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Mark's Only Love
By Chissy

 

Mark listened to the soft cooing of the pigeon sitting in the driveway. A perfect day wrecked by a
ten second phone call.
The message still rang in his head. "There's been an accident... Please... Just get here..."
He stepped to his truck and got in. When he backed up he felt the truck shutter and looked back to
see the truck going over his mailbox for the third time that week.
"I really gotta move that." Mark grumbled. He got out of the driveway. The news of the accident
hadn't really hit home, he just drove to the hospital in shock. This felt wrong to him somehow.
Suddenly anxious, he stepped on the accelerator. The truck sped down the road, nearly running over
people as he went. He past dozens of hobby farms with horses, cows, goats, sheep,... you name it.
Mark barely got the truck in the hospital driveway before leaping out. He jogged into the lobby and
went to sit next to his younger sister, Anne.
Anne dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. "It's horrible..." She whispered, looking up at her older
brother with his handsome pale blue eyes and messy chestnut brown hair. He was dressed in an orange
shirt and white shorts, not the best combination but normal for California.
Mark wondered what she had called him down here for.
"If only he hadn't bought that stupid horse!" She hissed.
Mark knew a lot of people who owned horses, it came with living in an area surrounded by farmers.
"You even told him that horse was a suicide horse!" Anne continued.
Mark was no farther ahead. He had told a lot of people he thought their horse was a suicide horse.
He didn't like horses. They were big, smelly, and they bit.
"What happened?" Mark asked, trying to save his ego by not asking directly who it was that they were
suppose to be crying over.
"That damn horse jumped over a fence and flipped. He landed on Tom." Anne explained.
Mark's heart stopped momentarily. Tom... dying... can't be... not Tom DeLonge...not my best friend.
Mark had to gasp for air. "Tom!" He squeaked.
Anne nodded solemnly, "The doctors have him in intensive care."
Mark got up and went to the front desk. "Can I please see Thomas DeLonge?"
The woman at the desk check some papers. "Third floor, room 305."
"Thanks." Mark said, then ran up the stairs, too anxious to wait for the elevator.
He got to the third floor and walked through the hallway until he got to room 305. He stepped into
the room and Tom's eyelids fluttered, revealing a little of his pale brown eyes.
"H-ey m-n," Tom choked out.
Wires dangled from every angle, all connected to Tom.
"Hey man," Mark responded, tears coming to his eyes. "How you feeling?"
"H-r-i-b-l-e." Tom told Mark.
"Anything you need?"
"M-oo-n-l-i-gh-t." Tom hissed.
"Moonlight?" Mark remembered that was the horse Tom owned. The only horse straight, brown-hared Tom
owned. "What about him?"
"D-n-t hu-r-t i-m. It n-t i-s f-lt." Tom choked on the words.
Mark nodded. "I won't..."
"T-k a-r o i-m." Tom begged.
"What?" Mark didn't understand.
"T-a-k c-a-r o i-m." Tom tried harder to sound out the words with minimal success.
Mark understood though. "Me? Wouldn't it be better if someone else did?"
Tom started to shake his head when he stopped and his eyes widened in pain. Suddenly he was out
cold.
"Tom!" Mark cried out in alarm.
The nurse walked in. "It's okay. You should go home and get some rest."
"I can't leave him..." Mark protested.
"He'll be okay for one night." The nurse assured Mark.
"But..."
"Mark Hoppus?" A voice said behind him.
Mark turned and saw a doctor. "Y...es..." He answered, fear starting to penetrate his body.
"Could I have a word with you?" The doctor asked.
Mark swallowed, but looking at Tom's almost lifeless body made him nauseous. "Sure." He followed the
doctor to another room with x-rays and stuff in it.
"I won't sugar-coat anything," The doctor began.
Mark was tempted to say, "Why not?" but thought better of it.
"The fall initially didn't do any damage, but the horse landed right on top of him. We fear he has a
punctured lung and six ribs have been smashed to bits. We can try to repair the damage to his ribs,
but there's no guarantees it will be successful. His hip bone has been fractured badly. To be
honest, there's minimal chance he'll recover from this."
Mark looked up at the doctor, afraid beyond belief. "But there is a chance?"
"Yeah, but I only told you about the major injuries. He's broken one of his legs, a wrist, the other
ankle. To say the least, the horse mangled him." The doctor told Mark.
"Stupid horse." Mark muttered.
"On the bright side, your friend probably saved the horse's life. The horse would have for sure had
to be destroyed if Thomas hadn't been there." The doctor said in an attempt to lighten the mood.
Mark hissed a few curses. "Fuckin' horse. Should be shot in the head..."
The doctor put a hand on Mark's shoulder. "You should go home and get some rest."
Mark swatted the doctor's hand off his shoulder and turned on his heel, walking out of the building.

