"The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horses ears."-Arabian Proverb.
This is a story about a young man with sickly bones name Caden, and his romance with one of the wildest of creatures known to man-the Centaur-and how Caden and his new companion fare between the struggles of sickness, ignorance, and altogether, the gallop that pushes them farther and farther to the edge where there is no return for either beast nor man.
It was raining. Or, at least that's what I thought it was. Wetness and drops, splashes and jewels all upon my face, neck, hands…Or perhaps that was sweat?
I lick my lips. The taste comes back salty and sugary.
Oh yes, sweat.
The stalls were noisy and cramped and all too dank for ones own comfort-or perhaps only my comfort, for I have never done well in crowds before, simply because I have been rather fond of passing into fits of coughs and shakes. No, crowds were no good to my health, but today I should hope to make an exception.
The shouts too, that was the worse. Calls of numbers through the airs-Eight Pounds?-Oh no, he's got scarred knees-Well then how about seven?-No, no, he's too old, with knees that red and scabbed, he's better off dead and chopped, no, no, I shall not be needing that beast! And then that would be the end of that. The noises of money, of clinking coin purses, of pouted lips on pipes as mouths suckled smoke and eyes wandered over flesh, legs, joints, muscles. Hungry, hungry eyes.
And the touching. Hands touching, always touching.
The sound of cracking knees as legs are forcibly lifted and swung left and right and back again. Mouths open to tell the age of the colt, yearling-cold hard bits, snaffle rings pressed against lips dyed green and frothy from soaked hay that sits in the stomach and churns painfully. Eyes as white and scared as a rabbit looking up at the barrel of a hunters gun-or even worse, eyes so dead and glazed you hoped silently that the poor thing would drop dead and be done with such miserable settings such as these.
Words such as Palomino, Bay, Dapple, Chestnut, Roan. Distinct and crisp when purchasing. Words such as hackney, pack animal, carriage, racer, pleasure. It rolled off of ones tongue only to fall and slip off the jowls and into the mud and dirt that these poor animals stood standing so ill in.
Yes that was sweat on my brow. Sweat from the heat of compacted bodies pushed and shoved together in these livestock rings. Sweat that smelled like the stench of shit and muck, ashes from tobacco and the stinging smell of leather oil. The smell of dead air, of dead stock, of dead dead dead money nestled in the pockets of farmers, breeders, sportsmen and all the like.
So then what was I doing here?
I, who have precisely eight lovely creatures at home, nestled in sweet smelling stalls, growing fat bellies and strong legs, wavy manes and beautiful docile eyes.
Why was I here?
Because I was bored with docile things. I was done with pedigrees. I was over with sweet natured ponies that had been whipped and groomed since birth to never bite their master.
I no longer wanted a safe mount, an animal that my father purchased for me simply because no other beast would do for my…state.
"You have tiny bones Caden, such a horse would kill you with such much as a trot! You have small wrists, thin arms, insect legs I think! No, no, you shall be content with ponies and old driving horse I fear. Such will be good for you. You shall see, you shall see."
I frowned grimly. I wanted nothing of the likes. I wanted no safe mount to coddle me, to take the reign like a child in the hands of a yapping dog. I wanted no longer to be seen as sick and weak.
I wanted a raging beast of an animal. I wanted a mutt, with so much rippling blood in him from mares and stallions past that he could be traced all the way back to those wild horses in America that roam the Nevada deserts. I wanted something to bite me so damn hard that I bled like a river and I wanted something to buck me so hard that I broke all my twig like bones when I first set my feet in those stirrups.
I wanted him.
Him? Who is Him, you ask?
Ah, he is the best of them and the worst of them.
He is the handsomest and the ugliest.
He is the greatest and the damnest.
He is mine.
I smiled softly to myself, dabbing the sweat that creased my white undershirt and suit jacket as blue and black as the Sea. I run the cloth once more over my neck, smoothing my chin with softness and silk. I run it over my flushed cheeks and feel it's caress like a soothing hand that all but gives me a gentle slap on the face as if to say "Hurry now, you will be late! Someone will snatch that beautiful creature from you! Hurry now!" And then the voices warning will have gone and I shall have taken it's heeding and warning to heart. Adjusting my collar once and my tie twice, I begin to struggle my way through the swamp of people that smell like dead money and ugly things. I walk pass them without a second thought because not for long will I have my prize. My dangerous exotic beast. My rearing beauty. My spitting, withering monster. My Centaur.
Tell me what you think!