Dedicated to my Baby Boy, Waldo. May I always remain in your heart, even though we have part, 'cause baby, you'll always have a place in mine, no matter what. I love you so much. You changed my life forever, and for that I thank you. May your new life be as good as the one we shared. I'll love you forever more, Old Boy. Forever yours, Waldomier.

The rain fell on my head and washed away the sorrow that was trying so hard to steal my sanity from my barely living body. As I stood there, letting the rain fill the umbrella held at my side a single tear fell from my eyes. Kali came over to me and gently slipped her wet hand into mine, but I pulled back. I didn't need her sympathy. I didn't need what anyone could offer me now. The earthly mound in front of me was soaked and muddy, but I starred at it as though it was about to do something extraordinary. But nothing happened. It just got wetter and wetter. I closed my eyes tight and shook my head slowly from side to side.

"It's better this way," Kali said softly in my ear. My eyes jerked open and caught hers, demanding her to take her words of cruelty back, but she said no more. After a minute she told me she was going to go back up to the house and not to stay out to long or I would catch a cold. Once she was out of my line of vision I sat heavily on the soggy ground and let the tears finally come. They had waited so long and finally they fell. How could this have happened? My life had been bad from the start but this was absurd. Ever since I had been small and my mother had died. Then my father, had to go and.... It was so long ago though. I thought I'd never be happy. But then I came here. I hadn't fit in at first, but then I felt like I was home for the first time in my life. Then it was all down hill from there. But I never expected to hit rock bottom again...

I guess it all started when I was four, when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I was too young to understand how serious it was then, but now I know. My father pulled me out of school and started to drink. I mean really drink. Then when I was finally allowed to go to school again, I was brought back to the hospital by one of the teachers. I was scared because I hadn't been there since my mother had been there and I had been there when she died. It was a scary thing for a four-year-old to have to see. My father was there this time. He was drunk and had gotten into a bar fight and gotten hit in the liver. He hadn't realized he had what the doctors tried to explain to me as cirrhosis. The punch to the liver had killed him almost instantly. I was to switch foster homes every year after that. It had been hard. Always making new friends, then leaving them only months later. Finally I gave up on making friends. But, then I came here, Smoke Tree Farms. I hated horses, but there was one. No one liked him, but there was something about him that I couldn't escape and it nearly killed me in a way.... But reliving the past wouldn't help. I knew it, but sometimes it can't be prevented. I sighed and lay back on the ground and let the ever-darkening rain splash onto my face, mixing with the salt from my tears...

"Please, Fate, I promise you'll like it here. Look, you'll get to help with the horses. I bet you'll like that." Miss Brent said excitedly to me.

"I don't like horses. They scare me." I protested without emotion.

"Well you'll have to learn to like them because your here for the next twelve months like it or not."

With that, Deb, the foster mother walked up and introduced herself. She and Miss Brent talked for a time and I wandered off to check out the new surroundings. I walked down the gravel drive to the first barn. Well, it wasn't really a barn. It only had four stalls in the one spot. There was a wall separating those four empty stalls with A type of shed thing for the big heavy machinery. I walked the twenty feet to the next barn. It had a small red door that was propped open with a large rock next to what looked like the type of garage door. That to was wide open. It was empty inside. I walked along the stalls and read the names off the nameplates as I went there were ten altogether. Dixie, Patrick, Gretta, Bristol, Danny, Roxanne, Ragtime, Jasmine, Missy, and Doobie. When I got to the end of the isle, I took a right, the only way I could go, except out the open door at this end. Also garage style. Almost all the doors where like that. Once I turned right, there on my immediate left was a closed door with a sign taped in the window:

Please keep all cats and dogs

out of the tack room except Jill.

Hay was stacked along my right hand side. There was an open door right in front of me. Two girls on horseback were racing in the large ring, but stopped when an older woman came in and yelled at them.

But shouts from outside got my attention the fastest. "I warned you before you bought the animal that he was dangerous and for experienced riders only! It's not my fault you let your little beginner ride the beast!"

"Well you can take him back and pay for the any bills! It's your fault forever thinking of selling him in the first place you know!"