He got to his truck and drove in furry to Tom's little farm out in the middle of nowhere. The farm
looked deadly still. Mark parked the truck and walked toward the small little barn. He was ready to
tear that horse apart.
Then he stepped into the barn and was surprised to come face to face with Moonlight Unicorn. The
horse was standing in the aisle, not attached to anything but just standing there. The horse was
black with a little white star on his forehead.
"It's your fuckin' fault." Mark told the horse. Moonlight pinned his ears back and limped backwards.
"Yeah, well you deserve whatever you get! You fuckin' murdered my best friend!" Mark knew Tom was
still alive, but it hurt to know that there was almost no chance of survival on Tom's part.
Moonlight whickered and pushed against a stall door.
"What do you want me to do about it?" Mark hissed. "Your fuckin problem!"
Mark was about to leave when a shrill cry stopped him. The horse had stepped toward Mark but now was
backing away as fast as he could, clearly in pain.
Mark remembered Tom telling him to take care of this horse. If those words were the last Tom ever
said Mark would never forgive himself for walking out of the barn when this horse that Tom had loved
with his whole heart needed someone more than ever.
"Fuckin' horse." Mark muttered and stepped toward the horse.
Moonlight pinned his ears and backed up, snorting and limping.
"Hold still." Mark told the horse, grabbing the reins still attached to the bridle on the horse's
head. No one had bothered to take care of this horse and the horse was still standing in all his
tack. Mark couldn't really see the horse. "Come on." He grumbled.
Moonlight froze and planted his feet, his eyes rolling back in his head.
"Come on!" Mark practically shouted at the horse.
Moonlight bolted, forcing Mark to drop the reins and jump out of the way as Moonlight galloped out
of the barn.
Mark went after the horse and saw Moonlight standing a little ways from the barn, tossing his head
and rearing up. Mark had never seen anything like it. Moonlight was the most mangled horse Mark had
ever seen. Skin was torn from his flanks, his knees had been shredded, the stirrup had wedged itself
beneath the girth and had rubbed a blister. Mark didn't know the details of the injuries, he did
know that this horse needed to see a vet.
He walked to the truck and pulled out his cell phone. He went back to the barn and looked through
the list of emergency numbers Tom kept in the barn. Mark almost cried when he saw the list.

Emergency Numbers
Mark 555-7855
Hospital 555-9802
Mom and Dad 555-0992
Dr. Seamier 555-8580
or
555-9622

Mark couldn't believe he was on Tom's emergency numbers list. He wiped his eyes and quickly dialed
the vet, Dr. Seamier. He'd heard Tom mention Dr. Seamier a few times. Usually while they were
practicing for a show. He'd say stuff like, "Oh, Dr. Seamier stopped by, Moonlight should be fit to
steeplechase this weekend." Or "Moonlight hates the needles Dr. Seamier gives him after he chases."
"Hello?" A woman answered the phone.
"Hi, may I speak to Dr. Seamier?" Mark asked.
"Speaking." The woman responded.
"I'm calling on behalf of Tom DeLonge," Mark explained.
"Oh, I see. How's Moonlight?" Dr. Seamier asked.
Mark sighed. "Pretty bad, could you come to the farm as quickly as possible?"
"I'll be there in half an hour." Dr. Seamier told her.
"Thanks." Mark hung up.
Moonlight scampered past Mark as Mark went to his truck. The horse reared up when Mark tried to
catch him. Eventually Mark just sat on the fence and watched the horse limp painfully from one spot
of grass to the next until Dr. Seamier got there.
"Hello, where's Tom?" Dr. Seamier asked.
Mark nearly fell off the fence at how gorgeous she was. Long blond hair, beautiful green eyes,
perfect figure... Purely amazing. "Tom's not here."
"Okay, well get Moonlight over here then." Dr. Seamier instructed.
Mark went to get the horse and Moonlight reared up, kicked out and bolted. "Get over here fucker!"
Dr. Seamier frowned at his language. She admitted a low whistle and the horse slid to a stop.
Moonlight swung his head from side to side, clearly in pain. Mark jumped after the horse and managed
to grab Moonlight's reins. The horse jerked backwards but Mark held on tight.
"Whoa!" Mark cried, feeling his feet lift from the ground as Moonlight reared. The horse landed and
backed up. Mark pulled the horse's head around and let out a relieved breath when the horse came to
a stop.
"Did you even cool this horse out?" Dr. Seamier asked.
Mark shrugged. "I dunno."
"His covered in sweat, you could at least take off his tack to do the least. How'd you let it get
this bad?" Dr. Seamier scolded, coming to the horse's side and taking off his saddle, causing him to
kick out.
Mark jumped as the horse started walking backwards. "He's not my horse! I just got here." Mark cried
as he tried to stop the horse.
Dr. Seamier sighed, "Just hold him."
Mark stuck out his tongue at the back of her head when Moonlight finally decided to stand still long
enough for her to check him over.
"Extensive damage to the knees, fractured hooves, torn skin on the flank and shoulders. Cuts to the
face and ears." Dr. Seamier shook her head. "What did you do to this horse?"
Mark cocked his eyebrows. "Me? Nothing. He was like this when I got here."
Dr. Seamier rolled her eyes. "Yeah, right. Where's Tom? I've gotta speak with him."
Mark was tempted to swear at her until the sun went down, he really didn't like anyone wrongfully
accusing him of anything. "Tom's not here. He's at the hospital." Mark said, his words stinging with
bitterness.
"Do you have a phone number I could reach him with?" Dr. Seamier asked, running a hand down
Moonlight's legs and noticing him back up immediately.
"No, and even if I did, he wouldn't be able to speak with you." Mark sneered.
Dr. Seamier looked at him crossly. "Look, you hurt his horse and I'm gonna tell him about it. I
don't even know what you're doing here in the first place."
"I didn't hurt his fuckin' horse!" Mark yelled. "The son of a bitch was like this when I got here!"
"Why should I believe you?" Dr. Seamier asked.
Mark was about to shrug, but his tongue slipped. "Listen bitch! This fucker was like this when I got
here! I didn't call you to hear you bitch at me! I never touched this fucking horse!"
Dr. Seamier narrowed her eyes. "Don't you swear at me!" She walked up to him and slapped him, then
she turned and left.
Mark put a hand to his cheek where she had hit him and felt the heat. He dropped the reins to
Moonlight and went to his truck. Getting in, he saw Moonlight staring at him. Moonlight stood a
moment longer, then limped back to the barn.
Mark wondered if he should go after the horse. "No way." He said to himself. "Not that fucker." He
backed the truck out of the driveway and went home.

