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Bolt the Chestnut Stallion
There is no power greater then love…
Dedicated to C.K. for showing me the magic in the world…
Book One Bolt The Chestnut Stallion
Table of Contents
Bolt the Chestnut Stallion
Chapter One: The Old Apple Tree
Chapter Two: New World
Chapter Three: The Twins
Chapter Four: Trickery
Chapter Five: Training
Chapter Six: Betrayal
Chapter Seven: Sheniyra
Chapter Eight: Capture, Again
Chapter Nine: Rescue
Chapter Ten: Test Race
Chapter Eleven: I Won’t Give In
Chapter Twelve: The Letter
Chapter Thirteen: The Wind
Chapter Fourteen: Seventy Seconds of Life
Chapter Fiveteen: Finding The Way
Chapter Sixteen: Broken Down
Chapter Seventeen: Alone
Chapter Eighteen: A Return Regreted
Chapter Nineteen: Safe At Last
Chapter Twenty: A New Beginning
Chapter Twenty-One: Win Or Die Trying
Chapter Twenty Two: The Way Out
Introduction – Prolouge
A lone airplane soared over the meditterranean sea. A young boy was passenger. All he could think was a few simple words of a story his father had once started to tell him. ‘Here I am in a land of monsters running from what there is no end. My only chance is to believe, believe in myself.’ The was more to the story, Raj knew that there was but he had never heard it. Only these reasurring words kept him fully focused on his journey. He knew that it would be almost a year until he returned home, and only the hope of a good education made him stay. He was headed toward a boarding school in England, thoasands of miles from the deserts of his home, Saudia Arabia. Looking out onto the horizen he saw a faint light, the dim remants of the sun setting. Would it happen next year? Would twin foals be born? A coal black filly and chestnut sun colored colt? They had the breeding and they had the profacy of greatness with them. He knew that in his time they would be born. The question was when?
A year later…
Bolt the Chestnut Stallion
Chapter One: The Old Apple Tree
James Matthews walked out of the barn and started up the long trail leading to his house, where leaning against the aged apple tree was his twenty-eight year old son, John. When John saw his father he got nervous and started to walk away, then he saw the fields, where all of the horses were grazing. He hated to recall his childhood days, they brought back pain and suffering. For twenty years he had lived here, watching as great ledgends were soon turned into terrible mistakes. Every foal on his father’s thoroughbred race-horse farm had potential, but before they were even old enough to race their will to win was broken. He was angered at the scorn his father had shown to all other breeds of horses, including the foundation of the thoroughbred, the tiny Arabian. Did not every stallion and colt on this farm trace in an unbroken line to either the Godolphin Arabian, the Byerly Turk, or the Darley Arabian? Then when he turned around there was his father.
“For an old man he certainly can walk fast”, John thought and stiffled a laugh. Then he remembered what he was here for, when he was twenty he had left he farm and become a jockey. Now he was one of the best in the world, and, naturally his father wanted John to ride for him. He knew that if he did not act now there was no hope, and so he calmly walked to his father, cautiously he opened the folded document in his hand. Dropping it he walked away disappearing behind the house, a minute later a red convertible streaked down the driveway and out of sight.
Only then did James dare to read the silent message, it read, I am inclined to dismiss your offer, although a very generous and yet formidable one, for I have more important matters in my mind. When you have finished reading this go to the second stall in the stallion’s barn, there you will find the only other adequate jockey for your pathetic farm. I hope you realize that your awfull excuses for ‘horses’ will never make large stakes wins. If I had anything to do with this it all would be different, but if you want to stay blind to the truth so be it. James traced the spot where his son’s name belonged he did not know what the letter meant but he would find out soon enough. For some reason he knew no one would be in the stallion barn, let alone on the farm. If only there was a chance of catching up to his son, he would try that but first he would check the barns, just to be sure. Little did the old man know that his son was already far away from Lexington, far away from the blue grass state.
Chapter Two: New World
The plane was moving slowily, even though it had been twelve hours since the confrontion with his father to John Matthews it felt like only a minute. He had been offered a job riding for a british stable, and he was not about to turn down the offer, not only did he get an excuss to not ride for his father, he also didn’t have to stay where he would come across his father’s horses. Now the plane was landing, it was the wrong location and John didn’t care if he needed to reboard, he got off, and never reboarded. At the airport he hailed a cab to take him to the nearest inn. It had been a long day and for the american man, he was so tired that he could have slept for a whole year. He was so tired that he did not realize when they stopped at a large boarding school, or that there was another passenger that boarded, soon afterward he fell asleep. When finally they reached the inn John was happy to go to the room. He slept the day away, and in the morning he was still sound asleep.
Chapter Three: The Twins
Thoasands of miles away across the cold Red sea in the Saudi Arabian, Asir mountains many birds rustled in a tiny fir tree. Below it a deep canyon land could be seen, inside the deep hidden depths was a large village, where an entire arab tribe lived with their most prized possesions, their horses. The sun had risen a few hours earlier, and many of the mares and stallions were already out in the fields turned loose by the early risers. All but one of the mares was in foal, the others had already foaled. She was Johana, a beautiful gray and splendid arabian racing mare, after a terrible injury from a fall she had been brought away from any racing and set aside to breed a top racing stock of colts and fillies. Her pedigree followed an unbroken line to the Godolphin Arabian, as were all of the tribes horses, eccept the top breeding stallion. She had foaled the day before, to a big black, who dispite it’s larger size was of very good conformation for one so young and foaled late in the year, in fall at that. It was not just a black foal that she cared for now, at about eleven at night she gave birth to one more, a copper chestnut, as red as a blazing sun, and as spirited as its father. On the incredibly small foal’s far hind leg was a tiny sock, at the top it was pointed like a crescent moon, this mark stood for speed, but only for his owner’s tribe. Many others saw it as misfortune, glory, and hardships just to name a few. Also on his forhead if the slightest wind blew the tuft of hair back there was a white spot, also the shape of a moon. No one knew about him, when his mother was fed he was laying in the corner of the stall, near the door. When later Johana was to turned out, they would find her champion foal.
He heard footsteps coming toward their stall, whinning to his dam he seeked her saftey and shelter. A girl came into the stall, she was not only owner of Johana, but she was also the shiekh, Ansa de Sanala’s daugther. Alacasia was only startled a little when she saw the two foals, yesterday Johana had looked fat after foaling, to fat to have that much milk. Now she knew why the mare had still been fat, she had twins! After opening the door that gave the mare and her foals access to the pasture she hurried out of the barn.
