I was lying in bed on a Saturday PM, doing little other than stinking of B.O and at the mercy of the Youtube algorithm. For unremarkable times like these there is only one remedy. I put on my hardened sports socks, bright yellow Porto shorts, old grey t-shirt, and running shoes and ambled through the hall, through the door out into the misty world.
I went to the brook and ran with its shallow green water. Our paths parted, forever, by what was once poppy fields, now a grand-spanking new housing estate perfect for the rearing of children. Millennium Park next, an elevated, contoured park bordered with young apple trees, hawthorns and elders sleeved with yellow lichen. A great view of the village to my left, standing imperiously at the heart of it all, the church, a perfectly symmetrical black tower, cornered with black spires. Still there.
An old man wandered along the path with a dog, he was wearing a beige jacket, he was probably from the 50s. I ran past him twice, and he seemed oblivious. I wondered what world he was inhabiting and if I was heading for somewhere similar one day.
I passed a farm and took an alleyway, cutting through the fields. As I trudged through the sloppy mudprints of horse hooves I saw something amongst the ivy that caused me to hesitate.
It was a bright orange and white plate of fungus at the foot of a rotting bough. I inspected it, curious to see if it had grown there, or ended up there by some other means. I wanted an insight into the texture, so I picked up a nearby twig and began poking. It was soft, and I peeled it back to find another dense layer of this orange and white softness. Whatever it was, it had long passed its glory days. I had seen enough, I returned the muddy path. Little did I know, it would be a matter of seconds before I was to pause again.
And what was it this time? This time it was wearing a burgundy coat, had big brown conkers for eyes, and had a shaggy old silver mane. It had stopped at a clearing of the hawthorn bushes, and stood there waiting for me, ready to give me the long frightful stare that a useless young chappy like me deserves.
I wanted to show him that I was friend so I reached out my hand to pat his head. The horse erupted into neighs and rode off in a strop. I jogged onward and heard the thumping of hooves on the ground as the horse wheeled round.
When I reached the final clearing by the path I found my hoofed foe, waiting again, only now its snout was poking out further than the last time. I took this is a threat, and slightly fearful, decided whether it would be best to retreat. If I showed the audacity to continue along my way, might not the beast follow through with his ire, leaping over the barbed wire, and in a few graceful equine stomps, trampling my helpless body into the mud, and leaving me there, stuck and rolling around, cold and helpless until some dull village person happens to be strolling merrily down the path, who will most likely upon seeing my muddy, maimed body, scream and sprint back home to their dull spouse and dull children, and traumatised, never speak of what they saw this day again, leaving me to a muddy, long and dignifying death, later to be reported in a small two paragraph section of the Metro?
I found my bollocks and they drove me forward. And so it was in fact the old beast that retreated, defeated now, cowering back from whence it came, crying out across the fields to the neighbouring farms to his horsey friends, begging for emotional support.
And so it was I who galloped, springing triumphantly from step to step through the village, all the way home, back to my ordinary life. For the rest of the day, at least.