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Ghost Heart

Set in the Old West

A Love Story Written by Willow Windsong

 

Mariah gazed at her husband-to-be as they stood beneath the arch of spring wildflowers. A feeling of surrealism encompassed her, their journey to this place in time quite unique.

As the minister was reading a rather lengthy piece as requested by the only father she’d ever known, her thoughts drifted back to two years ago when she’d first met Nevada, her one and only true love….

Two Years Prior

The massive oak beckoned through the distance. The green umbrella of shade was a welcomed relief as the summer sun was hot even though it was low in the sky, with no clouds in sight. Dusk would soon be falling.

This was Mariah’s favorite spot on the property, even as a child. She had enjoyed many-a-picnic with her father here while she had appreciated the lovely view as he had appreciated her fried chicken and homemade potato salad - or as he called it ‘tator salad‘. And whenever she needed room to think, she had always sought solace in this peaceful area overlooking the valley.

Squinting her blue eyes, she focused her gaze onto the naked sky which made the world seem bigger somehow, the clearness enhancing the flight of the buzzards circling high overhead, lending them an almost three-dimensional effect.

And their presence indicated that the mountain lion had made another raid on the herd last night.

The foreman, Scott and the other cowboys who worked at the ranch would have to deal with the lion on their own, without Father’s expertise.

And it was difficult for her to think about spending the next three months without him. They had never been separated for this space of time.

But he had needed the break, the ranch seeming to swallow his sense of survival over the past few months. It did flatter her that he had enough faith in her to have left her in charge amid his absence. And she was adamant that she would not disappoint him.

She dismounted the sorrel Santana with unpracticed expertise, and her curved form could never have been mistaken for a man’s.

“Take a rest, boy. Enjoy a green feast while I enjoy the sunset,” she directed, delivering a light pat on Santana’s hindquarters and he wasted no time in doing as she had suggested.

As silly as it seemed, it was if she and the sorrel were mentally connected.

Santana was the smartest horse she’d ever encountered, and she’d encountered quite a few during her life on the ranch.

Grabbing a strand of the green grass, she relaxed against the warm bark of the oak, drinking in the flowery scent escaping and rising from the valley below.

 

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