She had to tell her father about the twin foals! She knew exactly what to name them, the black foal was a filly, and her name, Dramak, ment greatness. The chestnut was a colt and his name was Liconda, unearthly speed. Some of the other mares’ yearling foals were just now finally receiving names. There was one out of Kalashia a sweet tempered fairly young broodmare that had not foaled before, and the filly was foaled early, in December of the year before. Even so the filly got a fine name, Johansa, or pure beauty. When finally it was time for the colts to be weaned the black filly was still a giant for an arabian. The tribe then started to wonder of her father, Sheniyra’s blood lines and if they carried only true arab stallions and mares. Only one did not question the liniage of the great sire, Ansa de Sanala the shiekh. He had witnessed the breeding of Sheniyra and knew that in the stallion ran only the carefully mixed blood of several arabs that were not realated at all to the thoroughbred sires, Sheniyra’s sire and dam were full arab and all of his ancestors were too but they were once owned by Mohammad. Hidden behind the great canyon walls a dark shadow quietly watched the colt Liconda, here was his greatest threat ever, he had to get his hands on that young colt.
Many miles away from the border of the great desert ‘country’ a slow steamboat wound it’s way around the tip of the Arabian peninsula. It’s lone two human passengers watched as the sea swirled around the coast only a few feet away. The waves were not large the red sea was fairly calm even thougth the coasts of Arabia were not far now. The first passenger was John Matthews, he had hardly been in Europe two days before he decided that he wished to find the perfect race-horse. Now he was almost to his destination, the second passenger was a young man. He was tanned by an alien sun, unknown to a ‘pampered’ american. He was not very tall , but his high rised checkbones made him appear taller. His short hair was a deep almost black brown. No one would ever realize where he was from. The boy’s name was Raj, Raj Sanala he had been in Europe too, studing in England. Although he looked as though there was not a single worry on his mind thoughts rushed through his head. Had his father, Ansa de Sanala been able to raise the twins fortold by the great legends. Or was the next year the great year, when a coal black filly and copper chestnut colt would rise apove the powers of his great nation. From the distant Rub a’ Kali where his family lived to the farthest exstenstions of the desert sands. All of the country would hear of them and once again his father’s tribe would rise in power. They were not to be monarchs, but his power would be realised, Raj would make sure of that. Long ago all traces of their family were erased and to all but a few they were not known of. On the other side of the boat John Matthews threw his face over the side of the ship. Raj never forgot the face of that man, strange blond hair and pale blue eyes. He was the total oppisate of the boy, he was short for a grown man and had a somber look in his face. Raj, horrified when John turned around walked quickly to the bow of the small ship.
Chapter Four: Trickery
Back at the canyon the shadowy eyes moved slowly, but surely down the canyon walls. More eyes joined them, soon there was a crowd watching the colt from the strange hidding spot. This part of the canyon was seperated from the rest so that other tribes’ riders would come and see their competition for the great race in four years. It was a trick, if these men were caught they would be banished, their tribes’ shiekhs afraid of having been abandoned. Although every rider in the area knew this some just could not resist. It was a dirty trick but a good rider with a bad horse could easily beat a good horse with a bad rider.
In the valley below the yearlings were led away to a pasture along with the weanlings who hesitated for only a moment before starting a high action trot. Silently all of the men slunk out of the chasm, the celebratation was over, and there was still much work to be done.
The ship arrived at dawn in the small town of Mecca, there the entire cargo of goats, sheep, cattle, and the two men left the dock as the the ship dissapeared into the horizen. The american civilization of the county was beginning to take it’s toll, even with the U.S. settlements on the other side of the desert main supplies came through Mecca. Many years ago Mecca had just been a small sea-side town, even then it had been important though. Still it had meaning but a lot more then just as a holy place for islams, now it was busily turning into a city. The man and boy who unboarded there headed straight for the first caravan leaving the town to journey across the desert sands. Both Raj and John perferred horses to camels but the water efficent beasts would last longer in the strenuous travel to follow.
After only several days of travel the group would split, most heading for the large oasis just south of the town. Only a few would travel into the wild and untameable Rub a’ Kali desert area. Raj and John were the only two this time at least. At the crossroads John hired a guide to lead him across the mountains, by the time he was done bartering the rest of the men and women were gone. All of them that is except for the boy, he waited watching the mysterious stranger, why was he being followed of was this american ‘tourist’. The question of this man’s identity remained secret as the great mountains rose before them in an uncharted land of the great desert ‘sea’.
Chapter Five: Training
Now only a few miles away the valley tribe of Ansa prepared for the day to come to an end, and a light rain began to pour from the sky. In the south pasture a group of young colts and fillies pranced near the fence, this happened every day they knew what to exspect. Every night the foals were driven into the barn away from harmful night predators. It was a great show, they would come racing down a small half mile runway. Then it would turn leading on another half mile stretch back to the barn. The whole idea was to build speed in the colts and fillies as they tried to make it to the barn first.
When they were turned out in the morning two were always left inside to race each other. They ran until they were weary and without knowing it the foals all built stamina and speed. Liconda his sister Dramak and Kalashia’s filly were the fastest that the tribe had ever owned and had the most stamina. Now the foals were being broken to halters, and even a few were wearing bittless bridles. Tonight the moon was black and the stars were invisable through the clouds that were caught in the mountian peaks and never would reach the desert sands. It was the perfect night for an attack, and there were more patrolls then regullar to keep the colts and fillies safe.
Johana was in foal again but Kalashia had not been bred that year. She and the fastest stallions and mares were led to the races to compete for the greatest trophy of all time. The other tribes’ most prized horses would be given to the winner. A lone stallion had never lost a single race, Kharmar, he had sired many foals but none had ever raced. The had all been claimed by the desert wildness withen them. Ansa de Sanala and his tribe only hoped that this year would be different, they hoped that his grandcolt, Liconda would make the differance.
Raj and his camel slowed as they approched the canyons, he had timed his arrival perfectly. The sky was black and he could not been seen, no one could find his village tonight. Little did he know that slinking in the distance a man hid behind a tiny shrub watching the boy and his camel. Raj rode as he would a horse, he perferred his gelding, Yiango who he had at home. He could smell the fresh hay and bran in the air. The scents of home were traveling his way, and soon he would be with Yiango, and the new colt. The camel plodded along the old worn road, both the animal and the rider did not notice the horrible terror that followed them. John swong his leg over the saddle of a nervous quarter horse mare. He had traded his camel for her about two miles back. John Matthews did not know what he would have to do to catch a fast horse. The only thing he knew was that he would need a horse that was faster if only for a short distance. Then suddenly looming before him was a great cliff, the first sign that he was entering the forbidding stronghold of Ansa de Sanala. Scenting a stallion the mare, startled started to head into a breathtaking run. From the village the call came almost imeddiatly. A loud bugle resounded off the canyon walls scattering the horses into the safety of the walls.
