A Storm of Horses Coming
Emmylou dreamed of beautiful grey horses running, six of them running across a dawn field. There was a murmuring music that gave the whole scene a clear consistent rhythm. The drumming of hooves and music like water over stones as the horses shifted positions in their steady progress in a weaving dance. They came to sudden curves and moved as one to shift into the center of a broad path. She was not one of the horses but her mind was guiding them some how to find the right pattern and path.
Masses of ominous dark clouds loomed in the distance and thunder rolled like timpani along with steady rhythm of horses hooves coming closer and louder. They were all coming here to do something, to complete something. She was a part but somehow not involved, an audience with limited participation for a show as big as the earth. She felt the immensity of the horses their mighty bodies pounding down the earth yet leaving no trace as they passed.
She woke expecting to hear the drumbeat of hooves, but the night was oppressively still and the room seemed confining after the expansive space of the dream.
She sighed and snuggled down into a more comfortable position and immediately fell into sleep.
Maddie the Mermaid
After the dream of the snake, Maddie gave up on sleeping for a while. She got out her history book and started reading something about the Missouri River and Lewis and Clarke. She lay on her stomach her elbows planted to either side of the book, her palms supporting her chin. Every now and then her eyelids drifted down to cover her eyes. She shook herself awake a few times, planting her chin firmly on her palms.
Finally gravity and sleep won out. She drifted off into an easy dream of the lake and the musical reeds. They played like panpipes, a river song. It was a river not a lake. She parted the reeds and saw through the warped glassy ripples of the current, fish, silver and flashing. Maddie realized that she was a mermaid and dove into the water, moving with the fish.
A man sat watching from the bank. He scooped her out and tossed her on the bank. Then she was a fish, flopping and wriggling and gulping for air. He carried her up the steep bank, showing her to a woman.
“This is the one I caught,” He said.
When the woman raised her head she could see it was Essie. Maddie tried to speak but couldn’t. Her mouth opened and closed without any sound.
“That ees the wrongwon,” Essie said, “that ees Maddie. She ees helping us already. We need the one from before. You know the one that I could not hold on to.”
“Oh, I know which one,” said the man and grabbed Maddie and ran back to river and threw her in, saying, “Thank you little fishy. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He grabbed another one and charged off up the bank.
Maddie’s face hit the book and she rolled over on her back and fell into a deep sleep and slept until her alarm woke her up.
She remembered the dreams, the one with Random and the snake and the fish dream, more clearly than the trip to the lake which was colored in dreamlike twilight.
Maddie was almost too excited for school. She thought of the coming afternoon with Essie with growing anticipation, as she threw together an outfit, stuffed her feet into her large, black boots, and thumped down the stairs. Over breakfast, as she half-heartedly finished reading her history, she told Debbie she was going to take some pictures at The Eagle Tree Ranch with Essie.
“Isn’t that Emmylou’s place up the other side of the ridge?” Debbie had said.
“Yeah, who’s she?”
“Oh jus’ a woman who runs a farm, comes into to the casino to see the bands and dance. I talked to her a few times. She’s got people livin’ up there with her, college students and artists, real hippie types. Jes don’t do no drugs. Essie don’t do any of that funny stuff does she?”
“No, she just writes and knows how to use a camera.”
“Alright, baby, I’m glad to see you workin’ hard on your books. You better get goin’ or you’ll miss the bus.”
Maddie gave her mom a quick kiss, as she stuffed her history book into the large black daypack, and clomped out.
“I love you too, sweetie,” Debbie said softly and smiled at the slamming door.
Maddie ran up just as the bus rattled to a stop. She skipped up the stairs.
“Mornin’ Clyde, hows the road conditions?” she always asked him some such question.
“Oh, tolerable, I s’pose, but still this highway’s not getting’ any younger.”
The bus left a puff of blue smoke dust devil that was blown apart by a black Porsche racing up the highway seconds behind the bus.
The Man in The Black Porsche
Essie was crossing the highway to the coffee shop as the bus passed. She did not see Maddie. The Porsche roared past, just missing Essie, did a U turn without slowing and pulled into the coffee shop parking lot, screeching to sideways skidding stop ten feet in front of her. The driver got out and leaned casually on the side of the car. He was just under 6 feet tall, wore a black leather jacket, over a blood red t shirt and nicely fit but worn jeans. He had light brown hair, a mustache and goatee with a soul patch under his lip.
“I don’t suppose you’ve forgiven me yet,” he said casually.
Essie’s jaw dropped and a look of shock, joy and fury fought for possession of her face. Her body went limp with just enough tension to keep her standing.
“Jered? Jered! Jered you bastard where haf you been?!” She finally mobilized herself and flung herself on him fists flying.
He leaned back and let her fists fall on his chest where they were aimed.
“I’ve been in Maryland with my folks, and in Europe, and Egypt, and other places.”
“Eet has been 5 years you bastard. We thought you were dead.”
“ 5 years? Wow! I didn’t realize. I shoulda let people know,” Jered said in his usual dry tone.
She looked closely at his face trying to read his intent. She could never get a fix on whether he was serious or not. He was always half smiling.
“If you let me buy you some breakfast, I’ll try to explain.”