Year Of The Horse

horse

He had fought against numerous other males for the right. He had run hundreds of miles across wide-open plains together with her. They grazed together, walked together, raced each other, and remained with the herd, as horses are social creatures that prefer living in groups.

That they had been together for so many generations, that mankind had yet to learn how to capture them, break their spirit, or force them to act as mere beasts of burden was in and of itself a miracle. Mankind felt he had a god-given, god forsaken power, and dominion over the horses, and all other creatures that existed, be it on land, in the air, or in the sea. This was so, simply because an old book they called the good book, which was written by who knows who, said he did. But the horses had never read about such things, nor heard such things, or engaged at all in entertaining such absurd notions. Instinctively, whenever he, and his family came upon the two legged kind, it was off they went, muscles, and sinew straining, racing, off too the foothills, and as far as possible in the opposite direction. For he had witnessed many times, man, men, and their presence, and their cunnery, and vile, and deceptive ways, always resulted in a brother, a cousin, a daughter, or son, stolen away, and never to return.

He had fought against other males for the right. His mate, his mare, his life’s partner, horses, which is what some of the two legged kind call them, was heavy with foal. But, they had not known whether it was going to be a colt, or a filly. Some of the two-legged kind err, and call a baby horse a pony. But, a pony is another breed of animal, the two legged kind called equus ferus baballus, whatever that meant.

The grassland were beginning to change from a rusty red to fresh yellow shoots, with springs of green patches already beginning to push through the thinning layers of snow. The flatlands looked inviting as they stretched endlessly across parts of the vast wilderness known to some as Yellowstone. Yellowstone’s history insert. This male, his pregnant mate, and their extended family enjoyed their lives, as they roamed the Great Plains, and often-unforgiving land. Seasons changed, barefooted with nothing more than an innate instinct, these great, and majestic beings traveled, on and on. They were unlike the two-legged, clothed creatures that were unable to withstand even one night in the rough terrain. Those mysterious, and dark creatures tore up the land, ripped down trees, uprooted creatures that dwelt therein, cast them aside, and created vast dead spaces, and odd shaped enclosures where they would hide away, from their own kind. They tore down ancient trees, ripped off their branches that shaded forest floors, and then replanted them, dead. They would place those dead trees in long lines that extended over rivers, streams, and even mountains. They would attach long, and lengthy cords to them, like taking a single horse tail, or mane hair, and extend it, again, and again, until they reached their final destination, those odd shaped dwelling places those odd, and mysterious beings dwelt. Perhaps the most horrifying site this powerful being could recall was when he, and others witnessed those two-legged spectacles on top of their own kind. They were pulling at their heads by short cables, and riding upon the flesh of other animals they had torn apart, and had once freely roamed the plains, and as well, kicking them on their sides in great disrespect. They did all of this for pleasure, and to force those sad, and distant relatives to carry their burden, and press on.

One morning while the group moved across a great stretch of land, in unison, and with great joy, it was unknown that those two-legged beings were already discussing the plans they had for his family. In a thing they called an office, in a thing they called a building, which sat upon destroyed terrain, it was already decided the herd was too large, and must be terminated. At least in part. Others would be captured, broken, and become part of the property, or chattel, of a thing they called public land. This public land only applied to the two-legged kind, so long as they paid a fee to access what in reality had been freely given, over time, and chance.

As the male grazed he peered over at his mate. Her belly was swollen, and from his own experience, he knew by the time the snow remained only on the tops of the mountain, he would be a father. He gave no thought if it was to be a male, or female. He only knew that before long three would be one more to replace the one who had raised him.

The captured beasts trudged through deep snow. The load they bore included pieces of dead animals, saddles, and, pouches, those two-legged monsters, and the rifles they carried at their side. Some wished those men creatures would turn those rifles on them to end their enslaved misery. Others thought how these two legged being were in great contrast to everything that surrounded them. Others were far off in their minds, running, running, running with their families they were stolen from.

The great male reared up on his back hooves. He did this for no particular reason, except to show his mare that he was there. That he was alive, and proud of his accomplishments with her. She laughed inside, as what had be really done? He mounted her. They mated. After all, it was her that bore the burden. As he came down upon all fours he looked about, curious as to where they would proceed next, and what the remainder of the day held for them to experience. His mate grazed assuring she ate well enough for two.

As the season of coldness, and white flakes that fell from above covered much of the grazing land, the natural instinctive, and silent form of communication, a familiar form of behavior, they often engaged in, moved the group southward. They were heading to the place they knew they could go, and wait for the heavy weather to subside. What they had not known is that the two-legged kind, riding on the backs of others were also descending upon the same location, and at that very same time.