Along the cliff wall they saw not only the boy and camel they had exspected but also an enemy. Pehaps he was from another nieghboring tribe and had followed Raj there. He should have been more careful. And yet the horse was unimpressive compared to even the weakest tribes arabians. When finally the camel came running in the mare and her rider were not far behind. He would not receive a warm greeting, until the men noticed that he was not a threat. His short uncovered hair and jeans revieled him as who he was. An american ‘adventurer’ that had gotton lost in the desert amd followed Raj.
The mare came to a slidding halt, once again in the control of her rider. He lept off of her with the skill of a slick agility of a couger. The few brave horses that had slunk out of ther cliffs now were driven back in to safety once more. With a single signal the arabs charged in on him, they were exallent warriors on and off thier horses. They grabbed the man before he could turn tail and run, after finding their secret valley he would never be allowed to leave. The mares, stallions and foals were released once more and John caught a glimse of Liconda.
Chapter Six: Betrayal
“What is your porpose here?” Raj was the only one who spook fluid english, besides his father, who refused to talk to this man, and so Raj asked the questions. John refused to answer, he knew that in time he would be allowed to leave, at least he hoped. No hatred tore at Raj’s heart, this man wasn’t mute he could talk, but he wouldn’t to them so not to any other person either. There was no need to fear him because of this. “Send him away”, he told the other men. Raj knew the man could talk, but how could this man be of any threat to him? And gratefullly John walked away, and then he was allowed to go on his way. As he made his way to the entrance of the canyon he passed the edge of the yearling pasture. None of the colts and fillies noticed him as he, staying downwind climbed over the fence. He knew that he only had a short time before the arabs found his location. John intended to use it wisely.
Beneath his feet John felt a mediem sized stone, he was in a bad mood today and this stone might relieve some stress. Bending down and picking up the stone he then threw it with all his force toward the walls of a nearby cavern. Slowly a few of the rocks gave way, but then they stopped. Then, just as John started to reconise the trembling of the stone the rocks gave way, and headed straight toward the grazing band!
“No” John shouted, then, arossed by the noise the horses came thundering away terrified. The colt, Liconda came rushing by, he was a small yearling but he ran fast. John saw him, now not only had he risked the lives of other horses, but of the colt he had come looking for. He saw the halter on the yearling’s head, being sure to move carefully he attempted to grab the chestnut colt. Panicked the colt reared, treatening to topple over backwards. The cascade of stones was getting worse, a land slide had begun. A tiny pebble rolled to John’s feet, the same rock he had thrown at the wall. Now John knew how unstable the sandstone walls could be, and he had targeted for the weakest joint! Now trembling with fear he and the horses ran out of the valley. Then John felt himself being lifted off his feet, by the chestut colt! He did not relise that the halter was slipping from his fingers. Just as he was about to fall the colt came crashing down to earth once more.
The crys for help were soon heard in the village below, they couldn’t understand John but they knew when the horses were terrified. Rushing out in front of all the others was Raj. When he had heard the man scream he knew that he had been mistaken, that man was of a danger to him, the horses and most of all the twins! Just as he reached the clearing the man and the horses were rushing in on him. The quarter horse mare that John owned was running alongside them, blowing througth her flared nostrils.
Lukily none of the yearlings and two year olds had been injured. He noticed John riding the mare, urging her after the galloping group. At this time Liconda was at the front of the band, after he had turned one he had grown remarkily. Although he was still small he was about as big as his sister who unlike Lic had stopped growing altogether. As the group stampedded past the chestnut colt turned and stopped in front of Raj. Seaking safety at the young man’s heels Lic barely noticed when Raj vaulted onto his back. With out any pressure the colt knew that he had to run, Raj wished that the colt would not spend himself, the avalance would catch all of them soon. Then remarkbally the small arabian colts and fillies started to pull away, they were bred to race and this was the most important race of their lives. Only the fastest of horses would have been able to run such a far distance and so quickly. Indeed this was the year when all of the greatest horses would rise together. As Liconda pulled farther in front Raj, still riding him knew that this was the colt needed to win the great Kharmar Sia race in four years. In any other case the arab would have been furious, but he did not know that John had helped cause the landslide. As he saw it the man had saved all of the horses’ lives. For that he was greatful to John Matthews.
Ever so slowly the rocks and dirt slowed to an almost immediate halt. They moved so slow that the horses only had to trot, then they stopped entirely. The rubble was not as bad as it looked, in fact the only rocks that fell were the weak ones. There were only a few rocks that had even made it as far as the band had been. They were located in the old mine where many years ago miners had search unsuccessfully for coal and oil. As Raj hurried back to the horses he saw a faint glimmer in the stone. Dismounting he bent down to examine it. The stone was hard and clear, a diamond. Now he knew where his family had earned their riches and wealth, not at first because of their horses but because of this, diamont And what was that, yes it was gold. Aware that the tribesmen would soon be aprouching he hurried away from the rocks. There as no need for them to know this just like not one of them knew Liconda’s real name. They all knew that when a horse was as great as Liconda that the owning shiekh never revealed his name. It had been this way with Sheniyra and his sire and great grandsires. All of the greatest stallions had unknown names. The men who worked with Lic called him ‘Kharmar’ the name of the first stallion to race the Kharmar Sia and survive.
Soon after Raj bent back upward the tribesmen arrived, they knew he was not hurt but one of the fillies was limping, it was Dramak. There were two ways to help her, the first was to let her heal by herself, if she didn’t there was no other choice but to shoot her. Raj knew that only one thing would help any of the horses heal from broken legs or just dramatic leg injuries. It was only ever solved by the use of a certain cast. Unfortunatlly they cost a lot of money, dollars already spent on his schools in England. There was no way he could give those up. Times were changing in his home, there were more and more english speaking men there. He had to be able to compromise with anyone. If only he would earn enough money to make it to England with the filly. Then he could buy a cheaper cast, they were common there not in Arabia. Raj tought of the diamonds and gold nuggets he had found, as far as he knew they were the only source of extra money. After everyone had left he searched the rubble for more treasures, there were none.
Then unmindful of the danger he was in John Matthews hid inside the small crack in one of the sections of stone. Emerging now he shocked Raj and that was all the time he needed to ask one question. “Are you willing to journey to america?”
In return Raj shot him a daring look that said, “if you think I would do you a favor after what you just did then you are crazy’. Instead the boy replied with a single word, “why”.
