Authors: Angela Dorsey
Tags: #pony, #horse, #angel, #dream, #thomas, #silver, #guardian, #dorsey, #joanna, #angela, #angelica
The entire family, even Jason and Capri,
were standing outside Belle and Chime’s stall when she got back.
Amazed smiles were plastered to their faces.
“Come here, love,” Mom called
when she saw Joanna. “Come see our miracle.” She moved so there was
room for her daughter to stand beside her.
Joanna crowded near the stall
door and peered over. Belle was stoically munching her hay as Chime
cavorted about her, bucking and kicking.
“Jo, I’m sorry I yelled at you.”
Joanna looked up into his
concerned face. “That’s okay, Dad. I understand. You were worried
“I was as worried about you. I
didn’t want you to see Belle… you know, in pain.”
“I know, and I
scared,” Joanna admitted in a small voice. And it wasn’t over.
Belle was still going to die. Soon. New tears beaded the corners of
“Oh honey, don’t cry. I’m so
sorry.” Her dad pulled her into a hug. “And I know that was a hard
thing to see. But Belle’s okay now. Everything’s going to be
“And to celebrate her miraculous
recovery, we’re going to have a wonderful family lunch,” said Mom.
She grabbed Joanna’s hand. “Come on, everyone,” she said, and she
and Joanna led the family from the barn.
Dad and Jason moved the big
dining room table and all the chairs out onto the patio, and her
mom laid the table with their best plates and silverware, even
using the crystal goblets for their apple juice. For once, Robbie
wasn’t too mean to Joanna, and the sight of the mares and foals
grazing in the paddock below the house was enchanting. Raven was
enjoying a well earned break in his field with Trusty, and even
Silver Sky was out, galloping up and down the fence in his small
pasture, neighing to the mares who were pointedly ignoring him. It
was the perfect setting for a warm flawless afternoon, a delicious
lunch, and a completely divine flan for desert.
It was almost 3 o’clock by the
time Joanna’s mom got to her feet and started to collect the dirty
“Wait, Mom,” said Jason, putting
his hand on her arm. “Sit down for one more minute, okay?”
“Sure, honey.” She sat, a
puzzled expression on her face.
Jason looked around the table,
his eyes stopping on each of their faces before moving on. He
cleared his throat. “We have an announcement. We’re going to turn
you into grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We’re having a baby!”
Joanna’s mom sprang from her
chair and threw her arms around her oldest son. “How wonderful! How
wonderful!” Then she drew Capri into the hug as well.
Laughing, Dad stood. “That is
wonderful news. Congratulations!” He shook Jason’s hand, then put
his arm around Capri and shyly hugged her.
Robbie self-consciously shook
Jason’s, then Capri’s hands. But Joanna wasn’t shy. She threw her
arms around them both. “Awesome! That’s so awesome! I love babies
and I’m going to be the best aunt ever. I promise!”
“Now everyone sit down again,”
said Mom. “I picked up a couple of bottles of non-alcoholic
champagne when Jason said he and Capri were coming for lunch.”
“You knew we had an
“You should know by now that
mothers know all sorts of things.” Mom smiled at Capri and Jason,
then hurried into the house to get the beverage.
“Do you know if it’s a girl or a
boy?” asked Dad.
“Oh no. The women are going to
outnumber us poor fellows now,” joked Dad. “We don’t stand a
Only Robbie didn’t laugh.
Finally, the day was over. The minutes
had crept like a turtle across a flat plain, agonizingly slow.
The only thing that happened was that
Kathy finally seemed to be warming to the horses. She’d spent
almost all day in the shed. He spent some time with them too, but
felt too tired to do much.
It bothered him, this fatigue,
especially when he couldn’t figure out why he felt so exhausted. He
was so tired that he couldn’t even remember the apparently careless
motorist who’s car he’d helped tow out of the ditch. Hopefully, the
car’s owner would be back for it soon. They hadn’t even left a
phone number with him – or at least, that he remembered. Maybe he’d
done something with it. His memory wasn’t all it once was. Or maybe
the vehicle belonged to one of his friends. He hoped so. That way,
they’d claim it soon.
Thanks to the car, he’d had a short
reprieve from his nightmare. He hadn’t gotten back to the house
until after first light, and then, hoping and praying that the
dreams wouldn’t return, he’d fallen into bed and closed his
The prayer seemed to work for a while.
He was able to sleep for two hours before the nightmare woke him.
Then, in the blink of an eye, he went from staring into Kathy’s
flat grey dream eyes to staring at her in the doorway to his
bedroom, looking like a frightened rabbit. How relieved he’d been
that the accusing look wasn’t yet in her real life gaze. That he
couldn’t have borne.
And now it was time to fulfill his last
promise. Kathy was asleep. The horses were settled for the
Soon Thunder would join them.
Then, and only then, could he rest.
