By fire we come, by fire we go
Morning shadows, kinda. Slapping the day around. Doing what you have to do to create some light, with those who still dance. The dance leaves so many. It turns into adultry, madness, loss, or tepidness. Yet, in the country, it’s always here. The media reports about this one or that one whacked out. Where, it’s the working man and woman who create life. Whether the grasp is inside our fingers, or more like a ferret, stote, or eel. And you can’t create much unless unless you’ve worked on the lower floors.
Salyume kicked the sand as he walked towards the stables. It was a damned day. Firstly, because it was Sunday, and then, because his father limited his access to the family trade. The only thing that built was fire. He dug into his loose pockets and swore when he found the key. Swearing at everything. He head-butt the wooded doors, punched them, and was many years before understanding why his father only gave him lowly duties. He’d fucked the girl from the next door farm, a few miles away, and hated the mornings. Reasoning to himself, that this at least should raise his status.
Faustus, the mare that his father had allowed him to name, was like always, ready for breakfast. And he chuckled through his snout as Salyume entered, “Oh shut the fuck up you prick. You’ll get yours.”
“Oh no I won’t, young man, I’d throw at least one of your family a million miles in the air, trample them, and think nothing of it in a few moments.” The mare replied.
“Ok ok I’m sorry. Just a rough morning Faustus. Sorry. You ok there lad?” Salyume said dragging of a pile of hay from the side.
“Aye aye of course, and you are forgiven. A little hungry of course young sir.”
Faustus was ready to be sold, and this made Salyume sad. He tried to find his questions as he wept, and opened the barn door. “Oh why so sad young gentleman? You know I’ll see you again…”, “I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!” The boy said. “Of course not.” Faustus replied as he munched at his morning hay. And gathered his thoughts in a way that the boy might understand.
Salyume combed the hair of the Eastern Velorancine, and spoke to him. It was a quarter to five, and the red sky outside was making its own mind up about the day. “Perhaps we could talk about females, before I go, young Salyume. I have had many, and will have many more. I will be racing soon. Do not feel sad. This is my role. And when you find yours the trumpets will sing as well.
“Their is a poem that us horses share among ourselves- Ah!”, Faustus said as the boy combed his hair too quickly, “Sorry!” he said, “Ok,” Faustus replied. “More like you are brushing water, not so much like bear fur. You brush too quickly. Ok that’s better…”
I am blood
I am grace
I am the wilderness that spills along the hills
I am speed, beyond speed
That which never dies.
“Do you understand young Salyume?” The horse asked, munching as Salyume combed his hair, “No. I hate all this work, I hate everything, my father wakes me up at all these hours, and makes me do his own work. I’m not a farmer. Me lassy says I would be a good boxer, like this, pow pow pow, fuck ’em.” The boy said.
“Oh, but you can’t fuck everyone neophyte. I tried once. Nearly killed me-” Faustus said.
“What do you mean? What nearly killed you? The fillies? Neophyte? What is a neophyte? Why do you talk like this?” Salyume said, leaving Faustus’ quarters and atending the other horses.
The morning was bust and there were no other ways to explain things. Faustus liked Salyume. The stable hand had always mumbled into his work and delivered food on time. He entered the stable with these ideas on his shoulder, which departed quickly, then the work came, and his swearing began. Faustus nudged open his door and nibbled at Salyume’s ear. He’d fed the rest of the horses and didn’t know why Faustus was out of his pen. Then in waves, and in the waves that only humans and animals can communicate, Salyume told him to gather up his shit and jump on his back.
He had nothing, since young people carry only what is required on their person, and obeyed the horse. The crack beyond the barn door looked only like what fields do, fox ricketed fields, greens within greens, and the muddy patters of the gap between the stable and the crap-house, or, the thinking place, as they called it. And Faustus hated it too. He didn’t like the fact that he would himself be dead inside of another five years. But, as all horses divide, and, having no understaing of the sky, Salyume hopped onto his back, and obeyed the first written commands of animals.
The rest of the horses whinnied, lifting up, rearing, and knowing what was coming, and stamping down, knowing that Faustus was the wildest of them, the worst of the thorough breds, the incest of the strongest breeds woven together like a harp without choice, and, his fury unamable, as was their god. Faustus had thought about these things, always, of course, and nudged the barn door open with a careful nose, before shaking his maine, and speaking back to Salyume.
