin walking down the cold street once again. Then we see the shadow of someone walking ahead of us- the shadow disappears, just like our miserable, stupid, meaningless, little lives do. Where did that person go I say. “Where did that person go?” …

my partner asks me where that person went. i have no idea, but not wanting to alarm her i tell her he turned down a back ally, will backtrack and try to shoot us in the back. “he turned down a back ally, will backtrack, and try to shoot us in the back.” in order to confuse our newest killer, we make an abrupt left turn down another dark ally. this ally is dark, dark as a tomb, save for the one lone light shining feebly from a street-lamp. I can see the outline of several dead bugs lying at the bottom of the bulb. dead. like we will soon be. all of a sudden the light burns out. just like our lives are slowly burning out. I feel as though we are being followed. I turn around and as I do my scarf is blown tightly around my neck, giving me the feeling that my meaningless life is being choked from me. I swear I can hear footsteps so I tell my partner. “I swear I can hear footsteps.” she turns around and suddenly…

as my partner and I turn around, we hear the clank of something metal landing at our feet- we look down and see a grenade! Crap I yell- “CRAP! IT’S A GRENADE!” I turn to kick this cold, heartless weapon of death as far away as possible- but it’s too late! it explodes! BBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMM! Everything goes black. I open my eyes to see my bloody, mangled partner lying on the hard ground. I don’t know if she’s still breathing or not. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life. I can’t even imagine what I look like. Then I hear a car driving up- this was sure to be the end…

Looks can be deceiving. It looked like it was over, but it was far, far from being over. I hear a car drive up, and two people get out. I open my eyes and through the blood I can make out that one of them is yellow, and I can only see the other ones glasses. My partner and I slowly stagger to our feet, look at the messengers of Satan who have come to claim our lives, and run. Our two killers attempt to run us down, but slip and slide through our pools of blood left on the ground. My partner and I reach a low wall. We jump over it, turn around in mid-air, and point our guns at the twin grim reapers…..

As we fly backwards through the air we unload our guns into their worthless bodies. We both hit the ground, landing on our backs. We’ve got to be sure they’re dead, I think. “We’ve got to be sure they’re dead.” We slowly poke our heads above the wall to see what has happened to our antagonists. but to our dismay we see how they are gone! gone just like all our lives will be one day soon. only a bloody trail remains. We’ve got to follow them and finish them off i say. “we’ve got to follow them and finish them off.”…

We climb back over the wall that only seconds ago we valiantly jumped over, and follow the bloody trail. Strangely their bloodied path does not take us back to their vehicle. This is odd – I think. “This is odd”. We have come to a fork in the road, and here the one trail splits into two separate slimy ooie gooie blood trails. Not wanting to separate, we closely examine the trail to figure out with demon is more deadly, then we will pursue him, and then come back to rob another worthless being of his life…

The bloody trail leads us out of town and into some deep, dark woods. Everything is grey and dead. We walk a little farther until we see a farm house. We better watch our step I say, “We better watch our step.” We go up to the door and turn the blood stained handle. The door creaks open and we find ourselves standing in a room full of mounted heads! I gag. “Buck it up” I say to myself as i step inside. This guy was a sicko- he had to be killed. Suddenly the door slammed shut behind us…

My partner and I whirl around, but no one is there! All we see is a bloody decapitated corpse strung up on the back of the door. We turn back around and come face to bloody face with the man with the glasses. He gives us a nasty cocky crooked smile. I can see his teeth are stained with blood, and there are bit of flesh stuck between his teeth. Who is this psychotic killer!? What have we gotten ourselves into!? The stench of death is so strong in this place, I think that I might gag. ‘Pull yourself together’ I tell myself. My partner and I look at each other, nod, and pull our secret weapons from within our long black jackets…

Since my partner seems stunned, and unable to react *cough cough* I quickly take control of the situation. I grab my machine gun and her bazooka, and riddle the glasses guy with bullets. All that remains of him is his skeleton, with pieces of bloody flesh clinging to his bones. My partner snaps out of her zone and we turn into the dark death-like night to finish off our other assassin. *enter theme music*

