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.