“If they weren't solidly real dragons... it wouldn't have been worth doing.”
Jo Walton

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Notes from the author:

I should warn you that the tarot card I drew as a writing prompt for this piece was the Ten of Swords. It is not a cheerful card.

The random words were “horse” and “reformer,” which sounds a little like Boxer from Animal Farm. I always felt that Boxer got a raw deal. I mean, beyond the fact that he doesn’t get a happy ending. I wanted to see him make more of a difference, so he could go to his fate with at least that much satisfaction.

And yes, “Did you get water?” did become a common New Orleanian greeting in the months immediately following Hurricane Katrina. Since it’s mentioned and all.

...Despite that she couldn’t stop weeping, still Elsa felt a sense of relief so strong as to almost be jubilation. She’d had her daily tragedy. She could relax and stop expecting the worst. She found herself humming, cheerfully and involuntarily, through her tears.

None of the other passengers on the bus thought she was behaving strangely. They’d all been there before, or would be again.

The visit to the doctor didn’t take long, and Elsa left the office feeling at loose ends. They weren’t expecting her at work, since she’d called in sick. The cramps seemed to be over. Crushing grief wrestled with that buoying sense of invulnerability, neither gaining a permanent hold over the other. She needed to be in motion, so she decided to walk home.

On her way, she met a horse. He was a blood bay at the peak of health and strength, his coat shining and his steps sure. He walked but slowly, however, no doubt burdened by tragedies of his own. Elsa caught up to him easily, and soon they were walking side by side.

“Miscarriage this morning,” Elsa greeted him. “You?”

“Racetrack foreclosed upon,” said the horse. “Stables scheduled for demolition.”

In happier regions, they might have exchanged some ritual question like “How’s it going?” But in the Land of Inspiration, that question was useless at best and cruel at worst....

This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for January 6, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1077 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.

Friday Fictionettes are a short-short fiction subscription service powered by Patreon. Become a Patron to get a new fictionette every first through fourth Friday and access all the fictionettes of Fridays gone by.