The next morning he went to visit Tom. Tom had undergone operation that night and they were waiting
to see if it would turn out okay. Mark walked in the room, feeling slightly uneasy and totally out
of place dressed in a yellow shirt and blue shorts amongst all the nurses in their aqua coloured
uniforms. Tom looked over at him, his eyes barely open and a tube in his nose to help him breathe.
"Hey Tom." Mark said cheerfully.
"Ar-k." Tom tried to smile but it looked more like a grimace. "Ow are oo?"
Mark blinked as he sat in a chair next to his friend. "Okay, you?"
Tom closed his eyes and tensed a moment as though it suddenly hurt real bad.
"Tom!" Mark said in alarm.
"D-n-t o-rr-y. T u-st ur-ts a it." Tom's speech was getting worse, making Mark worry.
"You're gonna pull through." Mark tried to convince Tom.
Tom's eyes danced. "d-d oo ee oo-n-l-i-gh-t?"
Mark barely understood. "Yeah, I saw him."
"Ee a-r-i-gh-t?" Tom asked.
Mark looked at the floor to keep Tom from seeing his look of shame. "He's okay. A little banged up,
but okay."
Tom moved his hand a little and gasped in pain. "T-k a-re o im." Tom pleaded. "P-ease."
Mark nodded. "I promise."
"es e-ci-al." Tom choked out. "care-f-l wi-t im."
Mark nodded again. "Okay." Mark stayed with Tom until Tom collapsed from exhaustion, then Mark left
and went to Tom's farm again.
Moonlight was grazing by the barn, limping from one patch of grass to the next.
Mark got out of his truck and went towards the battered horse's side. Moonlight raised his head and
turned his head in different directions. Suddenly he seemed to see Mark and kicked out at Mark and
jogged away from him.
Mark rubbed his hip where Moonlight had kicked him. How could this horse be so special to Tom? He
was a suicide horse. The horse slid to a stop and turned to look at Mark.
The sound of tires on gravel made both Moonlight and Mark look up. A car parked next to Mark's truck
and Dr. Seamier got out.
Mark groaned and continued trying to catch Moonlight. The horse trotted away from him constantly.
Mark chased the horse back and forth until he finally stopped to catch his breath, cursing between
each gasp.
Moonlight flickered his ears back when Dr. Seamier approached. The horse squealed a loud warning and
reared.
Dr. Seamier looked at Mark and frowned. "Haven't you caused this horse enough trauma?"
"I didn't hurt him." Mark hissed.
Dr. Seamier shrugged. "Whatever. Just stay out of the way."
Mark went to the fence and sat on the rail. He watched with a smirk as Dr. Seamier chased Moonlight
around the barn then through it. Dr. Seamier finally got fed up and took a long rod from her medical
bag.
When Moonlight ran past her again she stabbed him with a needle on the end of the rod. Moonlight
jumped away from her and broke into a gallop. The horse galloped in pure fright.
Mark's smirk turned to horror when Moonlight spun and raced towards him. The horse ran at the fence
and Mark jumped out of the way just in time. Moonlight went crashing through the fence as Mark
landed. A piece of wood caught Mark's leg and he let out a cry of pain. He scrambled out of the way
before the thousand pound animal fell onto his side, inches next to Mark.
Moonlight looked around with wide eyes, his nostrils flared. It was almost like in his fright he
hadn't seen the fence. Mark breathed a relieved breath as Moonlight stayed on his side, heaving loud
breaths.
Dr. Seamier came to the horse's side. "No! That's not what was suppose to happen!"
Mark sat up, looking at his leg which had been scraped of several pieces of skin.
Dr. Seamier grabbed her bag and quickly pulled out some medical tools.
Mark watched with minimal interest as Dr. Seamier stitched the horse's wounds, both old and new.
Then she filed Moonlight's feet and wrapped them in bandages.
Mark sat where he was, simply in too much pain to move. He sat there with Dr. Seamier nearby as they
waited for something to happen. Eventually Moonlight began to move. Mark realized the horse has been
unconscious and he'd never even seen it happen.
The horse kicked out, whinnying and striking out. He scrambled to his feet. Mark watched the horse
limp a few steps, then notice Dr. Seamier and bolt as though Dr. Seamier had just suddenly appeared
out of thin air.
Moonlight ran across the field, coming to a fence and turning almost too late. The horse ran up to
Mark and jumped Mark as an afterthought.
Mark marveled at the horse as Moonlight slid to a stop and limped to the fence closest to Tom's
house. Moonlight put his muzzle to the ground and began grazing.
Mark slowly pushed himself up, pain taking over his leg. He stumbled and fell to the ground again.
"Are you all right?" Dr. Seamier asked.
Mark grumbled to himself a few curses then tried again to push himself up. He couldn't put any
weight on his leg and a second later he tripped and fell again. Mark wanted to cry. Life was just
too damn hard! He slammed his fist against the ground and tried to stand again. The wounds stung and
were bleeding badly. Mark felt a little woozy and toppled over, hitting his head on the fence and
blacking out.

He opened his eyes what felt like a minute later. Dr. Seamier was next to him, wrapping his leg in a
cloth cast. Mark noticed bumps where the cloth had yet to be thickened and realized she had stitched
his wounds. He blinked and reached up to rub his head, which had also been wrapped to stop the
bleeding.
He groaned, sitting up slowly and feeling his head start to spin. Mark looked around at the grass,
looking for the horse. Moonlight was a little ways from them, watching them as he grazed,
undisturbed.
Mark winced when Dr. Seamier "accidentally" pressed on one of his wounds. She still hadn't forgave
him for calling her a bitch. Mark wasn't about to apologize, but he did say "Thanks." He got to his
feet and went to his truck. He drove home wincing every time he hit the brake.

