I love 'The Phantom Stallion' honestly, it's a great series but I am here to hopefully boost up the minority that is "Wild Horse Island' fanfictions. At first I was upset with the series because it had taken over 'The Phantom Stallion' but now I'm on book 6 and have decided that I actually like it better then the original. My favorite character (of either series) is defiantly Cade. And so, here's like the third ever 'Wild Horse Island' fanfiction.
Moku Lio Hihiu sat peacefully that Tuesday morning. Dawn had just broken over the wide leaved trees, bringing with it a slow drizzle that dripped from leaf tip to leaf tip, finally plunging to the earth. Birds chirped to one another and scattered the newly bright sky. On the north side of the island the two volcanoes, the Twin Sisters, stood side by side calmly, the western sister giving off a bit of mist, warning all the inhabitants of Wild Horse Island to be warned of her power. Bands of wild horses moved rhythmically through the forest, prancing in the feel of the moisture on their gleaming coats. Somewhere far off a few cows called morning greetings to one another. All was normal on Wild Horse Island and all was peaceful.
Jonah Kealoha would however never be able to forget that morning for as long as he lived. He had been driving out to Sugar Sands Cove Resort to pick something up from his sister. He had delayed his trip a bit, seeing Babe was not exactly a pleasant experience for him, and in that strange way that small decisions have the greatest impacts, those few minutes made all the difference in the world.
The old paniolo sighed as he stared down the rain, it wasn't enough to make him turn on the windshield wipers but it was enough to annoy his all ready agitated mood.
"Dang island weather…" he grumbled. It was then he saw the horse. Wild horses weren't uncommon on the island but it was still strange to see one so close to the road. It didn't look like any wild horse he had seen either, surely he would have recognized such a stand-out coat, grey with black markings and mane and tail. It looked a bit too well fed and perfectly brushed to be a wild horse though. He had just passed the Taro Fields and Manny's place, maybe it was one of his horses that had gotten out. He slowed as he approached the horse, not wanting to spook it out in front of vehicle. The horse was probably better off wild then in Manny's care though; Jonah had never liked that man.
As he approached the appaloosa turned its head with pricked ears and flared nostrils, watching the truck but not bolting one way or the other or even quickening its pace. It was then Jonah saw the brown strap of the leather wrapped around its neck. It turned back to face forward without much concern for Jonah, it obviously felt quite safe. Pulling up along side the horse he saw the boy holding onto the strap around the horse's neck.
At first he thought it was a little girl, with soaked wavy blonde hair that reached the child's neck, but as the truck came into his view he looked up though wide, tear filled, brown eyes. "What on earth?" Jonah whispered under his breath in shock. He shook his head and took in the whole scene again as the boy looked pointedly away. What on earth would a boy, looking no more the eleven, be doing walking down the road at 6 AM, leading a horse by a strap of leather? Pity welled up inside of his for the boy, his jaw was set at a strange angle and was terribly swollen and there was a purple bruise just below his right eye. The slow drizzle was picking up, soaking his all ready worse-for-wear clothes. He stumbled among the rocks on the side of the road with boots that looked a bit too small and the side of one had been torn off and replaced with duct tape. The child looked hauntingly familiar though he couldn't place from where.
"Hey there." He called casually as if he saw children leading horses along side the road every morning.
Tentatively the boy looked up, then moved a step closer to the horse as if for protection but kept walking. "Hi." He voice held all the false bravado of someone who carried a very heavy burden but didn't wish to share it. His beaten face determined in getting wherever it was he was going. Jonah saw how loosely the clothes hung on his sickly skinny body and held back a shiver, thinking of who could have possibly done this to such a young boy.
"Where you headed?" He kept the truck at a very slow pace, hardly rolling at all as he stayed beside the horse. Both boy and horse seemed to be trying to pretend he wasn't there, staying close to one another. It hit him then, he knew where he'd seen the boy before, it was Manny's step-son.
"Cade?" he asked. Sure enough the boy looked up and there was no hiding the panic in his chestnut eyes. He quickened his pace a bit as if he could outrun the truck. Jonah didn't have to ask how he got that cut and bruise. He saw his own knuckles going white from gripping the steering wheel, his jaw set. Jonah didn't look highly upon cursing but if ever there was a man that deserved to be cursed it was the man who hit an innocent child. He'd only ever seen Cade once before, maybe a year ago he'd been to Manny's, arguing over land arrangements once more, when he'd seen Cade sitting outside on the back steps. Manny had only begrudgingly referred to him as his step-son and Jonah had never doubted that Manny wouldn't be a good father, but not ever he had thought of how much danger the child had actually been in. Had he been beaten that day, the day Jonah had been there? He cursed himself too for leaving the Cade there but knowing that there wasn't much he could have done at that moment. Why hadn't Cade's mother, Dee, stepped in to stop such violence towards her son? If any one had ever laid a hand on his daughter…he trailed off, not really wanting to think of what such an action would cause him to do.
