Wild horses

grave decorations

She always called him her “Little Man,” but he wasn’t a little man, he was a warrior. A brave warrior, racing across the Great Plains with thundering herds of wild horses. Hundreds of mustang galloping as one. Nostrils flaring, legs pounding, manes flying in the hot desert air.

He was running right beside them. Grasping a handful of horsehair, he pulled himself up on the back of a feral male. Knees tight against its laboring chest, he rode the beast through blinding dust storms.

She laid a porcelain pony at his grave for him to ride on the other side.

The 100 Word Challenge is to tell a story in only 100 words. This week’s theme is ‘Wild Horses’

In 1918, a Spanish Flu epidemic, mainly affecting children and young adults, was a global disaster. Navy and Marine military hospitals in major Florida cities alone reported nearly 800 deaths in a three-week period in October of that year. An estimated 20-40 million people died worldwide during the year-long pandemic, including approximately 675,000 Americans.

An old cemetery in Panama City, Oakland, is a seemingly forgotten garden. A small portion of the grounds, two narrow rows of small graves, appears to be devoted all to children. Most of the stones are missing names and dates, so it is unclear if this section was the final rest of those who died young, or if the unusual number of tiny graves was due to some tragic, pervasive illness.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Rick C. says:

    Great ending, absolutely. It made me go back and read it again right away, but you gave us no clue… which was perfect. Very effective.


  2. jerzygirl45 says:

    Heartbreaking last line …


    1. Tara R. says:

      When I visit a cemetery, the children’s gravestones are the saddest to me. In many places, these are also the sites where the most decorations and gifts are left.


  3. This is so lovely. I want to ride a wild horse now…


  4. Goodness… I am in love with this! The photo… your words … pulled at my heart.


  5. Lance says:

    Oh Good God that last line is stunning. Please tell me you came up with that first then wrote around it?

    Great 100. Vel should be amazed.


    1. Tara R. says:

      I had the picture first, remembering that I had it from my visit to the cemetery. I knew that’s how I wanted to end it.


      1. lceel says:

        Tara, Was that a local statistic for the 1918 Flu epidemic? The world wide death count for the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic was in excess of 20,000,000.

        But I do love the piece. Well Done, you.


        1. Tara R. says:

          I misread the statistic, it was for stateside military bases. Thanks for catching that.


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