My partner didn’t realize that I had been temporarily stunned by a poisonous dart. Luckily it had worn off so we continued into the darkness. There were no stars in the pitch black sky, and suddenly we smelled that awful smell of death. It’s the yellow guy I said, “It’s the yellow guy!” I knew he was close. Suddenly from out of nowhere he appeared! I flipped into Lara Croft mode and pulled out my two colt .45s from my sexy leg holsters and began raining bullets into is pathetic, yellow body… he fell onto the ground, flailing is arms and legs as if in a seizure while I continued shooting…

There was yellow blood spewing everywhere as my partner completely destroyed our yellow phantom menace. After she shot at him for 5 mins, I thought he was dead. ” I think he’s dead.” She stopped shooting, and we both stared down at our nasty soon to be decomposed and rotting friend. He had been reduced to a pile of yellow goo. I noticed he was holding something in his hand. I looked closer and saw that it was a cell-phone. “It’s a cell-phone” I yelled just as a I heard a new car of death drive up….

He must have dialed backup I said “he must have dialed back-up!” the car came at incredible speeds right at us and I knew we were abt to be splattered across it’s windshield like a bug. WHUMF! My partner and I flew over the hood of the car. Every one of the worthless bones in our pitiful bodies had to be broken as we landed on the ground. The car stopped, everything went black…

When I came to, I saw that my partner and I were strapped down on a table. We were going to be tortured within an inch of our meaningless worthless lives. I could hear our new enemies sharpening knives and screwdrivers in a back room. I looked over at the mangled body of my partner and saw she was waking up. We both knew we had to escape somehow. It was then that I realized the bonds that were holding me down were slippery from the massive amount of blood that covered me. I was able to slide out like a fish slides between a fisherman’s hands when trying to escape death…

My eyes began to open and I realized that my partner and I were tied to a table. Diamond (my partner) was awake and I saw she had gotten an arm free. Help get me out of here I said. “Help get me out of here.” We undid our hands and feet and then looked around the room. It was cold, dark, damp and smelled like rotting flesh. Against the walls were shelves of torture instruments. Just then we heard voices and footsteps coming towards the room…

We had to think fast! I looked at Ruby (my partner) and with a nod we grabbed the blood and flesh covered torture instruments from the wall and stood ready to face our foes. I told Ruby to get ready, “Get ready” The first man walked through the door and was met with a knife between his eyes. He fell to the floor and blood spewed everywhere. I ran forward to yank my knife from his skull, looked up, and realized we were drastically outnumbered…

we were drastically outnumbered- but it was ok. We had one more trick up our sleeves- serenity mode. “Serenity mode!” I yelled! Diamond and I froze for half a second as power surged through our bodies. Then- things got wild… We were unconscious killing machines that could not be stopped and had no mercy. all that could be seen in this chaotic scene of blood and torture were diamond’s and my knives, fists, claws and round kicks to their faces. We were snapping necks and pulling out hearts and no one could stop us. Blood. Pain. Death. Agony. That’s all life is anyway. Agony.

We snapped out of serenity mode when there was no one left and surveyed our surroundings. There was blood and guts everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere-the floor, ceiling, walls and windows were covered in the slime and muck that was the remains of our foes. We had won this bloody battle, while assisting our enemies to a quicker death. We will all die someday; we just helped them along their way. With one last look around the room of death and despair, Ruby and I ran from the room and into the inky, black-as-death night.

We ran into the inky, black-as-death night. Let’s go to the hide-out, i said- “let’s go to the hide-out.” We walked along leaving a bloody trail w every step. At last our wounds began to stop bleeding and we made it back into sin city. We went through dark alley after dark alley until we came to a hidden, little door in the side of a building. Diamond lifted up a “rock” and put in the secret code. the door opened. we walked in to our secret lair- we were safe- for now.