"That's a good looking horse you got there."
"He's mine!" Cade snapped, his blonde hair flew around his face as he turned to glare at Jonah. Upon hearing him speak for a second time Jonah realized that the swelling of his jaw was impairing his speech, it sounded as if his mouth was partially full as he tried to talk.
"I can see that." He nodded to the belt that was wrapped around the horse's neck. Jonah was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. He certainly couldn't just keep going, he knew very well the boy had no where to go and was most likely running away blindly. Upon seeing his current physical condition Jonah couldn't think of any better plan then that himself. 'Kicking over the bucket' he thought briefly of the old saying of how life is like a bucket full of crabs, everyone clawing to get to the top, until someone kicks over the bucket, and that was exactly what this little boy had done, he had taken control. Jonah smiled in spite of the situation, he liked this kid. He knew of coarse he couldn't take him back to Manny, leading the lamb to slaughter, no he couldn't do that.
"What's his name?" he decided to try to keep the kid talking, at least so he could see he wasn't a bad guy.
Cade took his time replying, as if he wanted to see if he remained quite if Jonah would just leave, "Joker." He muttered finally, stumbling a bit over the uneven ground, Joker perked his ears but didn't flinch.
"Did you train him?"
"Yes sir." This time he raised his chin for the first time and Jonah saw a glimmer of pride in his eye.
Another silence passed and all that they could hear were the sounds of crunching gravel and the drizzle of the rain. "You never answered me where it was you were planning on going." Cade lowered his head again, his fair hair blocked Jonah's view of his facial expression.
"Ah, I can see that." There was no reason to ask why, the answer was spelled out in bruises across the boy's face.
"Won't your mother be worried?" he regretted the question as soon as it slipped off his tongue. Cade looked up at the grey sky with an expression that tore at the old paniolo's heart. He looked so lost out here, as if he'd never seen any of the landscape in his life, so desperate for a way out and yet so determined and proud at the same time. He turned his head away from the truck and looked out at the forest.
"She won't care," his voice stuttered on 'care' "she probably won't even notice." Jonah had an entirely new attitude about Dee now, he would be sure to have a talk with that woman. Cade wiped his eyes with the back of his baggy sleeve, though that was wet too. "We don't need her though!" he stated defiantly to Jonah then proudly back at Joker who nudged him in the back upon noticing the new attention. Cade cracked a smile, through his bruises and tears at his horse. Jonah's heart gave another tug. He wasn't use to feeling this much from his old heart he was sure it must be turning black but this little boy, trying to save himself and his horse all the while looking for pity and aid from no one was bringing a little color back into it.
"That's good to hear, so where are you two going to live?"
Cade's false bravado was back again, "We could live out in the forest." He stated. Jonah's graying eyebrows arched, a sundry of terrible possibilities raced through his mind. Wild pigs, wild horses, earthquakes, endless forest, tsunamis, starvation, overheating, sickness, sudden drop offs, drowning and a hundred other things awaited a small boy out in those woods. "That seems a bit dangerous don't you think?" was all he said though.
"If I die, at least I died trying." Cade raised his head with an expression that belonged on a grown man and not such a child, Jonah starred down the boy and felt Cade challenging him of their own personal status, like the colt trying to hold his own against the stallion, Jonah always liked those colts.
He let out a small laugh. "You've got some guts kid." He just smiled back and looked somewhat timidly down at his scuffed boots. "My ranch is just back the other way, I'll have Cathy fix up those bruises for you." he finally offered. Eyes wide Cade suddenly veered Joker off towards the forest. "Wait!" he called though he didn't raise his voice any so as not to frighten the all ready startled horse. "I won't take you back to Manny; I promise he'll never touch you again." He had blurted it out without thinking but he knew it was true. Cade and Joker stopped as if considering this offer though the appaloosa blocked Cade from view.
He leaned around the horse and Joker turned his head as well, the soggy pair looked almost comical, mane and hair spreading out across curious faces. "Really?" he looked weary and scrutinized Jonah as if trying to see through his offer for some lie or loophole.
Jonah just nodded and touched the brim of his hat "A paniolo always keeps a promise." Hesitantly Cade turned a rather confused Joker around so they were on the road again.
"All right, but if you're lying to me…" he trailed off threateningly. Jonah saw no humor in the boy's threat because they both knew that if he was lying and was about to take him back to his abusive step-father, there was nothing the poor boy could do about it.
A/N So I hope you enjoyed this fic, it's my first attempt at Wild Horse Island. I'm considering extending it, so review and tell me what you think!