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A Midsummer Quest

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A man and his horse under the sweltering sun, baking in the coal oven of the world—some terrifying misinterpretation of what one might call freedom. This is h*ll. Here, a man is truly free—to roam about in the endless land of fire until he settles down with the torture of his choice.

You’re not quite there yet. You’re horribly lost.

The thought crosses your mind once, and then once more, that you might actually be dead. The more you think about it, the more plausible it seems. You can even hear the vultures shrieking overhead. Maybe you’re currently lying face down on the scorched Earth, a half-eaten carcass. Maybe this is all just a final flash of some dystopian nightmare—the last thing you’ll see. Maybe it will all be over soon.

But that’s just wishful thinking.
The undulating beat of the horse’s hooves on the dusty trail is all too real. Stupid brute of an animal refuses to go any faster. It’s no good, just a lazy, oversized mule.

“Giddy up, boy!” never registers in its mind nor is it phased by a good kick to the side.

Miles away, the future-missus is waiting. Apparently, she’s so beautiful that once you lay your eyes on her, all your pain is going to melt away. Your mind will be filled with amorous sentimentality as you waft her perfume and run your fingers through the long waves of her silky, dark hair. When you kiss her, angels will flap their wings and God’s personal gospel choir will take a trip down from heaven to sing in your ear. She’ll give you a smile, a giggle (and then some) and it’ll all be worth it, they say.

You know better than that. You know from experience that women never stay beautiful, unless they’re mute or die young. You know that what you really have to look forward to in a few years will be a house full of rascals and an ungrateful harpy who steals your hard-earned money. Maybe you should thank your sluggish steed. There’s no need to rush impending doom.

Yet, you give the reins a yank because you know what everyone will say if you return home alone. They’d scoff, shake their heads, take turns jeering behind your back.

“Giddy up, boy!” you yell, kicking its side.

No, you’re going to prove them wrong or die trying.



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