The thunder rolled across the prairie land, making the auburn grass sway in the fierce winds. A lighting bolt struck down to earth, where it’s power erupted in a tree, sending it up in flames. Alton’s horse galloped across the plain, it’s hoofbeats rolling like the thunder. The horse soon set into it’s fastest stride, leaving Alton to hold on. He was an average boy in height and was only 14. His hat soon slipped off, the horse going as fast as the blowing winds.
Alton’s fingers burned but he refused to let go of the reins. His mind was set on his course to the cowboy’s camp. They were a band of cowboys who traveled looking for wild horses. They followed the herds wherever they roamed. When they had their hands on at least five horses, they would take them back to the ranch, break them, and then sell them for cheap to citizens who needed a suitable riding horse. Alton wanted to join them and be forever with the equines.
Alton had been secretly following them, setting camp for himself not to far away. He was waiting until he gathered enough courage to ask to became their apprentice. He had been awaked by this wretched storm and to the sound of hoofbeats, thundering across the hardy ground. Here was his open chance to notify them of the horses coming their way and to be recognized as one of their own. He hoped they would take him in and let him join. Alton had not a doubt in himself.
When he saw a flicker of fire burning in the far distance his heart began to race. He became excited when he heard a crash of a tin can. Even better, he thought, they’re awake. He pushed the horse onward, sweat dripping down both Alton and his horse as the galloped across the smooth terrain. He then gently eased back the reins after the covered most of the distance to prevent crashing into the camp. His horse slowed down to a lope and then to a trot by his command.
The men from the camp looked up from their nasty dinner of beans to witness a young boy, maybe fourteen or fifteen, trotting his horse only about a yard away. The horse appeared to be sweating fiercely as well as the boy.
“Who might you be, fellow stranger?” the chief, Dalton inquired. The boy took a deep breath before he began.
“My name is Alton Richards. I want to be in your group. Also, there is a herd of horses coming here right this instant. I can prove my worth in this round up. Is that a deal?” Alton spoke with bold words and a strong tone. The group exchanged glances with each other. Some were shrugging their shoulders and others were making a somewhat nasty look,”Listen, I know it’s weird but it’s the truth. So, deal?”
The continued to exchange glances for a long, irritating time while Alton waited, impatiently. Finally, the largest, most muscular one shrugged without care and stood up from his log seat. He strutted over to the campfire and faced Alton.
“We are under the impression that we oh, what’s the word? Inspire you,” His broad face showing no emotion as his voice was rough,” Listen, kid...”
“I’m fourteen,” Alton annoyingly reminded them,” I’m not a kid.”
“I can call you whatever I darn well please,” he said gruffly,” We ain’t no people to look up to but if you are willing to commit to this we will take you on board. Now, where are those horses?” He almost sounded reluctant about his offer.
Alton almost beamed and he felt like he could start skipping. Regretting that thought, he simply held out his hand for a shake to make the offer official.
“Pleasure doing business,” Alton said as plainly as he could,” Now those horses are coming from the East last time I saw. They’re coming at about twenty miles per hour, not the fastest. They got stallions, mares, and yearlings. You name it. Big group, maybe twenty or even forty. I have my roping skills and I know you do. Lets get them!”
The chief began barking orders at the men. Alton scrambled onto his horse and headed East searching for the herd. The ground began to rumble and shake furiously and a rhythmic booming came from ahead. The screams of the horses echoed through the plains. Alton prepared his lasso as he was joined with the others. As the horses approached he tossed his lasso into the air, and held on to whatever it caught.