We survey our surroundings, trying to determine if anyone has tampered with our stuff. A few rats run by. Ruby and I grab them, breaking their necks. Rats are a delicacy in SinCity. We throw our dirty bloody clothes in a corner and change into new outfits. We then build a fire, roast the rats, and eat till we have gummy tummies. Suddenly we hear a noise by the entrance to our secret lair…

What’s that? I said. “What’s that?” Diamond took hold of the door handle as i took out my two colt 45s from my Lara Croft leg holsters. 1…2…3!! Diamond flung open the door as I prepared to fire- but no one was there only a note. All it said was “tick-tock.” run! I yelled, “RUN!!” diamond and I took off out the door and were only a few yards away when BBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM!!! Our secret lair exploded sending a wave of heat and fire sweeping over our bodies. We landed on the ground. Our clothes had been melted to our bloody skin…

I open my eyes, and realize I am on my back. The stench of burning flesh is heavy on the air. I look over and see Ruby, her body is nothing but a bloody pulpy nastiness. I peel my clothes away from my arms and legs. I tell Ruby so much for our new outfits “so much for our new outfits” I cant believe someone found our lair. That’s unbelievable. No one knows where this is, except for our boss. Perhaps we have a traitor in out midst….

We’ve been double-crossed! I said, “We’ve been double-crossed!” diamond and i slowly get up and stumble down the alley w pieces of flesh and burnt clothes trailing along- we had to bring down the boss- but first we had to get ready. Diamond and I made our way to our secret-secret lair, it was abt 3 miles away…

We ran the whole three miles non stop. We got to our secret-secret lair and decided to watch the entrance to see if our deceptive cruel boss of doom arrives to kill us. We hide behind a bush, making sure none of our flesh was left around on the ground for him to see. We hid there for ten hours before anything happened, and then…

And then we heard something and saw a flash of green. Look I said- “look!” It was our attack iguana!! He was still guarding the fort so we knew the place was safe. Our boss hadn’t found out abt our secret-secret lair. Death-whip was so happy to see us as we all ran inside. The first thing Diamond and I went to was the first aid. Then we all got washed up and hot new outfits, something to eat and then fell asleep.

Ruby and I slept for five days straight. Death-whip kept a close watch at the entrance, but nothing happened. On the morning of the fifth day we awoke. I yawned and thought about how hungry I was. “I’m hungry” Ruby agreed. We stood up to get some food, but saw that Death-whip had already fixed us something. Now we were well rested and full. it was time to take down our evil loser of a boss…

The live hamsters that death-whip had caught were a good breakfast to start the day. Feeling rejuvenated and having new outfits and a full stomach we were ready to rock. We restocked on ammo and weapons and took off for the bosses headquarters deep in the middle of the city. The city was cold, damp and dark- like being in a grave. We could smell the stench of decay all around as we approached the building…

The building was dark and dank. It smelled like rotted flesh. Probably because our boss, Mr. Rigg A Mortus, liked to keep the bodies of his victims encased in the walls of the house. Death-whip went with us. He had a spiky collar, and razor sharp metal spikes protruding from his back. He also had a video camera attached to the end of his nose. We could watch the videos from our awesome spy watches. I unclipped his electric-charged leash and he took off to patrol the area. Ruby and I got to the side of the house, and figured that the only way in was through the roof. “Were gonna have to climb.” I say, and we begin the deadly ascent up the 100057865893673 ft wall…

Even though Diamond and I had been shot over 1,000,000,000,000 times in the past few days- we climbed the wall with strength and speed. We came to a window high up and I kicked it in. Then my partner and I dropped into the decaying blackness of our boss’s lair. Luckily our super-hot, black leather outfits had everything we needed- including a flashlight…

We clicked the flashlights on. The feeble light pushed its way through the grave like darkness and we were appalled by what we saw. Rotting, decaying flesh was strewn over the walls, and blood oozed from the ceiling. Apparently Mr. Rigg had been doing some heavy duty torturing. We quickly left the room and turned left down a dark narrow hallway. We cam to a door that was bolted shut. We paused in front of it, and heard footsteps shuffling from within…

Then we heard the sinister voice from within. it was our boss- he was on the phone, we could barely hear what he was saying, “…those two girls that got away… must find them… torture… kill… death…” I looked at Diamond. It was time. I took an explosive strip from my hot outfit and plastered it to the door. Get back I said, “get back.” Diamond and I stepped back. She took out her sleek, black rifle and I took out my two silver, shiny hand guns. we aimed them at the door as the strip detonated… BOOOOOOOOOOOM!