“Why,” John sounded alarmed that the strong young man did not know what he ment. “I know how much a cast costsand if you ask me no single arab tribe could possibley have that kind of money.” Raj remained silent, “of course instead you could sell me the swift chestnut colt and be done with it all.”
“You are right sir, we do not have that much to spend. Unfortunatlly you still have much to learn of my country, no desert shiek will ever sell his horses. We do not need your help, but if you need an escort back to the sea I’m sure that would be possible. If you allow it I may even forgive for you crime, now go.” Raj’s last words were rasped with hatred he had misjudged this man once the next time he did the man would be far away.
Mumbling under his breath John Matthews slunk away from the pastureful of horses and headed toward an isolation are where his quarterhorse mare was. Quickly John saddled his mare, he only hoped that she would be able to catch the swift young colt.
Chapter Seven: Sheniyra
With one last tug he tightened the cinch and took the stirrups off the horn of the western saddle. Facing towards the mares tail and fitting his foot into the stirup he realised that she was not swishing at any flies. With no second thought to the matter the man mounted and urged the mare into a halfhearted trot. Waiting for him around the bend were two arab scouts, but John knew he could delude them. Turning down a thin section of trail he followed a secret passage to the paddock where the colt was. Hours before he had used this trail on foot to find the colt and now today he would be claiming the Lic.
Slowing the mare to a walk he let her pick her way around the footing and then he saw the colt Liconda. Briskly he urged the mare forward, surprisingly the colt came right to them. With no resistance John slipped a loose rope around the yearling’s neck. Then he slowly continued back. Once John reached the edge of the passage he spured his mare into a lope. Following easily alongside was Lic, once they passed the safety of the darkness they began to sprint.
Dashing up the trail the mare driven mad by the spurs and whip was rushing to her exstint. Fortunatly at the back of the running mare was Yiango and Raj in hot pursit. The mare and colt raced silently across the desert, but as the horses moved farther from the canyons the mare started to tire. Pulling ahead the colt took advantage of his newly found freedom only to feel a tug around his neck and a choking burn. Squeling in pain the young horse struck out at the mare and her rider. Finally with one last tug he twisted free and spirited down the desert far from the place he used to call home. John and his mare blasted after the swift colt, but the tiring mare was no match for a long striding youngster. Raj sped after colt and mare, with a lightning burst of speed his horse caught the colt. Then a stallion’s whistle peirced the sky, it was the call of a wild stallion pure of blood but hot as fire.
This was the call of Sheniyra. Raj silently watched as the colt flew into the wind, he was afraid that Liconda was lost forever just as his father had been. Immediatlly after Johana had been bred the stricking bay stallion had raced into the sunset. After that Ansa had spent almost a year looking for his prized stallion. Then it was confirmed they had lost Sheniyra to the desert and a wildness that was untameable. John Matthews took this opportunity to sneak away, following the hoofprints made of the colt. Before Raj noticed him he was far away.
Far away a lone bay stallion stood beside the cascade of a waterfall, rare for Arabia but always a pleasure was fresh water. An oasis lay just above and the water from fresh springs sometimes bubbled down a sharp ledge. The stallion shook his wild black mane and trotted toward the open desert. Swishing his tail impatiently the stallion started to lope toward the band of mares awaiting him. Standing silently off to a side was a chestnut yearling colt, snorting he looked at his father and the band of mares. Lic then sped away and ran back tossing his head violently. The bay stallion noticed him but a yearling colt is of little threat when a stallion was as swift and powerful as Sheniyra. Running side by side the two stallion were at home, content to ramian civil for a while.
Stretching out they galloped together, matching eachother in speed and stamina, when they finally slowed neither was tired. Circling around the mares it seemed as though the stallion knew that Lic was really his colt. The band was large though, probably most of the few wild horses that roamed this area. The wild bands were not seen often but there were almost twenty mares in this band. Each had a tiny foal tagging alongside, all of the colts and fillies were strong and bold like their sire. There was only one mare that was not pure arabian, in fact it was a quarterhorse, John’s mare. Nearby the man watched the band stop and drink at the oasis grazing in the long grasses on the inner parts . With rope in hand John walked out into the clearing and his mare came straight to him. Forcing the bridle on and then tighting the saddle into place John began to prepare for what was next.
Chapter Eight: Capture, Again
A wild horse was not an easy catch, but the man was not after a wild horse, but after Liconda. Screaming in rage both man and horse plumited toward one another. The ropes were around the colt’s neck before he knew what had happened. Then out of the fog of the morning the bay stallion Sheniyra trumpeted his challenge. Not to Liconda his own son but to John who treatened Lic’s freedom. With his mane glossy and a shining red coat the stallion emerged and reared. He preformed a perfect levade, but he was not a trained Lippizaner. Landing with a large shirll call he snorted and raced toward John. The man saw the stallion’s speed, but instead of trying to catch him he tried to get away. Urging the mare he ran thorough the harsh brush. Both colt and mare were fast but Lic had more endurance. Soon after the mare tired again Sheniyra was apoun them. The only way to save his life, or so John thought was to climb aboard the fast colt. And that was what he did, now enraged even farther Liconda tried to rid himself of the horrible beast on his back. Flying into the air he landed and then took off again. Then as if spooking at a hidden danger he ran fast, he ran away. His blistering pace soon put Sheniyra out of sight. Shortly after that the stallion stopped and returned to his mares Lic was lost. Raj was only a few steps behind John and while the man cruely spurred his mare Raj knew the man was bad news. A slight lossing of the reins was all that was needed to make Yiango run.
Yiango was Sheniyra’s sire, and was an anglo-arab, it took little time for him to catch the colt. Yiango’s long thoroughbred legs thrust out repetedly Liconda’s small yearling strides were fast but they were no match for his grandsire’s. As if knowing that he would never outrun the gelding Liconda slowly began to stop. A sharp pain in his side forced the colt to move onward, but then he lept into the air. Twisting like a bronc he spun in an arce knocking the rider onto the ground. Mad with anger the colt reared up to crash down on the body.
Raj pulled the man from the ground just in time, “that’s twice I’ve saved your life now you save mine.” John smiled, he had finally won now Lic would be his horse. Galloping off the boy, man and two horses ran side by side. The only reason though, that Raj had finally agreed was because in the middle of the desert Lic could have been stolen by anyone. Raj would probably have been killed so that an arab tribe could own the colt and John offered the little protection he needed. A faint trail of dust combed the horizen, even now they were threatened urging Yiango into a fast sprint he and John rode together with the colt trailing beside.
