Keeper of the Mustangs (Part I)

Written in response to: End your story with a character looking out on a new horizon.... view prompt


Creative Nonfiction Mystery

Caroline gazed into the midnight sky as the prickly grasses pinched her elbows. A round woman with long, braided grey hair staggered onto the porch. Her lips strained into a frown and she called, "Caroline. Why are you lying on the ground again? Haven't we discussed this before?" Caroline tucked a strand of her chocolate brown hair behind her ear and nodded obediently. She stepped up the porch and dusted her black leather boots. She opened the ruby red front door and said without glancing back, "Good night, Mrs. Smith." She mysteriously disappeared behind the door as her footsteps gradually faded.

The morning sun shone through the thin glass of the window and overthrew the dim light of the taper set on the kitchen table. Mrs. Smith spread splotches of blueberry jam evenly on toast and placed it on a chipped ceramic plate with midnight blue flower petals painted on the rim. "Caaa-rrro-linneee!" A sweet, high-pitched greeting pierced the ears of Caroline as she sluggishly dragged herself down the groaning stairs. She nibbled at her toast while listening to the tap, tap, tap of the leak in the ceiling.

"Oh, this leak will never be fixed. Get on with your chores when you're done with breakfast, my darling," Mrs. Smith reminded her as she nudged a metal bucket under the leak. SCREEECH! Caroline cringed at the overwhelming noise of the bucket. Mrs. Smith added a layer of red lipstick that was faintly fragrant of roses on her lips and grabbed her purse. She exited the house in staccato, playful skips, leaving Caroline blinking, her mind blank, into the distance. The nothingness started consuming her, leaving her drifting off into a slumber.

The volume of the constant chatter of the townsfolk increased as Mrs. Smith weaved around the clusters of townspeople at the market. She huffed and complained quietly, "I need peace right now. Peace! That Caroline girl is already driving me crazy-- lying on the nasty, filthy ground?! Only madwomen do that! Women need to learn to be proper." Mrs. Smith trotted towards the organic stand, like an elegant mare with a pearl white coat, properly brushed. Properly trotting, properly carrying their owners, and properly trained. Trained... what an interesting word. But what about un-trained horses?

Ones that can run free, chasing their friends as their long manes flap, like a flag, in the wind. Ones who have all-you-can-eat-apples. Ones who... Caroline daydreamed about riding a real wild horse someday. She remembered something... something her mother taught her when she was alive... something about horses, and being wild and free, and something important.

That was it; the wild horses had a name, an important name, a name she had to know and remember because it was important. An important name that just feels so right to the wild horses.

Caroline racked her brain. It was there, she could feel it! It was there, in her mind, her mind still remembered it. But what was it? It was like a large blanket fell over The Name and it was there, it was feel-able, it was definitely there. But it was hidden, and she just couldn't dig it out-- the blanket had been permanently stuck over The Name. It was just like reaching for something that's there, but you're just fractions of a centimeter away. Your fingertips scarcely brush the corner of The Name... but you just can't get it and keep it as yours to remember forever... remembering The Name, remembering The Name, The Name...

Like a chant, she repeated The Name over and over in her head, trying to reach and dig-- she used all her willpower to dig through, to find The Name.

Suddenly, she stopped and asked herself a question;

Why was she so obsessed with The Name anyway? Sure, it has a very special meaning to it, but why was she so obsessed with finding The Name?

Still, she was chanting, "The Name! The Name! The Name!" She shook her head, but was unable to stop. The chant continued...

The Name! The Name! The Name!

"Stop it! Just... Stop!" she cried aloud.

The chanting stopped.

There was no more, just a faint song of a bluebird in the distance.

It stopped.

The Name...

what was it?

But Caroline didn't care-- she had no strength to think about The Name anymore.

As her brunette locks flew against her skin, she felt their warm embrace, and her eyes closed.

For a moment, the nothingness was soothing. The whole world just went... blank, all of a sudden. A wave of black washed over her and her surroundings disappeared, including her own thoughts; like The Name.




However, some things are only seen when the eye is closed, when you're living in a universe of darkness.

A faint image forms in Caroline's mind. It's realistic enough that you your senses explode-- you see the scenery, you smell the fragrance of spring flowers in the process of blooming, and you can hear the river gently flowing and glistening under the intense heat of the sunset.

Another sound rang loud in her ears, the rhythmic clippity-clop-clop, clippity-clop-clop of horse's hooves-- wild horses. A smile as warm as a rainbow stretches across Caroline's face. Her dream of seeing these wild horses is now reality; she does not even care of The Name again.

Until the vision fades.

Starting with the surrounding peaks of mountains, they slowly sink under the ground, and then the blooming flowers, and then the flowing, glistening lake, until there is nothing left but the wild horses and Caroline. The clippity-clop-clop becomes fainter and fainter until the horses gallop farther and farther away, until they vanish from afar. The sound of their hooves are gone, too, so is everything else. She watches as her hands too become invisible...

Blinking, Caroline zoomed back into reality. There are no wild horses, and she still has not remembered The Name.

In frustration, Caroline buried her face in her hands and attempted to return to her wonderful dream. But it was forevermore gone, not to be visualized ever again.




The Name screamed to be unlocked, but Caroline's mind rejected it, disguising it as something that could not be remembered. Caroline wanted to forget The Name completely as she stared out onto the new horizon, but...

...But it was there.

The Name.

Not gone.

Not vanished.

Not poof.

It was there, she could feel it.

The Name.

The Name.

The Name;

Not gone.

Not vanished.

Not poof.

February 19, 2022 22:42

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