"But you were warned and it's not my fault you excepted to deny that fact! I have the contract in writing so you have anything to say to anyone you can explain in court in front of a jury when I beat you for idiocy!"

"I'm not going to stand here and be insulted like that! This will have to be handle by an official then!" With that the younger women yanked down a ramp off the back of the horse trailer, disappeared inside of it, then reappeared with a wild looking horse. He was what was called bay. Brown with a black mane and tail. His mane was short and neatly kept, but his tail was long and flowing and trailed all the way to the ground. He wasn't too tall, but he wasn't too short. Kind of in the middle with a thick build. He was obviously a mix breed, and had some part of draft horse to him, by the way his muscles were built. He was beautiful.

"Hey new girl! Take a lead rope and help us bring in will you?" The girl speaking to me was about my age. She was tall and thin with long straight hair down to her hips that was a perfect golden brown color. She threw a lead rope at me and I caught it, but mouthed my protest. "I don't like horses." I threw it back to her. She caught it.

"Fate, right? Deb said you're to help with the horses, like it or not." She threw it back at me. "You can get some easy ones. Don't sweat it."

Reluctantly, I followed. We made our way down to the pastures and pulled open the gait and I followed her in.

"Hey, hey, guys! Time for dinner! C'mon horsies! Dinner, dinner, dinner!" I rolled my eyes. Like they knew what she was saying.... But they did. They all came up the hill at full gallop. I screamed and threw myself through the fence rails, but this girl, Kali, just stood there. The horses that were about to run head long into her either stopped on the dime, or turned at the last second. After a moment the dust settled and the horses stood with bated breath, waiting to see who would be brought in first.

"Grab Charlie, will you," she asked me lightly, pointing to a small white pony.

I studied him for a moment then turned to her. "Bottom of the halter. Clip it to the little silver ring." I fidgeted with he halter, flipping it over on his face to get to the clip. She held the gait and I went to bring Charlie through it, but he wouldn't move. I yanked and pulled but still he didn't move. "Don't stand directly in front of him though. He's afraid he'll step on you."

I moved slightly to his left my right. I knew enough to stand to the left of the horse, because everything with horses is done on the left. This time when I pulled the lead he moved forward.

As we made our way up the drive, a kid who looked about 16 was struggling with the horse that I had seen come off the trailer. The horse was rearing and pulling on the lead rope. The kid handling him was pulling the lead in short jerks and yelling whoa at the horse. Suddenly his lead snapped and I felt Charlie's slid from my hand as he fled in fright.

"Charlie! Come back here!" Well it had worked when Kali yelled about dinner.

The wild horse turned and headed straight for me. I screamed and threw my hands up to shield my face. But the pounding of closing in hooves stopped abruptly. Slowly I pulled my hands down from my face. The horse had his eyes, one blue and one brown, lowered down to mine. It was then I felt it. There was something about this horse that none of the other ones had, and he knew it too.

"Unwanted! What the..." The kid who had had the horse last came running over to me to grab the beast but stopped when he saw me. His eyes went from the horse to me and back to the horse.

"Whoa. Trent. You must be the new girl. Sorry for him. He gets out all the time, but that's the first time he stopped if something got in his way. He doesn't like anyone. He's an asshole this horse. You watch out for him." He grabbed the dangling piece of lead rope still attached to Unwanted's halter and led him off. The strange thing was that the horse looked back over his shoulder for one last glimpse of me before disappearing through a large wooden door.

The next day I was up at 5:30 and whisked out to the barn to see the Unwanted again. I figured I'd be the only one out there for a while, but Kali and Trent were arguing about something. They both had some type of bottle in their hands, waving them and arguing about which one goes into one of the horses' grain bucket.

I took my first good look at Trent. He was about sixteen. Tall with wild brown hair spiked in every direction and crystal green eyes. They were cool, almost a translucent green color, even visible in the still darkness of the six stall barn.

I slipped out of the six stall and headed for the new barn (fifteen stall). I made my way down the long aisle and in the last stall found the Unwanted. He slipped his head out over the stall door and snuffed my hair. I rubbed his soft brown fur on his large jawbone and he leaned into it. With my other hand I scratched his ear, running my hand up and down the velvet fur. He breathed happily and closed his multi colored eyes.

