Grey Mare

Colleen’s apartment didn’t have a fireplace, let alone a chimney, so the horse had to go around to the front door and knock. “I’m sorry,” she told it. “I know it’s not what you’re used to.”

“Doesn’t bother me none, ma’am,” it said, head twisted all the way around to talk to her. It was a bony thing, just a skeleton of a horse, really, except for the wings, which were huge and solid and gorgeous in their featheriness. “Nobody’s got fireplaces anymore, seems like. It’s all central heatin’.” The city was spread out below them; they were high enough up that the sun was still shining, the last golden wink of the day, but the city was in the mountain’s broad shadow and the streetlights were on. “Everything’s electrical now.”

“Do you miss the old way?” She closed her eyes as the horse spiraled south toward the ocean. “Fires and villages and pioneers, I mean. You know, pre-industrial stuff.”

“No’m,” said the horse. “I like things like this. Science stuff. Fireplaces are okay, I reckon, but nuclear reactors are better.” It turned its head away from her so she had to strain to make out what it said. “Someday maybe I’ll get up in one of the ships. Always did want to get into outer space.”