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In the first installment i introduced you to to six year old Cindy Watson who lives with her parents on a small at Dunnedoo which is located just west of the middle of nowhere.

Living out in the sticks leads to a sense of isolation and for Cindy and her parents the boredom causes tension and arguments and so to escape the confines of the farmhouse Cindy often went out to the front verandah to ride an old wooden rocking horse.

As she rocks back and forth the little girl drams about riding the horse into the nearest town to rob a bank so she can make life easier for her parents plus she gazes off into the distance she wonders what lies beyond the horizon.

Six years later and nothing much has changed way out west, Cindy’s parents still argue about money and she still rides the rocking horse but not as much as she used to but when she gets a hankering she climbs onto the horse dreaming about visiting the big smoke one day and if she had a bad day at school she will ride that rocking horse like she she in the saddle of a Melbourne Cup winner.

She she rocks her worries away Cindy has no idea that a young local aboriginal boy named Warren Mundine has been watching her from behind a gum tree just beyond the boundary fence.

He knows that the girl is unhappy so every night after the lights in the house are turned off he would wait an hour before sneaking up onto the verandah of the Watson household and sprinkle magical twigs and potions handed down from the spirit people all around the rocking horse.

Then he would walk a short way into the desert and perform a ceremonial dance asking the spirits to make the girl happy so she can achieve her goals and maybe just smile once in a while.

Three months later whilst he was performing the corroberee Warren lifted his arms to the sky, twisting and twirling in the red sand he asked the spirit people for help and to his amazement a small eddy eddy appeared in the red sand a few metres from where Warren stood.

Slowly the small dust whirl grew in size until it developed into a mini tornado a tornado that seemed to have a mind of its own.

The twister spun faster and faster than all of a sudden it changed direction heading straight for the Watson farmhouse, Warren watched in amazement as the funnel of sand measuring about 20 feet tall climbed the front steps and with a WHOOSH the sand tornado disappeared up the nostrils of the rocking horse.

Six hours later Cindy quickly finishes a huge bowl of rice toasties then she wanders out to the front verandah for a quick ride on the rocking horse before the school bus arrives.

‘Good morning Lightning, i hope that you weren’t to cold last night maybe i should buy you a blanket?’

It soon dawns on Cindy that she just called the rocking horse Lightning, where did that come from? Was there a storm last night?

Taking a seat near the back of the school bus Cindy remembers a dream that she had last night.

She pictures in her mind a small aboriginal boy with magical powers who whispered in her that she didn’t have to worry anymore ‘everything will be alright’

As the bus winds down the long dusty outback road Cindy looks out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of the boy who appeared in her dream but she soon realizes that she is being stupid ‘It was only a dream silly and my dreams never come true’

After another boring day at school where she received a very poor report card Cindy boards the bus to make the return trip back home.

An hour later as the bus arrives at her home Cindy gathers up her school bus and walks towards the front of the bus and to her surprise the boy from her dream is sitting behind the driver.

The boy turns around and their eyes meet, Cindy cant believe that the boy really exists ‘Come on Cindy this is your stop’ the impatient bus driver utters ‘Off you get, i need to get the other kids home before it gets dark’

Cindy quickly exits the bus but she cant resist a quick glance behind her and to her disappointment the seat behind the driver is empty.

As she takes a snooze on the lounge before tea Cindy’s mind imagines that Lightning comes to life and rears up on his hind legs leaving behind a steaming pile of rocking horse shit ‘Come on boy lets ride all the way to Sydney and start a new life in the big smoke’

In another corner of her mind thoughts of a small aboriginal boy continue to linger.

BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ.

26 year old Cindy Watson turns of the alarm on her mobile phone and begins her morning routine, as she pees Cindy vaguely remembers dreaming about a rocking horse that she used to ride when she was a child.

She still lives at Dunnedoo just a few kilometres from her parents farm, her rubs her ring finger that is devoid of any adornment but hopefully one day she meet the right man and settle down to a quite life full of kids and happiness.

In a storage facility on the other side of town a dusty old rocking horse sits forlorn and forgotten.

It has been fourteen years since anyone sat in his saddle fourteen years locked up alone in the darkness.