“Are you ready?” He asked, “This ride will only be once, and my heart is of devil kin.”
Salyume was unable to reply, as the red morning steam of the day burst in all directions. It was the perfect farmer’s morning in the moors. Those which were hid by the sun, and crippled, by the spasaming sky with great misty moaves and striking whites. There were orchards mirroring in the dusk, and all of the early reds becoming white. There was no place for doubts, and Faustus scraped his back hooves before they took off. Salyume’s father wondered if the gypsies had come again, and ran back inside, grabbing his rifle, snapping and checking the barrel, and running back to the door, ready to kill with a click, and ready to win another legal battle where he knew he would win. As this was his blood. And the rules were straight in the moors: if you try to steal from me, I will kill you.
Then the horse looked back, snorted, looked across at the fella with a rifle ready, they linked eyes, and snorted. The man dropped his weapon and ran out, startling Faustus, as he began to run, taking a right, and Salyume held onto his neck. The morning departed from night, and the tired farmer just let them go, knowing that his son would have to learn his own way. To have arms held around muscle was different. Different to the dreams. Faustus didn’t want to die soon, and they lept over many fences as Salyume raced. It would be now that he triumphed, as they lept over fence after fence. Salyume didn’t like it anymore, and the pounding of Faustus made him feel sick, exhausted, and almost unable to hang on, as they travelled across miles, the boy unable to control the horse, his head clung to his neck, where his head was jogged with the horse’s beating bones.
And now Salyume understood animals, those beyond him. He held on, just because he might die if he let go. The speed of Faustus was beyond what he knew. He had known him a few a years back, where his father had muttered about a thourough bred in the evening, and how they were different. And there was no bringing the animal to humanity. It just beat and beat and beat after the first few fences, leaping over the barbed wire fences like a king of the moors. Muscle and bone becoming harder. Delerious and straight. Jogging Salyume‘s bones.
Faustus didn’t stop, until he came to a wide field in a neighbouring farmer’s land, and he had ran full pelt for around five hours, and his heart burst in one go. Where he slowly laid down and finally let Salyume’s feet touch the ground.
The horse was graceful in its death, as the afternoon decided to be early poached orange in the heavens, spluttering and spitting as it finally waltzed around, still fighting the closier of its life, but unwilling to just lay down. It stumbled this way and that, as Salyume scrabbled backwards and cried. Its vena cava spoke to its pedigree body, as its heart was ruptured, and it only had a few more seconds as a trike raced towards them.
“Did we win?” The horse asked, spitting blood.
“Yes yes Faustus, we won, stay here. Stay here. I’m sorry. I should’t have jumped on your back ah-” Salyume said grabbing his head.
“No no. I’ll tell you a secret mate,” a ghost said near Salyume, as his father pulled up, walked over, and gently knealed down beside his son. “What are you hearing son? It’s ok…”, “He’s talking, he’s dead, he’s talking.”
“Aye aye, they all do, these thorough breds. What’s he saying mate?” The farmer asked his son as the horse passed away.
“There were points when I ran harder than lightening, and you didn’t fall off. It works differently with us neophyte. We know you only by your kindness, and raptureeeee…… ahhhhhhhh.”
Nothing could console Salyume for about a year.
Even the chickens disobeyed, and he knew why. He couldn’t go anywhere near the stables, so finally his father walked up behind him, as he was digging mud out from the tracts in the wheels of a tractor.
He heard his father coming, but had consoled himself to not talking about it, as his father’s claw knew nothing as well, and grabbed his skin grabbing around the top of his shirt. He couldn’t believe the power. It was one hand. The way cats lift kittens up. A vice. He dragged the boy back inside the home like a marrionette, low, feet dragging in the wet soil, and adjusted him a few times when either: the skin tore away from his grip, or Salyume’s shirt ripped. If there was too much nonsense a hand appeared around his neck, nipping the wind pipe off with precision, like a master of animals, then letting him breathe again, if he obeyed.
“Lasagna night. Stop being a cunt. Your Mother’s made a good one.” The old man said, throwing the boy inside.