Tabitha lay on her stomach on the warm concrete, her head poking out the doorway of the yard. Absorbed in Black Beauty, it took several seconds to realise the thrumming hoof beats came not from the page but from the street. She looked up through sun-dazzle to see a palomino galloping in her direction. Before she could catch her breath, he thundered past and disappeared around the corner. In less than a heartbeat she was bounding up the stairs, yelling for her father.
Her father looked up from his newspaper. “A horse? Where?”
“In our street! Galloping down our street! A golden horse!”
Her father pointed to the book in her hand.
“Imagination or sunstroke?”
He laughed and went back to his paper.
Tabitha trailed back to the yard. She sat on the step, knees under her chin, stroked her bare legs, conjured up the feel of the horse’s back. The voice made her jump. She looked up to see the man next door peering over the wall.
“Can I do that?” he whispered.
Jim. Married to their neighbour’s daughter.
He repeated, “I’ll do that for you.”
Tabitha turned back to her book, face burning. How long had he been there? His voice was silky.
“I’ll come round to your yard, shall I?”
Before his footsteps reached her doorway, she grabbed her book and flew back up the stairs.
Her father raised his eyebrows. “A unicorn this time?” Tabitha opened her mouth. Closed it. Shook her head. Her father laughed. Went back to his paper.
Sandra Arnold is an award-winning writer who lives in New Zealand. Her flash fiction appears or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Blue Fifth Review and the UK 2017 National Flash Fiction Day international anthology, Sleep is a Beautiful Colour. Four of her previously published stories have been selected for the Creative Process. Find our more at: www.sandraarnold.wordpress.com