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Red Mane

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Megan was a muscular girl, strong from working the ranch, a few freckles brought out by the sun. Her hair was tied back with a wide ribbon, and she stood straight-backed and tall. Her expression was open, friendly and unabashed. Kimber pegged her at mid-twenties.

She looked good. Almost like a warm meal or a dose of tranqs. Kimber felt empty inside, cold, like she always did. She’d been trying to numb herself out so long it had gotten hard to feel anything. But she saw the young cowgirl, and she wanted her bad. Something in her smile seemed like a welcome. So when she said, "You up for this?" with that sly tilt of her head, Kimber nodded, and got to her knees.

Megan cracked her riding crop against her boot, her expression steely, her tone commanding. "All fours."

Kimber moved into position haltingly. Her body felt stiff sometimes, even alien on the bad days. And she’d had a lot of bad days in a row.

Megan’s face softened when Kimber obeyed. "There's a good pony." She knelt down beside her and took a hairbrush from her bag. Kimber shivered in anticipation of a blow. She felt a thrill run deep through her gut at the thought of punishment, but Megan only began to brush her.

"What a pretty mane," she cooed. Kimber’s hair was a little stiff with chemical processing, but Megan was gentle, slow and thorough. The brush had wide prongs, and she didn’t pull or hurt. Kimber found herself leaning against her thigh. She was warm through her jeans.

Something prodded at Kimber’s lips. It was a sugar cube. She looked up into Megan’s eyes, looking for mockery or harshness. She was met with a smile.

“Go on,” Megan said. She offered it again. “It’s all right, girl. You can take it.”

Kimber took it, hesitatingly, with her teeth.

“Good girl,” Megan crooned, petting her head. “No hands, just like that. Doesn’t that feel good?”

Kimber nodded as she sucked on the candy. Her mouth was filled with the bright, strong taste of sugar. It felt like forever since she’d had something sweet.

Megan brushed her hair out until it was straight and smooth, then took a lock and started winding it into a braid. “Such a pretty pony,” she said, half to herself. “And such a gentle girl. I can’t believe anyone would leave you out alone without anyone to take care of you.” She took a barrette from her pocket and clipped the braid into place. “Don’t worry, though,” she said, hugging the older woman close. “We’ll get you cleaned up, and you’ll be the prettiest pet in the world.”

Kimber whickered unselfconsciously, nuzzling against Megan’s kind hands.