Dark Horse

The bush is getting rougher. It snags my clothes and grazes skin. That’s the problem with second growth forest, none of the majesty but double the trouble. I go higher up the hillside but it gets no better. If anything, the tangles are tighter and thorns sharper. It may be better to slip down the hillside a little more. The crowd is off my tail now. It feels safer.

How or why I was on the white mountain, I don’t know, but I was clearly not welcome in the village; the followers of the hate-preacher chased me out. The only thing that feels right, that compels me, is to head towards the dark mountain at the far end of the valley. I feel it holds answers.

I see fields at the edge of the forest. They are easy to reach and deserted, not abandoned though for they are well tended, with only hints of erosion, overgrazing and chemical damage. Much better than ravaged lands I’ve seen in other places.

A small group of humans is working far away, near out buildings and old machinery. Newer, shiny stuff lies abandoned elsewhere. Such things are impossible to fix yourself, and there is no one around to fix them for you these days. After the shock appearance of living machines, and the brief war leading to their destruction, nobody dares to work with electronics. People stick to greasy motors whose chains and wheels you can see and understand. Not atoms and electrons. Nothing you need to imagine.

The nearest field is filled with dairy cows. Black and brown and white fat beasts. I feel suddenly hungry and would love to take a big bite out of one’s rump. Imagine its bloody juices dripping. But that is sure to attract attention, and maybe I should wait till I find beef cattle; it somehow doesn’t feel right, biting a milk cow. I manage to fix ones gaze. I walk right up to it and pull its udders, and drink hot squirts of creamy fluid. It froths in my throat.

The next field holds horses. They come towards me, maybe hoping for apples. I apologize to them for coming empty handed. I say I will come again with a barrel full of apples. I fix a dark horse’s gaze, stand beside him, and then jump onto his back.

He feels unsettled but the link is established. He recognizes me as his friend and master and will allow me to ride him now.

I canter along the edge of the forest, maybe in view of the humans, but they can’t catch me from five hundred metres. I guess they can try to shoot me, but would they risk hitting the horse?

The horse rears up once, but settles into pace again. It heads towards the dark mountain whose power once formed this valley by eruption and flow. Now I flow towards it.


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