Saturday, January 7, 2023

Swinging Five

 The tears trickled down her face. She said farewell to me when she left but she didn't see me. She didn't see anyone anymore. She drew up her hood covering the fiery red hair that had always marked her and headed to her trusty steed, a Friesian she had named Masud. You didn't see horses like that around here anymore. He didn't don a saddle and was rather unkempt, but he was the only thing she seemed to have left in the world. Her cloak, a deep purple, cascaded around Masud as they moved together stoically.

She was always followed, always watched, and I felt drawn to her. I could easily follow her on foot at this pace. Despite my inability to move stealthily she didn't seem to notice my presence. I looked at the ground and for the moment I lost my breath. It was damp and the mud clung in clumps to the long fur around Masud's hooves. However, within seconds of their passing, the ground swallowed their tracks. It was as if the earth itself was trying to hide her. She was beloved.

I followed her for what felt like days. She never stopped to make camp. The sweat was beading down my back - down my arms. She was unscathed. My body started to rebel. Water. Rest. These were the things I needed. I started to doubt she had a destination.

A giant gust of wind forced me to my knees. She leapt off her horse, the wind ripping at her cloak. It's shadow flew over my head and beyond, tossed by the tumultuous winds. Slowly looking up at her I discovered she was staring at me. I lost myself and the bearings of my soul within her eyes. In them, I was standing on the moors again. I was home. She was in so much agony. Still on my knees I tried to reach out to her. Silently weeping, she turned and walked away.

Defying her privacy I continued to follow several paces behind. She walked aptly through a wooded area and soon it closed in densely.  I had great difficulty following at this distance. I kept seeing flickers of red through the trees guiding my steps to her. She came to a small clearing and stopped. There was a small pond, crystal water in a hazy light that came through the trees and lit up her stormy grey eyes.

She turned and reached for my hand. Touching her felt like the world and in that instant I loved her. I wanted to save her.

"Saleen ea Masud." I did not understand - my face stung hot with embarrassment. She gave me his reigns, kissed her palm and placed it on his nose. Seeming defeated, Masud lowered his head and led me back over their tracks now defiant in the earth, regrettably leaving her side. 

I turned back in time to see Ioline disappear up a steep path in the rock. I've never felt so alone, so tragically alone.

When we got back to the edge of the wood I heard a scream. A deathwail my mum would have called it. Something much more devastating than a scream of panic or pain... this was the scream of life being wrestled away. Masud reared, desperately pulling away. I ran, chasing him back to the pond that was swiftly running red. There was so much blood. I fell to my knees at Ioline's side and tried to help...tried to understand. The winds swallowed my pleas and a darkness overcame me.

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