Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Saturday, June 14 – The lonely horse

Well despite Stephen’s scaremongering and Martin’s doom-laden predictions, even though it was Friday the 13th and the moon was meant to be full, the sky was cloudy, so we never saw the moon and nothing else either, come to that. I gave Stephen another clip round the ear for being so stupid and sloshed some of the dirty water from the laundry over him for his pains. That dampened his enthusiasm for scare stories.
And in the end, we found out what had gouged the grass and how the chain had been left in the grounds, from our neighbours. And it wasn’t a convict, or a zombie or a wild animal. It was a horse. That’s all it was. An escaped horse, looking for love.
We heard the story today from Robin and Deirdre when we met them at the pub market. They started telling us how they were woken in the night a couple of days ago by neighing. And I said how funny that was, because I’d dreamt about a horse neighing. That wasn’t a dream, Robin said. It was a real horse. He said he’d jumped out of bed and looked out the bedroom window and there, in his paddock, talking to Benjie, their old piebald, was a large black and white horse, with a chain trailing from his bridle.
But how did it get there, I wondered. It’s a stallion, Robin said. The one tethered on the little green up beyond the church. And I remembered seeing a large horse there last summer, tied to a stake in the grass, grazing in a wide circle around his tether. He must have broken free and gone looking for company, said Robin. Only there isn’t much company about at the moment, so he stopped to make friends with Benjie. We led him back to where he belongs, but the long chain wasn’t there. It’s up by our garage, I said, he must have dragged it all the way here, poor lonely horse.
So now Stephen is disappointed as well as damp. And I am disappointed in my hens. The legbars haven’t laid for 2 days and now I know why. They’re either laying soft-shelled eggs or they’re eating them, as I found the Rhode Island Red’s eggs sticky with smears of yolk and bits of blue shell. I’ll have to add grit to their rations.

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