Thank you, Xu, for a lovely day. The
things we have seen today will stay with me forever. Chiru and
wolves, yaks and argali sheep, all on this wild high plateau that
looks so barren from afar. Even a circum-horizontal arc – sunset
light slanting through icy haze, making flaming wisps of purple,
green, yellow, and red, encircle the horizon. Magical! No wonder
some call it a fire rainbow.
And now it is time to say goodbye. I
must find David, and with many thanks to you, I am ready for that
task. I feel much stronger after this time of no worries, amazing
sights, and wonderful companionship.
Take care, my dear Xu, and thank you
once more for showing me your bit of the world.
Joanna took Silver Sky instead of Raven
that night. The dark pony had spent long hours standing in the
woods alone, and she didn’t want to try his patience too much.
Angelica was waiting for them in the same spot she’d tied Raven the
last time. Joanna gave Silver Sky some grain and tied him securely,
and then the two girls crept into the forest. Moments later, they
were over the fence and hurrying across the field toward the
They entered the building
cautiously. Cally wasn’t there yet, but the horses were resting
peacefully. They were keeping their pledge and quietly, patiently,
waiting for Cally’s parents to arrive in the morning.
Without turning on the light,
Angelica gave them each some hay, then she and Joanna sat down to
wait. The sound of the munching horses, their deep breathing, and
the rustling of the straw beneath their hooves seemed amplified in
the darkness. The sounds soothed, and the warmth from the hot day
lingered in the shed, making Joanna yawn. She leaned against the
wall and her eyes drooped shut. Hopefully they wouldn’t have long
to wait. She was tired after being out most of last night.
Within five minutes they heard a
sound at the door, then it opened a crack. “Are you there?”
“Yes,” replied Angelica, moving
swiftly toward the door. “We are ready.”
Joanna was on her feet in an
instant. “He’s asleep?”
“Yes,” said Cally. “I haven’t
heard any sound come from his room for ages now.”
“What about his hearing
“He normally takes it off at
night, unless he’s too wound up or tired.”
“But you’re not sure about
tonight?” asked Joanna.
“No. Sorry. But he went to bed
early. He probably took it out.”
“We will search the rest of the
house first,” Angelica said. “There may be no need to go into his
The house was deathly still as
they walked in the front door. A dimly lit foyer welcomed them, and
a dark hallway stretched back into the recesses of the house.
“My grandpa’s room is the last
door down the hallway on the right,” whispered Cally, pointing.
“The door before his is a den. On the left, the first room is a
bathroom and the last one is my room. I’ve already checked those
two rooms completely.”
“What’s this room?” asked
Joanna, pointing to a door to their left.
“The kitchen, and the living
room’s that way.” Cally pointed to another door, this one open, to
the right. “I’ve checked them too.”
“So there are only two rooms
unsearched, the den and your Grandfather’s bedroom,” Angelica
concluded. “Let us start with the den.”
They slipped inside the room and
closed the door behind them before turning on the light. At first
glance, the room appeared empty. Angelica hurried to the large
cupboard standing against one wall and flung the doors open, to
reveal books. Joanna opened the closet. Nothing but musty smelling
jackets. She hurried to the desk and looked underneath it. Still
nothing. Cally checked the tiny bathroom off her grandfather’s den.
The girls met in the center of
the room. “I think we should check the entire house again before we
sneak into Grandpa’s room,” said Cally. “In case I missed
Joanna nodded. “Good idea.”
Anything, to avoid sneaking into the old man’s bedroom as he
However, to Joanna’s dismay, the
rest of the house revealed no sign of David’s presence.
Reluctantly, the three girls
tiptoed to Mr. Thomas’s bedroom door. “Maybe I should go in first,”
said Cally. “That way I can see if he took out his hearing aid
before going to sleep.”
Joanna and Angelica nodded their
The door creaked as Cally opened
it, and all three girls froze. No sound came from the dark room.
After an agonizingly long time, Cally slipped inside. Angelica
moved to the door and leaned toward the opening, paused for a long
moment, then reached inside and clicked on the light.
Cally yelped and spun around,
halfway to the bed.
“He is not here,” Angelica
explained. “I could not hear him breathing.”
Joanna looked at the bed.
Angelica was right. The unmade bed was empty. Relief flooded
through her. Now they could quickly search this last room, find
David, and get out.
But Cally wasn’t relieved. She
plopped down on her grandfather’s bed. “Oh no.”
“What?” asked Joanna. Angelica
was already checking the closet.
“What if he’s gone to steal
“David was here.” Angelica’s
voice came from the closet.
“You found him?” Joanna rushed
to Angelica’s side.
“No. I found this.” She held out
a cell phone with a golden chain wrapped around it. “It was on the
top shelf and I recognize the chain. It is one that I gave to
David, years ago, when he was a small boy. He ran away on his
headstrong Skookum and I almost lost them to the river. It was
flooding…” Her voice faded away, then grew strong again as her fist
closed around the cell phone and necklace. “We must find him. He
has to be here somewhere.”