"Well the beast has a soft side after all."

The voice scared me as I swung around to see who had spoken to me. It was Trent. The Unwanted pinned his ears back and snorted in Trents' direction.

"You can do the honors then." He handed me the grain bucket off the top of his mile high stack. I just looked at it then turned my attention to him. "Just go into the stall and dump it into his bucket."

Reluctantly, I walked in, but the thing that threw me off was that the Unwanted stood there, head held high like he was slightly threatened. My eyes popped open as his head moved down towards the bucket. I turned it upside down as quick as I could and he plunged his head into the bucket.

"Wow. Usually some one has to hold him while another dumps his food. Every now and then we just set the bucket down and come back for it when he's done. He definitely sees something in you, but he's never been like this and he's oh, about 22 years old now."

"Twenty-two!"

"Yeah, sounds 'bout right to me. Poor old guy. You know, sometimes I do feel bad for him; but then again he's called the Unwanted for a reason. You know he's only been to one show in his entire life. Threw off his rider. She landed on the jump and broke her back. Never rode again after that. Poor girl. She was one of the best riders in the state. Could have easily been an Olympic rider one day. But you can't always dwell in the past, you know. I think Deb wanted you to have a lesson today. She says it'll be good for you to learn to ride. Might help you fit in, you know."

"Fit in? Oh so now I don't fit in, huh?"

"Well that's what she said. But you know what, your not the only one."

"Only one what?"

"Every kid here was a foster at one time you know. The foster company always sends us here 'cause they feel the horses gives us something to do and keeps us busy and happy. Deb always ends up signing adoption papers too, you know. Lets see there's Kali, Elsie, Kari, Jesse, and myself."

"She's adopted that many of you already?"

"Yup. And if you learn to like it here you'll be next. And that's just what I need, another sister. Thank God for Jesse you know."

"Is that all you ever say."

"Say what?"

"You know."

"Ha. That's funny. Great, you know what, you can help me finish feeding, then we can tack up one of the ponies for you, even though your probably too big for a pony, it'll still be funny."

And I did help Trent finish graining as they call it. Then we made grain, or refilled the buckets, and those bottles that Trent and Kali had been fighting over had been medicines, which most horses took one. Then Trent showed me all the lesson horses and ponies and explained the difference between the two to me. Then he told me all about tack, gave me a grand tour and showed me how to brush and tack up. He put me on a small gelding, or neutered male pony named Patrick. He was a small dark bay, easily spooked and had what everyone called the carousel movements, because of the way he picked up his feet.

Deb came out as Trent showed me how to mount and adjust my stirrups. She had me walk Pat and told me to keep my heels down and all the basics. Then she taught me how to trot. Posting and all that. She ended up giving me a two-hour lesson and amazingly had me cantering by the end of it. She told me she'd never seen anyone with such a natural ability to ride before me. I was to have a lesson every day, and she'd let me show by March, which was only five months away.

Four months later she had me riding more advanced horses. Then one day she came up with the most amazing proposal.

"Fate. I want to try something I don't think I'd ever do with any of my other riders, ever. I want you to ride the Unwanted."

"You what! I can't ride that horse are you crazy, Deb? Your going to try to kill me aren't you?"

"Fate please. I'm not trying to kill you. Your one of my best riders and you've only been riding for three months. Besides that I've seen you with that horse before. He gets all soft and gentle. I think it can be done, and you never know unless you try. Please, I'm asking you to Fate."

"Fine. I'll go tack him up. But if I fall off your to blame, got it?"

Twenty minutes later I had the Unwanted tacked up and in the arena. I brought him over to the mounting block. All the kids and adults that ever came out to the barn had gathered around to witness this. I was already scared as it was and I didn't need all of them standing around to make it worse. I slipped my foot into the stirrup and in one swift movement mounted up onto his back. He was obviously not used to having a rider there and I felt his muscles clench. I gave him a soft squeeze with my legs and he threw back his head and pushed into a steady walk. I walked him twice around one way then reversed him and walked him twice the other way. He relaxed under me and I asked him for a trot with my legs. He again threw back his head but picked it up. He had a rocky, but some how smooth feeling trot that was easy to post to. I turned him down the diagonal and switched direction and my diagonal. Then I got him into a canter. It was a heavy feeling but smooth and flowing and easy to sit. Deb put up a small one foot vertical and I legged him over it. He was an easy ride. By the end of the lesson I had him jumping two-three.