The next morning he was back at Tom's bedside, crutches in hand this time. It was unbearable to walk
without them. He thanked God he still had them from the time he'd broken his ankle. It hurt to move
his leg at all and he hadn't been able to change his shorts due to the pain, but he had picked out a
lime coloured T-shirt and put that on.
A crooked smile crossed Tom's face when Mark told him about getting his leg bashed by Moonlight.
Mark didn't understand. Tom would have been laughing if it didn't take so much energy.
"What? That horse is crazy." Mark exclaimed.
"Sp-e-sh-l." Tom corrected.
"How's that special?" Mark asked.
Tom's crooked smile turned to a crooked grin. "Oo ee."
"He won't let me touch him." Mark continued.
Tom nodded and winced. "Ee i-ke-s oo."
Mark cocked an eyebrow. "He likes me?"
Tom eyes danced. "P-l-ay or im."
"What?" Mark asked.
"P-l-ay f-or im. Or b-a-ss." Tom explained.
Mark cocked his eyebrows. "Okay."

That evening Mark arrived with his bass and amp. He strummed a chord and Moonlight looked at him.
Mark watched the horse's reaction as he began strumming the chords to Adam's Song. Moonlight stepped
carefully towards him. The horse still didn't go anywhere near Mark, but he began grazing next to
the fence closest the amp.
Mark raised his eyebrows in interest as he played for the horse. Moonlight had calmed down enough to
look up at Mark, swinging his head from side to side.
They stayed as they were for nearly an hour before Mark put his bass aside and limped to the horse's
side. Moonlight watched him come and sniffed at Mark uneasily, bracing himself to run.
Mark had no idea what he was doing but slowly he touched the horse's neck. Moonlight flinched and
jumped sideways a little.
"Hey, hey, it's okay." Mark hissed.
Moonlight stopped and watched Mark come to his side again and lift the stirrup of the saddle still
in place on Moonlight's back. Tom had once shown Mark how to get a saddle off a horse and Mark
played with the girth until the saddle slipped and fell to the ground, startling Moonlight away from
him.
The horse jumped away from Mark but in a moment returned to sniff at the saddle and let go of a
gleeful buck.
Mark reached up to the bridle but pulled his hand back when Moonlight turned his head sharply, teeth
bared and ears back.
Mark stepped away from the horse. "All right, I get it." He walked away from the horse and back to
his bass. "This is a song called Carousel." Mark told Moonlight.
He began playing the song and Moonlight settled down once again. Mark played song after song before
finally deciding to go home, but he only got as far as putting his stuff in the truck.
Moonlight whinnied fearfully as the darkness came, settling over them like a black cloud. Mark could
see a hint of the horse and watched Moonlight rear and jolt around frantically.
Mark thought back to the promise he'd made Tom and closed his truck door without getting in. He went
back to the horse and rubbed Moonlight's little star on his forehead.
"It's okay, it's okay." Mark crooned. He lay down on the ground and Moonlight's quick uneasy
breathing ceased. "It's okay." Mark murmured tiredly.

He woke up to the steady breathing of the sleeping giant right beside him. Moonlight was on his
side, not even an inch away from Mark.
Mark closed his eyes to try to sleep a little longer, but the shadow of a figure made him look up.
He let out a shout when he saw Travis looking down at him.
"You okay man?" Travis asked as Moonlight got to his feet and galloped a few strides away.
Mark looked up. "Yeah. What are you doing here this early?"
Travis laughed. "It ain't early man. It's 11:00"
Mark gasped in pain as he sat up.
"You all right man?" Travis asked, helping Mark to his feet.
"Yeah, but could you grab my crutches?" Mark asked.
Travis got the crutches leaning on the fence and helped Mark stand up. Mark glanced at Moonlight
before following Travis over the broken fence.
"What are you doing here?" Mark asked.
Travis shrugged. "I just got into town so I thought I'd stop by here since you weren't home. I heard
about Tom."
Mark sighed. "I promised I'd look after his horse."
Travis looked at Moonlight. "What happened exactly?"
Mark shrugged. "Don't know. I just know that horse flipped over and landed on Tom."
"When can we visit Tom?" Travis asked. The short, skinny drummer had long sideburns and short dark
hair. His pale blue eyes moved over Mark's clobbered frame.
"Now." Mark said and they headed for Mark's truck.
Travis held out his hand. "Let's take my car, it ain't good for you to drive like that."
Mark rolled his eyes, but he wasn't about to turn down an offer to ride in Travis's Mercedes.
Travis's baby. "Fine."
They got in Travis's car and Travis drove them to the hospital, letting out a whoop when the car hit
150 miles an hour on a 70 miles an hour road.
Mark loved the speed and almost complained when they slowed down to stop at the hospital. Mark
stepped out of the car once Travis parked. Travis twirled his keys around his finger and put them in
his pocket.
Mark realized that everyone in his band loved something more than they could ever explain. Tom loved
his horse, Travis loved his car, and himself, he loved Tom. That was why it was so hard to just
leave that horse to fend for himself. Tom loved that horse, and anything Tom loved Mark loved. Mark
loved Tom to the point where some people would mistake them for being gay. Of course they weren't,
but sometimes people would comment on their closeness.
Mark rushed up to the third floor, Travis beside him. Once again Mark was too impatient to take the
elevator and rushed up the stairs, tempted to ditch the crutches and limp up the stairs without
them. He knew that he couldn't walk without the crutches and kept them anyway.
Travis and Mark reached the third floor and went to Tom's room. Tom opened his eyes, looking worse.

