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SmokeLong Quarterly

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The Four Horses

Story by G.A. Ingersoll September 15, 2006

1. Once upon a time, there were four horses standing near the edge of time. One said, “Jump!” and all of the others did, sailing off into infinity. The last horse became lonely and wished he hadn’t said what he had.

2. Once there were four horses. Each horse was a different color: dun, piebald, chestnut, blue, you know the drill. One got jealous of the others and made a little altar in her stall. Soon, all the horses had mange except for her. You would think she would feel guilty, but she did not.

3. Once in a while the four horses would get together and talk about the old neighborhood. They agreed that none of the younger generation appreciated their sacrifices. They stood in a circle and chuffed in indignation. Soon a wild pony turned up dead of poisoned oats. In public they decried vigilantism, but in private they snickered.

4. Once every four years, the horses got together and put on a little show. They wore top hats and ball gowns. They put silver and gold streaks in their manes and polished their teeth with clover. They tap danced to the old songs and cheered and cheered and cheered. And everyone agreed that it had been that way since the beginning of time.

About the Author

A past Pushcart nominee, G.A. Ingersoll’s work has appeared in journals including CutBank, Whalelane, Snow Monkey and The West Wind Review. She can be reached at gaingersoll@gmail.com.

This story appeared in Issue Fourteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fourteen
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Next Date to Join: January 1!

On September 1, SmokeLong launched a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop is happening right now on our dedicated workshop site. If you choose to join us, you will work in a small group of around 10-12 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft in a community.