His black eyes continue to stare at the roller door hoping that one day they will open so that he can run in the sunshine once again.

CHAPTER TWO.

Three doors down from the storage facility a young man is looking under the bonnet of an old ute in an attempt to fix a problem with the fuel pump ‘Hey Warren when you are finished can you come give me a hand with this Toyota because i cant find where all the oil is coming from’

The apprentice mechanic rolls his eyes in exasperation, Mr Turner might be a good boss but he couldn’t fix a car if his life depended on it ‘Okay boss give me ten minutes and i will be with you’

While he cleans up after Warren Mundine looks at himself in the mirror, he combs his hair and walks out the door with a smile on his face because today is the day where he he promises himself that he will finally ask Cindy Watson out on a date.

Warren like every man in Dunnedoo Warren has gone to the local pub to sink a few beers with his mates and have a flutter on the ponies and today will be no different.

At home he applies a shitload of old spice to his face then after grabbing a small satchel he heads out hopeful of a happy reunion of sorts.

At the pub Cindy is busy behind the bar serving the locals their beer of choice, she wasn’t supposed to work today but one of her work mates called in sick so she was offered an extra shift which she gratefully accepted because the money will come in handy.

As she is figuring out how to make a cocktail for a tourist Cindy doesn’t notice Warren take a seat at a corner table and even if she did she probably wouldn’t of recognized him anyway.

Warren orders a schooner of black from another bartender then he goes back to his table hoping that a few sips of beer will drown the butterflies that are fluttering around his stomach.

The upends the contents of his satchel on the table and arranges them to his satisfaction.

None of the other patrons take any notice the collection of twigs and branches but they hold a special meaning for Warren because the satchel made from a kangaroo’s scrotum has been handed down from generation to generation and now Warren has procession of the ancient relic.

The twigs and branches are also the same ones that he scattered on the front verandah of the Watson farmhouse fourteen years ago.

Behind the bar Cindy is struggling, a busload of tourists just arrived and they are mighty thirsty, at the other end of the bar Sandra Smith, a local legend, who has been pulling beers since Jesus was in nappies smiles at Cindy ‘ Don’t worry love, once we have served this lot things will settle down and we can have a smoko’

Cindy will be glad to take a break, it is almost 9 pm and the temperature is still 37 degrees.

An hour later Cindy pours herself a large gin and takes a seat near the bar, grabbing a handful of nuts from a bowl she begins to relax after being on her feet all night, as she unwinds a smell wafts over and awakens memories from her childhood when she used to ride a rocking horse and dream about moving to the big smoke.

Scanning the room Cindy spots a man sitting by himself at a corner table and even though she is sure that see has never seen him before she somehow remembers him from a distant memory from the past.

Intrigued Cindy nervously wanders over to the table and immediately notices the assortment of twigs and leaves arranged on the table.

Hello Cindy take a seat and i will tell you why i am here, my name is Warren Mundine and we have never been officially introduced but when we were kids i used to visit your dreams when you were unhappy, i danced the corroberee in the sand outside your parents place and asked the spirit people for help to end your sadness’

‘I spread these same twigs and leaves around your rocking horse and while you slept i whispered to the dreamtime to make the wooden horse real and it worked Cindy the rocking horse snorted a shitload of sacred sand and started to gallop around your yard’.

Cindy empties her glass of gin before replying’ Warren i know that you probably mean well and i do admit that i used to dream about a small aboriginal boy who used to ride the school bus and hang around the shadows outside my parents farm and sure i did wish that i could ride Lightning away from Dunnedoo and ride all the way to Sydney’

But when she said the word ‘Lightning’ Cindy immediately went back to her childhood and she realizes that what Warren is saying might actually be true’

‘I am not a liar Cindy that rocking horse is out there somewhere, why don’t we ask your parents maybe they heard or saw something back then and kept quiet about it, they might have put the rocking horse in storage or something’

Sorry Warren but my parents were killed in a car crash a few years ago on that bad bend going into Merriwa so it looks like what you think happened when we were kids will stay buried’

Now i need to get back to work, i suggest that you just get on with your life and forget all about the rocking horse and childhood dreams’

Warren is disappointed by Cindy’s reaction but he isn’t one to hold a grudge so he finishes his beer gathers up satchel and heads out the door, next week he will come back because in all the excitement he never got a chance to ask Cindy out on a date.

