flashfic

The Sunlit Horse

The magician’s son crouched over the wooden horse that his father had made for them. The two of them had sneaked out when the night drew down over tower and shore and sea like a blanket sewn bright with comets and constellations and the ebbing crescent of the moon. They had listened so carefully for the downwards footsteps of the magician, and of his great yawn (he had a very loud yawn), and the quiet that indicated, they hoped, that he had curled up in bed with one of his books.

At first it had been wonderful. They had ridden along the night winds, trading riddles and rhymes and the occasional half-formed limerick, and skimmed the foam-pearled waves. The horse had whickered softly, lowly, and hippocampuses with their wide green eyes and tangle-curled manes and their songs, sweet and barbed like mer-song toward the high tilt of the midnight stars. The magician’s son wasn’t sure he trusted them–their teeth, white like shells scoured pale, looked very sharp–but the horse flicked its ears friendly fashion, and the hippocampuses sang back and didn’t come too close, so that was all right.

They went up into the sky, then, and saw the dark humped shapes of islands that might have been sea serpent coils, it was impossible to tell. They saw bioluminiscent jellyfish in ever-changing kaleidoscope drifts. They saw flowers that rose from the depths of the sea and sank back down, all between one breath and the next, and perfumed the air with a scent like that of lilacs and limes. Sometimes the wind blew warm and sometimes it blew cold, and in every case the magician’s son could all but taste the ice-fruit of stars at the tip of his tongue when he breathed it.

It was on the way home, hurrying to be back in bed before the sun rose and the magician caught them, that the mishap happened. They were on the way back into the tower, through the window they had left open. But the horse was tired after the long night of wonders they had witnessed, and when there was a sudden gust, he careened into the side of the tower. He swerved so that the magician’s son would not be harmed, but in the process his foreleg cracked at the knee, and dangled perilously as he limped into the room and onto the bed.

The magician’s son put blankets around the injured horse, then, and ran for his father in tears. His father had heard the collision, and was already on his way up the stairs. The magician didn’t ask what had happened. You didn’t have to be a magician, or a father, for that matter, to know. Instead, he told his son to pet the horse’s yarn mane and soothe the horse while he went to his workshop to begin the repair.

First the magician took measurements from the other foreleg. Then, with a net of morning glory eyes and seagull cries, the magician captured a solid beam of sunlight. He carved the sunlight into another leg–magicians have their ways–and then used a sander to smooth it so that its light sparkled and glimmered and glowed amber-welcoming.

At last he went upstairs, to where his son was waiting with anxious eyes, and fastened the replacement leg on. “Be more careful next time,” he said, not too reprimanding. The horse nuzzled him with its worn wooden nose. Then he yawned his great yawn and invited them both downstairs to breakfast, and they all went together, whole of limb and whole of heart.

For SR. Prompt: sander, son.

I love the variety of prompts people send me, and the things I learn from them.  In this case, the internet made my job much easier.  The only power tool I have any experience with is a variable heat gun (fountain pen repair), so I had to do a little research.