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The Boy Who Dreamt of a Thousand Horses

By Shaun Philistin All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Scifi

Blurb

When the night sky for some of us is everything of what the world could do to reiterate it's splendor, then the stars are but pastels to a grander truth. Those tiny globes of shimmering light, so small but yet so big in the lives of certain men whom spend their entire lifetimes in pursuit of reaching something that would take ten lifetimes still to try and reach. The chase of a dream where dreams often chase men to their own ruin. To a demise that in the eyes of the pursuant, is fate's intricate tag of no man being without purpose. When the night sky could reveal so much, yet even with all that knowledge still leave one to feeling so doubtful. France Hawthorne is a man past being on a quest, but a soldier of passion and love, being caught in a war that has a passion of it's own to destroying peace in a world that no star in the universe could shine with as much ardency. The devilish complots of men whose heartless actions are inevitably the degeneration of so many good things, and the innocent lives of good people whom mean too much to France to not fighting for. But a war being fought on two sides, as he himself grapples to finding out the truth. Will he ever?

Prologue

They twisted and whorled with the enchantment of a dervish under the intoxication of some unseen god. Sinuous figures parlaying in the darkness as sable as a storm’s night, and as dreadful as they were foreboding. They were speaking something of perdition, and it seemed to be in the most epochal of ways.

Limbs danced and swayed and the horrible story continued in a menagerie of crooked silhouettes, bent and wry one moment and lithesome as a cantering steinbok the next. Darkness moving on lighter shades of darkness, and everything surrounding gloomy, dismal, and bleak, and emanating of nothing else it seemed but of the strait and silent whispers of obliteration.

They were silent, but could be heard all the same no matter of the wont that long shunned the transpiring of such a day. They were just tales, exaggerated stories tarrying from one progeny to the next, and the next after to a chain dating as far back as the annals of history could ever reach. Immemorial, and the tale of all tales that none other was alike whose foretelling fable had envisioned the way before there ever even was a way, and the same way that now determined every driblet of life today. A story told through folk songs and ghastly narratives, happy on the lips of old griots to fuel the fire of their legendary mystique. When the Black came it would consume all, everything forever slave to the wretched teeth of darkness that would cover for all eternity. They were trifling fardels of myths on the breath of tale bearers who even still to this day stake their lives on the coming of the Black. To all things came the dark and impervious veil, and so ancient seemed to tell it true in the swarthiness of whirling apparitions.

One by one they transmuted, sometimes breaking structure altogether to mass up in one giant form of mute illustration. Scenes they were, vague yet keen with distinction and unmistakable of the sanguinity they colored even in despite of their sole and empty hue of blackness that knew anything but the light of life. Rather it knew ruin, catastrophe, tragedy, sorrow and despair, and stout were its richness that gave dusk to the shadows that danced abroad. Phantom figures from somewhere dark ferried on the wings of otherworldly- and they were telling of the benighted advent of the Black.

The dark wraiths dispersed and this time they joined in individual beams like the tall giant round of Greek colonnades, and solemn and silent they stood in their darkled procession. The soft whispers grew heavier in the blackness, wordless utterances in some alien tongue seeming to be speaking to the ghost mass that began to form in the middle of the columns into something not yet distinguishable. It swelled by the second, sprouting shady stubs that turned into flailing limbs, and lengthening still to arms and legs that about the semblance of a small child. The shadow youth stood on sure feet, imposing amidst the murky pillars with the subtle features of a wiry little boy outlined against the lesser tone of black that was slave to the darker, cold and mystified like the accursed tomb of an ancient pharaoh. Calm the boy stood for a long moment, motionless, until a shadow suddenly came from behind to sweep him supine on a ghostly bed that put him fast to sleep curled in a tight fetal. He slept.

It all swooshed away just then, specter boy and pillars alike eddying together in one massive swirl funneling in an indistinct cloud of ferocious black. It spun and spun and spun, until in an instant out of the dales of nowhere a blob of black shot out to disentangle itself into a perfectly round ball. And so did the rest of the hulking black, forming into individual circlets that varied each other in size and hung in the still air like the desolate shapes of some forgotten galaxy. They were numberless, and in the flash of a fallen star exploding all at once to the bugle call of silent whispers all in frenzy for another formation.

They came together in what appeared to be tiny dust particles. Embrowned glitter with no warmth to them at all, gelling together under some inherent force, and yet they began to take shape once again. They pressed together and this time their coalescence was in the wretchedness of a gaping snarl, wild with a thrusting tongue and long sharp teeth that curved inward to a roar that carried from the depths of a mute throat. It snapped and bit, and in the middle of its tantrum spat out men that came slashing forth with swords in hand that morphed into guns blazing with stringed beams of zapping black. An army of shadow men they were, suddenly taken up in a gale of force that twisted them wrenchingly to be swept backwards in a madness of floundering limbs into the mouth of what was now a monstrous wormhole.

Its darkness of outer walls churned inward, a horizontal maelstrom whose length harbored no ending and seemingly emptied out into another dimension. But in the eye of the vicious vortex stood a man, strong and bold and unmoving against the indomitable current that seemed to grapple even time into its influence-who was he? It stirred turbulent, swirling powerful until it deformed yet once more and the shadows of pitch-black took to the columns again.

This time the boy walked, pointing at unseen objects between the colonnades and dropping flat to the ground in the midst of espying another. There was no bed this time, but only the columns bending to vanish into his head. He squirmed and kicked then, wriggling and crying speechless shrieks that even quieted the susurrous whispers- the whispers all around that seemed to know of a certain doom. The only sound was the sound of his bellowing muteness, painful and dire. More scrabbling, and shadows leapt from his head forming grotesque figures without definition of knowing what they were, and one by one they came. Shapes upon indistinguishable shapes, stretching and retracting and curling erratic like vampires caught in the morning sunlight. Shadows in black cloaks dangerous and baleful, but somewhere there was felt the unladen comfort of refuge, and deliverance contorted along with the wights of black.

The whispers howled again and this time they spoke of a revelation. Slow and effortless they sang, a descant much as moving as the unshapely figures, and he knew then just at that moment that his most horrid of fears had come to see the God forbidden day of its existence.

He pushed himself up from the floor and mouthed a silent prayer. Let it not be so.

Candles burned on either side of him and he blew them out before giving his back to the dancing silhouettes that dwindled out with the extinguished flames. The Black was soon to come. Their forefathers had said as much eons ago.

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