The heat began to cause Ian’s neck to itch and he shifted uncomfortably on the wooden fence, slapping at the sweat. Patience was the key- that’s what grandpa had told him. Hours had passed and there had been nothing but the desert heat rising off of red sand as tumbleweeds floated by, pushed from the occasional breeze.
Ian lived for the smell of sand and sky. Raised by his grandparents since the age of six on a small ranch in Utah, he was taught everything there was to know about running the place. While his grandma had passed away while Ian was still very young, his grandfather forged ahead until just this week- the same week that Ian turned nineteen. The lawyers told him that his grandparents had left him everything. The land was his to keep or to sell as he saw fit.
Now, he sat on the fence and waited. If they came, he would know he was to stay. He’d only seen them twice before- once right after he had been brought out to live on the ranch and again four years ago when he’d been on the far west side of the farm, fixing fence posts. The wild horses that lived in the desert may as well have been legend given how few people had seen them- but Ian knew that simply waiting was in his best interest.
A few hours later, the sun had just begun to sink. Stepping down from his post, Ian stretched his arms high above his head, and then scratched lazily at his unkempt brown curls. Red dust floated from them, a small halo forming around his head before it settled on his shoulders. Without warning, the hairs on the back of his neck prickled and he paused, hands still moving through his hair as he squinted in the distance. Clouds of sand almost resembled a far off storm, but there hadn’t been a breeze for hours and the sky was clear- no smell of rain rested on the horizon.
Ian slowly made his way back to his perch on the fence post and sat perfectly still, straining to see. Moments later, 3 horses with coats the color of velvet and manes dark as night galloped past, mere feet away from his lookout. Then they were gone, leaving only a cloud of dust and the smell of sweat in their wake.