Original Short Story || This Is What We Do with the Horses

in #writing3 years ago (edited)


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The following story was written over the course of an hour as an exercise. The first sentence was created by a random first line generator, the rest is all me.

This Is What We Do with the Horses

“This is what we do with the horses,” she said as she sponged her mother's hot face, dripping water everywhere. It splashed red on the carnage that blanketed the stone floor. Rain pattered on the tin roof of the warehouse and moonlight broke through the boarded windows, illuminating the grizzly scene with a pale white light.

The old woman’s chin quivered as tears streamed down her face. Rebecca scoffed in disgust. “It was your choice to come here. You could have stayed at the camp.” She kicked aside a bloodied chainsaw and lifted the severed head. Her mother held her breath and watched. The stallion’s short goldenbrown hair caught the light like velvet. One half beautiful and untarnished, the other dark, matted, and wet.

A soft, mechanical whirring broke the silence. The machine’s four wheels sloshed through the scarlet muck. It stopped in front of Rebecca and relayed its message through rhythmic chirps only recognizable to the coalition faithful.

Rebecca cursed and drew the rifle from her back. “We waited too long.” Her mother sobbed. Rebecca grabbed her by the collar. “There’s no time for this. We have to move. Now.”

The woman stopped and wiped her eyes. She looked up. The barn doors exploded off their hinges.

With impossible speed, Rebecca fired. A red beam shot from her rifle through the great black horse’s throat. It collapsed at the entrance. Raindrops broke against its heaving chest as the fallen creature drew its final laboured breaths.

“We're too late. Tell John to form a line.”

Rebecca charged outside with gun drawn. Her aim was quickly broken by the shock of what lay just outside the warehouse. Her arms fell slack under the weight of her coming doom.

An army of riderless steeds stood at the top of the hill.


I don't know. Is it a good story? Is it a bad story? It's not much of a story really. More than anything, it's an exercise in prose.

When I read that first line, my imagination immediately turned to this scene of brutal carnage. I thought, okay, they're killing horses. Why? I came up with this patently ridiculous scenario of a dystopian future where horses have united again mankind, and the two species are fighting a brutal war.

My concept was silly, but the tone of the first line was very serious. Can tone turn the silly into something grounded and serious? That's what I wanted to try. I wanted to make a reader buy into the concept by committing to the tone and slowly revealing the premise as the story progressed. In fact, the truth doesn't fully come to light until the last line.

What do you think?

Did I succeed? Did I fail? Why?

What do you think of the story? How could I have improved it?

I'm writing to improve my writing. I'm happy to hear criticism.

Next week's first line: He looked at his phone, turned pale, then quickly left the room. She watched him, smiling.