I rode him every day after that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Loud giggles rang out of the ring. I went and peeked my head in to see what was going on, only to see all the kids, even Trent, were playing horses. They had jumps set up in the ring and they were making courses and cantering them on foot. They were pretending they were on horseback.

I felt tears swell in my eyes. They were all adopted. They were accepted. Would they accept me? I backed out of the ring and looked around. Sighing, I slipped down the gravel hill behind the fifteen stall to where pastures lined along the back of all our buildings. Unwanted Waldo had his own pasture to himself. He was contently grazing in his pasture. I slipped in between the fence boards and sat in the early morning grass next to him. He stopped grazing and snuffled my hair lightly. He nudged me, tipping me over in the hay that was scattered across the ground. I laughed as he sniffed me all over and rolled me over onto my stomach with his nose. He kept rolling me, and after a minute gave an exasperated snort, as if to say, 'Don't you get it yet?!' He bent down onto his knees then down to his stomach and rolled like dogs' roll in the grass after they get baths. Then he stood back up and watched me expectantly. I rolled just like he had. He rewarded me with a muzzle-nuzzle. I kept on just playing with Unwanted Waldo, not knowing that my shrieks of laughter had brought all the other kids to the window in the fifteen stall to see what I was doing. Jesse had gone to get the adults to witness it, too.

Deb smiled to herself. I was finally fitting in. And not only that, I had brought one miserable soul with me, and made his life worth while as I did.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I've never seen that horse act like that with anyone before. I swear Fate, you have a way with him that no one else does."

"Maybe it's because neither of us fit in and he knows it just like I do."

"No Fate, you fit in here and you know it. You just haven't figured out how to yet. You'll get it sooner or later."

"I don't know why it would matter, though. I'm not going to be here much longer anyways. I'll just be shipped off to another foster home...."

"Not necessarily, You know Fate. Just don't let your guard down and keep looking out for the right family."

"Trent told me how you adopted all the kids here, Deb."

"He did, did he? Well that's ok, because that's what I wanted to talk to you about. Adoption. Think about it will you, because the kids and I have talked and we've decided, if it's ok with you that is, that we'd like to make you a member of the family. Permanently."

"Really?"

"Really, really."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I ran my fingers along the velvet of Waldo's nose. I had told him about the conversation between Deb and me. I felt like I could confide in him. I knew he'd never tell my secrets. And, really, I wanted to be adopted, and here would be ok with me. I'd be with the Unwanted. My Unwanted. He pressed the length of his long, brown face into my sternum, breathed deeply, closed his eyes, and drifted off to sleep with me scratching his cheek and ear.

I sighed. But everything good in life comes with consequences twice as bad. That was what I had come to find out on my own, and it was true. The Philosophy of Life, like it or not. Right now I wasn't exactly sure what that bad fortune was to come, but it'd be here no matter what, and quite frankly, I didn't want to find out.

I pushed my fingers into his mane and pressed my face into his long, black forelock. "I Just don't know Waldo. I want to be adopted so badly. I just want somewhere to call home. But I don't want to have to deal with anymore pain in the process. I don't think I can take anymore hurt....

"Someday day I'll wish upon a star. And wake up where the clouds are far behind me. Where troubles melt like lemon drops, oh way above the chimney tops. That's where you'll find me. Somewhere over the rainbow. Skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true...."

I slipped inside of the Unwanted stall and sat on the floor beside him. He nuzzled my shoulder, as if to tell me all would be ok. But I knew it wouldn't be. How could it be? I pulled my arms around his neck from where I sat on the floor and whispered 'sweet nothings' in his ear. He sighed in my ear. He loved me. No one loved me. Tears pushed to the surfacing brim of my eyes. I went to blink them away, but blinking made them fall, so I let them....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I carved my signature into the adoption certificate. It was final. I was now Fate Eternity. Deborah Eternity was next to sign the certificate before handing it back to the officials with a smile. The officials then shook both our hands, thanked Deb for '...taking another out of The Home...', and left.

