Running Blind

Damien is almost blind. He does well at school, and looks after his own half-blind pony.

He even found a way to help Brad, the school bully, to find his way past some of his own troubles.

Now Damien needs help.

He has a dream, a dream he’s kept to himself for years.

And the only one who can help him is Brad.

But does he trust Brad enough to put his safety in the former bully’s hands?

Formats: ebook $0.99

Genre/s: contemporary, disability

Series: The Kids of Welles Bend

Audience: middle grade

Length: short story

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Damien eased open the front door of his house, pressed his hand against his pocket to make sure his key was there, then closed the door softly behind him.

The sky was still the pale pearly-blue it reached on a summer’s day before the sun rose. He hadn’t bothered with the hat and sunglasses he had to wear to avoid sun-blindness – he’d probably be back inside by sunrise anyway, whatever happened. He bent his head so he could properly see the steps leading down from the veranda, then followed the concrete path around to the two-car garage, or what had once been the garage. Three years ago it had been expanded and converted into cosy stables with room enough for the family’s four horses. They nickered softly at him as he entered, pausing at the door to let his eyes adjust to the dimness inside. He knew the layout of the stables by heart, and everything was always put back where it belonged, so he had no trouble opening the stalls and letting the three bigger horses out into the back paddock, making sure the trough beside the door was filled with water. Gypsy waited patiently in her stall as he slid a simple rope halter over her head, then she followed him out the other door and across to her own paddock at the front of the house.

Unlike the other horses, Gypsy was Damien’s. He’d found her a year ago at one of the horse shows his Mum and his younger brother Brendan went to. Her owners were selling her because their children were too old to ride her any more. She was nearly twelve years old, and only stood as tall as Damien’s chest. Her coat was a mottled white and grey with a whitish mane and tail, and her eyes were a startling pale blue.

Damien had fallen in love with her at first sight.

When he’d learned Gypsy was partially blind, just like he was, he had to have her.

She had cost almost all his savings, and none of his family could understand why he wanted her. She was too small to ride, and she was old. Mum even offered to buy him a horse if he wanted to start competing at shows like she and Brendan did.

Not. Horse shows were Brendan’s thing. Brendan the show-off, Brendan the attention-seeker, Brendan the child with perfect sight who thought Damien got too much attention because he was almost blind.

Which was really stupid. Damien would have given anything to be able to see things clearly, to not have to wear stupid sunglasses over his glasses outside, along with a big stupid hat because his stupid eyes and skin didn’t have enough melatonin to deflect the sunlight. Not that he looked albino – he had light reddish-brown hair and grey eyes – but the albinism gene was still there, passed on through Mum, whose grandfather had been albino. He’d had the white hair and pale eyes and everything, Damien had seen photos.

Brendan didn’t have the gene – Mum and Dad had got him tested almost as soon as he was born. Brendan could see perfectly.

Brendan didn’t know how lucky he was.