“How long do we have to put up with this mess?” Nita complained.
“It’s springtime in Texas,” Luthor replied with an eyeroll he didn’t let her see. “It’s going to rain whenever it feels like it, for as long as it wants to. We don’t have weather satellites and meteorologists to give us any hints. We all just have to put up with it.”
“Put up with it,” Nita snarled in low tones. “I hate rainy weather.” She adjusted her poncho and curled her lip at the tribespeople. At least they were all on horseback and didn’t have to slog through the mud.
The Apache boys had scorned any protection and rode cheerfully on their new mounts. The elders had accepted the extra ponchos with delight and wonder. Even Burning Wind had taken one, if with more suspicion. Dark Moon Rising wore his over an emergency blanket, his body fat still too low to keep him warm. Minji had given him her knit jacket to wear as well.
Singing Bird was wrapped in Harper’s jacket, an emergency blanket, and a poncho. Luthor had devised a frame and woven a small shelter over her to protect her from the wind and rain that tried to penetrate her covering. She slept much of the day, rocked gently with the easy stride of the big black horse beneath her.
The gray skies were not stormy, but the rain was steady. Occasionally the wind would rise and splash their uncovered faces if they were not careful. Most of the trail they followed had branches cleared back from it, so they were spared the slap of wet leaves.
“Deer,” Luthor had commented when they first noticed the clear trail. “Eating their way along. Handy for us.”
The trail was worn deep in the soil and soon filled with mud and then running water. The horses splashed along with lowered heads and flattened ears, but offered no complaint or hesitation. It was the kind of day that could only be endured.