"-ey." He said weakly.
"Hey Tom." Travis said, smiling warm. Mark wished he could look so confident. "How'd you end up in
here?"
"M-n-l-i-gh d-t-ch-ed ee." Tom hissed. "T-s n-t is f-a-lt."
Mark sat on the bed next to Tom, putting his hand on Tom's arm. "What happened?"
Tom closed his eyes a moment and it seemed like everything flashed before him, transferring to
Mark's mind as Tom explained it.
"M-n-l-i-gh n ee w-n-t ou-t. Ee w-r u-nn-in, p-r-c-t-ic-in. I s-w a w-ll..." Tom stopped to catch
his breath then continued. "W-r b-u-t u-mp t... d-en I s-w th i-re."
"The what?" Travis asked.
"W-i-re." Tom repeated. "Ee w-s b-u-t u-mp, I ch-ck-d im. Ee d-n-t u-st-nd. Ee it th w-ll.
F-i-pp-d." Tom gasped.
Travis barely made out what Tom had said, but Mark had understood perfectly. "What's with that
horse?" Mark asked. "Why does he like music?"
Tom made an attempt at a smile. "T-s ow ee ee-s."
Travis cocked his eyebrows. "What?"
"It's how he sees." Mark translated.
Tom nodded, eyes widening when the pain reminded him not to do that.
Mark sighed, he didn't understand anymore than Travis did. They stayed with Tom once again until Tom
couldn't keep his eyes open any longer.

Mark went back to the farm and stared at Moonlight, who was yet to notice him. What did Tom mean?
Music was how he sees?
Mark watched the horse before going to his truck and grabbing his bass. He sat on the fence with
Travis and played a few notes. Moonlight looked up calmly and noticed Mark for the first time that
afternoon. Moonlight walked to the fence and listened to Mark play.
Travis watched the horse. "How do you do that?" He asked.
Mark shrugged. "Tom probably taught Moonlight to come to music or something."
"No I mean, how do you just stare at this horse when he nearly killed Tom?" Travis asked.
Mark had asked himself the same question. Maybe this horse had already killed Tom and they didn't
know it yet. "Tom made me promise to take care of him." Mark said. "He keeps saying it wasn't
Moonlight's fault. I don't know how it wasn't."
Travis sighed. "What do you say we go find out why it's not his fault?"
Mark continued playing. "Okay, but after this song."
Travis rolled his eyes as Mark finished the song. "Okay, let's go."
Mark jumped down, leaving his bass where it was. He grabbed for his crutches when his leg shot pain
throughout his body.
Travis and Mark walked around Tom's property. Mark had no idea where the accident even occurred.
They walked slowly, looking for a wall.

Three hours later and there wasn't a trace of a wall. Mark looked around him. "Tom's lying." Mark
said.
Travis shook his head. "Why? What's he got to gain from lying about what happened?"
Mark then saw broken brush in a small hedge. They walked to the hedge and looked at the hedge,
everything coming together very slowly. The hedge wasn't very big, maybe four feet high and six feet
wide, two feet deep. Mark saw the broken brush.
"Tom's got nothing to gain..." Mark said quietly. "but everything to lose."

Mark stared at Moonlight. Something was wrong with this horse. He wasn't normal. The horse was often
turning his head in the direction of whatever sound he heard. He reared at leaves that hit his
flank. He kicked out when Mark came to his side without making a sound.
Mark sat in the field, watching the horse. He finally got up and waved his hand past Moonlight's
line of vision. Moonlight wasn't fooled, he continued watching Mark's face as he grazed.
Travis went home, leaving Mark to figure out the horse by himself.

The next morning Dr. Seamier came by and looked at the horse. "He's healing nicely." She said,
wrapping Moonlight's wounds in fresh bandages.
Mark was holding Moonlight's reins. "What's wrong with this horse?"
Dr. Seamier looked up. "Lots."
"I don't mean injuries." Mark sighed. "Just how he acts."
Dr. Seamier chuckled. "Don't worry about it. He's been a little strange since I took him on last
year." Dr. Seamier stood up and Mark successfully took the bridle off Moonlight's head.
Moonlight shook his head and ran across the paddock, sliding to a stop inches from the fence.
"He's done some weird things that I question." Dr. Seamier admitted. "Once he over bit when Tom gave
him a carrot and nearly ate Tom's hand with the carrot. I think he likes breaking fences too. He
breaks a fence once a month."
Mark nodded. "So there's nothing wrong with him? He's just strange."
Dr. Seamier nodded. "Physically he's fine. Mentally he's strange. His jockey's gotta be firm with
him when he runs. He won't jump a hedge all the time unless he's told. Sometimes he's been
disqualified for bumping other horses in mid 'chase."
Mark looked at the horse which had settled down to graze. "No one's that clumsy." Mark said.
"He is." Dr. Seamier smiled.
Mark nodded. "I guess he is." Mark turned and headed for his truck and got in.

