A few months ago, I decided to fulfil my life-long dream to write a novel. I am still in the planning phase at the moment, but every chance I get, I try to write creatively, usually from the viewpoint of my characters to help me give them depth and realism.
Today though, I felt the urge to write something different during my lunch break based on the spooky and very atmospheric weather caused by the red sun, it’s only short and entirely fictional.
I jumped at the sound of a hinge from a nearby wooden fence as it squeaked and slammed shut in the ferocious wind. My curly hair an uncontrollable swirl of red above my head.
Even the crunch of a fallen leaf underfoot seemed amplified because, save for the whistling wind, all other sounds fell silent.
I wasn’t usually this skittish and certainly not in the daytime. It was only lunchtime but an orange-red haze hung over everything like a heavy-handed Instagram filter and the sky fell low and thick in an angry gradient of black and grey, making it feel much later.
Although the sharp wind bit at my exposed hands and face like an army of shivering teeth, the warmth of my moving made the day feel mild for mid-October and I wondered whether I needed my leather jacket after all.
Before I could decide a strong, audible breath of wind blew through me lifting piles of dead leaves off the ground in a melancholy dance and I became very aware of how alone I was in this vast open field, hidden by the swaying trees and cut off from the distant road by a wide icy lake.
Before I turned to head back, a lone white horse came into view ahead of me; elegant and regal, beckoning me closer to it and therefore further away from familiarity. I chose not to let my paranoia get the better of me and carried on with my walk towards the white horse.
It felt like a couple of minutes had passed but when I checked my watch it had been half an hour, had I got so lost in my thoughts that time had run away with me, or could my watch need a new battery? I’d decided not to take my phone with me so that I could enjoy some respite from my screen, but I now wished I had so that I could double-check the time. I glanced up towards the white horse and it was nowhere to be seen, I felt my stomach tighten, it was as though I had blacked-out temporarily and imagined the whole thing, I turned around to head back and there it was, white coat illuminated by the orange glaze, could it be possible that I had walked straight past it?
Another gust of wind screeched past me and I decided to head back after all. I hurried towards the white horse trying to keep my thoughts centralised on my breathing so that they couldn’t become blurred again.
It wasn’t working so I decided to count backwards from 60, this way my mind had something to focus on and it was easier not to drift away, 58,57,56…
I stopped and turned back to see how far I had gone, and glaring down on me was the sun, enormous, fiery and bright red like I’d never seen it before.
It didn’t hurt my eyes to look directly at it so I stood mesmerised as my heart beat in my chest like pounding drums.
I turned to continue heading back and the white horse was gone, as though it was never there. I was back in the spot I was before, facing home, I glanced down, my watch showed 30 minutes earlier, it was as though I’d never carried on after deciding to head back the first time.
Slowly I turned my head, heart still pounding, my body temperature rising so much so that I felt suffocated by my thick leather jacket.
The white horse was there, the same position as before but it felt clearer now, I could make out flecks of grey across its back and nose and a light gold tainted its tail.
I could feel the red sun glaring down on me hauntingly but I dared not look up, for the rest of the journey I kept my eyes forward and didn’t stop. Once I was back on the main road I glanced back, neither the sun nor the horse was in sight.