A cold east wind sighs tragically around the bleak tors and gulleys of the empty moor, and beats against the shutters outside my window.
I think again about the death of my parents. Why did they have to die? I feel so angry at them, I hate them. We were never close, I don't think I'd really say I loved them, they could never ever have understood me. I always tried to keep as much distance between us as possible, and I lied a lot. They never even knew who I was. Never.
I cried at the funeral, which I guess people must have thought was appropriate. If they knew, if they knew I wasn't crying for my parents at all, I was crying because of what had to happen next.
It's been eight weeks now, living with my grandparents up here on the moor. Eight weeks...
Eight weeks since we parted.
My grandparents said they simply didn't have the land and couldn't afford for me to bring Mercy with me. She was sold... sold.
I bite my lip. God, I hate my parents for dying. Now I've lost her, the one thing on earth that I ever really loved. Oh and I did love her.
With Mercy I came as close to feeling real as I ever have. When I was alone with her, I almost felt like a horse, like her stallion. I know I wasn't meant to be human, its all a terrible mistake. An awful, tragic, bitter, painful mistake. I am a horse. I should have been a horse.
While we were together I felt like a stallion; wild, not human, proud, so very alive. Now... Now I feel like, at best, a foal waiting in the slaughterhouse to die.
"Oh Mercy, I love you, god, I love you..."
I sob silently, cold tears stream down my expressionless face and drip onto the window sill.
It's over, it's all over now, there's just nothing. Nothing for me.
I tremble slightly, holding on to my consciousness with a desperate grip of terror. It feels like my heart, my mind, might just explode out of me, like I might just shatter.
There's nothing I can do now. I climb off the bed, heave on my boots and resolve to wander out onto the freezing moor, into oblivion, and die, like a starving pony, frozen in the snow.
Nothing means anything to me in this world, in this life, I just want to be a horse. At least I'll die like a horse.
I creep silently out of the house. I won't leave a note, nobody could possibly understand why I have to do this. Let them suffer. Suffer.
The bitter wind slashes at me as I crunch out across the snow and ice, towards "Horse Tor". It's just a pile of rock, but I guess it seems like the right place to die. A sign, a token, not that anyone will understand, even then. It's about a mile, I guess I can make it before I freeze.
I walk with a purpose, trembling, but only from the cold. The last tears I'll know slowly freezing on my face.
I can see the jagged silhouette of the stones, in the distance now. I think about the story that my grandmother told me about the tor.
Pointless superstition has it that, in the dark ages, King Alfred's great war-horse, the mare "Nuit", was killed in battle on that spot, and that Alfred erected the stones in her memory.
It's stupid of course, the stones are nothing more than part of the natural landscape up here. Cold granite scorched out of the earth by a thousand years of brutal gales.
I look at all this beautiful, tragic scenery, as I journey to my doom. I feel at home here, a wild pony stallion, trekking across the frozen gorselands, over crumbling stone, crisp icy snowfields. The sky above is filled with deep, dark, rippling threads of cloud against the bright sparkling firmament, like the empty ocean, vast. I beleive the clouds are of a type known locally as "mare's tails", heh, I almost smile.
Here it is, the blasted crag before me now is Horse Tor, thank god, for I can barely walk now.
I fall to my knees at the foot of the stone, the edge of the cliff, my bare arms sinking into the crackling frost and touching the ancient lith.
The wind here screams almost deafeningly through the tortured fissures in the stone, roaring through my ears like squealing horses, and finally... I surrender, and let it out, crying out to the four winds:
"I WANT TO BE A HORSE!!!"
Oh god, just let me die, let all end. I don't even know if I beleive in reincarnation but something in me just has to hope that, when I die, I'll be reborn, a stallion.
I press my body, my face, against the cold earth, close my eyes now, and let the bleak moor consume me.
I lie there in the dark, the cold eats into me like a parasite, chilling my blood, freezing my bones. I am dying.
Suddenly though, for a moment, I feel a warmth on the back of my neck.
Warm air brushes over me gently, and I open my eyes to see a thin cloud of heated air condensing over me. Oh god no, someone's found me!
I roll to my side painfully, and, lying almost prone on the slab, look up to see, a shadow standing over me.
A huge shadow.
Her beautiful dark eyes stare down at me, glinting in the stars, an expression of hopeless sorrow on her face. Her nostrils flare as she exhales heavily toward me again, and I feel the warmth of this massive, majestic black mare.
I am motionless, paralysed, I can no longer feel my body at all.
Then, I seem to hear, or feel, in my mind, a voice, or a thought maybe that seems to come from her. I know it comes from her.
"Come with me... brother.", she says.
The thought echoes in my head, rebounding through my memories, glittering down through my soul like the touch of an angel... "Brother.", she said... brother.
I writhe for a moment in the snow, unable to coordinate myself straight away, and then, trembling and awkward, rise to stand...
...on four hooves.