Back at the village a frantic search had begun, not for Raj or the threatening american but for diamonds. Ansa and the tribesmen searched the ledges for the faintest sparkle and so far they had been suggsessful. Already after only half an hour of searching they had ninty percent of the money they needed to save Dramak. Now as more and more silver stones were dug from the cliffs Alacasia prepared to leave. Her father was intended to go on the journey to Mecca to purchase the cast needed for Dramak’s healing process. Alacasia was inraged that only the men ‘were capable’ of the hard travels across the desert alone. Instead of her father ‘Alfac’ wanted to go on the journey, she had Kalashia. Her mare had made the trip many times and Kalashia knew the way back.
Checking that all the men were concentrated on the diamonds she rode toward the bags prepared for shipment. Grabbing it quickly she quietly snuck away, only one man saw her and he did not call out an alarm. Alacasia saw him looking at her and wondered why he did not protest in her leaving. The young girl took advantage of the situation though and hurridly mounted Kalashia and loaded the bag on a pack camel. Both horse and camel raced frainticly up the steep cliff face. If she had timed it right Alacasia and Kalashia would not be noticed until they were far away. Slowing Kalashia to a brisk walk slowly the three dissapeared into the great desert sky.
Yiango and Liconda meanwhile carried Raj and John into the harbor of the city . Once again surrounded by the ‘sweet’ smells of the city the american felt at ease. A ship was about to leave port so John took little time arranging for them to leave the town. Yiango waited patiently but the young colt was anxious to leave. He was a large handful even for the well trained arab. Liconda reared and twisted violently into the air bucking and jumping. Luckily a fence stood in his way and the colt returned to Raj still full of energy. With one last leap worthy of the great spanish riding school Lic finally calmed down enough for him to be loaded. Before the landslide the colt would have gladly followed anyone up a ramp onto a strange looking vessel. Now he trusted no one excluding Raj, his rightful owner. Nickering in friendship when the boy moved toward his head Lic showed in his eyes the love for Raj. When John tried to come even the lengh of several feet of Lic hatred again showed in the young horse’s eyes.
After being loaded on Lic quietly stood in the roomy box stall. In the distance a fast horse could be seen, Liconda raised his head and whinnied toward the horse. He knew her, it was Kalashia and Alacasia! Snorting in frustration the colt once again tried to escape the barriers that John had limited him to. Kicking at the door he almost busted through it. Now rearing high treatening to tobble he suddenly stopped when horse and rider left his sight. Alacasia had headed straight into the stables, where Raj was still waited with Yiango. She saw her brother and wondering what he was doing asked to put her mare in a stall temporally. Of course with the money buldging from her saddlebag no one man could have refused. After taking Kalashia to the stall directly across from the gelding she approuched her brother.
“What are you doing here, and with him.” She glared at her brother, how could he abbandon his family and run away with an enemy who had almost caused the death of their new yearlings?
Raj replied, “we need the money to save Dramak and the only way I could think of getting it was to race Lic even if he isn’t ready.”
“What are you insane,”Alacasia yelled, “You can’t race Liconda here or in america at least not without him breaking down at five!”
“I never thought of that, it’s just that we need Dramak as a broodmare at least. She had so much potental and I’d hate to see her die. You think so to.I know you do why else would you be here alone.”
“Raj, we don’t need that much money and father uncovered the gold and diamond mines deep in the canyon. And in one of the caverns we found oil, I’m here to buy the cast myself! Dramak won’t have to die or be a broodmare she can race but not before the Kharmar Sia that’s why we need Lic and you.” Alacasia protested against her brother leaving, she knew that he had no choice now after Lic having been loaded on the ship.
“I’m not going to leave, I sold Lic unoffically to the american man, John, or at least that’s what he thinks.”
“Raj how could you! You’ll never get him back without stealing him.” The girl was astonished no one who was sane sold their horses here unless they were given as a gift.
“Well I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t have to go by rules or customs then isn’t it?” Raj was right of course, the arab tribes were known for their thievery in all parts of the world. Even though their family had been christianised for over a hundred years they were still a tribe of the horse. Their european cloths showed it, even Alacasia didn’t normally wear the veils and draperies required in that society. Their family was probably better known for breaking laws then anything else.
“Then at least go and somehow win Lic back, even a small mistake can be made right. You know the his heel has the mark of speed, but could it also show mistfortune? Raj I don’t want to know I want him safe here.”
“Alacasia I’m leaving, you are right we shall not know if the sock stands for mistfortune as the ledgends say. I will get on that ship but please take Yiango with you. His days of stud have passed but he is still one of the fastest arabians on the desert sands.”
“I don’t want you to go, Raj I’d rather see one of our beloved horses stolen then you gone possibly never to return. Don’t go we’ll find some other way of getting Lic back.”
“No, I shall go, I’m sorry but I must. I promise that I will return in time for the race send my greetings to Johana. I only hope that her new colt will be as swift as his father and brother are.”
“But Sheniyra’s dead,” Alacasia said but her brother was already gone.
On the deck of the ship Raj watched as his sister and the two horses raced away. He turned once again to the colt in the stall. This was his life now, he knew that he might not return. His sister would never understand, she was to emontional but if Lic could not return he would stay with his horse. Slowly he turned his head towrd the ocean, now the city was but a tiny speck in the distance.
Days and weeks passed after many days, Raj did not know how many. They could see the coastal city of New York. Lic half reared in the low roofed stall and tried to get out. Raj stayed away hoping that the american man would not see him. Across the water past them now was the beautiful Statue of Liberty. She looked lovely but slightly green from all the years the statue had rested on the small island. Before he knew it the ship was docked and at the port he walked off. Luckily he had been to america before and knew what to do once he landed. The school in Europe had given all of it’s students passports and now all Raj had to do was wait for a few minutes to pass into the border. He wasn’t welcomed but that did not matter to the boy he just had to find where they kept the animals from the ships that were in port.
Chapter Nine: Rescue
The first few buildings he came across were motels and restraunts but then in a isolated section of town a large white board across a wire fence read, ‘Keep Out Isolation Zone’. Walking uneasily forward Raj looked around to make sure no one was watching then snuck up to the fence. Quietly the boy continued thinking over and over again that this may be the last chance to save his colt. Then he saw Liconda, silently watching he saw the colt led into a trailer and whisked away. Raj hurried after the trailer and snuck onboard when it stopped as the giant gate swung open. Outside was a farm, a sign in front was much different from the one on the quarintine area. It said with bold red letters of fresh paint ‘Anchient Fictory Stables - Lexington, Kentucky’. Horrified by the sight Raj knew that something bad would happen here, something terrible. His colt nearly refused to leave the trailer and reared after he was shoved out by a strong stable-hand. The boy looked on he wished that Lic could hightail it to the hills, but every hill had a fence. He didn’t see John, and so quietly he snuck into the barn labeled ‘Royal Stallion-Bolt’.
