Terrified for my life, I was flung to the floor and against the walls so many times by the movement of this box I was trapped in. I was afraid to try standing again, so I cowered in the corner. On the floor of the trailer was a bed of soiled straw. I lay there watching the sunlight crawl across the dirty brown walls. The shadows from the sun hitting the bars in the window looked like enormous fingers coming to get me as they crept across the walls of the trailer.
No longer was I able to see the grass, the sky, or Mother. I lay there trembling and alone with no one to love or cuddle me—just this large space all around me that smelled of old manure, urine, fear, and death. Some of the smell was my own fright. The stench was so strong it made me sick. Where were they taking me? Without Mother to protect, nuzzle, and teach me, how would I survive? I felt so helpless.
My misery and my deep need to belong and feel loved were so strong, the solitude of my mind wandered back to the same questions. What would happen to me? Who would teach me? Would I get a chance to live as she promised? “Remember her words,” I told myself.
“Hold your head up, son, you must be strong.”
With every fiber of my being, I held on to her voice in my mind. It helped to ease the apprehension, the hunger, and the throbbing from my bruises.
The movement of this box stopped. When they opened the door, I was crouching in the back corner of the trailer like a weakling. One of the men held a bucket in his hand and the other a rope. The smell coming from the bucket made my stomach rumble. Even through my fright and the fury I smelled on these men, my stomach growled. There was no place to escape from even the dirtiest of these men.
Both of them were dirty, unshaven, and wearing blue jeans and sweat stained t-shirts. Joe’s whole face was covered in hair. I could barely see his eyes through all the hair as he crouched down beside me. The other man once again put the rope around my neck and held my head in a forceful grip. Without so much as a kind word, the man called Joe stuck his fingers into the pail and forced them into my mouth. Not even the nasty taste of his grubby fingers stopped me from tasting the flavor of the milky stuff.
Hungrily I found myself sucking his dirty fingers. Several times the exercise was repeated. I sensed the resentment in these men even as they pushed my head down into the bucket. Famished, I drank greedily.
Impatiently the men pulled the bucket away from me and carried it out the door. Still hungry, I whimpered.
The man who put the rope around my neck complained as he slammed the door, “Stupid junk foal. I don’t know why we always get stuck with this job, do you, Joe?”
The way he said junk foal made me cringe. It sounded as if he was talking about a piece of garbage. Holding my head up even in my dread, I let my mother’s words again run through my mind. “Remember, do not pay any attention if you hear the words junk foal. These are words used by ignorant humans.” For a little while, letting her voice play in my mind helped ease my panic.