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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by Lionel Walfish


A bitter man receives the wisdom to adjust his attitudes about his life from an unimaginable source.


 Flash Fiction

 Nicholas Cochran



With a square clenched jaw, Emmitt carried his anger and frustration across the lawn. ‘Why am I so damn uptight? I could kill them!'

He sucked in a deep breath, while quickening his pace. Heels of his brogues left a messy path of divots in Charlie’s superior landscaping, a fact Emmitt immediately saw, but didn’t care a rat’s.  

At the juncture of the lawn and the porte cochere of his elegant house, Emmitt stopped on the grass fringe next to the macadam and looked west. This was the vista he conjured whenever he was ill, or lonely, or—as he was now—outraged, and packing a ton of bile. ‘How could they do this to me?’

He forced his eyes to view the magical panorama that never failed to jumpstart his endorphins; to magically consume his irritations. Rolling waves of manicured verdure billowed downward, to the cliffs hanging over the great river. Instantly, he sensed his pulse subsiding. His breathing eased. A sigh loosened the clutch in his throat. He thought he might cry; or laugh. A horse appeared. The vision startled Emmitt The steed was pure white with white hair. It stood motionless. Its posture gave the appearance of floating. It was domineering, majestic, proud; almost regal.

The animal stood some fifty yards off, down the terraces. It stood perfectly still, shimmering in the undulating waves of heat. It held its head in the elevated pose of conquest. Curiously, there were no humans present. Emmitt never encountered this creature before. His neighbors, the Johnsons, owned neither stables nor horses. There were no equine boarding facilities for miles.

Emmitt sensed an irresistible compulsion. He started to walk slowly toward the animal. He immediately imagined he heard voices in his head. The voices somewhat resembled dissonant communications being relayed to him through the sunny afternoon ether—from the location of the steed.

The sounds of summer stopped. Emmitt walked; the steed did not. Emmitt arrived in front of the horse. He reached out to stroke the nose of the majestic beast. No words were necessary. There was a silent telegraph between them; some perverse topsy turvy Darwinian recalibration of horse thoughts and human thoughts, which slowly reduced to a series of words that Emmitt understood, but couldn’t believe.

The anger and frustration you feel, Emmitt, are entirely a result of your failure to be thoughtful and kind. You have not been generous toward the failings of others. Once you begin to permit those emotions, and firmly determine to abide them—even promote them—in every day of your life, your anger and your frustration—and I—will disappear.

Emmitt raised his head to look into the convex blue eyes of this Delphic apparition. He saw pools of blue, illuminated by flashes of ocular lightning; fireworks of communication; signs of the inmost sincerity.

Abruptly, some inner untapped vent opened in Emmitt, thrusting a burst of warmth through his chest, his heart, and into his consciousness. He instantly embraced a profound reorganization of his attitudes; attitudes about his wife, his children, his friends, and especially his mother. Emmitt was blocking her out of his life in a manner he knew was foolish and shortsighted; and, in many ways, cruel.

Bonhomie suffused Emmitt’s entire being. He stared at the lushness of the grass beneath his feet while he reset his jaw in a determined fashion; a moral sea change fashion; a fundamentally human fashion. He blinked away tears of self-discovery and joy.

He breathed in deeply and raised his eyes .The steed was gone. Emmitt smiled. He did not bother to look left or right—or in any direction. Although Emmitt never saw the horse before, he understood the horse was always there, and would continue to be there. As he turned back to approach his mansion with its treasures and its easy charm, Emmitt heard a whinny from somewhere far off, down near the shore, beneath the cliffs. He translated this sound as: au revoir, mon ami.

Then he cried.



Submitted: January 19, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Lionel Walfish

Good one, Nicholas!
I firmly believe in these types of connections, particularly regarding horses and dogs. There is an unspoken understanding. (They tell me elephants, as well, but that I've not experienced.)
You've put feelings into words with much craft!
Thank you!

Tue, January 19th, 2016 1:39pm

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