The Land Exhales (HTML excerpt)
 
...Despite that she couldn’t stop weeping, still Elsa felt a sense of relief so strong as to almost be jubilation. She’d had her daily tragedy. She could relax and stop expecting the worst. She found herself humming, cheerfully and involuntarily, through her tears.

None of the other passengers on the bus thought she was behaving strangely. They’d all been there before, or would be again.

The visit to the doctor didn’t take long, and Elsa left the office feeling at loose ends. They weren’t expecting her at work, since she’d called in sick. The cramps seemed to be over. Crushing grief wrestled with that buoying sense of invulnerability, neither gaining a permanent hold over the other. She needed to be in motion, so she decided to walk home.

On her way, she met a horse. He was a blood bay at the peak of health and strength, his coat shining and his steps sure. He walked but slowly, however, no doubt burdened by tragedies of his own. Elsa caught up to him easily, and soon they were walking side by side.

“Miscarriage this morning,” Elsa greeted him. “You?”

“Racetrack foreclosed upon,” said the horse. “Stables scheduled for demolition.”

In happier regions, they might have exchanged some ritual question like “How’s it going?” But in the Land of Inspiration, that question was useless at best and cruel at worst....
__
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for January 6, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1077 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiob.ook depending on their pledge tier.

Cover illustration incorporates public domain photography from Pixabay.com