Smokey’s wrinkles were deeper than ever but his leathery face wore a broad smile as he walked up to Hunter’s door. “Hunter! I’m so happy to see you. Thanks for coming back. As they say: ‘You’re just what the doctor ordered.’”
“How’s she doing?”
“I don’t want you to panic when you see her. She doesn’t look very good. Her injuries are healing but it’s her heart I’m worried about. She doesn’t seem to have any desire to live. I’m hoping you can make a difference.”
Hunter’s grandpa came around with the wheelchair he had taken out of the back of the car. The old cowboy, still strong as an ox, lifted Hunter out of the car and settled him in the vinyl seat.
“Where is she?” Hunter asked looking up at Smokey.
“I have her all bedded down in a stall in the barn. She’s not movin’ around much.”
As gently as he was able, he pushed Hunter across the barnyard and into the barn.
Hunter breathed in the smell of hay and leather as he tried to calm his beating heart. Smokey pushed him up to one of the stalls and opened the solid wood door. It took Hunter’s eyes a minute to adjust to the darkness. When they did, he gasped.
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