Dolly pushed her nose against my shoulder. Warm smells of manure and hay and horse enveloped me.
‘Go on, now,’ I said, gently pushing her back.
She sensed something was different, a wrongness that made her nod and kick the stable door.
‘All right, I know.’ I pressed my face against hers, felt the brush of her whiskery lips, soft as kid gloves.
I turned then, hefted my pack and crossed the yard, cobbles and runoff slipping under my boots.
Mother stood at the farmhouse door, arms folded, a barrier never to be crossed. I nodded and she slipped back inside without a word.
Tom paced at the crossing, tipping his cap back when he saw me. ‘For King and Country, then,’ he said.
Poppies shivered on the bank along the lane, a scarlet ribbon leading us on to adventure.
‘For King and Country,’ I said.
Written for Crispina Kemp’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge. Use the photograph to take you to different worlds. See here to join in.
And to accompany the story, an apt song from the time.