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The night my mother died, the horse in the barn started singing.

Its neck bulged, veins sticking out like ropes around a hanged man's throat. The old blind eyes stared at nothing, dumbly terrified of the same.

"Shut up, you old dumb bitch," I snapped at it. It had been my mother's horse. Better than a lawnmower, cheaper than a car, she used to say. But for the last few years, it had been too sick to eat and too weak to ride or pull a cart. It just stood in its stall, swaying on its broomstick legs and heaving its eyelids up and down over its smoggy eyes. We'd been an odd trio—my mom, her horse, and me. She refused to kill it, and it had probably been a better daughter to her than I had anyway.

They'd both started spitting out teeth as they aged, joined in an inter-species sisterhood I couldn't begin to understand. Lumps of bone tumbled out of their jaws and left behind muculent yellow holes emptier than any tooth ever could have filled. I remember the first one my mother lost. The image of her slumped in the bathroom, crying. Just there, and crying. "Oh, Missy, look! You can see it when I smile!"

I cried, too—later, alone, because my mother had never so much as broken a bone.

"I ought to take you out back and shoot you," I told the horse. The animal vomited sound into the empty well of the barn, and in the thin moonlight I caught the glint of its last tooth nestled in the straw.
This has been sitting in my notebook for well over six months now, and I would love critique on it if anyone has something to offer. Most importantly, I'm wondering: Does it ring true emotionally, and does it reach some sort of point/have some kind of meaning?

:heart:

Kate
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-06-30
Power in brevity: My Mother's Horse is by Kathryn-Walt. ( Featured by neurotype )
:iconchipchinka:
Chipchinka Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014   Writer
Daily deviation huh?  Yep!  It's definitely worth it!  Brilliant and congratulations!
Feel free to write more!
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:icon19375:
19375 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014
I love this so much. Incredibly poignant. <3
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Thank you! :heart:
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:iconlittlethings1:
LittleThings1 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, I sure am glad you got it out of your notebook, because this story is very thought-provoking and well written. Incredible work and I could not think of another person that deserves a DD more than this piece of writing. There's an eerie feel to this, but happy, yet sad, yet....I don't even know how to explain it, but its amazing. Keep it up you're going places with this kind of writing :) w00t! w00t! w00t! w00t! w00t! w00t! 
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Oh, wow, such high praise! Thank you very much! :heart:
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:iconlittlethings1:
LittleThings1 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It's no problem! Hope to see more:hugs: Hug 
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:iconfrostedfrozen:
FrostedFrozen Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I loved it!
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:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
I’m very happy for you!!! :iconloveloveplz: :tighthug:
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Gracias! :heart:
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:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconflyingheartsplz::iconsweethugplz::iconflyingheartsplz:
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:iconlittlemissindia1:
LittleMissIndia1 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Student Artist
Clap 
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:iconmomotsukinezumi:
MomotsukiNezumi Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow...I don't quite know how to explain how I feel about this, but this is just....raw. Raw and bittersweet and almost-but-not-quite vulgar, in the way that it presents itself. A stark, unfettered, frill-less picture of what appears to be an unpleasant, bitter-laced relationship of uneven sides and strangeness. I feel kind of like that horse kicked me, only the pain is delayed and sort of tamped down because of the age of the old creature.
The loss of teeth in particular is rather nerve-jangling to me, given that teeth are a way we define ourselves. We use our teeth to smile, to chew food, to show anger by baring incisors and molars alike and to show that hint of primordial instinct still left smouldering somewhere deep down within. Teeth mark how we grow up: we gain new teeth, and our "milk" or baby teeth can be kept as they fall out to mark our passage to adolescence and adulthood. When we grow older, they rot with use and age, and fall out, just as years pile up on our shoulders and sink us down into the embrace of Mother Earth's soil in death. To lose teeth, whether it be from age, sickness, a fight, or anything, really, is a sign of change, and it's rather frightening at times to see that change. How many times growing up has one of us seen an elderly person missing front teeth, and felt a chill with the knowledge of atrophy and fading memory?

Chilling. Just...chilling. It's a beautiful, but kind of numbing, and then when you reach the end the nova-cane shot wears off and you get the beginning impression of what promises to be pain. 
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Oh, thank you very much! I'm glad you found the piece so affecting and emotional, which is what I hoped it would be. I also really appreciate the time you took to write this very articulate and eloquent comment on my work--I agree with you wholly about the teeth. :) Very nice metaphor with the novocaine shot at the end, too. :heart:
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:iconrainbow-mufwin:
Rainbow-Mufwin Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
This is beautiful.
Just wonderful.
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:icondemoniccarnival:
DemonicCarnival Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I'll say that your work is very good, but I couldn't bring myself to like it. 

That's just because I have horses of my own, and the thought of anyone treating a horse like that bothers me.

But, good writing - You deserve the DD.
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
That's fair enough. This is definitely one of the more acrid pieces I've written, and I myself probably wouldn't characterize it as likable per se. But thanks for reading it! If it makes you feel any better, I myself would never treat a horse or any other living being this way (not least because I myself am terrified of horses in real life. :P).
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:iconari-heart-matsuri:
Ari-Heart-Matsuri Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is one of those things that sticks with you forever <3 hauntingly beautiful
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Thank you very much!
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:iconari-heart-matsuri:
Ari-Heart-Matsuri Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome!
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:icona1-65:
A1-65 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I wanna cry now ;-;
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Aww, don't do that! :hug:
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:icona1-65:
A1-65 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I wont
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:iconkaliew:
KalieW Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful.. :heart:
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:iconsquishyapple:
squishyapple Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Student Digital Artist
This... This is amazing!
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the mix of emotions the narrator runs through. Choosing teeth as the central image is very effective, too; even without the rest, we know what missing teeth look and feel like (and then there's always Freud).

