Microfiction #writephoto: Pandora

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt

flame

There was something strange about the couple at the house on the hill. They had been in the village no time and already their names cropped up everywhere: he on the board of governors of the local school, though they had no children; she as president of the local historical society, even though the old one had not wanted to retire; both of them opening the village fête, though no one could say who invited them; and now it was rumoured, he was standing for mayor and she as parliamentary candidate.

A lot of land went with the old house, and they kept horses. The woman from the cottage at the other side of the lane liked horses, had done ever since was a girl. But horsey stuff had been for rich kids and she’d just admired them from afar. The horses on the hill were beauties, such a brilliant chestnut they were almost red, with long, golden manes. They were wild though and rarely came close to the fence that ran along the lane.

That day, the day it happened, she had thought she heard the horses crying in distress. They weren’t in the field. The whinnying came again, louder, more like a roar. After a moment’s hesitation, she climbed the fence and hurried up the field to the barn. The sound of hooves clattering was clearly audible. She flung open the door and caught her breath. The stable was a mass of dancing shadows thrown by a huge fire. Flames leapt to the beams, but there was no smoke, no smell, no heat, and no sound, except the wild calling of horses. In consternation, she took a step backwards as the fire surged towards the open door. She cringed, backing away from what she saw now were not flames but horses with flailing hooves the colour of red gold, an image she took with her into eternity.

The wall of flame divided and multiplied into a vast herd of fiery horses that galloped through the village leaving black ash in its wake. It would have gone down in history as the beginning, except that there was no more history to write. This was the beginning of the end.

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Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

61 thoughts on “Microfiction #writephoto: Pandora”

  1. I am myself a little horse after reading this aloud. It raced like galloping mares and trundled through towns and villagws as if a train. You woke me with this piece, i thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  2. It’s seem apocalypse had strike as I read the last line–This was the beginning of the end. The fire and description of its spread, the galloping of scared horse and a lady in distress–completely sort of new era Gothic.

      1. yup…they had to…I have also submitted one…let me know your comment…and have also written a Triolic poem…will wait for your reviews for he both

    1. Thanks Bernadette 🙂 I didn’t know exactly where the story was going until it got there, and I thought of Pandora. She didn’t know what she was starting either. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  3. I missed the horses completely in the flames — until I re-examined the photo with your story echoing like horses’ hooves in my mind. Then I saw them — rising like equine phoenixes. I do like the closing lines concerning there was no history left to write. That would be the end, won’t it, if there writing became obsolete.

    1. Then I suppose you get the philosophical question: if there’s no one to record history, does it cease to exist? In many ways it’s like the ‘discovery’ of America—America wasn’t aware it hadn’t been discovered and the people and animals living before Columbus were quite ‘discovered’ already.

      1. Ironical really. The arrogance of white Europeans considering that only their culture mattered, producing a nation that assumes it can dominate the world because it is the only culture that matters…

      2. Karl Marx: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
        Right now, we’re experiencing both tragedy and farce.
        The irony might be considered delicious if it wasn’t so frightening.

      3. The hobnail boots are out. Americans are stupid — stupid voters, stupid president, stupid advisors. If wasn’t such a global thing, could say got what they deserved, but it effects too many people to causally left it go.
        Wish we had intellectual storm troopers! That says a lot about what we are dealing with politically, socially, culturally. Dark days. Darker still ahead I fear.

      4. Lets hope there are enough people not registering on the stupidityometer (like the term) to bring things back around when the time comes (which I fervently hope it does).

      5. Listening to the pro-Trump comments, I don’t think those people are in the learning business. They know what they want to believe and nothing, possibly not even if their God leant down out of the clouds and bawled it at them, will make them doubt the Word of Trump.

      6. There is the lure of the demi-god. It has lead the world down an evil path before. As you say: “We have heard the Word, and the Word is Trump”

      7. We can only hope that they realize their guilt and complicity. But, the jaded realist in me figures you are right — I doubt they will. They will fob responsibility off onto someone else, then pat themselves on the back.

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