Horse Lord

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Photo: Mongolia; Anudariya Munkhbayar on Unsplash

 

The floods had culled the herd. The fires cleansed the land of dead, returned the grasses to the dirt, where bones lay, staring at the sky, unbleached. They will not be interred.

A falcon soared above their heads. It dove and disappeared, its freedom deferred, its sight hidden under the dark small caps it let have drawn over its vision in a servitude preferred.

The stallion whinnied. The yearlings, cocky and too young to know better, had cantered up ahead. They stopped at the sound of his impatience and turned about as their obedience stirred. But the mares and foals kept close on dancing legs. The smell of smoke still in the air rendered them simultaneously docile and quick to bolt, their reason blurred.

He knew why that was. The two-legged that had fled, have returned. And the smoke curling from the nostrils of their leather dwellings rose, awakening dread.

 

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Mongolia

 

 

Heads Up

Photo from Morguefile

 

“I never got a chance to get ready!” Tuttie moaned, trying helplessly to wriggle so her mane fell as it ought.

“Shush! I’m trying to watch.” Tussock grumbled.

“Tuttie, your tuft looks fine!” Tilly quipped.

“No, it doesn’t. It’s all blowing in the wind.” Tuttie retorted. She was ever so particular about the way her threads flowed.

“Of course it would move,” Tussock bristled and tried to stand in attention as the clouds flew on the breeze. “When has it ever not been windy here?” Tuttie was annoying, but it irritated him even more that Tilly always perked up to soothe her fussy sibling’s fronds. She should get s spine instead of bowing to every mood. And why did he have to get planted right between these two, anyway?

“You in the periphery, stop swaying like a bunch of leaflets and stand up taller.” Topknot’s voice meant business. “Heads up now. It is almost time.”

The assemblage quieted. It was time for the sun to cross the horizon at the top of the tallest tree. A yearly passing when their ancestors’ fluff could climb aboard the golden orb’s mighty ship, and be carried to their eternal rest beyond the sea.

 

 

 

For the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt

 

 

Two By Two

twins OfirAsif

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

“Do we have to?”

“For the hundredth time … yes, we do!”

“But no one else is going!”

“No one else will be around for long.”

She felt his pouting through the ground. His clomping had a rhythm for each mood, and this one spelled: I’m thinking of an answer to refute you. She counted his foot-beats and waited. Never took more than a minute, with this kind.

“So Noah says.”

She couldn’t help but smile at his predictability. “So he does.”

His tetchy steps continued, unconvinced.

She said nothing but upped their pace a bit. It wouldn’t do to be late for this one. They cleared the lee of a dune and a gust of wind blew sand into their faces. She shook her head to clear it from her ears.

“And you believe him?”

At that she paused and turned her head toward him. “I’d rather believe him than perish.”

“But look!” He bellowed, and if she hadn’t known him well she would’ve missed the fear under the notes of clear frustration. “There’s not a drop around.”

She sighed. For all her projected certainty, he was voicing the doubts she did not let herself express. The blue skies mocked her loyalty, and the parched ground billowed dusty clouds as proof of the utter lunacy of leaving the herd to follow some two-legged prophet and his nightmare.

And yet, her own dreams had been filled with thunder. She’d wake startled, breathless with the premonition of a fruitless escape from tumbling mud that rose above the highest dune and all the way to the horizon and beyond.

She breathed and chewed her cud a moment before resuming her walking. She’d rather be a fool who lives. Especially with the calf that she could feel kicking in her womb.

“Noah said he’ll have fresh hay and all the food and water we can stomach,” she cajoled.

“Alfalfa, too?”

She grunted her assent along with her amusement. Her mate had always been partial to alfalfa, and the rare treat’s season had long passed.

“He promised some of that, yes. And barrel-loads of dates.”

His footfalls overtook hers, excited now. “Dates?! Why didn’t you say that sooner? Stop dawdling and pick up your feet! How much farther to that ark, you said?”

 

 

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Two

 

Fury

Photo prompt © Sandra Crook

 

He retreated to behind the fence during low tides and sharpened his claws on the aging timbers. He nursed his rage on fantasy and fed his fury on abandoned sea-foam. Some days the seething rose a hurricane that only freezing wind subdued into a smolder. He hissed. He breathed. He knew. He waited.

The time would come.

Waiting both allayed and fanned his urgency. He scraped his restless agony into the wood, that hewed abomination they’d forced onto his bay to tame it. As if it, he, could be. Tamed.

When time returned he’d vanquish them and show no remedy.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Windowed

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Photo: Inbar Asif

 

“They’re all old,” the guide gestured, “but some are worse off than others, for they are windowed.”

“Age does not make a building old,” he explained. “Even if sooner or later years form spider webs of fine cracks on every wall, those are just realities built by time. The product of life.”

“But these ones,” his hand rose in half-salute, half-point toward a row of especially dilapidated shutters, “they are windowed.”

When our faces must have told him we still hadn’t the story he’d wanted be told, he sighed and took pity on us. So privileged we had to be to not have lived what would have let us understand the depth of meaning in his words.

“Rooms empty of everything but ruined dreams. Windows widowed of hope. Houses like these go beyond broken relics. Some had gone so long bereft of young ones to gaze through their portals in a waking dream, that short of a miracle to breathe life back into them, they are windowed: dried to the bone of sound, stripped of souls, ready to fall.”

 

 

For V.J.’s Weekly Challenge: Windows

 

The Long Ride

TLTweek151 photo by Harpal Singh via Unsplash

Photo: Harpal Singh via Unsplash

 

They rode long through the dark

After closing the park

Wooden horses a-spiral in endless embark.

 

 

For the Three Line Tales Challenge