The one line I'd consider eliminating is "emptier than any tooth ever could have filled," I think the boy after is powerful enough to make up for it.
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Gotcha. I see what you mean with that, and I very well might take out that phrase sometime soon. Thanks for the tip, and for reading, and for suggesting this for a DD! :heart:
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:iconsmartcookiethepony:
smartcookiethepony Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This story doesn't need any more words - it's absolutely perfect just like this. It's sad, slightly disturbing, and it all works so well. You totally deserved the Daily Deviation!
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Thanks! That's why I like flash fiction--it's a challenge to see how much you can cram into just a few hundred words. I'm glad it worked out for me here.
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:iconmojay30:
mojay30 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
I love it, and I get the message very well. It's strong and reaches out to a lot of children - especially daughters - from rebellions in their teen years and the feeling of anger, anguish, and sorrow that is brought out by a loss, and the resemblance of the horse and the mother. I think it's a wonderful short story and a job well done!
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it, and that it resonated with you emotionally. :)
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:iconschriftsteller:
schriftsteller Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014   Writer
Oh god. This kills me. I can relate to more of the themes than the actual plot but it does hit emotionally. It punched me in the gut at the end, for lack of a better, less cliche term. Fantastic work--- you earned your DD in spades.
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Thanks very much! I'm glad it was affecting, though I hope you're all right, and that all is well with you and yours. Best wishes, and thanks for the comment!
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:iconschriftsteller:
schriftsteller Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014   Writer
Oh, thank you! That's very sweet. I hope the same for you and that you continue to receive praise for your wonderful works.
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:iconcyander245:
Cyander245 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
:iconcongratsddplz:
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Medase. :)
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:iconstraygod:
straygod Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
well deserved
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:iconikebosev:
Ikebosev Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Student General Artist
No more words. Simply beautiful and somewhat disturbing...
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:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is wonderful, and so engaging and gripping, I loved every second of it, and the way it seems so factual but also so emotional but not in an overly-emotional way you know? You didn't over-do it and fall into the trap of embelishment
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Oh, good, I'm glad I didn't! Thanks very much for reading, and for your kind words. :)
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:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome!
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:iconstraygod:
straygod Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014
i like it.  there's some emotional detachment in relating the mother's deterioration to the horse's but it works as a possible study of dissociation from personal grief.  the statement that the narrator cries because of the loss of the tooth implies greater detachment and doesn't have the impact it should.  it might work better if that emotional hit comes at the end when the horse's tooth is found.  

'dumbly terrified' - the adverb is too simple here.  dumb and terrified might be stronger.  something to think about.
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Thanks for the tip! I'll keep it in mind when I go back to edit.
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:iconxxi-feel-infinitexx:
xXI-Feel-InfiniteXx Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I really can't make up my mind as to whether I love this or whether it disturbs me! You write this so well, the images are incredible and the voice in this is strong - it's an interesting topic to write about and you describe it from a point of view I'd never considered before. There is a sadness lingering in this for me, I think that's why I have hesitated to comment for a couple of days while I have thought it over. It's certainly emotive but in a different way than I expected, the contrast between my views and the seemingly harsh words of the narrator creates this sense of grief and discomfort - it really is a superb piece with a haunting ending to match. Great work, very thought-provoking :heart:
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
Thank you!! I was hoping it would be sort of thought-provoking. I didn't expect it to be disturbing, but maybe that's appropriate: death is disturbing, maybe even should be disturbing. And to be honest, the central image--the blind horse "singing"--is pretty eerie to me, too. Which is I guess why I wrote it. I shelved a book at the library called Where the Blind Horse Sings, and here we are.

Thanks for reading! I hope it didn't unsettle you too much! :heart:
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:iconxxi-feel-infinitexx:
xXI-Feel-InfiniteXx Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations on the DD, I thought it was deserved the first time I read this :heart: 
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Thanks very much! :heart:
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:iconchipchinka:
Chipchinka Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014   Writer
This really grabbed me.  There's a richness of emotion here: sadness comes to mind, but it's not really that simple.  Most emotions are never that simple, and I also love the fact that this is more observational than emotional.  All of the emotions are there: sadness, a kind of wistful longing, a certain sweetness, but none of it overpowers the other emotional elements and they all maintain a small bit of neutrality: the narrator is feeling those things but isn't wallowing in them.  I really like that!  This is quite an elegant piece of writing, and I agree that it has a haunting quality to it.  I also like the sense of maturity it has.  It's not maudlin at all: in fact, the narrator seems far more complex than many protagonists I've read, lately, and I like that: there's sadness in this person, there's a bit of anger, a touch of nostalgia that might indicate happiness--the kind that once existed but is now gone, leaving an empty socket, much like the gaping maw announcing the absence of a tooth.  This is superb.  This is really elegant writing.
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:iconkathryn-walt:
Kathryn-Walt Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
:blushes: Oh, wow! I'm so flattered, I don't even know what to say! One of the things that attracts me to flash fiction is the challenge of compressing a lot of emotion and complicated ideas into a very small amount of space. I'm so glad it worked! It sounds like you got just about exactly what I was hoping to give with this. Thank you for reading and commenting! :heart:
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