Friday, February 9, 2018

Eulogies 101 - Nakia

The house is long demolished and the once pristine five acres surrounded by cyclone fence bearing the developer’s logo. It used to be a pretty, semi-rural part of the neighbourhood but development encroached and the once tranquil landscape was now dotted with McMansions and Townhouses. The whole street is a construction site and barely recognisable. 

As the bulldozer breaks drought hardened earth, the operator suspends his bucket and climbs down from his yellow tower of destruction.

“Holy shit!” he mutters to himself. 

There’s a sliver of red acrylic blanket, now slowly decomposing, it’s satin ribbon trim nibbled by some subterranean animal and the bleached bone of something protruding from beneath.

As with all ‘finds’ of this type, work halts and the police are called. Forensics pin ‘do not disturb’ ribbon around the grave and gently prod away at the remaining earth. The body is not human.

Two friends listened to an unintelligible auctioneer while only one man placed a bid.

“ You got any money?” she asked gingerly, as the flashy paint was paraded before them. 

She’d never been to an auction before, let alone one selling livestock. The guy bidding next to her was from the knackery and the horse in front was simply stunning.  Stocky quarter horse type, decked out in western gear, all 15 hands of him prancing with his head tucked in, his mane shaven and resembling Alexander's Bucephalus - an arched neck and broad chest, fearless, strong.  

“Well" the friend responded albeit gingerly, "I have mum and dad’s Cheque book while they’re overseas so yes, I have some money but you’ll have to pay me back before they come home!”

That was all it took. That day, the knackery would not claim it's victim. She cajoled some cow hand to load the Galloway onto a truck and transport him to surburbia.  Yes, suburbia. She had nowhere to put the pony but the back yard. From a humble start, he was moved over the years, agisted and eventually had his very own paddock. Three acres of lush fodder, the shade of soaring gum trees and here he remained, happy with himself, not so much with her.

He was a fun purchase. Obstinate, beautiful, delicious to ride with a rocking chair canter that could put his rider to sleep. “Nikky” as she called him was both a bane and an asset. Impossible to catch without three people surrounding him with a sturdy rope, an adept escape artist. A horse with two speeds, stop and fast! A horse that could turn on a sixpence and dislodge it's rider easily. A horse that knew when he was heading home, no matter where he was or whether he’d been along that trail before.  He’d then proceed to prance and jog for the entire stretch. She’d even had to have physiotherapy just after she bought him, his pull had all but dislocated her shoulder.  But he was good in a parade, easy to shoe and tend to when the vet was required.  He was happy with his own company and unafraid of a hose or float.

Only when true love came her way did she begin to neglect him. Boys and cars gave way to  such girlish pursuits as pretty ponies. He was no longer ridden, just fed and watered. No longer loved or pampered. He just wasted away as old men do.

It was a particularly wonderful night with celestial bodies lighting her path from the house to the paddock.  She prepared his meal of mushed oats and chaff, rice oil and molasses, a recipe that wouldn’t place big demands on his worn teeth. He wasn’t standing next to the trough as was his habit, he wasn’t standing anywhere. Her gaze dropped from the starlight night to a small patch of black and white, lying, breathing heavily. Weak with age, he’d stumbled into an indent in the ground and simply decided not to rise. 

She hand fed the wet grain and he ate eagerly, heartily despite barely being able to raise his head, she had the feeling that he knew this was his last meal.  The stars disappeared and became blanketed with clouds as a mizzling of precipitation dampened his summer coat, the temperature dropped. She ran back to the house and retrieved an old red acrylic blanket with a satin trim. It was almost new but a befitting shroud for a once noble steed. She covered him and left him.

His death was rapid and comfortable, the vet’s green dream taking immediate effect. She couldn’t watch. She called the back-hoe owner and asked him to bury the frail pony in the back paddock but while she wasn’t home. Too undignified to watch Nikky covered with clay, hoisted into a humongous hole dug by a 50T excavator and a man who didn’t give a shit from his yellow tower of destruction.

She marked the grave with a little cross, his full name emblazoned on it carelessly but visible.

It didn’t stand the test of time, but neither did he. Foxes had dug into the mound over the years, after them, rabbits made part of it their home.

Eventually another excavator surrounded by a cyclone fence bearing the name of a developer, dug into the hole and retrieved the bones. The driver descending from his yellow tower of destruction.  At first shocked, then relieved, then angry that progress had been halted by the grave.

The remains were not human.

Bunwarra Nakia 
 Cranky Bastard
1977 – 1992 

Posted for the 10th River of Mnemosyne Challenge
Muse 1 "Lights From Heaven"


  1. Aw...

    There's a jolt when you switch timelines.

    I had to look up "agist!"

  2. Nice bit of story. You and horses. Yeah, could have used more of a break to signal the switch, but like what I read.

  3. And now I has a sad. Agree about the timeline jump.