“Who’s Bolt” Raj almost asked but then he knew. John had planned this, a racehorse farm and had even renamed his horse! Silently he watched as Lic was led into the stall, once the colt was left alone he went inside the stall. It was large, almost as large as the ones at home, but Liconda was used to running free! The horse saw him and whinnied, “Lic,” the boy whispered, “I don’t know how we got into this mess but whe’ll get home, I promise. Even if it takes me all of your life we will see home again. This man will pay for what he has done to the family, I don’t know how but he will. Somehow Lic I’ll stay with you forever. I won’t lose you like father lost Sheniyra, your’e to valueble.” The colt cocked his ears to hear the boy, “I know now that I don’t love you for the fortune you can bring, we are the same.”
Lic snorted as if he understood, he did understand! His head fell onto the boy’s shoulder and he seemed almost to speak. “I was lost to a land of monsters running from what never ends and somehow I will believe. I trust you”,he pawed the ground at the base of the door, “Someone’s coming!” He screamed an alarm all throughout the barn, Raj was out the stall in a second hiding in one of the empty rooms.
A silver spurred boot fell loudly on the floor, “He’s the one it’s time to begin his training, I don’t care if he’s arab or shire!” It was the voice of John, “sure say whatever you like Kieth but it won’t change anything! That’s how my father broke em’ and it’s the only way I know how.”
Kieth said something, but Raj couldn’t make it out. He figured that John was on a telephone and yelling to the world what a person thoasands of miles away already knew. The spurrs came closer, and then a jingling of metal, a bit! How could the man do this, Lic was barely one and no horse would ever stand a bit on his first day of bridling no matter how old! He clapped his hands over his ears trying not to hear the devastated scream of Liconda. Still the high niegh rang loud and clear through his hands. Grimicing Raj fought back the anger quenching itself within him. That horse was his, and he intended to train him gently not harshly like this! The anger forced his restrained body to fling open the door.
Finally he found the self control to slowly inch out a back entrance where the man could not see him. He ran across the driveway and hid in the flatbed of an old pickup truck. Inside there was enough hay to make a sufficient shelter, and the truck was obiviously never used and not able to be seen. Quickly Raj reached into his pockets, there was money left in them! Even after he had returned to arabia he still kept some of the cloths he had used in England. Luckily he had chosen to dress in them instead of the traditional arabic clothing, no one knew he existed so why not? There had been something in the air the same as the scent here that told him to take extra precautions. It wasn’t safe here, he knew it and had to get away.
Raj headed into town and looked for the track in the immense city. Once their he finally figured out what had urged him to come here. It was October in a few months the new year would begin. Somehow Raj knew that every January first all redistered racing horses turned a year older even if they were only a few months old in real life. The boy knew what this ment, Lic was one now and in about three months he would turn two! When horses turned two they could be raced. Raj was horrified by the thought of losing his colt to a cruel owner and jockey. The had to be some way that he could get a riding license fast! Then he remembered that he already had one, in England he had used his spare time conditioning for the Kharmar Sia by racing other horses! Still he needed to be know well enough for John to know his fake identity. All he had to do was be at this track on a horse, ride and win the tryout race. He already knew how to ride, he had been riding before he had walked.
“I’m glad I already have a lisence for riding in England that has to count for something. Even if I only rode to pass the time in the long days of summer when I had to ‘take extra classes to learn the english language’.” Raj thought, he always carried it with him, everywhere, for luck. Today it was being incredibly useful, in fact he was just in time to make the last race!
Chapter Ten: Test Race
A volunteer outrider handed him the reins of a slow looking brown gelding. The horse wasn’t even thoroughbred size it had to be only fourteen hands! Nervously he mounted and took up the reins like all the other jockeys. They stared at his unique way of mounting on the off side. Why did he do that? They almost spock outloud none did but their faces showed every thought. Only Raj knew why he had acted this way, the horse had a giant cut on his shoulder on the ‘on side’. He had noticed that when the handler had touched it the horse had snorted and flared it’s nose a little. For some reason it seemed as if the gelding showed gratitude and walked right into the gate. The cold October wind bit at his flesh creating a shiver up his spine, it was never this cold at home! As soon as all of the doors opened every horse sprung out of the gate with an alarming speed. Raj’s gelding lept into the air, a full stride in front of the pack. Raj knew his outside position was a bad spot to be and moved the horse toward the rail. Now the horses were settling into stride and with the surging bodies around him Raj was finally warm.
He let his horse set his own pace droping back to the middle and staying far from the front sprinters. Then as they rounded into the backstretch he made his move. Clinging to not the reins but to the geldings short mane Raj clung like a burr. The men around him tried to stay with the swift horse but they couldn’t get the speed out of their mounts! Down the homestretch Raj and his gelding flew like the wind that blew onto them. For sure this was the fastest the horse had run in a long time. After passing the wire signaling the mile finished Raj was almost seven lenghs in the lead. Huffing the horse stopped on command, an arab of course would have just been starting. Now it was offical, he was popular enough after riding in just this simple warmup. Raj was lucky enough to run across this opportunity, many other riders had to do much, much more to ride in races. He knew that this race only was held once in a lifetime, in fact on the sign it had said ‘quick and easy first time this has ever happened’. No one had known about it, and there had been only four other jockeys there. Then Raj saw the sign as he walked out, in tiny letters it read ‘sponsored by the Anchient Victory Stables’.
John had made this possible, did he know that Raj had followed him did he do this on purpose? Wearily Raj made his way back to the farm, he had what he needed and now he could ride his stallion. He turned up the lane into the farm and stopped at the arena. He was to late John had already tried to break Liconda! Anyone who had been watching that day would have discribed it the same way that it happened. They would have seen exactlly what Raj saw and what he had feared of happening.
Chapter Eleven: I Won’t Give In
The giant red yearling colt reared his strong forlegs surging with power. He crashed down only to fly back up into the air for another few seconds. Then he stopped, fury shined in his eyes now red rimmed with hate and terror. He pawed the ground then charged at the fence. For a moment it seemed as if he would clear it and run to the hills. Then as he jumped a long rope snaked out from behind him. It wrapped itself and it’s never ending death around the horse’s neck. Flung back Lic despertly tried to rise to his feet. John was on him like a mountain lion of the Asir mountains. With a rope in hand John hoppled Liconda using the remainder of the lasso in an atempt to choke the colt! Still Lic managed to struggle to his feet hobbled on the forefeet and tied to his own neck. As he tried to run the slack was spent and he was choked into stopping.
