by Rebecca Turkewitz
When Tom was younger his sister once had told him that bad dreams were called nightmares because a monstrous, red horse crashed through children’s darkened rooms at night to deliver them. For many years after that Tom had hid underneath layers of blankets, imagining the cracking of hooves, the damp heat of rancid breath steaming up the window beside his bed, and the grotesque bone-white glare of the horse’s furious eyes. But this fiery red mare is no longer every footstep in the leaves behind him, nor every shadow that passes across the moon. Last night, for the first time in years, Tom dreamt of the mare — the horse’s fierce eyes were stained a jaundiced yellow, and Tom could hear the faint click of arthritis in its joints. Tom awoke with a strange lonely feeling tightening in his chest; he watched the moon all night, but he never saw the horse glide slowly across. There was a shadow once, but he knew it was only a cloud, or a bat, or a bird.
Rebecca Turkewitz recently graduated college, and currently spends most of her time looking for jobs, eating her parents’ food, and throwing potlucks.