In the glade they rest as one. Curled like commas, just beyond the sound of the bugle and thundering hooves. Three of them, fur red-bronzed and gleaming; all ribs and muscle. Young, male; each pushing at the edges of their prime.
One by one they have retreated to the den, as the cleaning feels too big without her. The rustle of leaves suddenly too loud, the fallen log towering and uncomfortably dark.
So they push in deeper, coil limbs and tails tighter. Drifting together towards the known comfort of sleep.
Burnished brothers jolted back by the ring of a single shot.
It’s dark as she leaves the cab, and steps into a city night that’s falling fast. Dropping edges of air, cold and sharp.
She hurries over the pavement sleek with gas light and late afternoon rain. And hunches her shoulders, letting her chin sink low into the comforting folds of her fox-fur wrap. It’s warmth is a distraction; is enough to stop her eyes wandering up to her son’s window. Closed tight for months, it’s glass mirror-dark.
Taking care on the steps, she enters the black white marble hallway, where to her surprise there is no to greet her. No servants, but unexplained silence.
The scent of lilies.
And a telegram, face upwards on the silver post tray.