American library books » Other » Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan (readict TXT) 📕

Read book online «Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan (readict TXT) 📕».   Author   -   Greg Buchanan



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 78
Go to page:

SIXTEEN HORSES

GREG BUCHANAN

Contents

1.

2.

PART ONE: ILMARSH

Day One

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

Day Two

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

One Month Ago

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Day Three

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

Two Years Ago

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

Day Three

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

PART TWO: THE HOLE IN THE WORLD

Day Four

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE

CHAPTER FORTY

CHAPTER FORTY-ONE

CHAPTER FORTY-TWO

CHAPTER FORTY-THREE

CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR

Two Weeks Later

CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE

CHAPTER FORTY-SIX

THE HORSES

Day Twenty-Four

CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER FORTY-NINE

CHAPTER FIFTY

Day Twenty-Five

CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE

CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO

CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE

Day Twenty-Six

CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR

CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE

CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX

PART THREE: A BIRTH OF SMILES

Day Twenty-Seven

CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT

Day Twenty-Eight

CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE

Day Thirty

CHAPTER SIXTY

CHAPTER SIXTY-ONE

CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO

Day Thirty-One

CHAPTER SIXTY-THREE

CHAPTER SIXTY-FOUR

Twenty Years Ago

CHAPTER SIXTY-FIVE

Day Thirty-One

CHAPTER SIXTY-SIX

CHAPTER SIXTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER SIXTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER SIXTY-NINE

CHAPTER SEVENTY

Day Thirty-Five

CHAPTER SEVENTY-ONE

Day Thirty-Nine

CHAPTER SEVENTY-TWO

CHAPTER SEVENTY-THREE

CHAPTER SEVENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER SEVENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER SEVENTY-SIX

CHAPTER SEVENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER SEVENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER SEVENTY-NINE

CHAPTER EIGHTY

CHAPTER EIGHTY-ONE

CHAPTER EIGHTY-TWO

Day Forty

CHAPTER EIGHTY-THREE

PART FOUR: SIXTEEN HORSES

CHAPTER EIGHTY-FOUR

CHAPTER EIGHTY-FIVE

CHAPTER EIGHTY-SIX

CHAPTER EIGHTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER EIGHTY-NINE

CHAPTER NINETY

CHAPTER NINETY-ONE

CHAPTER NINETY-TWO

CHAPTER NINETY-THREE

CHAPTER NINETY-FOUR

CHAPTER NINETY-FIVE

CHAPTER NINETY-SIX

CHAPTER NINETY-SEVEN

CHAPTER NINETY-EIGHT

CHAPTER NINETY-NINE

CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED

CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND ONE

CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND TWO

EPILOGUE

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

For Charlotte

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’

Robert Frost (1922)

1.

Tufts of cloud burned black before the sunrise, the horizon littered with the flotsam of old and rusted silhouettes. They were alone.

‘Chemtrails,’ the farmer had said to Alec, early on their walk. Other than this, he had been silent.

And now their torches revealed the edge of a bank, right before the crest of a shallow stream that cut through the farmer’s reclaimed marshland. Along its muddy edge and all around, the reeds sang with flies and crickets and buntings.

‘Where are they?’ Alec asked, shivering. It was 6.55 a.m. He’d left his jacket in his patrol car.

‘There weren’t any sheep over here,’ the farmer said, ignoring the question. He leapt over the bank, his boots slipping slightly on the incline. ‘They normally love coming over here.’

Alec stared at the mud, and the farmer grinned, his cheeks ruddy beneath his dirty white beard. With that thick wax coat and that gut and that voice, he could have been a lunatic Santa Claus. ‘You won’t fall,’ he said. ‘Not afraid of a little dirt, are you, Sergeant Nichols?’

‘No.’ Yes. ‘I just hope you aren’t wasting my time. And these flies . . .’ Alec swatted one away from his rolled-up sleeve, a great bulbous thing that had nestled on the hairs of his forearm. He was food for this whole place.

‘Try covering up next time,’ the farmer said.

Alec grimaced. He stepped back, tensing before rushing over the ditch. He came down with a thud, right into the thick and gelatinous mud. He splattered his black trouser legs and the farmer’s jeans.

The other man tutted, smiling. ‘What have we come to, eh?’

Alec brushed at the muck around his ankles, but this only spread it further. His palms grew filthy.

The farmer walked on.

He gestured past a large, half-empty water tank around two hundred feet away, its translucent plastic grown stained with time, the smear of a smile where fluid had lapped within. ‘We found them near there.’ His face fell.

Alec checked his watch. 7.06 a.m.

The sun would soon rise.

They kept on, the silence drowned out by the buzzing of the flies and the distant hellos of scraggly sheep out there in the semi-darkness.

‘Jean’s moving out,’ the farmer said. ‘Did you know?’

‘Who?’

‘Jean . . . The lady who lives down the lane,’ the farmer said, frowning. ‘She’s moving out, selling up her farm.’

‘Oh yes, Jean . . .’ His voice drifted. ‘I saw the sign.’ Alec had driven past it on the way here, a farm twice the size of this one, its animals and land and people in far better condition. He had not known the name. He knew few out here. One more reminder that he did not belong, he supposed.

‘They’re selling up to live with family, so she says.’

‘I think I saw them in town a few times,’ Alec said. They were almost at the water tank, at the smile. ‘Were they the ones who made those wagon wheels? They’d mix sausage meat into a kind of – well, kind of cinnamon swirl, I suppose. It’s delicious. Did you ever try one?’

He swatted another fly away from his face.

‘No,’ the farmer said. ‘I’m a vegetarian.’

‘Really? My wife tried doing that a few years back, and—’

‘No,’ the farmer said, and the conversation died.

The world was still dark, even if only for a little while. The sun was almost free. The day had almost begun.

Fifty feet away, the field gave way to freshly tilled brown soil, forming mounds everywhere on the uneven earth. Chalky rocks littered the plot in every direction. Each step in this place was as muddy and wet as the last.

Further still, a thin metal fence marked the edge of the land, clots of wool decorating the wire like fairy lights where the sheep had once tried to break through.

But there were no animals in sight now. There was nothing but detritus.

‘I don’t see what—’

‘There,’ the farmer interrupted. ‘In the ground.’

Alec looked down. For a moment, he saw nothing but dirt.

‘I don’t—’

Alec stopped talking, a breeze moving past them both. Something shook along the soil.

He removed his torch and stepped forward, pointing its light at the source. Just three feet away, almost the same colour as the mud itself, there lay a great mound of black hair, coiled in thick and silken spirals.

He moved closer and knelt down. He wiped his hands on his trouser legs, reached into his pockets, and pulled out a pair of latex gloves. He tried to pull them on in one smooth motion, but his fingers – clammy, damp from the walk – clung to the latex before he could get them fully in. He had to inch each one into place before he could touch those cold dark circles. He stared at them all the while.

He lifted some of the hair up, surprised

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 78
Go to page:

Free e-book: «Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan (readict TXT) 📕»   -   read online now on website american library books (americanlibrarybooks.com)

Comments (0)

There are no comments yet. You can be the first!
Add a comment