As they stopped at the edge of the stream the herd rested, and drank well from the fresh water that ran from the underground springs. After filling their bellies with that refreshing and replenishing treat, the male led the group across that same stream, toward the day’s final destination.

As they arrived, and as they expected, they noticed the lush, green grassland that lay stretched out before them. The new, collectively that this was to be their dwelling place until the heavy weather allowed them to travel back north, and as far from those two-legged beings as possible. Suddenly the sound they had all become so familiar with, and feared greatly rang out. A dull thud could be hears next to the great male. It came from his brother’s hip. They looked at each other, knowing. The brother then tried to step forward but was unable. He fell to his side, and cried out. The heard panicked, and began to run away from the direction where the sound had come from. Then, from out on front of them rang more sounds of fear. Once by one the family began to cry out, and fall. It seemed no matter where they ran to escape, the two-legged demons, the loud pops, the ripping hot pain, and burning fire found them anyway. The male saw, as many were able to race back across the stream. He ran, calling out for his mate. She ran to him, but saw that he was already surround by those two legged things. They had roped him, and others who were being pulled by shorter ropes attached to their faces were being forced to pull tightly upon that rope. He bucked, he raged, and succumbed to fear, as anyone would under the same circumstance. He called out for his mate to go. To go across the stream, to protect the young thing that remained within her heavy belly. She cried out, and began to race toward him, but he implored her to follow the others. To the humans this was nothing more than the sounds that bellowed from creatures they held domain over. The female screamed aloud, helplessly, and then turned, and raced back across the stream she had so recently enjoyed the cool fresh water from, for herself and her young one.

He raged, he ripped, he tore, but it was no use. He was led from the trap he was ensnared. As he fought with all his power, he saw his dead brothers, and sisters. He saw their torn flesh. He saw their broken bodies, as they lay scattered across the grassy plain. And he saw their lifeless faces, faces that had only moments ago had raced across the land together with he. And now, like his mare, they were no more.

The violent and raging male was led into a holding pen. Two legged beings sat at various locations, and appeared curious, and inquisitive. They spoke, uttered guttural noise, but he understood them not, and cared not for in his mind was the image of his mare racing across the stream, and the water she kicked up at her heels as she pushed on. In the4 distance he could see the mountains, which were still covered in the white flakes that fell annually, from that great open space above. As he took in everything, he then focused in on the other brothers, and sisters. The captured ones He even recognized his long missing cousin. But, she wouldn’t know who he was, because when she went missing, she was still a young foal.  On that day there had been one of those fiery loud sounds of fear. She fell. They all ran. She was never seen again. Now he knew. Some fiery explosions killed, and some captured! Then one of those other worldly beings began to swirl a piece of what appeared to be what stretched out across the land, and was fashioned out of dead trees. But before he could react, the rope was already around his great and powerful neck. Then another, and yet another. He leaped to avoid them but this did little to prevent the demons from pulling him any, which way they desired. He didn’t understand the meaning of this torment, as it confused and angered him. Mostly, he was tormented, and angered of what by now was a mere memory. These disgusting, vile, and wretched creatures continued to torment him, and he continued to resist. And resist he did. He resisted until the snow began to fade from the distant mountains. It was during those days that turned into several weeks that he finally knew of those demon desires. They wished to break him. They wished to break his spirit. They desired to turn him into one of those other captured brethren, so they cold place dead animal portions on his back, ropes on his face, and whip his hide, and kick his side, as he had been watching them do to others. Even to his long lost cousin. It was only then that he realized being broken, and humiliated would be the only way to leave this hell, created by the two-legged beasts in god’s heavenly land.

It wasn’t long before the two-legged beings were smiling with pleasure. The great male turned left when they desired, and then right when they led, and stopped when they implored. With a great feeling of sickness, and revulsion, he permitted them to get on his back. Soon the dead animal parts, and the face ropes accompanied by the yanking, and kicks. Bu then the snow in the mountains were nearly all gone, save for some patches that appeared at the top.

After many rides, and accolades, and bits of sweet flavors the great male was rewarded with the right to enter the cordoned off pasture. Where his cousin, and others similar to him resided. Instinctively he wanted to race off, but he didn’t. He allowed the two-legged creature to lead him by rope into the space that seemed so minuscule to him, but rewarding in regard to the humans. They walked a bit, and finally the rope was removed. He watched as the two legged being turned exited the area, shut the large gate made of dead trees, which made a loud sound upon closing, The person, that human was gone. Just like that. Gone! He was left alone to roam in that confined area. His cousin was grazing off in the distance.