That night Deb made a huge dinner for a celebration. But it was like no other celebration. It was in the aisle of the new barn. I kept on slipping Unwanted little scraps that were ok for horses to eat. It lasted until midnight when Elsie suddenly fell asleep and landed in a half-eaten cake. Deb shoed us all off to the house to get ready for bed, and let us all sleep in in the morning. She took care of the horses. I got out there at 8:30ish. I tacked up and had an hour-long lesson before Deb's first lesson kid showed up. Kari, who was about 9, helped this tall 12 year old boy tack up Dave, a huge thoroughbred gelding, who was ornery, and mean on the cross ties, but fine other wise. She handles Dave like she 6'5" 300lbs instead of 4'7" and 65lbs. She was tiny for her age, but she was tough.

I got Unwanted untacked and brought him out into the fields that you can see from the barns. I unclipped his lead and ran through the waist high alpha grass. He threw back his head, whinnied, and took off after me. I ducked in the grass and he stopped to sniff me out. When he found me he turned and ran, after tagging me with his nose. I jumped up and chased after him this time. He dropped to his knees, then his stomach and laid low in the grass, hoping I wouldn't see him. I laughed and tagged him. Then I ran. Again, I was watched from the barn. This time Trent ran up to the house and got the video recorder.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Rain washed away everything. I sat in the Unwanteds' stall doing my homework. Deb home schooled us. She felt the horses deserved full attention. She had a degree in teaching and the state didn't care if she home schooled us, so she did. Sure we missed out on a lot. But we gained a lot too.

I was having some trouble concentrating. My first show was tomorrow. I was so nervous. I threw my stuff out from under the door, then crawled out after it. I grabbed my sleeping bag and unrolled it. I got a bed all set up before clicking off my flashlight. Waldo stuck his head out from under the stall door and pressed his big horse lips against my cheek, pulled them away, and lay down in his stall to sleep.

Jesse was fourteen with messy blond hair and bright blue eyes. He approached me about a week before the third show in the Lake Effect series, but my first show.

"Fate. Deb wants to know who you want to ride for the White Fox show."

"Uh.... I don't really know. I want to show the Unwanted, but after what I've heard about him I'm not too sure if that's a possibility."

"She said to tell you, if that was who you picked, she thinks you can. She says your ready."

"She really thinks I'm ready to show on him? But I've never shown before. My first show on Unwanted.... I guess it's worth a try..."

"I'll make sure she knows."

I shook my head and continued to untack. I wasn't so sure, but if Deb thought I could then I trusted her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Courtesy circle, left lead canter, release, land, one, two, three, release, flying lead change, release, land, one, two, three, release, extra leg, release, land, one, two, three, release, flying lead change, release, land, one, two, damn, release, flying lead change, courtesy circle, trot, walk.

"That was good Fate. Very good."

"Thanks, Deb." I said, with a smile. "That was my last class. Now I just need to hear the placements and we can go."

I ended up taking second because of my uneven line, but that's ok.

We packed up everything, loaded the horses, and drove the hour drive home. When we got home I helped bring the horses down off the ramp then unload the car.

In the dark of the night, I slipped away from the commotion of the unloading and found the Unwanted's stall. "Hey Baby Boy. How are you?" I scratched his nose gently. "Look what you got. You've got a second and a fourth in jumping; I got a first in equitation. But we didn't place in pleasure. But that's ok, so your not a happy looking horse 'cause you don't like being around other horses. I still love you; it's not your fault.... You're such a good boy. I bet that's the first time you've heard that, huh? Well you'll hear it a lot if you keep up being good. You just never leave my side and you'll be set for life."

Ok, so how was I suppose to know that was the 'twice as bad' in my Philosophy would be just that. If I had, I would have never said those words. Well, some of them at least.

I showed Unwanted in the last show in the Lake Effect series and in all the Classic series shows. By then I was winning champions with the Unwanted. May was quickly approaching and the biggest show in New England was quickly advancing.