Now head between his legs the colt bucked, his hind legs were free! Before he knew what was happening a hard metal bit was thrust into his mouth and a cruel rope in with it. His lips wre cut and his mouth was burning from the rope and oversize chunk of metal. A whip lashed at his defensless body, again and again the man hit him. Finally Lic gave way and lay down, colappsing to the ground. Then a bitting pain on his chest forced him to stand. The wild haunting look returned to his eyes . It would take more then a whip and rope to destroy his spirit! Suddenly a knife flew thorough the air, it cut into the rope holding the fierce colt. Raj watched as the colt reared, this time staying in the air for almost a minute, seemingly petrified there. Then he tried once again to charge the man running head low and using his hind legs to make giant leaps. Then he moved his forleg a little to forward and almost choked himself again.
The thread of rope left broke releashing him from the burning painful chains. He lept into the air clearing the fence in one leap and raced into the pasture beyond. Raj waited for him there and when Lic arrived they stood quietly waiting for John. “How in the world did you do that?” The big burly man asked Raj a mere twig compared to the giant man.
Straining to sound as american as he could Raj answered, “he came to me not me to him.” Dispite his efforts Raj ended up sounding like a forener from Briten, at least his british accent worked!
“No offense sir, but why are you here?” John was puzzled why an obivously good rider would come to his farm, there was only this unbroken stallion there!
“I’m glad you asked that. I am a jockey and I heard that you needed one for your new, ahh ‘horse’.” Raj only hoped the american man believed him and was surprised when John had a whole other idea.
“You’re a jockey from briten? I heard that their best had left, I’m just curous but are you him?”
Raj almost laughted, of course he was! Who else could he be, who else could John think he could be? “Yes in fact I am, Henry..”
Raj’s sentence was cut of by the over anxious american, “Henry Cortez, I know who you are. But why me, why Bolt?” Henry was Raj’s alias the name he used for his jockeying so that no one knew who he really was, Raj Sanala. And for once it had all panned out, John had heard of him and John did not reconise him. Somehow John managed to get out of his shock and hired Raj to ride and break Liconda. Raj was glad to ordeal was over and his horse would be gentled not broken.
After the first week of just grooming his horse Lic was tamer then he had been before. He followed Raj out of the barn, the only thing on him was a web halter and a thin lead rope. John was watching, Raj had said that today he would ride the colt ‘Bolt’. The man trusted the boy to his horse, he figured that if he couldn’t ride him no one could. Then John saw the boy he thought of as Henry Cortez entered the ring with ‘Bolt’. There was no sign of sweat or of work he had done before to calm the horse down. There wasn’t a saddle or even a pad on the young stallion’s back. John turned his attenion to Bolt’s head, there was barely anything in his mouth, no bit at all. The stallion wore only a halter made of tiny webbing and the boy carried no whip and wore no spurrs. John almost fell from his seat when the stallion stood quietly waiting to be mounted. The he stood until the boy now on his back urged him into a fast trot. They then cantered, and the speed was to fast for the man apoun the fence rail. He was glad he would never have to ride this one! He had ridden many fast thoroughbreds but Lic’s (Bolt’s) power was unbelievable. The arena was large and when Raj urged his colt to run Lic did it with a longing to run faster. He wanted to clear the fence and run like he had in Arabian! Raj gave him rein, they flew together over the five-foot barrier. They left the protesting John far behind, they were free once more.
Raj asked Lic to stop, “Come on boy nice and easy. Save yourself for the desert, it’s then that you’ll truly get to run.” The stallion threw up his head higher then he normally carried it and stopped. Then he trumpeted into the wind, he scented something in the air, something very familiar. Alacasia watched as her brother and the great colt ran through the field. She wished she could get them both back, somehow there must be a way. As she watched the colt and rider turn away and head back toward the man at the corral she relised this had not been her brother’s choice. He and Liconda were not free, the man now thought he owned Liconda! She knew her brother would not leave without the colt, she had to get Liconda back, and with him her brother who was despertly needed at home. She walked to the mare who stood hidden in the roadside bushes nearbye; and then she galloped away down the road.
Raj watched the white mare disappear into the distance. On any other basis John would have been furious, but this little ‘escape’ had helped him get a better picture of Bolt’s speed and ‘Henry’s’ ability to control him. He ordered Henry to lead Bolt back into the barn. Afther they had left he rapidly felt anger boiling inside him. How was it that a mere lad could control the unbreakable stallion but he could not? The anger swelled and then gradually ebbed from his mind. It was just buisness he didn’t have to even like the colt!
Chapter Twelve; The Letter
John Matthews walked into the barn, and saw a neglected paper in his office. He entered and read it…
Due to the speed and great conformation of your noble stallion ‘Bolt Of Lighting’ we are proud to invite you and your horse to the greatest two year old race. The newest and the best race for all two year old colts the ‘Kentucky Flashes’. This race is a maiden race so if your colt has already raced he is not allowed to enter. If not the United States Jockey club is proud to give you the chance to race your colt in the best horse race in history!
“A little braggy aren’t we”, John said to the paper, “if it is the best horse race in history why should it be only for maiden racers?”
The man read on… Please fill in the form below to enter the ‘Kentucky Flashs’ and mail it to us at once. The race is scedualed at noon January First, when else? And of course it will take place at Lexington. The race is a mile but if there is a tie, which rarely happens now. The race will then be exstened to two miles and then three and so on. Please feel opligated to enter, and make sure to really work your horse in the two weeks until the race.
United States Jockey Club, New offical leader James Matthews
“No it can’t be possible, father woud never have been able to pull this stunt! Just imagine him trying to make me race my colt in a race where he will probably get injured.” John sneaked out a laugh, still somewhere deep inside him he wanted to go. “There must be some way to have Bolt race and not have my father have a chance to see me.” Of course there wasn’t, but that would not keep John from racing there. He could prove to his father that his way was better. If only he could get the colt ready in time. He walked out of the barn and headed toward the house for a pen. “Why oh why did I decide not to put one in my office?” He thought to himself, he would come back to the barn later.