He arrived at Tom's room to find the bed empty. His first reaction was horror. Oh no! He's dead!
Kept running through Mark's mind until Travis came from the elevator, whistling happily.
Mark knew Travis wouldn't be whistling if Tom died. "Where's Tom?" Mark asked.
Travis laughed. "Downstairs. I thought that was you running up the stairs."
Mark fidgeted as Travis and him got on the elevator and Travis pressed the button B2.
The elevator descended slowly, jerked to a stop and opened to the smell of chlorine. Mark stepped
out with Travis and almost cried with relief when he saw a pool and two workers on either side of a
man who was wobbling for balance. Mark rushed to the pool side and Tom turned his head, which was
just above the water and smiled.
Mark smiled back and kneeled on the side of the pool. He felt a few tears roll down his face.
The doctor Mark had talked to on the day of the accident came to sit beside him. "The nurses walked
in on him trying to stand up and nearly collapsing. We tried to convince him to stay in bed, but he
refused and the only way we could keep him from hurting himself was to put him in the pool."
Mark smiled. That sounded like good-ol determined Tom. Tom waded his way to Mark with the assistance
of the two workers.
"H-ey ar-k." Tom choked out.
"Tom." Mark responded.
"Wh-t oo n oo-n-l-i-gh up oo?" Tom asked.
Mark leaned forward and whispered in Tom's ear, "Figuring out your secret."
Tom's eyes widened and he stepped back. "Wh-t e-cr-e-t?" He tried to play dumb but Mark saw right
through it.
"I haven't figured it out yet, but I was hoping you would tell me." Mark explained.
Tom looked down at the water, almost as though he were ashamed of himself. "I an-t e-ll oo."
Mark looked at Tom with his most pleading look. Tom was pretty much forced to look at him.
"Please..." Mark begged.
Mark saw it on Tom's face that he wanted to be able to tell Mark the whole thing but thought it was
safer not to.
Mark reached out and took Tom's hand. "Come on man... Why'd you lie about how you got hurt?"
Tom shook his head slowly, wincing a little. "I ai-n-t ie-in."
"But I've been through your whole farm, there's no wall anywhere." Mark protested.
Tom looked up at Mark with a horror stricken face that made Mark's heart hurt. "I n-o..." Tom looked
back at the two workers at his side and the doctor next to Mark. Suddenly his defenses went up.
"Th-er-s a w-ll th-er."
Mark cussed silently. He had been breaths away from finding out what was wrong with that horse and
just because all these people were around Tom had refused to tell him. Tom was right, there was a
wall, between him and Mark.
Travis came to the pool side and Mark decided to drop the subject. It was obvious that Tom wouldn't
say anything now.
They made small talk for a while before Mark went back to Tom's farm to try and figure out that
secret. Now he knew for sure. Something was definitely wrong with that horse.
Mark pulled into the driveway and saw Dr. Seamier's car. Dr. Seamier was chasing Moonlight around
the paddock. The horse went only as fast as he had to to keep ahead of her.
Mark whistled and Moonlight slid to a stop and looked around he spotted Mark and trotted to the
broken fence where Mark was standing. Mark rubbed the horse's neck when Moonlight stood next to him.

"Come on big guy, let's figure out what's going on with you." Mark said and stepped backwards,
tripping over a piece of broken wood.
Moonlight jerked his head up and froze a moment. Then he put his muzzle to the ground and sniffed
around, coming to the broken wood and lipping at it carefully. Then the horse stepped over the
broken wood and followed Mark.
Mark walked, with the help of his crutches to that bush he had seen before. He stared at the bush,
sitting down next to the bush and beside Moonlight he tried to figure out what had happened. He went
through a few scenarios.
Moonlight and Tom had been jogging through the open and, say a rabbit, dashes across Moonlight's
path. The horse bolts, crashes through the bush and throws Tom. Maybe then the horse trips, lands on
Tom.
No that didn't seem right. Moonlight wouldn't just go right through a bush. He'd at least go around
it.
Moonlight and Tom are galloping toward the bush and Tom pulls on the reins. Say the horse acts up
and gallops through the bush tripping and landing on Tom.
No, again the horse wouldn't go right through that bush on purpose.
Mark looked at the ground in front of the bush. There was nothing to say the horse tripped. Then
Mark got up and went to the bush. He knelt down and looked in the bush. Then he reached in the bush
and pulled out a thick log. It was probably about as thick as a pop can and as long as the bush.
Mark settled the log in front of the bush. It was a heavy log, but given enough force, anything
could move.
Suddenly Mark came to a scenario that could be what really happened.
Moonlight's galloping at the bush. Maybe Tom thought it would be fun to jump the bush. They're about
to jump when Moonlight's back hooves catch on the log, flipping him and sending him into the bush.
Mark walked around the bush to the other side and saw a small line of rocks on the other side. That
could be the reason of Tom's condition. All that had to happen is for him to be thrown onto that and
it would look like Moonlight had fallen on him. It all made perfect sense now, except how Moonlight
and Tom hadn't seen the log in the first place. Even if Tom had been too preoccupied to notice the
log, Moonlight should have at least known to step over it.
Mark sighed and they went back to the paddock. Mark stayed the night again. He tried to understand,
but it didn't work and he fell asleep no wiser.

Within the next week Mark's life alternated between taking care of Moonlight and visiting Tom.
Moonlight was still a clumsy wreck, but Tom was gaining strength and was now predicted to have a
full recovery. He would never be allowed to ride again, but he would walk and be able to play
guitar, and run and jump onstage. Just no riding.
Mark loved Tom dearly, but he hated it that every time he asked about Moonlight's odd behaviour Tom
wouldn't answer. A few times he got close, but somebody would always walk in and Tom would clamp up.


