Saturday, September 24, 2011

Horse Latitudes

A brief digression from my endless procrastination on the Road to Vestmanna.

Here follows a short story from a distant, clouded past life. I've written it for submission and consideration by member of #FridayFictioneers and any others that stumble upon it.



The indifferent sea extends unbroken to the horizon and melts into a white hot sky. After nine weeks of hellish sun and no wind our barrels of drinking water are consumed, as are we. The Captain orders that our cargo of forty horses be driven overboard, a questionable but necessary mercy to all as talk has turned to drinking their blood for sustenance.

As Horse Master I helped round them up on the rolling hills of Andalusia and herd them aboard at Cadiz and care for them on our journey to outposts in the colony of Florida. Blinking at the light, nostrils flared, each seems to know their fate after two months in the stifling hold. It takes but minutes for them to stamp and hesitate and then leap into the water. They pump their legs and hold their proud, confused heads high and swim to nowhere.

The screams cut deeper than any blade.

My work finished, I join my charges. A cruel wind stirs my hair and cools my face as the sea rushes up to greet me.


  1. This is excellent writing! I love your vivid descriptions. You drew me in with the first line. I am glad you joined our group. You don't have to write about the photo prompt. I have been doing 3 - 4 100 word flash fictions in one post since they are so short. Post your link in the comment section of Madison Wood's blog. Welcome to the Fictioneers!

  2. What is your twitter name so I can give Madison the heads up? That's how we get the word out about our fiction.

  3. Doug that was awful and beautiful at the same time. Beautiful in the skillful rendering of a scene. Awful in the subject, given how much I love horses and especially Andalusians. Felt sorry for the narrator, too, lol.

    thanks for hopping on board!

  4. Very chilling - love the line with "swim to nowhere" - great visual image!

  5. "The screams cut deeper than any blade."

    :( This made me so sad! Quite moving.

    Also, yes, welcome to the Fictioneers!

  6. I am surprised they wouldn't elect to eat the horse meat, but either end is disturbing. I wouldn't blame him committing suicide after overseeing such a horrible act.

  7. Cracking opening line!

    Poor horses, but kind of fitting that he went down with them. I wouldn't want to stay on a ship where a captain ordered such a thing...

    But nine weeks of being stranded with low supplies is enough to make the sanest person do the craziest things!

  8. Great writing of a haunting story. The horse master clearly loved his charges. Thanks for commenting on mine.