But as it turns out Warren didn’t have to wait a week because when he finished work the following day Cindy was outside waiting for him, ‘I am sorry for being a little short with you last night but your story about the rocking horse threw me for a loop’

That is alright Cindy, why don’t we grab some fish and chips and go down by the river and i will tell you everything i know’

‘Sounds good Warren but if this is to be our first date i am telling you that i cant be bought by a plateful of greasy food’

Cindy’s smile tells him that maybe the ice maiden might have a soft side after all.

The pair of oddballs settle down on a bench having small talk for a few minutes but when Cindy is about to explode she throws her remaining to the seagulls who always seem to know when a free meal is coming. ‘Alright tell me your story’

‘It all starts when i was about 11 years old and i was walking past your place and i saw you riding a rocking horse, my family lived nearby a i used to pass your farm all the time hunting for snakes and lizards for my dad to cook and every time i saw you you looked sad so i decided to do something to make you happy and Cindy you said that we both dreamt about the rocking horse but that isn’t true because i never had a dream about Lightning Cindy i created him’

Cindy rolls her eyes ‘pray tell me how you performed this miracle and if you turned a wooden horse into a real horse why are we looking for a rocking horse and not a real horse’

For a moment Warren is stuck for an answer ‘There is for need to be mean Cindy you wanted to hear my story so be quiet because i haven’t finished’ First of all i think that the reason i am looking for a rocking horse is because Lightning only exists when you are sitting on his saddle and when you dismount he goes back to being a rocking horse’

Warren tells her about how he scattered the twigs and leaves around the rocking horse then he danced a corroberee until a dust eddy eddy arrived and vanished up the nostrils up Lightning turning him into a real horse.

Cindy closes her eyes as she listens to Warren narrate the story and she is instantly taken back to her childhood for a minute or two ‘I believe you Warren but where could Lightning be now, i lost interest in him as i got older maybe my parents have a storage locker somewhere in town or they also could have sold him and if that is true than i am sorry to say he could be anywhere in the country, where do you think he is Warren?’

‘I don’ know Cindy my family and i moved out to Bourke to start a new life, i only just moved back to town a few months ago’

‘ And now that i am back in Dunnedoo all that i have been thinking about is you and what ever happened to Lightning’

Melting further Cindy reaches out and grabs hold of Warrens hand ‘Don’t worry Warren together we will find that rocking horse and i have been thinking about you to because when i dream about riding Lightning to Sydney you were hanging on tight behind me but when i have the dream it was back when we were kids’

‘Hey i have an idea’ Cindy laughs ‘Why don’t we post on Facebook’looking for a lost rocking horse, answers to the name Lightning’

Warren laughs as he gazes off into the distance, who knows but maybe one day we will ride the fuck out of here.

The following day the pair meet up at the local bowling club for a few drinks and to discuss their future but soon the topic returns to that rascal of a rocking horse ‘Tell me Warren why is Lightning so important to us?’

I am not really sure Cindy but that rocking horse brought us together in a crazy kind of way plus it was obviously special to you when you were a youngster , so it would be good to find Lightning and have him sit front and centre on your front verandah’

‘Me personally i want to spread my magical twigs and leaves around Lightning and watch him come back to life once again and what happens after that is in the hands of the Gods’

I sure would like to see that Warren and i might be able to help. last night i was going through some of my parents old receipts and i came across a piece of paper that i think might help’

Reaching into her handbag Cindy places a tattered receipt on the table ‘The ink is faded but it looks like it says ‘Safe n Secure’ 22 Black Stump Crescent Dunnedoo.’

‘I don’t know where Black Stump Crescent is Warren, have you heard of it?’

