After the deformed horse talked to me, a nervous chuckle escapes from my mouth. My brain comes up with the notion of reaching for the imaginary horse’s coarse coat and poking it to prove I’m merely losing my mind, but before I dare to stretch my arm, a chill runs down my spine. I sense the evil this beast possesses. I can almost taste its putridity.
I turn towards the sink mirror, which reflects the impossible horse accurately. It may mean little; after all, my brain also made up that I could rotate external objects by turning the steering wheel of my Renault Laguna. Human brains are mysterious and powerful enemies.
The horse steps closer. A strong stench wafts up from its body. It reeks like rotten meat mixed with urine, feces and rotting vegetables. Its round, black eyes are boring into me through the mirror, as if trying to peer into my soul. I can feel the heat radiating from the bulky body, and I’m certain that if it got any closer, I would catch its raspy, foul breath on my tongue.
“My name is Spike,” the horse says in an eerie whisper. “I am your friend.”
I take a deep breath, then I splash my face with cold water to cool down my racing heart. After I raise my head again, for a split second my reflection resembles that of a bloated corpse decaying before my eyes. A large and gaping hole has opened over my nose, exposing an empty cavity where my brain once rested. I blink and the mirage is gone, but in those frantic eyes staring back at me there’s no sanity left to grasp on.
“You are a woman,” Spike continues. “And you are sick.”
I wipe away some water from my eyes. My hands are trembling.
“No, I’m not engaging with a non-existent horse.”
“Are you not aware?” Spike asks. “Your life is pointless.”
I stand straight as if preparing for a battle or to run away from a predator. Everything in the bathroom seems real except for the bipedal horse. How did a monster like it end up living inside my head? Why does it stink like a pile of garbage? Something must have gone wrong with my body, perhaps some kind of malfunctioning device installed in my head.
Spike takes another step towards me. His warm breath tickles at my neck. Every hair on my arms stands erect as if warning of danger.
“Leire,” the horse whispers again, and it sounds like a plea for salvation. “Please be with us. We are kindred souls.”
I lean towards the mirror and pull down each eyelid to examine my sclerae, then I raise my head to look down the black holes of my nostrils. It’s pointless; whatever is causing such events likely resides deep inside my mind.
Spike’s gaze remains locked on mine through the mirror. In its bulging, black eyes and its drooling muzzle I see a beast obsessed with the smell of blood and sex, and now it’s time to pay the price. I picture it grabbing at the front of my hoodie and pulling at the fabric until it tears, revealing the soft curves of my breasts and the pink nipples underneath. I envision its hot breath on my exposed flesh, my nipples stiffening and poking out at its touch. But why would this horse go through such trouble when its dick is gone?
I rub my eyes and take a deep breath. That’s enough. I’m a functioning adult whose life consists on resolving tickets and programming website widgets so I can earn enough money to buy food and pay my bills. This nonsense is just an illusion that’s about to fade away.
I walk out of the bathroom and march down the hallway towards my office door, but a rhythmic clicking of hooves follows me. My heart pounds as if it were going to jump out of my chest. I almost run until I reach my office, then I close the door behind me and lean on the frame as if ready for an assault. Jordi and Jacqueline are typing or clicking away at their workstations, and my assigned seat remains empty, waiting for my ass to occupy it.
I swallow to loosen my throat, then I walk to my seat and sit down carefully. I have barely rested my right hand on the mouse when I hear the office door opening. The horse’s stench reaches me before I hear the clicking of its hooves. Frozen in my seat, I roll my eyeballs towards Jacqueline, but she hasn’t reacted to the conspicuous presence of a bipedal horse invading our space. That’s good, so I’m just crazy after all.
I shake my head. I manage to write a line of code when I feel the horse’s eerie presence towering over me as it stands behind me, slightly to my left side. I swivel slowly in my chair and I find myself staring up at the horse’s round, black eyes and its horrid, gaping maw filled with its massive, drooling tongue and sharp teeth. The hooves of its folded, atrophied front legs are glistening in the light of the computer monitor.
Why a horse? Do I harbor a fetish for them about which I have remained ignorant? And if that’s the case, where’s the dick? Or is it a metaphor for something else? A horse is a mammal with a long history of domestication and breeding that started with a wild ancestor of Equus ferus caballus. It’s a stupid animal that eats grass and shit, and that can be exploited for transportation, war, and entertainment purposes. A horse is also an erotic symbol for desperate middle-aged women and pre-teens.
I can’t fault Spike for all that drooling; the trauma of being castrated is too much for any psyche to bear. Still, why should I have to deal with such mutant freaks? A weirdo like that should be locked up in an asylum, because its existence is nothing more than a curse that will sap the strength of anyone that encounters it.
The horse tilts its head as if listening to the sound of my heartbeat pounding at my temples. Then it lowers its head towards me. When its mouth open wider, displaying its yellow teeth, its hot breath warms my face. Its wet tongue slithers across my cheek, leaving an unpleasantly salty trail on my skin. It felt as if a bolt of lightning were shooting through my body.
I try to be calm as I turn my head towards my work, but I can’t stop smelling Spike’s stink, like that of a rotting corpse mixed with urine and feces. I’ve barely struck a few keys when the horse nuzzles its muzzle against my temple, and its coarse hair rakes across my skin like barbed wire. Then its rough tongue brushes aside my bangs and laps at my forehead like it’s an ice cream cone. I’m getting nauseated, but I can’t even shoo the hallucination off without freaking out my coworkers.
My hands are trembling, and I have broken into a cold sweat. I only notice that Jacqueline is addressing me when she rolls her chair towards me.
“Leire, you are pale as if you were about to vomit. Are you sure you aren’t sick? Maybe a fever?”
“Could be,” I say in a thin voice. “It’s likely contagious, too.”
“Hey, don’t joke around with such things.”
I give her a dismissive hand wave as I avoid holding her blue gaze.
“I’m fine. I just… I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately…”
I dare to glimpse at Jacqueline’s eyes. They are filled with pity and compassion for poor old me. She leans forward to stand up dramatically, and her breasts swell pushing at the buttons on her cream white blouse. They are begging to be fondled and sucked. After Jacqueline stands confidently next to me, she smacks her lips and pats my hair gently.
“You even forgot that you intended to get yourself a coffee,” she says, amused. “I’ll buy you one. Latte, right?”
I nod and smile wanly. As Jacqueline walks away from me, her fingertips slip from my hair enough to touch the skin of my temple. My heart flutters, and I barely contain a warm shudder. My nipples stiffen under my hoodie while I picture those voluptuous breasts swaying from side to side as the click of her heels fades away down the corridor. Fucking Frenchie, if you go through the trouble of disturbing me like this, why don’t you just shove your hand down my panties? Don’t leave me so horny that I can hardly breathe.