Fawn located Wade in a secluded section of the ranch; she shifted into the white mare. He whooped and pulled off his cowboy hat when he spotted her. Galloping toward her on Misty, he slid off his mount to straddle her bareback. Together they soared across his land. He called her by the name he'd given her, Sweetheart. Fawn had never shown herself to anyone but Wade. Sometimes she'd hear the cowboys razzing him about the ghost horse he always claimed to be riding.
A sudden gathering of clouds bumped each other and lightening zigzagged. The pasture darkened and rain poured in buckets. Wade, leaning low and grasping her mane, yelled for her to slow, but the feel of him on her back, and the pelting rain, excited her so much that she threw caution to the wind. He yelled again.
Her back hoof hit a mud pocket and she went down, throwing Wade sideways off her back. Shooting pain lanced her hind leg and she squealed. Wade jumped to his feet, sluicing mud from his body. He bent over her, "My God, No! No! Please God, let her be okay."
Fawn dug her hooves into the rain soaked earth and stood again. Wade rubbed her neck and tried to sooth her. He zeroed in on her limping leg, and rasped, "Please don't let it be broken." His expert hands felt the leg and he yelled above the downpour, "I don't think it's broken, Sweetheart." He reached for the walkie-talkie clipped to his belt and lightening split the sky asunder. Shaking the device, he punched the buttons again. "Shit!"
Fawn needed to find a place to shift and she started to move away.
"No! Sweetheart, don't try to walk on that leg. I've got to get a vet to you."
Fawn saw movement and looked toward it. Wade followed the direction of her head. Misty stood in the distance under the covering of a ledge. Wade whistled to her, but the storm blocked the sound. Lightening flashed again, followed by a deafening boom. Misty remained in her shelter.
Wade spat the words, "Damn! I've got my cell phone in the saddle bag. Maybe the service is working." His Stetson had flown off when he'd been thrown and he now reached to wipe rivulets of water from his eyes. He turned back to her, soothing her with words and touches. He said something that made her heart pound. "Sweetheart, we seem to have some sort of spiritual connection that I don't understand." He spoke in her ear. "Don't leave. I've got to get help." He patted her neck and leaned his forehead against it, then he turned and ran toward Misty.
With his back to her, Fawn knew what she had to do. She had to get back to the ranch before Mrs. Porter brought Zoe home. She prayed, shifted into a sparrow and flew skyward against the downpour. Wade turned back around.
"Holy shit! Sweetheart, where'd you go?"