‘Yeah it is on the other side of town in the industrial estate but i am positive that it was destroyed by fire just before i moved but maybe the owners were able to save some of the contents of the units’

‘I can’t think of any other storage places in town Cindy but of course they could of moved to Merriwa or or some other town nearby also the owners could of retired but don’t despair Cindy i, Jesus what am i talking about my brain must be full of cobwebs, there is a storage place just down from where i work’

‘It is a long shot but we have to start our search somewhere so Cindy i propose that first thing tomorrow morning we pay them a visit’

For once in her life Cindy is lost for words, she can feel her quest slipping away but where there is life hope remains.

Warren picks up Cindy early the following morning and drives the short distance to ‘Store n Forget’ only to find it closed for the weekend ‘How stupid, you would think that Saturday and Sunday would be two of there busier days’

‘Yeah it is weird Cindy maybe they are closed because someone took a sickie today but hang someone just came out of the office’

An old man with long grey hair approaches them ‘Jesus is that Moses looking for river to part?’jokes Cindy.

‘Haha good one, i think he probably inside chiseling out a few more commandments’

‘What can i do for you two today? I am the caretaker of this fine establishment, names Joe Mac Curty by the way’

Cindy hands him the old receipt ‘My parents had a storage unit out at Black Stump Crescent that burnt down and i am hoping that you know if the owner is still in town or what happened to the contents of the units’

‘Well well missy today must be your lucky day, i used to work out there at ‘Safe n Sound’ and i can tell you that i was good mates with your father back in the day and his shed survived the fire and i believe the contents are in unit 26 and once again your luck holds because in two weeks time because the unit hasn’t been accessed for years it was going to be sold to the highest bidder’

‘That is great Joe, if you have a spare key i would like to see what’s inside’

‘Sorry i can’t do that without some sort of legal documentation plus you will need to supply a birth certificate or simply wait two weeks and put in a bid’

‘Please mister i just need to take a quick peek inside, there might be an item in there that has a lot of sentimental value for me’

But MacCurty isn’t about to change his mind anytime soon ‘If it was up to me i would open it for you but if my boss found out he would lynch me on the nearest tree so i suggest you get all the required legal papers and come back next week’

Warren can see that Cindy is close to tears so he leads her away ‘It is okay Cindy we will get the papers tomorrow and come back and see if Lightning is in there’

Then just as Warren is about to drive away a series of loud bangs erupt from the back of the storage place ‘Holy shit’ old MacCurty yells ‘That sounds like it came from your parents unit, what did they have in there, dynamite? Come on lets go take a look’

Cindy and Warren wait while the old man unlocks the fence and then they follow him around the back and when they arrive they see a few dents in a roller door like it has been kicked from inside then with an almighty crash the roller door collapses and a huge stallion races towards the trio.

Lightning nuzzles Cindy’s face in happiness at finally being free but the excitement is too much for Joe and he takes a seat on the ground ‘How did a horse survive on there without food all these years plus i heard heard a peep’

‘Ah i was expecting to find a rocking horse inside but um maybe there was a few bales of hay in there as well who knows, but i am just glad to find Lightning before it was too late’

Cindy climbs up onto the saddle and tells Warren to drive to her place and she will follow but Lightning has other ideas, he unfolds a pair a wings and takes into the sky and barely fifteen minutes later he flying in a holding pattern 10,000 feet above Sydney.

Cindy can’t believe how big the place and she almost falls out of the saddle as she begins to choke on the smog and pollution ‘Jesus i am sure glad that i don’t live here’

She gently rubs the stallions neck ‘home boy’ Cindy knows now that Dunnedoo is her home and always will be and her desire to move to the capitol is gone in an instant.

Warren is waiting for Cindy in her front yard and soon a huge horse makes a perfect landing twenty metres from where he stands and Cindy gingerly climbs down from the saddle.

After a quick embrace Cindy announces ‘Warren i now know that here is where i belong and i want to live in this house until i die and hopefully you will be by my side every step of the way’

‘You know i will Cindy, i love you with all my heart, lets get married as soon as we can and settle down and start a family of our own’

Lightning neighs in annoyance at being ignored but Warren and Cindy are keen to start their family straight away so they rush inside the house throwing off their clothes on the way.

When they emerge emerge early the next morning they aren’t all that surprised to see an ordinary rocking horse sitting on the front verandah swaying back and forth in the breeze.

THE END