Kenneth Gill


(A selection from Eli Cash’s oft neglected and early novella The Equuitorial Nightmare)

Upon entering the decrepit and long forgotten farm of his childhood, Pritchard was filled with a subversive
emptiness he hadn't felt since the time he accidental discovered the duck carcass by the creek. Yet,
despite this unpronounceable feeling (or, perhaps because of it), Pritchard did not forget this recalcitrant re-entrance into his past. His return was instigated by a recurring nightmare: namely, that of driving the regal equus back to the stable. Everything seemed fine and normal in the dream until he looked into the eyes of one of the equi, but found instead a dark and void cavity.

Now, standing at the entrance to the old farm, he gazed at the place where so many years ago he tended he tended to the equi. If any answers to his the strange and disturbing dream were to be found, they would surely be found here, at the genesis of his maligned past. Slowly he walked down the old and battered dirt road to the farmhouse of his childhood. The sun was setting and set the sky a blood red, giving unsettling highlights to the various grasses and mud formations on the side of the road. The dirt road was still damp from a light rain earlier in the day and Pritchard’s boots made squicking sounds as he anxiously and cautiously trudged towards the farmhouse and stable that haunted him in dream-life.

Pritchard’s attention quickly turned to his right as he caught a glimpse of something morbidly shining red. His thoughts raced with the various possible and gruesome identities for the mysterious object, from severed hand to equus head. “Don’t be so stupid and jumpy,” he muttered to himself just as he saw that the object was in fact nothing more than an old tin can, still lined with the remnants of what had once been
tomato soup.

He continued forward toward the farmhouse.

To relieve his mind of the nervousness and sanguinity that had given him such a start, Pritchard attempted
to remember the new life he had found after leaving life on the farm. He was twenty years old when he left, but the transpiring events that led him to abandon that life began on his seventeenth birthday. His parents, seeing his maturity and growing responsibility, had decided to give him one of the equi from the stable. Any equus he chose would be acceptable, and as such the decision was made twice as difficult. Pritchard Spent an entire week on this decision, as his choice would not only be permanent, but would also offend the equi not chosen. He had grown very close to them in past years and knew each of their personalities as well as or perhaps even more than he knew his own family’s.

There was Chas, who usually acted as leader of the equi but was quick to rescind his control of the group
if the need arose. Maria gave guidance and support to her fellow equi and played a more important role than
she was usually given credit for. Tovi often was quiet around the other equi but knew the best places on the prairie to find food and the most exciting areas to in which to gallop. Stacey was the most energetic of all the equi and could often be seen galloping and bobbing her head up and down as if listening to the beat of a far-off song. Malinda was a rebellious equus and though willing to participate with the others, she would often have to be forced into it. She was often seen trotting along with Chris, who was very much like her in most respects. Sleepy was a very creative equus, yet seemingly as a result of this creativity he was also troubled and needed the encouragement of his fellows quite often.

After carefully reviewing their personalities and acquainting himself more closely with their equine charms, Pritchard made his seminal decision. He chose…

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