We jump through the smoke only to find the room empty.  I spot a trap door on the ground and tell Ruby that it looks like he got away. “It looks like he got away”  Suddenly we hear the soft tick tick tick of a bomb!  Ruby yells that its a trap. “It’s a trap!!”  We run towards the open window and jump out, just as the room explodes behind us.  Lucky for us, our sexy outfits come equipped with parachutes.  We pull the rip-cord and float gently down to a balcony.  We untangle ourselves from the parachute, take out our weapons, and make our way into the next room in this torture house of doom.   

The room we break into next from the balcony is almost as creepy as the first, we could tell that the floor was splattered w blood and bones- it smelled like death. I kicked in the door as Diamond stood ready, we began to creep forward- we couldn’t see anything because we had lost our flashlights, but then we began to hear a deep growling sound a few yards ahead of us. Man-eating wolves I say, “man-eating wolves!”

I groan inwardly as I realize what we are about to face. Man-eating wolves are among the deadliest creatures on this worthless planet. I grab my cross-bow and Ruby holds her twin colt 45s ready. The growling get louder as the beasts get closer. Suddenly they stop snarling, and the room becomes as silent as a tomb. When these terrible beasts discover their prey, they grow silent and stalk them. They must have picked up our scent I say. “They must have picked up our scent.” Ruby and I nod at each other in determination and begin to fill the room with arrows and bullets.

My bullets light up the room w flashes and flickers as diamond’s arrows pierce through the air. The noise was almost deafening with the sharp sound of my guns, the whistling of diamond’s arrows, and the yelping of the wolves as they all die- one by one. We were doing them a favor- we’ll all die soon enough. Finally everything in the room was dead and lying in a pool of blood except my partner and I. let’s go I said, “let’s go.” We crossed the dark room to the next door…

The next door we came to was bolted shut. While Ruby got out her lock-picking kit, I looked at my watch to see how Death-whip was doing. Instead of seeing what he sees, there was a message that flashed across the tiny screen. It read “if you ever want to see you precious iguana again, come to the 23rd floor.” I told Ruby what the message said, “The message says that if we ever want to see Death-whip again, we have to go to the 23rd floor.” Ruby immediately put her supplies away and we headed for the 23rd floor. We never leave a man behind…

My partner-in-crime and I push through a loud, heavy door and see a stair case. We’ve got to save Deathwhip I say. “We’ve got to save Deathwhip!” It was dark as death but Diamond and I proceeded to the stairs. I put my foot on the first stair and it slipped off- blood! “It’s blood!” I say. Diamond put her hand on the rail and quickly moved it. There was blood there too. The stairwell smelled of death, then I heard something on the stairs below us…

Ruby and I freeze on the bloody stairway. The noise stops suddenly, and all that can be heard is the sicking sound of blood dripping from the railing to the floor. Ruby and I glance at each other and with a nod, we pull out our death dealing guns of doom. Whoever or whatever waits for us below, doesn’t stand a chance…

We freeze. All we can hear is the rapid beating of our hearts-then a faint ticking noise begins to float up the stairs. run I think- “RUN! IT’S A FLESH-EATING ACID BOMB!” Diamond and I turn and begin racing up the stairs as fast as possible, slipping and sliding, falling and catching ourselves in the pools of the stenching blood. We round the corner and come to a door- slamming our blood-stained bodies through it, landing on the other side, and kicking it shut again just in time to hear a huge explosion and see waves of ultraviolet lights sweeping past us…

I open my eyes, surprised that I am still alive. Relief washes over me and I look over at my partner. It is only then that I realize we are lying in pools of our own blood. Ruby stirs, and awakens. Wordlessly, we drag ourselves through the slippery blood, and out onto a balcony where we can go over our injuries. We are hurt bad. The bone in my left forearm it sticking completely through my skin, and I know that Ruby is in no better shape. We’ve gotta get through this I say. “We’ve gotta get through this.” No matter how near death we are, we can’t leave Deathwhip to a fate worse than death.

