Prince Ali – Chapter 21

By: Victoria Hardesty and Nancy Perez
Writers of Action and Adventure with Arabian Horses


Mom finally extricated herself from well-wishers and hurried to the trailer parking area. She noticed the rear trailer door was open. “Becky?” she called out and got no reply. She stepped around the truck to the other side and noticed the tack room door was also open, but Ali was not tied to the side of the trailer. He was gone! “Becky, where are you two?” There was no reply.

That’s when she saw Becky lying on the pavement with her eyes closed, not moving. She saw the fresh pool of blood around Becky’s head and began to scream, “No! No! NO! NOO!

Mom ran and dropped to her knees beside her daughter and cradled her head in her arms, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Becky! Wake up, Becky! Honey, open your eyes! WAKE UP, PLEASE, DEAR GOD!” She got no response. It was then she noticed the blood on her own arms and clothes. Terror gripped her heart, and she began to scream in earnest, “HELP! HELP! HELP! My daughter’s been hurt! SOMEONE CALL 911! PLEASE, SOMEBODY, PLEASE COME HELP US!”

People at the nearest trailers dropped what they were doing and came running. Two of the ladies were already on their cell phones dialing 911. “What’s happened? asked one man.

Choking down sobs, Mom cried, “I don’t know. I just got here and found my Becky here and can’t wake her up. There’s blood everywhere, and our horse is gone. Did anyone see what happened?”

Prince Ali and Becky had been on the far side of their trailer, away from the view of the parking area. No one saw what happened.

“We didn’t see a loose horse anywhere around here. He couldn’t get far,” answered the man.

“Hey, what color was your horse? I saw two guys loading a gray horse in a beat-up trailer right there in front of your rig,” said a young man just walking up from the far end of the parking area. “They hauled out of here in a hurry. It looked like they were heading for the freeway. Maybe you shouldn’t hold your daughter like that until the paramedics get here in case there’s an injury to her neck or somethin’.”

Fresh sobs came from Mom. “Oh, my God! They stole Ali! They must have hurt Becky to get to him. NO! NO! NO! Can someone call the Sheriff and get an ambulance?”

She sat beside her daughter as tears streamed down her face. “Can someone get my husband? His name is Walter Howard, and he’s waiting for us on the porch of the El Adobe.”

Two women in the forming crowd were still talking with the 911 dispatch operators when the first siren wailed through the afternoon air. A couple of bystanders took off running for the restaurant to find Walter. Some of the people there were trying to give advice. The rest of them watched in stunned silence. The locals were shocked. Things like this just didn’t happen in San Juan Capistrano!

When the first fire engine arrived, six firemen jumped out. By-standers directed them to Caroline. They asked Caroline to move back and give them room. They checked for pulse and respiration. They checked her pupils and probed for wounds finding a large gash near the top of her head and a small patch of “road rash” where her forehead came in contact with the asphalt. By that time, the paramedics’ ambulance arrived. The paramedics applied bandaging to her head and a neck brace. They slid Becky onto a backboard. They started an IV in her arm and hoisted the backboard onto a portable stretcher.

Caroline stood back and watched in horror. Walter came, out of breath from running, and wrapped his arms around her holding her tight while she cried. “What happened?” he asked.

“Ooohh, I don’t know,” she sobbed. “I found her lying there on the pavement with blood everywhere and Ali gone. Someone said they saw two men load a gray horse in a trailer and take off, so they might have stolen Ali. Becky must have gotten in their way.” She cried as if her heart were breaking.

“We’re taking her to Mission Hospital,” the paramedic told Caroline and Walter. “She’s got a head injury, and we think she’s in a coma, but she’s breathing, and her pulse is strong and steady. That’s a good sign. Are you her mother? You can come with us. We need to get some information anyway.” Looking at Walter, he said, “If you’re her father, can you follow us in your vehicle?”

Walter steadied Caroline as they walked to the ambulance. Becky was already loaded inside. One of the paramedics helped Caroline inside and showed her where to sit to be with her daughter and out of their way as they worked. The other paramedic riding in the back took out his clipboard and gathered Becky’s chart information. The driver hit the siren switch again as they pulled away from the curb heading for the hospital.

The wail of the siren cracked the air like thunder. Grief struck Walter hard as he watched the ambulance get smaller and smaller in the distance. He almost fell to his knees. He was watching the two most precious things in his life, leaving him on the curb alone. It took his breath away.

Walter stood watching the ambulance until it disappeared, then decided it was time for him to find the courage and get moving. He locked up the truck and trailer and ran to his car, hoping there would be some good news waiting for him at the hospital.

Victoria Hardesty has owned, bred and shown Arabian Horses for more than 30 years. She and her husband operated their own training facility serving many young people that loved and showed their own horses. She is the author of numerous articles in horse magazines, was the editor of two Arabian Horse Club newsletters, one of which was given the Communications Award of the Year by the Arabian Horse Association at their national convention. An avid reader from childhood, she read every horse story she could get her hands on.