All the books start with a prologue....
CATCH THE LIGHTNING
The great white stallion grazed on a patch of sun-warmed prairie grass, long white tail swishing an errant fly. The Apache called him a spirit horse; the Cheyenne called him a ghost horse because of his pale color. But Relámpago was both, and neither. For hundreds of years, he had wandered the shadowy path between the past and the present, saving countless lives, bringing lost souls together.
Ears pricked forward, the stallion watched the old man and the boy stroll toward him.
“Is that him?” the boy asked, pointing. “Is that the spirit horse?”
“Ai, that is Relámpago.”
“Tell me the story, grandfather.”
“You have heard it many times before.”
“Yes, but I’ve never seen the ghost horse,” the boy said, excitement evident in his tone and in the way he hopped from one foot to the other. “Tell me again.”
Smiling indulgently, the old man began. “It started in a time long ago when one of our brave warriors went out to face his enemies. Surrounded by the bodies of his slain comrades, he lifted his war lance high overhead, his death cry riding on the wings of the wind as he waited for death to find him.
“His enemies laughed and made rude gestures at him. They were certain the warrior would die that day. That when night came, they would sing of the Apache’s death while they danced, his scalp and that of the other slain Apaches dangling from their scalp poles.
“The Apache warrior watched his enemies impassively as he chanted softly, his prayer for deliverance wending its way up to the Great Spirit even as the warrior set his face toward death. ‘Hear me, Usen, grant me courage that I may die well.’
“As he prayed, a sudden stillness fell over the land. The wind moaned through the tall prairie grass. Curling fingers of thick gray mist rose up from the ground.
“The Apache warrior fell silent. Glancing over his shoulder, his eyes narrowed as he saw a stallion emerge from the gathering mist.”
“Relámpago!” the boy exclaimed, clapping his hands.
The old man nodded. “The very same. The stallion’s hooves echoed like thunder, striking lightning from the earth as it galloped toward the warrior. Sunlight danced over the stallion’s dazzling white coat, glinting like liquid silver in its flowing mane and tail. A thin black scar, shaped like a bolt of lightning, adorned its right flank.
“The warrior’s enemies fell back in superstitious awe as the ghost horse approached, but the Apache warrior stood his ground. The eagle feathers tied in his hair fluttered in the rising wind.
“The stallion slowed as it drew near the warrior, then stopped to paw the ground. Grasping the stallion’s mane, the warrior swung onto its back, and with a wild cry, he and Relámpago rode through the midst of their enemies toward freedom and into myth and legend.”
“But Relámpago’s not a myth,” the boy said. “He stands here before us.”
The old warrior smiled. “He is here today. Tomorrow, he may be gone.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
CAPTURE THE LIGHTNING
The white stallion grazed peacefully on a patch of sun-warmed grass beside a slow-moving river. The Lakota horse herd grazed nearby, never getting too close. In the distance, smoke rose from the lodges of the People.
The stallion did not belong to the Lakota. Or the Apache. Or the Cheyenne. Or any other tribe. He was Relámpago and he belonged to no one. The Apache called him a ghost horse because of his pale color. The Cheyenne called him a spirit horse because he could travel the shadow road between the past and the present, but he preferred to make his home in the past.
A gentle breeze stirred the leaves of the trees, carrying with it a voice from the present. A voice only the stallion could hear.
With a toss of his head, the stallion began to run, mane and tail flying in the wind as he raced swiftly over the rolling hills. It was not an Apache warrior that needed saving this time. Or a young woman contemplating suicide.
But a woman looking for love in all the wrong places.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
SEIZE THE LIGHTNING
Dakota Territory, 1877
The great white stallion, Relámpago, rested in the shade of a gnarled oak, his ears and tail twitching in hopes of discouraging the flies and insects that made their home on the Great Plains of South Dakota.
In the distance, a herd of Lakota ponies grazed on the lush spring grass. Relámpago was well-known among the tribes. Most had stories and legends of the mysterious white stallion who had long wandered the shadowy path between the past and the present.
The Apache called him a spirit horse; the Cheyenne and the Lakota called him a ghost horse because of his pale color. But Relámpago was both, and neither.
The stallion lifted his head when he heard the whisper of distant voices rising on the wind.
It was time to go.