I became aware as consciousness found me, itŐs fingers entwining deeply into my soul. Crushing me at the same time as it gently stroked my head. Lovingly. The nightmare continued and the mare was a stallion. A black stallion that glistened in the moonlight. Once again I was back in the field being chased by a dark figure on horseback. That awful sound of animal hoofs pounding over the grassy hills.
I was running alongside a waist-high wall made from large rounded pebbles. The twisted grass writhed like a grotesque bed of worms, its razor sharp splinters snuffed out as the laughing white face disappeared behind a racing cloud. The black sky studded with occasional stars against the wispy clouds appearing like apparitions. Ghostly fragments in my picture of horror. The waxing gibbous Moon came in and out of view. There was a terrible dryness in my throat from my exertions. A pervading and impenetrable darkness.
All-enclosing fear is black and shapeless. Being trapped in a room without air.
The screaming wind brought with it the incessant sound of the galloping horse rushing up directly behind me. I could taste the metallic sharpness of fear as I drank it, my throat burning in the acid. The sword flashed in the moonlight as the rider jumped over wall, cloak flapping wildly like the ragged sail of a tall ship in strong winds. The horse rose above me gliding almost silently yet carrying its rider, face half hidden in the dark shadow of an absurdly large black top hat. The flash of teeth and glint in the eyes could only be imagined rather than seen.
I jumped over the wall. The horse leapt over again to go ahead of me. I rolled forward over and grabbed some grass. It was slippery in my sweating hand. I came to my feet and managed to jump over the wall. And on it went. This bizarre game of cat and mouse. I fell over the wall for one final time.
The rider had brought its horse to a sudden stop. It reared up and spun around on its hind legs, but the wall remained separating me from my pursuer. I crouched and the rider seemed to sail over me towards the Moon. Relentlessly chasing me. It had jumped through my blind-spot and momentarily vanished from sight though I could still hear the horse, but galloping away into the darkness. Suddenly it appeared, the rider brandishing a sword flashing in the moonlight. The horse stood high on its rear legs. The front legs came crashing to the ground and the rider dismounted in a flourish. A cloaked arm sliced downwards towards me as sparks flew away from the contact of metal on stone. This sword was real. The stone wall was real. My terror was real. My nightmare was real. Haunted by my fears that had become so real. I turned to face my fears. The cloaked figure that was striding directly at me. It was so close that waves of terror flooded over me. The sheer suddenness of its arrival. It being there. The brutal reality. In front of me almost within reaching distance. I had no option but to attack it. This was my end. I dived towards it.
The darkness. The silence. Respite.
I became aware of the sound of a horse galloping towards me...
© Louis Brothnias v.1.1 (2011)