The White Horse

Thousands of years ago, the earth shifted and galloped.  Miles below a primeval surface covered with forests and dragons, its white muscles stretched.  A body reached through the hidden landscape layered with the skeletons of monsters – twisted, gaping and broken.  Gems gleamed like dim lamps in the sediment, as the hooves scraped and struggled upward.

The earth quaked as the limbs thrashed:  a creature of the interior had finally let loose its unbridled anger at being tethered underground for endless millennia.  As its heart started to beat, hills collided and valleys collapsed with the pulsing shock.  But the living things paused to listen:  to the sounds of tendons knitting, of nerves waking, to the life fighting beneath them.  They knelt, to be warmed by the currents of blood coursing in violent, subterranean rivers.

Ribs burst from the spine.  Above, there rose a new mountain range, fruit of the proud, skeletal birth.  Below, the heart sang like a bird inside the cage.  As the equine spirit battled for its freedom, strata buckled, prehistoric history crumbled, dark stories were lost.

Then, the ground split, as silver bones – curved like a ship, tall and straight as a cathedral – exploded through the ancient, unnamed land.  Head, neck, withers, legs shivered into the open.  With each movement, the coasts changed their silhouettes, with each kick, another continent broke away.

But the green paddock was not sweet enough.  The white horse grew impatient with its verdant embrace.  It recoiled from the woodlands that clung and pleaded, it tried to leap into the sky that taunted and tempted like a sapphire maiden.  Her cool breath and cloudy hair made the horse yearn upwards.  It whinnied in impatience, and the sound echoed through underground chambers and swirled around the rock formations like blind currents.

But the earth was a jealous planet.  The sky wore a crown, dusted with starry jewels; constellations were embroidered into its dark veil – and it glistened like cold tears.  Its hem was pale and graceful in the morning; towards evening the colors became rich and exotic, like a shipment of distant spices.

The sky had been given enough.  The earth would not let go of the white tattoo that pranced and kicked within its flesh.  The earth held it close until it was subdued and became still.  Ever since then the landscape held a memory so deep that it was scarred forever;  a vision that grew outwards – the horse's final, dispairing leap into the galaxy's patient, invisible arms.

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8 responses to “The White Horse

  1. It is such a beautiful and fascinating phenomenon, I've alvays loved that horse 🙂 I've been considering buying this pendant for a while, as it is both beautiful and connects to discworld, and I'm even more tempted now…!

  2. I love our white horses. The South West is a magical place to live in the UK. I miss it.

  3. This is incredible writing, Aubrey! It occurs to me to wonder if you are Rosemary Sutcliff reincarnated…

  4. This is captivating, it leaves me breathy and breathless. Your writing is excellent, always, and this, to/for me, is one of your finest if not finest pieces yet.

  5. fatcat – if I can encourage just one person to purchase just one item of jewelry, then my work is done. Buy it, and be close to the horse forever.
    Bobbette – I was on a tour of UK's SW; we saw the horse, but the bus passed it by, and our introduction was a fleeting one.
    Red Pen – thanks so much; I saw the image in Realm magazine, and it was locked in my brian for weeks.
    Morgat – I Wiki'ed Rosemary Sutcliff – she was confined to a wheelchair, learned Celtic and Saxon tales from her mother, painted miniatures in art school – she was such an inspiring woman!
    Wbaby – thank you. I felt every bit of the violence and struggle in this one. Finished it at 2AM, completely spent.

  6. Wow. This is amazing. I love the part where the horse emerged and the earth was formed, so much better than plain old floating and colliding landmasses.I know you write for adults, but have you ever written for children? I miss this kind of wonder in today's children's books.

  7. Yes, this IS amazing! I totally agree with Purple. I wish there were more children's books like this, full of wonders and amazement. My only fun in my childhood and adolescent years.Alas, I really missed your writing in the past month!

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