She shielded her eyes against the wind and stared out across the wide-open plains. The clouds were beginning to turn from gray to green, a sure sign that bad weather was on its way. Frantic, Shannon lost herself to feelings of panic and helplessness. Where was he? Surely he’d seen the storm moving in from the west. Any minute he’d come riding toward her, chastising her for her worry, chiding her to make her way into the storm cellar. He’d remove his large black cowboy hat and wipe the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. Smokey Loon, their prized gray and white, would be set free but could always be counted upon to return home once the plains had cleared of trouble.
Just then, Shannon heard a whinny. Squinting, she could just barely make out Smokey on the darkening horizon, running as though the Devil himself were at her heels. As the horse drew closer, Shannon noticed that Cole wasn’t astride her. The horse whinnied again, stumbling as she came to a stop in front of her master.
“Where is he?” Shannon asked, fully believing that the spirited girl would answer. After only a second of hesitation, she grasped the horse’s mane, made her way up onto its bare back, turned her around, and spurred her directly into the wind, their joined shadow racing across the plain.