The Boy Who Loved Horses

Years ago I studied in Appalachia and met some amazing people. The Boy Who Loved Horses came from my time spent with them.

It’s had a long publishing history: Pulphouse May ’94, Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires 2016, and Allegory May 2020.

Enjoy.

The Boy Who Loved Horses

I was born in a town like this. Mine’s on the eastern ridge and closer to Raleigh. My town had the same dirt roads, the same one-room wooden church, the same old store where you asked for things instead of getting them yourself, the same people but with different faces, the same old men carrying coon rifles, girls getting married when they’re thirteen and younger, having kids before they’re through being kids themselves, the same sense of what’s ours and what’s not. I left my town and got educated. Made it into the extension service. Decided to come back and help others in towns like mine. My education didn’t take all the hill out of me, though. Knew enough to carry a gun in case I got too close to a still. But it did take some of the hill away. I forgot about towns like this.

I came here about a year ago; my big, state-issue Buick all shiny as it passed suspicious eyes. The state needed a count of school age children to qualify for funding and I came to count the children in this town.

Hill’re wary of anything new. They saw my car and suit and whispered “city” as I passed. It was true. When I come to this town, I acted like I was an educated man and everybody was suspicious of me. I went into the general store and bought a pop, sat down and tried to talk with some of the folk. Took me a while, but I got a nod, then a wink, then a smile. Turns out some of us had kin.

Eventually had to tell them why I came. They got quiet after that. I asked if there was some place I could spend the night. Nobody said. I should’ve left. I know hill. I known the signs. One of the men, Burt, left. The rest of us talked some more and, when there was no more to say, I thanked them all and left.

I saw Burt as I drove out of town. He was walking, two steps forward and one step back, and I could tell he was tasting squeeze since he left the store. Should’ve kept on driving. Should’ve known. Hill’s got mysteries they need to keep. “Hey, Burt, you need a ride?” I opened the door for him and he winked and handed me his bottle getting in.

Burt lived in a cabin up a short, rutty, old road about a mile out of town. We drove there talking hill, talking kin. By the time we got to Burt’s cabin, he was smelling like a coon’s been rolling in ‘shine. There was another jug on his table. He offered me more but drank most of it himself. “They won’t tell you about the boy,” he said.


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15 Days of Harveys Day 15 – Peter James Martin’s “Kuchisake-onna On Teesside”

Kuchisake-onna On Teesside

by Peter James Martin

 
They often say that there’s no place like home. I would often agree to this, except for the times where the job makes me want to wish I was somewhere else. The case of the Kuchisake-onna is one of those times.

The above is from Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 (the famous “No Dragons” issue). You can read the rest of Peter James Martin’s Kuchisake-onna On Teesside along with several other amazing stories between its captivating covers (and we both hope you do!)

Follow Peter James Martin on Twitter.

Have you been Harveyed?

The kind, wise, and wonderful folks at Sixth Element Publishing included four of my flash pieces in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 and I’m repaying that kindness by showcasing the opening from each author’s work for the last few weeks.

 
Read

Enjoy!

15 Days of Harveys Day 14 – Melissa Wuidart Phillips’s “The Rainbow Has Many Colours”

The Rainbow Has Many Colours

by Melissa Wuidart Phillips

 
Zara crouched down behind the pile of crates on the airship’s deck, the wind fiercely whipping at her blonde hair, making her wish she was inside the body of the ship with the other passengers, not out here in the dark night at the mercy of the elements. Her fingertips were turning white where she clutched at the metal rim of the container, fiercely holding on, knowing it was her only choice. This was the only way she got to live.

The above is from Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 (the famous “No Dragons” issue). You can read the rest of Melissa Wuidart Phillips’s The Rainbow Has Many Colours along with several other amazing stories between its captivating covers (and we both hope you do!)

Watch Mellisa Wuidart Phillips’s amazing short film (3m19s) Unbroken and listen to her internet radio work on Chapel FM.

Have you been Harveyed?

The kind, wise, and wonderful folks at Sixth Element Publishing included four of my flash pieces in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 and I’m repaying that kindness by showcasing the opening from each author’s work for the last few weeks.

 
Read

Next up, a taste of Peter James Martin’s Kuchisake-onna On Teesside.

Enjoy!

15 Days of Harveys Day 13 – Mark Hayes’s “Mandrake”

Mandrake

by Mark Hayes

 
“Hendricks? He’s dead, I believe. Murdered, if I recall correctly, a month ago. By members of his own coven, or so I am told.”
This was a reasonable summing up of the facts. Which is to say, to the best of my knowledge that Jacob Hendricks, third Earl of Cleethorpes and mediocre occultist, was indeed deceased. As such, until any evidence to the contrary was presented, I laboured under the assumption that this was indeed the case. One does not as a rule presume notices of death in The Times obituary column to be falsehoods.
It is The Times, after all.

The above is from Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 (the famous “No Dragons” issue). You can read the rest of Mark Hayes’s Mandrake along with several other amazing stories between its captivating covers (and we both hope you do!)

Have you been Harveyed?

The kind, wise, and wonderful folks at Sixth Element Publishing included four of my flash pieces in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 and I’m repaying that kindness by showcasing the opening from each author’s work for the next few weeks.

 
Read

Next up, a taste of Melissa Wuidart Phillips’s The Rainbow Has Many Colours.

Enjoy!

15 Days of Harveys Day 12 – Liz Tuckwell’s “Some People Smell Roses”

Some People Smell Roses

by Liz Tuckwell

 
Some people smell roses when death approaches. For me, it’s a stench.
I was sitting at the airport with my boyfriend Jay, waiting to fly to Lanzarote for a week’s holiday. I’d known him for about six months and it was a leap of faith going with him at this point in our relationship. He was tall, dark, very good looking. Jay never passed a shop window without checking his appearance. He believed in equality of the sexes unlike some guys I’ve met. He was always happy to let me pay my way.
I suppose I was using this as a test to see whether our relationship had any future. Would we get on ok on holiday? How would he cope with the tedium of waiting for the plane? He sat there, frowning at the noisy, blond toddler playing planes, zooming around near our seats.
I smelled a nauseating odour at the crowded gate, where we would be shortly departing. It was so bad I had to rush past the curious, staring faces to the Ladies to throw up. I knelt on the floor, gasping, retching, and clutched the cold white ceramic toilet bowl. I remembered this stink from before.

The above is from Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 (the famous “No Dragons” issue). You can read the rest of Liz Tuckwell’s Some People Smell Roses along with several other amazing stories between its captivating covers (and we both hope you do!)

Find Liz Tuckwell online at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon, and her website.

Have you been Harveyed?

The kind, wise, and wonderful folks at Sixth Element Publishing included four of my flash pieces in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 and I’m repaying that kindness by showcasing the opening from each author’s work for the next few weeks.

 
Read

Next up, a taste of Mark Hayes’s Mandrake.

Enjoy!