Mark rubbed his temple in exhaustion three weeks after the accident. He was tired of trying to find
out what had happened. Tom had regained some ability to talk. He could even move a bit when he was
out of the pool. It seemed the farther they went along the road to recovery the more Tom was
determined to get out.
Mark suspected that Tom knew he was close to finding out what was going on with Moonlight.
"H-ow d-oes he l-oo-k?" Tom asked, taking special care in pronouncing each word.
"Moonlight's doing good." Mark told Tom. "He probably could go back into steeplechasing now."
Tom nodded. "M-ark, th-anks for t-aking c-are of him."
"No problem... I still don't know why you asked me though. I don't know the first thing about
horses." Mark said.
Tom smiled tiredly, his eyelids barely staying open. "I kn-ew you c-ould." Tom's hair was plastered
to his head from the recent swim he'd taken.
Mark pushed Tom's bangs away from his eyes. "But why me? There are so many other people who know
more about horses than I do."
Tom nodded. "Th-at's wh-y. I kn-ew you would-n't fig-ure out his se-cret."
"But what's wrong with that horse?" Mark asked. "He's so weird."
Tom glanced at the open door. "I'll t-ell you, b-ut sh-ut the do-or."
Mark got up and shut the door. Then he sat next to Tom again.
Tom looked once more at the door then turned to make eye contact with Mark. "Moon-light's spe-cial.
You got-ta un-der-stand th-at." Mark nodded. "I got hurt be-cause we we-re gallop-ing to-wards a
bush. I saw the log, but Moon-light did-n't. Moon-light stumb-led over the log right be-fore we
jum-ped. He to-ok a nose-dive in-to the bush, hit the lit-tle row of rocks and near-ly flip-ped
over. I fell on-to the rocks and Moon-light trip-ped on me. He fell a lit-tle ways from me."
"Doesn't that make it his fault you're here?" Mark asked.
Tom shook his head. "No, he save-d me. I had the rein in my hand. He pull-ed me to the barn. That
kid that us-ual-ly helps me out call-ed here. He said Moon-light fell on me."
"But why is Moonlight so weird?" Mark asked.
Tom shrugged. "Don't know. I haven't noticed anything."
"Tom! You're a horrible liar." Mark groaned.
Tom shut his mouth and fatigue took over him. He fell asleep, making it quite clear to Mark that
this wasn't how he was going to find out what was wrong with Moonlight.

Moonlight jogged up and down the fixed fence. He had several scars on him, but no longer limped.
Mark had healed too. He would have scars, but he could walk and run like anyone else.
Mark hooked a lead to Moonlight's halter after calling him to the gate. Travis was beside Mark and
stroked Moonlight's neck.
"He's amazing, isn't he?" Mark said proudly.
Travis nodded. "He is."
Dr. Seamier came towards them quietly. Mark smiled to show he acknowledged her presence but was busy
with Moonlight.
Dr. Seamier stepped to the horse's side and Moonlight flickered his ears. Dr. Seamier put a hand on
the horse's flank and Moonlight nearly jumped straight up in the air.
Mark let out a shout when the horse reared up and launched an attack at Dr. Seamier. He kicked out
at her, hitting her squarely with one of his back hooves.
"Ow!" Dr. Seamier cried.
Mark fought to calm down the beautiful horse. Eventually Moonlight came to a stand and shoved his
muzzle into Mark's hands. For the first time Mark looked the horse in the eye, but the horse didn't
look him in the eye. He rubbed Moonlight's ears.
After thoroughly examining the horse Dr. Seamier left, saying the horse was healthy enough to go
back to normal.
Mark gently rubbed Moonlight's ears until Travis left too.
"What are you hiding?" Mark asked.
Moonlight lifted his head and Mark led him back into his paddock. Moonlight bumped the fence post as
he followed and jumped sideways, startled. Mark thought that was weird. There was plenty of room
around the fence post. Why didn't Moonlight see the post?
Then he realized he had the answer. Moonlight couldn't see the post. Just like Moonlight couldn't
see Dr. Seamier come to his side, or the log that had landed Tom in the hospital. Mark barely
believed how long it had taken him to realize why Moonlight was so weird. The horse's secret, Tom's
secret, was that Moonlight was blind.
Mark laughed and Moonlight pointed his ears forward. The horse could probably see a little. If
something was really brightly coloured and out of place Moonlight could see it, not really well, but
enough to know where it was.
Mark couldn't wait to tell Tom he had figured out what was wrong with the horse.
Mark remembered Tom's words. "Music is how he sees." Mark repeated to himself. He hadn't thought Tom
meant literally.
Mark realized that music was a noise that Moonlight trusted. Tom probably played for the horse all
the time. Mark grinned. Tomorrow he'd tell Tom he'd found out the secret.

