Mirage by Realist101
The sun played tricks on the old horse's mind, and the decrepit gelding put one hoof in front of the other, slowly at first, then faster. He believed the next step would bring cool relief. That each pool before him would quench the thirst that threatened to steal his breath away. But the waves of water that appeared one after the other, were tricks of the dry air and sand ... and he grew weaker as his lungs began to fail.
The swayback finally came upon a train track and stood, unable to cross the deep pitfall of the rails. The old caballo could walk no farther. His mind, on fire with pain and thirst, became disoriented, almost unable to function. His body, shriveled and dried out, quivered inside the skin that held the frail bones together, and the once mystical brown eyes dried shut, as the gentle giant gasped for air.
His small ears perked for an instant as he thought he heard the call of his master, but the sound, only a trick of the wind, whistled away on the back of a cloud. He tried to whinny. Tried to persist, but instead, willed his legs to lock at the knees so he would not collapse, and stood stock still ... to wait for what would come.
On the lonely highway a Buick whizzed by, and the small girl in the cool air-conditioned car begged her father to stop. To save the old horse--to at least see if it was okay. But Indiana was another fifteen hundred miles away and the man wanted to get home. He laughed, and told his daughter the old horse would be fine. Not to worry, the owner would come for it soon. Choking back tears, the child knew better. She curled into a ball and sat back, beaten ... knowing her daddy was wrong. She knew that death would pick the horse apart. That the vultures would feast; then leave the lonely bones all by themselves. Scattered and forgotten ... beneath the searing heat of the sultry, Sonoran sun.
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