They’re just minor flesh wounds I say, “they’re just minor flesh wounds.” Diamond and I have been through worse. We get up and begin limping down the dark hallway with pieces of our own flesh hanging loosely like paper. There was rotting flesh and corpses scattered along the walls but we were becoming immune to the smell of death. Ahead was a door with a small glimmer of light seeping out around the cracks. I grab the doorknob and take out my handgun. Diamond has her gun out and ready for action as well. We burst through the door ready for an explosion of bullets- but instead all that we saw was Deathwhip!

We cautiously look around the room, looking for a trap. There is no way this should be this easy I say, “There is no way this should be this easy.” The room is covered in blood and guts. Dismembered, rotting corpses hang from the ceiling. I look at Deathwhip, and notice he isn’t moving. Ruby and I approach the iguana, and realize that its not Deathwhip at all…The iguana in front of us is dead, dead like we all will be some day, and attached to its tail is a note. I read it to Ruby. “This will be your beloved Deathwhip in ten minutes. Time is running out.”…

Hurry I yell- “HURRY!” Diamond and I bolt for the door. I try to slam through, but instead I feel like I hit a brick wall. The door was locked! we were trapped- just liked we are all trapped in this meaningless maze that we call life. No way out, we struggle and fight and it’s all for nothing. We all end up rotting corpses in the end. what should we do I ask, “what should we do?”

I can tell that Ruby is panicked, but I force myself to remain calm.  There has to be a way out of this maze of death.  I look at the ceiling and spot an oozing, bloody grate.  I point at it and tell Ruby that maybe we could escape through it.  “Maybe we can escape through it.”  I boost her up and she knocks the grate down.  She pulls herself through the slimy bloodiness of where the grate was, and then pulls me up.  I look down one dark, death like tunnel, and then down the other.  I ask Ruby which way we should go.  “Which way should we go?”…

Left I say. “Left.” “Are you sure?” Diamond asks. Yes I say, “yes.” But I wasn’t sure. Uncertainty is a part of our cold, meaningless lives. We never know what’s going to happen, we never know when we’re going to die and just how gruesome our death is going to be. The one thing we can be sure of is that it will be gruesome, and it will be painful. Diamond and I crawl through the blinding darkness as quietly as possible. Finally we see a light ahead and ungracefully fumble towards it. Diamond and I peer down into a room reeking with the smell of blood. All we can see is a rusty cage- and in that cage we see Deathwhip!

…..And that’s all, folks.  Apparently the story ends on this tantalizing cliffhanger.

 

Mischief Managed

When Friends Text – Olympic Edition

So the Olympics are happening and its wonderful.

Katie – Also!! HAPPY OLYMPICS DAY!!!!! 

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Lauren –🙂😀😀🙂 *celebration emojis*  I never feel more American than on Olympics weeks/Independence Day

Katie – I’ll have to take some pictures of Sven so Katie can see when we rescue her. 

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Lauren – Hahaha.  I love the Winter Olympics so much.

Katie – Me too!  I love the skating and ice racing and skiing and bobsledding.  Love love.

Lauren – Do you remember that time Katie and Lauren ran into the forest with a wolfman?? 

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I mean, what were they thinking?

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We used to be so naive

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I just wish that woman had got to him sooner…

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I wonder if Katie’s on THIS mountain?

Katie – Hahahahahahahaha.  I met a girl named Katie on the mountain.  I wonder if it’s the same girl?  Nah.  Probably not.  JEAH.

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Lauren – Hahahaha.  “She was hawt”

Katie – PARTY IN THE USAAAAA

Lauren – Hahaha

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We’ll find her!

Katie – Ahahahaha Evan and Shawn!  

I’m ready, let’s go! 

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Lauren – Ha!!

Katie – Will this be warm enough?

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Lauren – 

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Katie – I SMELL HUMAN FLESH

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Mischief Managed.