• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 11
Image by

The Horse

There is fear in the dark horse’s eye, the one that I can see. It reflects the fear twisting up my insides as I stare back at him.

I have never been a horse girl. In my teen years I preferred predators, their claws matching the one I sharpened on the world around me. Scratch, scratch, scratch until it hung in shreds and I showed my teeth to what was left.

The horse’s nostrils flare as if he can smell the big cats I learned from. As if he can scent the hunted predator I have become.

“Shhhh, shhh,” I croon, hands out, trying to hide my doubts. He dwarfs me easily, my head barely coming up to his shoulder, and I expect to control this beast?

Be gentle, I tell myself, trying to remember how. I reach towards him gingerly.

His flesh is hard under a rough-soft coat, muscles bunched up, ready to lash out. I can relate to that. I’ve been keeping myself under control for days, waiting for the perfect opportunity, the perfect time. Still, my heart pounds, still my ears strain, waiting for the sounds of pursuit.

His head darts for my hand, teeth snapping. Oh Christ, couldn’t pick a docile one could you?

I catch his nose, hard. “No.” I growl, panting into his face. He tries to shake me off but I hang on with desperate strength, if I do not get farther from the farm…

“Please,” I beg. “Please.”

That seems to catch his attention and though he eyes me warily, he calms.


The Horse

“Thank you.” I open his paddock gate, my fingers locked tight on his mane. He doesn't want to leave so I scramble up on a nearby stool and huddle on his back. “Go!”

He tries to bite me. And I hear it: voices. Their voices.

My knees dig in and I slap his haunch. He shoots forward and out the gate. I can barely hold on, the hairs of his mane cutting into the flesh of my fingers, but I grin against the onslaught of the wind as we gallop across the field, farther and farther from the farm.

Maybe, soon I can be safe.