IX

THE ABANDONED HOUSE

 

Meanwhile, in the silence of the far side of town,

The Dark Horseman had decided to hang around.

His was a goal of uncertain confusion,

to bring clarity to this world of delusion,

when all he could feel was a whispering sadness:

 

‘Come home, my dear boy. Free yourself from this madness.’

 

His dark eyes refused him the tears of the living.

His commission denied him the luxury of forgiving.

He was here for a reason, but he chose here to tarry,

recalling the girl he had longed so to marry.

 

The house she had lived in had burned to the ground,

and the darkness of night could not muffle the sound

which crackled and snapped inside his head,

as he imagined the blazing house of the dead.

 

Timbers were blackened and sooted and charred,

and he took his horse through the ruins with a broken heart.

So engrossed was he by his depth of reflection

that he failed to hear the approach of redemption:

 

‘Are you okay, Mister?’ a little voice called.

He turned round in shock with his guns on their mark.

Standing just beyond the wasteland, her stature so small,

was a girl clothed in white who shone in the dark.

 

‘I am…okay,’ The Horseman returned,

in a voice designed to chill the soul.

But the little girl was not concerned

and stepped she some closer as heard they the toll,

removed from the events that went on in town…

 

The little girl looked up as The Horseman looked down.

 

‘Tell me a story,’ she said with a smile.

‘I am soon for my rest, but not for a while.

My Mama and Papa are long so asleep,

and I want to forget about how much they weep.’

 

The Dark Horseman he held her innocent gaze,

as the glowing form seemed to diminish the haze

around them both; it seemed to retreat from their place.

Yet shadow and scorn kept The Horseman’s face

from terrifying the little girl.

She had no need to know he was not of this world.

 

‘I’ll tell you a story,’ his dark voice announced,

‘if you tell me your name. Then I will recount it

as if to my own child it was pronounced.’

 

‘My name is Molly,’ she said, as The Horseman dismounted.

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