One of the ponies at the barn had had a baby a few months ago, and Deb said he was making progress. She wanted me to do a show at the fair grounds with him too. He was great. I did well with him. I placed in all my classes but one, but that was because he got scared and took off with me.

The weird thing about this baby though was that Deb refused to tell us who had sired him, and we don't have any studs or stallions at that at Smoke Tree....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Deb, he feels lame."

"Does he? He looks like he may be lame. Hop off real quick and run him down the rail."

I jumped off the Waldo's back and flipped the reins over his head and trotted him down the rail. Yup. He was lame. I untacked him and Deb and I decided to call it a lesson.

"I really hope you get better soon, Waldy boy. I want to be able to ride you in CNY."

I got up late one day only a few weeks before CNY. Waldo was still lame, so I had been riding the baby, Twist. He looked a lot like Waldo. Same unruly build with HUGE muscles, even though he was only about 10 months old. He had the same type of gait to him too. If Waldo wasn't a gelding I'd swear he was Waldo's. But anyways, I had gotten up late, and I came down to the barn right as a small trailer was getting ready to leave.

"We get a new horse, Deb," I asked curiously.

"Fate, we need to talk."

I starred at her, waiting for the news. "Fate, Unwanted Waldo wasn't getting any better. I'm so sorry, Fate, but there was nothing else I could do."

"NO! Deb! What the hell were you thinking?! What's your problem?! How could you do-" The trailer was leaving.

"Unwanted!" I took off up the drive after the trailer. I would catch it. I had to. A loud whinny from the back was calling out to me. "Wait! Don't leave me!" Finally, I gave up, I couldn't catch it.

"Fate, please just-"

"No! You- you- you were suppose to- I hate you!"

"Fate!"

I just ignored her. I hated her. How could she do something like that to me? When I got to where the big garage style door was open at the end of the fifteen stall, I hesitated. Where was I to go? I looked around for a moment before I decided. The lower barn, where we weren't suppose to go. We stored standards and gates and stuff like that in there. Sometimes, when the S.U. girls came with their horses and we didn't have any stalls to give up we'd but them down there, but it was avoided as much as possible.

I slipped into the dark coolness of the barn with it's weird the way it was set up; the stalls as compared to the tack room and whatnot. Dust covered everything. I Slipped into one of the stalls in the back, climbed up on one of the wallboards and hoisted myself into the stall next to this one. It was locked and the key for it was missing, so it was perfect. Perfect.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Fate!" Kari voice sounded close, but I knew the little one would never come in here, for she was scared of the lower barn. Trent and Jesse told the little kids scary stories of this barn to keep them away.

"Fate! Where is you?" Elsie.

"No, Elsie, its are not is. Duh. Fate!" Kari, what a cutie. Tears welled in my eyes. "Why?" I shouted. I heard Elsie and Kari scream. I must have scared them away. I flipped my wrist over and checked the time. It was hard to read my watch because it was dark and it didn't have a glow dial on it. In fact it didn't have numbers either. It was a Nightmare Before Christmas watch I had bought from Hot Topic. But I couldn't read it in the dark, so I figured it was way too late.

I heard the sound of footsteps entering the barn. I took in a deep breath and held it, backing into a front corner of the barn, by the door that couldn't be opened.

"Fate!" Trent. "Fate! I know you're in here! C'mon, Deb really wants to talk to you! Please, Just say something.

"No!" I shouted. That was all he'd get. I heard his footsteps sounding closer. He must have been running by the sound. I saw the light from his flashlight shining in the stall next to me. "Fate, please. Deb didn't mean to hurt you. I actually told her to just let the unwanted stay anyways, lame or not. So please don't blame the little ones, or me. They for sure didn't have anything to do with this. I know your in the stall next to me, and I'm not going in there after you, so you need to make the right choice and just, come out of there. I know you will too. You can't stay in there forever."

I said nothing. "Fine. You want to know who sired Twist. Unwanted. Shocking, huh. Well he was only a half geld. Tess had a fifty-fifty of getting pregnant when the Unwanted got loose, but she did. Twist is Waldo's son. I figured you would have figured that out on your own.... But please, Fate, just come out of the stall, because Deb wants you to have Twist, since he's the only living relative of Unwanted."