Mark was at his house early the next morning, changing into a neon yellow shirt and ocean blue
shorts. He smiled at his reflection, which looked every bit as handsome as he felt.
The phone rang and Mark picked it up. "Hello?"
"Tom's missing!" Travis's voice came through the speaker.
"What do you mean? He can't walk!" Mark's voice was stricken with horror.
"He's gone! The doctors are checking their video tapes now and the police are here. We can't find
him anywhere. We checked his house and he's not there either." Travis said, fear taking over him.
Mark felt tears coming down his face. Tom couldn't have just walked off. Unless he'd magically
gotten the strength overnight. Yesterday he'd just been able to keep his eyes open, never mind
walking anywhere.
"Mark?" Travis asked.
"Yeah I'm here." Mark said.
"Keep an eye out for him would you?" Travis begged.
"I will." Mark assured Travis and hung up. He was about to grab his keys and leave, but where would
he go? He had no idea where Tom would go.
Mark held his head in his hands and let the tears roll down his face. He stood up and went to his
bed, lying down and burying his face in his pillow.
He cried into his pillow, not exactly sure why he was crying. It wasn't like Tom was dead or
anything. He had left the hospital. That probably meant he'd be okay. Mark figured it was
everything. Tom and Moonlight getting into the accident, being mad at Moonlight for hurting Tom,
fearing Tom would lose his life, being accused of hurting Moonlight, getting hurt himself, finding
out Moonlight was blind, and finally learning that Tom had gone missing. It was too much to take.
Mark lifted his head after forever and an hour. He figured he had fallen asleep or something, cause
it was three o'clock when he looked around again. His eyes were puffy and felt sore, but he forced
himself to roll over and look out the window.
He stared at the tree outside his window. A bird sang in the tree, trying to impress the bird beside
it.
Mark got up, he didn't want to see two other friends beside each other.
He went into the kitchen to get something to eat. He opened the refrigerator and saw the mustard and
the ketchup beside each other, reminding him of two old friends. He slammed the door and left
without eating.
He went outside and noticed the two trees in his yard looking completely at peace together. He
closed his eyes and ran for his truck. He got in and held the truck's steering wheel firmly. He saw
the two chairs on his lawn, waiting for two old friends to sit in them.
He backed the truck out of the driveway, feeling the truck shutter and seeing the mailbox once again
knocked over.
He didn't care and drove off. He passed a field with two horses standing side by side, swishing
their tails to keep the flies off each other's backs. Mark sped up. He slowed down again at an
intersection and saw two friends cross in front of his truck and was tempted to run them down just
to get rid of the image of him and Tom haunting his mind. Why it was haunting him he had no idea.
He stepped on the gas the second the light turned green and drove down the road. His heart hammered
in his chest. What was wrong with him? Tom was okay. He had left the hospital, but he was probably
just in some bar drinking away his problems. Mark thought of doing that exact thing when he passed
three more reminders of him and Tom.
The worst was a billboard with a picture of Blink 182, his band. Mark, Tom and Travis were standing
in a group, a rambunctious grin on Marks face, mock confusion on Tom's face, Travis pretending not
to notice that Tom was grabbing his ass. Mark had his arm around Tom's shoulders in that picture,
pointing to Tom's crotch as though it were the most interesting thing he'd ever seen.
Mark felt the hot tears streaming down his face and slammed the steering wheel with his fist.
Suddenly he felt his truck start to skid and slide. The truck went nose first into a ditch, its
wheels still spinning driving it further into the ditch. Mark hit his head on the steering wheel.
Knocked unconscious, things flashed before him. Mostly about Tom.
Tom jumping up and down, his guitar draped around his neck as he sang What's My Age Again.
Mark climbing the lamp post the night he'd met Tom, just to prove he could.
Tom standing next to Moonlight the day the horse had won his first steeplechase.
Travis playing his heart out the first time they'd ever used him for a show.
Tom's face when Travis had come off the stage with them after that show.
The night Travis had become the official drummer of Blink 182.
The sight of a thousand fans cheering as they'd play well into the night.
The day they had played their first show.

Mark opened his eyes. He looked around him. He felt a hand wrapped around his and didn't have to
even open his eyes to know who it was.
"Hey Tom..." Mark smiled.
"H-ey M-ark." Tom responded, holding Mark's hand in a death grip.
Mark blinked and looked around him. He wasn't sure exactly where he was, but he knew he'd seen it
before. "Where are we?" Mark asked.
"My house." Tom told Mark.
"How'd we get here?" Mark mind was still a little foggy.
"I drove us." Tom explained.
"How? You couldn't walk before?" Mark began to sit up, but his head throbbed and his world spun,
forcing him to fall back against the cushions.
"Y-ou real-ly thought I was th-at bad?" Tom smiled.
Mark shrugged. "I can't believe it."
Tom grinned. "It's tr-ue I'm bad, but when your b-est fri-end is in tr-ouble...it's a-maz-ing what
you c-an do."
Mark smiled. "That's true."
Tom ran a cloth over the gash on Mark's head. "Do you want me to call an ambu-lance?"
Mark shook his head. "I'll be okay." He thought about Moonlight being blind. If that horse could
live with that, Mark could live through a headache. "Tom..."
"Yeah?" Tom looked at him expectantly.
"Is Moonlight blind?" Mark asked.
Tom stopped to stare at Mark.
"Honestly, is he?" Mark asked again.
Tom sighed. "Yeah...Not to-tally, but 90%."
"Why is that such a big secret?" Mark asked, eager to know why Tom wouldn't tell him that his horse
was blind.
Tom sighed, looking at Mark pleadingly. "You can't tell any-one else he's bl-ind, es-peci-ally Dr.
Sea-mier."
"Why?" Mark persisted.
"Be-cause, if it gets out Moon-light can't race. They'll think he's a dan-ger to other horses and
the other ow-ners will make a com-plaint and he'll be forced to re-tire. Steep-le-chasing is the
only thing he's ever loved, I can't let them fo-rce him into re-tire-ment." Tom explained. "He's not
a dan-ger."
Mark nodded, understanding now. "But doesn't his jockey notice?"
Tom shook his head. "Nope, I told him Moon-light has a short at-ten-tion span and to always tell him
to jump be-cause he won't do it auto-mat-ic-ally. His jockey thinks Moon-light's just one of those
easily dis-trac-ted horses."
Mark laughed, making his head hurt. "You planned out this whole lie."
Tom nodded. "I could-n't risk any-one find-ing out."
"And all this time I thought he was just clumsy." Mark laughed. Mark forced himself to sit up. He
squeezed Tom's hand to reassure himself he wasn't talking to an imaginary Tom in his mixed-up state.
When Tom squeezed back Mark smiled wider and couldn't keep himself from taking Tom into a huge hug.
He was almost breaking into tears. He was so glad Tom was okay.
Tom hugged Mark back. They were gonna be friends for life, that was for sure.

 

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