Many Miles Afar

At first, she thinks she sees only horses, but when she swoops down low to the ground, the picture that’s painted for her is both startlingly beautiful and haunting. In the tall grass that bends and twists in the wicked wind, she sees not only rushing horses but an assortment of small animals in the act of fleeing. The animals, each and every one of them, are rushing to the light. Beyond the reach of her grasping hands, she sees them not individually but collectively. In a strange twist of fate, they resemble the waves of rolling green and the waves of watery blue that caresses her ears from many miles afar. In the darkness, the new shapes are impossible to see clearly, such is the darkness between the flashes of sporadic lightning. She does catch a shimmer here and there as they dash this way and that, but little more. Certainly not enough to bring them to life. Deciding to swoop down low enough so that the tips of the grassy blades tickle her skin, almost immediately, she spies a clutch of rabbits and hares, darting as fast as their little legs allow. In the first moments, they’re not aware of her presence, but when a flash of dizzying white gives light to her childish features, they look up to see a grinning Gretchen zipping about in her nightie. For a second, their eyes widen, fearful of the appearance of this strange, new soul, but when they realise she’s making the same pilgrimage, they continue their journey with renewed vigour. Alongside them are even smaller kin. Rats. Hamsters. Tiny mice the same size as her hand. Reaching out, she strokes the fur of one lagging behind its litter, and as it squeaks in surprise, Gretchen squeaks too. However, hers is more of a squeal and louder by far. The galloping horses make the muddy ground shake, but so do the paws of those that follow. The whole world is quaking, and as Gretchen’s heart beats as wildly as a bongo, the suspense is one she hopes lasts forever.

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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