River Mist Tales: The Horses

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

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The Horses

The night was calm, except for the thick billowing clouds hiding, revealing, and hiding again the rounded moon, a moon dancing shadows across the yard below her bedroom window.

When the night shadows lingered, Jessie Woodbridge retreated from the window, sitting, statue like, on the edge of her still made bed.

Silently, she reviewed the day’s events, the preparations. She had filled her large canvas hiking pack with clothes, camp knife, matches, water canteen and an odd assortment of small tools Brian had listed for her.

Brian Murphy, with his swirling blue green eyes, had planned everything.

Brian knew the reason Jessie had been hearing the horses, at night, in her dreams when all the other creatures of the day were deep in slumber.

Jessie trusted Brian, even when he told her the story about the tiny horse on the high mountain trail, about trading tools for passage across the river, about the two gray horses, well, the horses’ heads.

At the beginning of the long drive leading towards Jessie’s home rose two wooden columns, each capped with a carved gray horse head. Their sorrowful eyes capturing Jessie’s attention, haunting her sleep, her days, no matter how many times Jessie told herself they were just carved pieces of wood.

A soft dull thud, a stomp of hoof, floated through the open bedroom window. Jessie, with boots in hand, slouched though the sleeping house, creeping into the side yard where Brian, holding the braided reins of two mottled gray horses, stood waiting for her.

With a quick nod, Brian led the small expedition down the driveway, passing between the two columns.

Clouds parted, the moon lit the night, Jessie looking up, gazed at the top of the columns, now capless, and smiled as she turned her silent mount north toward the mountain ridge.

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