Finally Raj was alone with Liconda. They no longer had to use hidden names and speak to themselves using a secret language of thiers. Raj could speak openly to his colt and Liconda could exspress himself in the way only a horse can. No longer were they boy and horse, they were one again. Raj left his horse for only a few moments to head to the tack room. He replaced the fine saddle with one he had noticed in the far corner. It was old and even covered in probably an inch of dust. He brushed it off and rubbed the saddle to soften the old leather. It was small and light with pouches on the sides where weights could be added. He handled it with care as if it were a precious emerald. He knew about the letter and this, he knew was Liconda’s racing saddle. After gingerly placing the saddle on a rack near Lic’s stall he left again for the bridle and bit. He kept the old bridle but replaced the hard snaffle with a rubber one. As he tacked up Lic tasted a sweat pepperment coating on the bit that Raj had left on it.
Raj led his horse outside the barn and mounted. He shortened the stirrups to the lengh that he was ‘required’ to have them. Then he and the colt loped toward the track. Once there Raj dismounted and led Lic toward the ‘practice’ starting gate. He let his colt inspect it. Lic snorted at it and even pawed at it’s bright, new paint. Finally satisfied he had nothing to fear Lic settled down next to his owner. Raj mounted and he and Lic entered the gate. Liconda was nervous because of the flourescent red paint but he trusted Raj.
Chapter Thirteen: The Wind
An attendant appeared out of nowhere and pressed the button. With a loud ‘clang’ the door let loose and then it was open! At last set free Raj and Lic were now one with eachother again. They soared over the ground, Raj did not need to urge Liconda. The colt was pressing himself as if racing his own shadow. He wasn’t doing it because of determination to win, there was no other horse there. Instead Liconda was running his fastest for the sheer joy of running.
Raj dropped his stirrups, he would not be told where to put his feet! The flying creatures were truly together as one. John saw them from the house and was amazed. The starter saw them from the gate and was amazed. Even a passerby just driving down the road stopped to watch. The arabian colt and his true owner ran around the track. Liconda kept running. He laughed at the tiredness tring to creep to him. He snorted away all pains that tried to harm him.
Horsemen stared on, they had never seen any horse run this fast and for so long. Only after an hour did the colt slow. He only slowed though, because Raj had taken up on the reins and asked him to stop. They slowly cantered along the fenceline. The men who had been watching did not leave, they were transfixed. John finally came out of the house and went to the track. He was amazed at this colt, he knew that stealling him had been good to him. John did not relise the lives he had almost destroyed. If Lic didn’t return to his homeland in four more years he would miss the Kharmar Sia. John did not know of these great races in the Saudia Arabian desert. For now Raj was content to let the man do as he wished. For all Raj wanted to do was be free and he was, for now.
Every night Raj and Lic went to the track. And every night they were free, running as fast as the night wind. No one saw them or knew what they were doing but the starter. He would give a rasp “hello” and then let them inside. Raj liked his quiet ways, somehow they were comforting . Like an old part of his life still existed so far from the middle east. No one ever saw these nightly workouts however John occasionally secdualled daily ‘observation periods’. This happened weekly, where all of the neighboring farms’ owners watched ‘Bolt’ race himself. They all saw it as just a simple workout. Without any other horse there they could not tell how fast Bolt was running. They never would know untill he turned two.
Raj was not happy that he had been forced to gentle Liconda this young, but he had no other choice. Raj alias Henry Cortez’ was scedualled to ride Liconda alias Bolt of Lightning in the ‘Kentucky Flashes’.
“Lame name”, Raj thought, “why couldn’t they call it something more interesting at least then it would be something to look forward to.” While he dared not ask his ‘imployer’ Raj, (Henry) did ask the offical starter on the farm.
“Henry, the reason for them naming it that and not something thrilling is that all of the good names have been taken. Or at least I think so, there’s the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. There’s already a ‘Black Gold’ race and probably one for ever famous racehorse. Why there’s possibly even one for Ruffian! I really don’t follow the races, I just came here for a good paying job really. So if you realy and answer I’m really not the man to ask.” Henry was strangly familiar to him why was that? He had never been to Europe, in fact he had just recently earned enough money to move to America! Why did he know the face, and how did he know that Bolt was an Arabian? Surely he had never seen them before, but the stallion looked just like Sheniyra. “Oh Henry, when you and Bolt go back home for the Kharmar Sia promise me you’ll take me with you.” There, he had said it, somehow it had slipped out. The man almost ate his words, what if he was wrong?
Raj turned around shocked, this man reconised him. Then the boy reconised the man, it was a man from long ago. From his home in the desert. The only man who he had known as a friend outside his tribe. It was the shiek Rub al’ Denala, he father’s own brother! “Uncle it has been a long time since we have met, but the colt you see is Liconda, Sheniyra’s son.” Rub al’ Denala stared in shock, he now knew the boy and knew why he reconised his horse. Then he sadly relised that they were trapped here too as much as he was. He felt sorry for this young lad, he could handle it though. They were both trapped but at least they had put names to their own faces. Now he knew what to call the boy and the horse. Even if they weren’t free they were together.
After their departure Lic seemed to have an ever greater desire for speed, if John told ‘Henry’ to take Bolt at a two minute mile Bolt always wanted a one minute. When they entended to go on an easy workout Bolt aways tried to make it a sprint. John could tell even Henry, the only man that could ride the colt was having problems. Still John was happy, Henry kept him at the correct speed even if the colt fought for his head. One day John looked to his calendar for the speed and distance he had required of the colt today. His eyes wandered up several days, he could not believe it the race was in three days!
He rushed out to the barn, Henry and Bolt were already in the trailer. “How could I have been so stupid, Bolt’s first race and I didn’t even prepare for it!”John scolded himself in his head, “Why if that happens again I may as well take that beast back to his desert!” Then he knew it, Henry was none other then that young boy that had threatened to not let him steal Bolt. He had to fire the ‘jockey’ but how, when there was no time before the first race? John decied that after this race Henry would leave, no matter what. If John couldn’t find a jockey for the colt then he’d just sell him. Happily John went toward the colt, holding a thick riding crop. “Take this, and use it on him if you have to, Henry.” The words did not come as easily as before. It was all John could do to keep from filling his voice with anger. “And wear these spurrs, my first spurrs always worked now it’s your turn.” This was the test, he knew that Bolt’s rightful owner would never use a crop or spurrs on him.
“I’m sorry sir but isn’t there a rule that no jockey can wear spurrs in the race?” Raj knew what John was trying to do, and he would not fall for the trap no matter what the bait.
“Right, so just hit him extra hard then.”
“I won’t need it, you know him as well as I do, L- Bolt always runs for me.” Raj was horrified, had his slip of the tongue given him away for who he was? Or did the gruesome man already know he was Lic’s owner? Now John’s time to be tested, and Raj’s turn to test. “Who is he redistered u