There were eleven in all. Docile, in manner, but mad in spirit. They all converged, and communicated in silence. It turned out seven had been ancestors of recent order. The others mostly unknown. Two from another location that was far off. They could not recognize the distant mountains as all the other ones could.

The male circled the entire cordoned area. Most of it seemed sturdy, but he discovered one area that could easily be rammed, and broken through. He communicated this to the others but they had been there so long they were weary, and sick with fear. Most feared the loud sound, and the fiery pain that surely was to follow. Each of the had recognized the weak point long before he had. Yet, they knew the loud sound and fiery pain had always occurred, even when the two legged being wasn’t present. Yet, somehow, they had always showed themselves immediately thereafter. They all had memories of their fallen families. They all wanted to flee, but they were too filled with fright to risk an escape.

The two that didn’t recognize the distant mountains had contemplated escaping as well, but to them, where would they go? They were surrounded by two legged beings, and knew not where they were. Regardless, the great male knew. He invited them all to join him, as he announced that he was fleeing that evening with, or without the rest of them. He spoke of the wide-open spaces, the terrain that expanded so far it took weeks to cover. He spoke of the places his family spent spring, and summer as new family members joined them. He looked at the mountains, and them spoke of his mare, which was due to give birth at any time. He said, I will no longer be roped around my face or told to go here, or there. I will no longer be sat upon, and kicked. I fear that fiery sound entity as much as each one of you does, but I fear remaining in this pen for the rest of my days even greater. This evening, I will run to those distant mountains. And to my fold, or I will hear that loud pop, and quickly go where my brethren, and sisters have gone before me. Because in truth, we will all go there to meet them, one day, one way or another. It was better to go where dead horses are, than to remain living dead in the two-legged creatures idea of existence.

That evening when the two-legged beings were hiding away in their artificial dwelling places that great male bean to run. He ran full speed with his chest, proudly protruding forward. The others watched, then without thought several raced after him. The sounds of hooves meeting well-trodden soil filled the air. Then even the two that remained, those from the far off region began to run as well. And like that, twelve horses, forty-eight hooves, raced toward the weakest spot in the holding pen.

That great male wasn’t even looking at the gate as he rushed straight through it. When he hit the gate, it didn’t even affect his stride. The gate splintered at the brackets that held it together, and the male raced on. He hadn’t even gone after the weakest point, but that which was thought to be the strongest.

Nothing resembles freedom more than a pack of wild horses, manes flailing in the wind, tales pitching about, and froth at their lips. Those signs of surety, and the muscles that twitch powerfully at each gesture to move where it is to go. Like a machine made of parts that don’t belong to steel, and iron, but in some way compared. Compared in the power of the horses that strode in a pack. Eleven followed the one that convinced them that staying meant they were going one way or another, and going meant being gone forever.

He could only see the distant mountains, and the light spots of snow that appeared gray as darkness continued to fall. From inside the two-legged creatures hiding place, the crash of the gate, and the splintering wood could be heard. Those present rushed out just in time to witness twelve horses racing toward the place where no humans dwelled.

The splintering of the gate made loud cracking sounds, but nothing compared to the long thin instruments that drove so many to their knees, and then to their sides where they would never rise again. And what for? The few of them needlessly taken from the vast land they treasured, that grew smaller every year. Yet, the two legged ones that kept coming, and taking, with no desire to curve their trespasses. Not against the land, the rivers, and streams the flying beings that had once filled the sky, nor the fish that swam, and which were forever barred from places they too had once freely roamed. But, especially not to the wild horses, they kept on killing each year, and taking others, dragging them away.

Early the next morning the horses continued to run. They hadn’t stopped, not even to drink water form the stream where their family was slaughtered, and still remained. They ran all night, never ceasing until they reached the base of the mountains. There the great male saw his mare, reared, and let out a triumphant sound. Next to the female horse was a new born male. It could barely stand. The great male went immediately to its offspring, and nuzzled it, taking in the scent of the newly born creature. The rest of the herd came together, and welcomed back the long lost family members. The cousin would learn that her mother was killed in the carnage left behind by the two-legged creatures, but its father remained, and sadly recalled the day she went missing. She was too young to recognize her father, but in time they would bond tightly. The two new family members were welcomed immediately. Each told the others what they could expect if they were ever to be captured by those hideous beings. At once, the decision was made for all to heard off, back into the rocky terrain that lied beyond the mountains to the north. There they would go. There they would stay until the next time the weather drove them back south again. Until then, and once they arrived beyond the obstacles that lied before them, they would be one full year of living off the land, and far from those terrible two legged creatures.

© 2015. All Rights Reserved.
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