In the same week when I managed the Judge's Pick at Microcosms 60, I was also runner up with this poem which included the elements: night manager, remote road and poetry. I wanted to create a sense of place, of nighttime isolation but also a feeling of tranquility and belonging. I like to think I achieved that.
Neon colours my life
Signing my presence
Across the night
On this nowhere road
Occasional gold dazzles briefly
Beams picking out
Before zooming away
Behind me, the jukebox stirs
Plays the blues
A desolate soundtrack
Drowning out the silence
Of my isolation
I stand at the door
Surveying my kingdom
A cool breeze riffling my hair
As I measure the miles of nothing
In either direction
Me and the landscape
Fit together perfectly
Deserted and desolate
In our solitary selves
This little tale was the Judge's Pick for Microcosms 60. The spinner gave me the following elements to include: veterinarian, horse ranch, horror.
Cold metal hit stone. An anxious whicker, then silence. Margaret walked between the stables. She didn’t mind the nightshift, preferring the muffled dark, the sense of calm, of tranquility. Somewhere, an owl hooted and, as she raised her eyes, a silvery ghost flew across the velvet sky.
Margaret walked on.
The call had said the mare was in the end block, a distance now seeming further than it did in the light. The green mile, she thought, suddenly nervous, noticing how the horses became more restless the nearer she got to her goal. And it was no longer just metal on stone. Hooves kicked at wood, splintered timber; wild eyes and rabid mouths hung over rotting gates, the concrete beneath her turned to mud. Margaret looked behind her, saw only a void.
Another whicker at the end of the darkness.
Despite her terror, the sound of animal pain drew her on until she stood before an open stable; inside, a shape her eyes registered as a horse, but her brain denied the classification. Grotesque and swollen, something writhed beneath the animal’s skin.
“Deliver us,” murmured a voice in the darkness. “Deliver me.”
Margaret backed away only for the horse to turn its pitiful eyes on her, its suffering forcing her forward once more. Reluctantly, she probed the birth canal, grasped skin and bone, pulled the creature from its nightmare womb. From nowhere, skeletal hands reached out and ripped the amniotic sac from the newborn. Sick with horror, she watched it struggle to its feet, grow, become fully-formed. Then dark-shadowed Death mounted its pale horse and rode out into the world.
But Margaret didn’t see them go. A dormant blood clot lurking inside suddenly shifted, claimed her with a stroke. Death had been kind, delivering she who had delivered the End.
A writer - I think that says it all.