When the carriages came to town the people flocked to see the march. Of the great master, who had seen a lot, all his folk were kids. Not one of the march saw ill treatment and all were provided for with care and protection, from beginning to middles and end. With their teeth pressed firmly on the bit the sisters clapped at the words of the tune and, in his company, forgot their faith and wrongs, and that they were horses.

The crowd kept a respectful distance and their eyes close to the pulsing display of the march. The great horses, whose hooves clapped like thunder down the promenade, all shone proudly wearing the mark. A man of some description stood at the back of the throng. Above the heads of the crowd he could only discern things close to him: the big backs and breaths of those near were an equally big wall against the sky, the master’s voice too faint to hear. He heard nothing. Words, but these were of the old people and fairly abundant, his life to this point had made him cynical and wary of these words, could not understand their value. There were countless times he had read these images and had difficulty accepting them as familiar, obvious.

He pushed through the crowd, the cheering and throbbing crowd. None stood in his way, none gave alarm, none stood beside him. Faintly, he became aware of the spitting, the screams, coming from all sides. The master flogging his horse. The lame horse with no will to stand. Gilded on roofs were its friends, fore legs reaching to the sky in a beautiful display. The master’s arm reaching high above his head and the crowd gasping in amazement and the sunspots lashed out and the earth was showered in a shining golden curtain, reflections from the sun, that enclosed them in the viewing space. The master’s arm came down hard across the horse’s face and the crowd cheered as the horse was driven into the earth. The lame horse as black as pitch against the steps of the town hall. The Tall Man flung his arms around its neck and pleaded for the master to stop, felt the biting pain across his shoulders as the whip struck him for uprooting the scene. The white foam from the horse’s mouth covered his face and the salt began to dissolve his jaw. He cried out, pleaded, but the black horse threw him to the ground and its blackness burst forth and sang divine harmonies, ascending to the heavens, and all the gold in the sky bent to the horse’s will. The master paid no attention to the man who lay cowering as the crowd cheered the beatings down onto the earth. The black horse led the march onward. A man wearing a loose apron, holding a glasses, stood over The Tall Man. They are both stood.

‘That’s the thing though, horses just look like that.’

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