Bucky watched the cars come down the street, roar past, and dwindle into the night. They seemed to go downhill for a while, then start back up, and be almost out of sight when they reached the end of the road. He wondered if he could race them, beat them to that place. Sure, he was fast. Sure he could.
Another set of headlights came out of a small neighborhood street.
He stepped out onto the pavement, and started trotting. It was fair, after all, the car was already moving. It was trotting. He could too!
The headlights approached, and moved to the other side of the road. The car was going faster, so he broke to a smooth canter, then a full run. Maybe a full bound. It seemed to be different than the way the horses did it. Maybe it was a bound instead of a run or gallop.
The car was alongside now. Bucky stretched out and ran, the car purring alongside as though it enjoyed the race. Down they went, down to where the river crossed the road after big storms, and up towards the intersection. A train moaned in the distance, approaching the tracks just a little further away.
Bucky stepped up the pace. I’ll show this guy. Faster, faster, leaving the car behind, Bucky found he had left the ground. He was running so fast he was rising into the air. He crossed over the intersection, out over the empty place, the next road, and suddenly the train was going by under his feet. This was fun!
He stretched out into long, distance-swallowing strides. He felt like he could run until the stars came home.
On he ran, and the full moon rose over the pines. He galloped towards it, and it grew bigger and bigger, until it filled his vision. He approached it at great speed, and began slowing down. When he reached the surface of the moon it was still at the speed of a serious gallop, but his hoofs grabbed the dusty surface and accelerated. Up the side of a crater and off, into the air … the air? … above. Tucking in his legs, he did a somersault in the air, opening up to come running down the slope on the opposite side. He cantered about a bit, then got a good running start and shot up the side of another crater, into the star-splattered sky.
There was the earth, green and blue and white and beautiful. Down he floated, running on wisps of cloud and stardust, sliding down the cloud canyons and into the valleys. A mountain lake rose to meet him, with white-capped peaks and long green grass meadows surrounding the valley. He ran down a mountainside, across the lush emerald lawns, and out onto the lake. Running on the lake!
Not even beginning to tire, he ran up the mountain on the other side and into the skies. Morning dawned over the mountain crests, and golden light bathed him in its warmth. Bright, golden light.
“Bucky, it’s morning! You sleepy head, what’s the matter, is the sun finally in your eyes?”
Bucky opened his eyes. And then closed them, and took one more long run across the lake.
Bucky and his family are from The Oak and the Cliff series of books.