I stood up and placed my foot on gaits that were leaned up against the stall wall, gripped the top of the wall a hoisted myself up and over. I landed hard in the dirt next to Trent. I just looked into his large, amazingly green eyes, then hugged him, crying hard.

"I know. It's ok, Fate, you're ok now. C'mon, let's get out of here, shall we?"

I allowed Trent to take me from the lower barn and out into the darkness of the night. "Oh Fate! You scared us all so bad! You just don't know-"

"I scared you!? You hurt me! I hate you, Deb! You keep away from me!" I took off again, but this time Trent grabbed my arm and I flew forward, not expecting to be grabbed so harshly. I hit the dirt hard. I just stayed there, on the ground, until Trent pulled me to my feet. I took off again, this time for the house.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the next three weeks before CNY, Trent gave me lessons. I didn't talk to Deb at all. Then, the week before CNY, Deb gathered us all around to talk to us, but I didn't plan on saying anything. Well it turns out that the foster company was sending another kid to Deb. Her name was Tory and she was only five. That made her the youngest. She'd be here tomorrow. Elsie was the youngest at the moment. Short thin and pale with dark, jet black hair, thick and down to her hips, just like Kali's.

After Deb was done talking to us, I slipped off to find Twist. The resemblance between him and his father was uncanny. It was almost scary.

"Someday day I'll wish upon a star. And wake up where the clouds are far behind me. Where troubles melt like lemon drops, oh way above the chimney tops. That's where you'll find me. Somewhere over the rainbow. Skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. If happy little blue birds fly above the rainbow, oh why can't I?"

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I raked the sawdust over the floorboards in what was to be Twist's stall at CNY. When I was done, I unloaded him from the trailer and walked him in. Then I got a bucket, filled it with water, and placed it in his stall on the hook. I sighed and walked out. What a show this would be, huh. I held Jake while Elsie bathed him, then I helped Kari dump sawdust in her horse's stall. I bathed Twist and put him back into his stall and headed for the camper we were staying in, took a shower and hit my pillow faster then a racehorse. I fell asleep instantly.

I Felt like I was flying. No, I was riding, but the horse, I couldn't seem to place. Then I realized it was the Unwanted. He was better, and mines again. We were riding in CNY. But there was something different about him. Again, I couldn't place it. I knew he was better, but that wasn't it. There was something there that hadn't been there before. But when I halted him, leaned over, it was Twist. Waldo was standing some hundred yards off. I sat back into position and galloped after him. But he never got any closer. Finally, I gave up. But then he started towards me. And this time he got closer. When he got close enough, he stopped. I reached out to touch him, but my hand went threw him. He was like smoke. "Oh, baby boy. What happened? Where did I go wrong? God, I would give anything to have you back-" He became real. My hand settled on his withers. But just as fast, He turned back to smoke and disappeared. I was left with Twist, and only Twist.

It was the last day of the show. I had been in five classes the first day and taken a fourth, a third, a first, a third, and a second. I had been in three classes today so far. I had taken first, third, and fifth. My last class was an equitation class. It seemed to take forever. When they finally had us line up with our numbers to the judges, the judging took forever. Finally, they started on the places. I took a first. But as everyone made to leave they asked me and one other girl to stay in. They gave the other girl the Reserve Champion for our division. I claimed Champion. As we made to leave this time, they closed the door in front of me, after the other girl had left already.

I was about to say something to the lady who was approaching me, but she grabbed Twists' bridle and pulled him to the other end of the arena and faced him toward the exit doors. Two people pulled them back open and a horse was let loose into the ring. My jaw dropped. It was the Unwanted.

"Unwanted Waldo!" I lunged off of Twists saddle and ran through the arena towards him. He threw back his head, whinnied, and galloped towards me. He stopped on a dime, and for the first time, I wasn't scared by it. I threw my arms around his neck and held him close, crying into his mane.

The crowd around me all stood to their feet, cheering and clapping. The announcer blared out the whole story to the crowd. But I heard none of it. Crying, sobbing, and happy as hell, I couldn't hear the noise around me. I just held my Unwanted close, letting him know I'd never leave him again. Never.

