The Drumming of Hooves (Flash Fiction)

We watched the yellow horses’ stream down the hillside in a landslide, while the kettle boiled downstairs at half-speed. Your sister waited for it to cool, crying blue tears onto the tablecloth adorned with bearded Vikings. They were holding hacksaws and wearing black. The horses stopped in single file at the first step of your front porch and the first hit ‘play’ on an orange jukebox with its right hoof, raising the speaker above its head and towards your roof. It had seen Say Anything fourteen times through your glass kitchen doors, memorising lines for later use. The sound of Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes filled the landscape until the trees began to hum the harmonies. You clapped an avalanche into the windowpane until your chalk palms blistered, the walls absorbing the pain until they bled in rivulets, pooling on the floor at our feet.

“I dreamt that we were once lions,” you spoke in braille – tongue clicking against your ivory teeth.

I beat a response in Morse code into my skull, and the lions of yesteryear applauded my calcium wit, while your sister’s tears rose up through the floorboards and dampened our socks. The humming trees caught fire in crescendo, so we watched them burn, grapevine fires blazing into the early evening.

– It was my turn to clap.

After an hour of static, the flames caught in your throat until you choked on their embers, vomiting ash onto the carpet. Sobering up to the stains on the walls we dusted cobwebs from our clothes, listening to the sirens and the silence they then left behind as they followed horses retreating to the motherland. There were dead batteries in their stereos. Your sister down below finished her fifteenth cup of cold coffee and watched the radio play backwards.

– The song skipped.

– She only noticed beforehand, following the rhythm with burnt fingertips. Always listening; deaf to the drumming of hooves.

– David Bowie turning in his space grave.


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