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I met the lady who owned the Unwanted now. She was giving him back. He was mean and refused to eat anything. He was mine again. He came home with us the next day, but he could never be ridden again, unless it was just a walk in the fields. But I didn't care just because I had him back. But then the tragedy I never thought possible happened.

I awoke early one morning and went out to start feeding. But first I was going to stop by the Unwanted and see how he was doing. When I got there he was lying down, which he preferred to sleep lying down, so I wasn't bothered by it. I slipped in, but when I set my hand on his velvet nose, what was like a shocker ran down my spine. I shivered. His nose was cold. "No...." I leaned down and pressed my ears against his stomach. I waited. Nothing. "No...." I couldn't do this. I just got him back; I couldn't lose him again, not now, not yet. "God. No, Unwanted, wake up. Don't leave me yet. Not now, please. I just got you back to call my own; I can't lose you yet, please. God damn it, get up!" Tears ran down my face, as I screamed. "God get up, please get up! Don't... leave... me.... I need you...."

I lay there crying for at least an hour before Trent came out and found me there. I had fallen asleep on the Unwanted. Trent lifted me up and carried me to the house. I didn't wake.

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I had found the clearing on my own, just wondering around in the fields. I had seen the over grown path and followed it, bushwhacking until I got to the end where I found a circular clearing. There were three trees in the field that stood out. The one straight across from the path had wooden plaques of all the horses that had died or left Smoke Tree. On the left was a tree with names of all the male horses currently at Smoke Tree, and on the right were all the plaques of female horses currently at Smoke Tree. Deb came into the Clearing behind me as my eyes swept around it.

"I know what you're thinking. Yes, I did this and yes, I'm here to make the next adjustment to it. Unless, that is, you'd like to." She pointed to the tree on the left, at the bottom. The Unwanted had a plaque at the very bottom. I walked over and as gently as I could, slipped it off the hook, which I then pulled out of the tree. I looked over at Deb, she nodded. I walked over to the middle tree and placed the hook to the tree. I used my palm to shove it in, then placed the Unwanteds plaque on it. It was done. All was done....

I looked up into the rain from where I lay, recalling what I could. I sat up. The mound in front of me was still and wet. But the rain was letting up. I stood up and walked out into the fields. I wadded through chest high alpha grass. I knew it would be harvested soon. I remembered how when I'd ride the Unwanted through the fields he would snatch bits of alpha grass in his mouth as we galloped past.

"Fate!" It was Tory. She was so cute. Deb had decided to make her part of the family too. "Hey ya Fate! Lookie what Deb Mommy did!" She shoved a newspaper up and under my nose from where she stood in the grass that was taller then her. It was opened to the obituaries. My eyes took a quick scan and found immediately what she was showing me. Right in the center of the page was an obituary for the Unwanted:

Unwanted Waldo

1978 - 2002

Love always and forever~ Fate Destiny, The one who changed your life when you changed hers. May you always remain in the hearts of those who loved you.

~Smoke Tree Farms, With Love~ Fate and Family

I felt tears ebb into my eyes again. Deb had done that for me. "Thanks Tory," I said quietly. She took it and ran off towards the house again. I sighed and reached down and picked a small flower. I looked into the depth of it. I reminded me of what I still had that was good. Twist. He was Waldo's after all. I smiled. Waldo had been buried with Apache and Jack. We had a graveyard of those three deceased horses, but they had all been loved until death took them from us. Ok, so I had lost the Unwanted in the end, but I did have him back before I lost him, and that counts for something. Sure, I'll have to miss him forever more, but at least he died happy, and with me. Kind of.

I turned and looked up into the endless, now blue sky, and wondered what was going to happen now. Wet alpha grass brushed against my sides. I smiled. He wasn't exactly the "Unwanted" any more. I wanted him. I always had. And I had him, but not everything good in life lasts forever. Like the Philosophy of Life, Everything good in life comes with consequences twice as bad. So this is twice as bad? If you think about it, it's something that I can make good again. Maybe the Philosophy could be wrong, but that's just me. ~Dedicated to Where's Waldo. Your Forever in my Heart~