September Story Contest

Live, Love, Forget
by HayashiOkami & Dark Steel  age 14

Carpe Diem: Seize the Day.”

There are times when Qamar think that all he has ever done, all he has ever strived for, has been for naught.  He watches with clouding eyes and a graying muzzle as one by one, each young colt and filly he has mentored, taught with the finest care, are whisked away into steel cages, bound by coarse ropes that obscure the mind and taint it with fear and strip them of that one trait which makes them the children of the wind.  Its name whispers on the tips of breezes, in the depths of rushing storms.  It touches each of its children, whispers to them tales of wonder and miracles. 

Its name is…


In his youth, Qamar ran, dominating the great plains he calls home, and he felt that word that is forever on the tip of his tongue.  He felt it in his mane, felt it across his back, felt his powerful legs cut straight through it.  He could still feel it, now, even though he can no longer run, even though his limbs ache in pain as he walks. 

He knows that those colts and fillies will only ever truly feel that tantalizing whisper in their dreams, and in small spurts of echoes and songs in their careers for the rest of their lives.

He has taught them well.  He teaches them all to respect everything that lives around them, to respect each other, the ground they run upon, the sky, the oceans they have never seen, the animals, and even the humans.

He tells them to respect each other, for each horse has his weaknesses and strengths.  Each is unique in his own, special way, and each is precious.  He tells them never to fight each other out of spite for another, out of jealously, and he tells them never to initiate a meaningless battle.  They always ask the same questions when he tells them this.  They always ask: “Then why do the stallions fight, shouldn’t they respect each other?  Shouldn’t they resolve it peacefully?” He will always respond: “Stallions respect each other.  But there are some things you cannot resolve with mere words.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Actions speak louder than words.  They fight to protect what is theirs, they fight to live.  There is a difference, and you must find out for yourselves whether or not it is justified.”

The earth they trample beneath their hooves, beneath hundreds of pounds, he tells them never to mock it, for it is their playground, and it allows them to run upon its back and must take up the burden of the world.

The sky houses their mother, contains the teasing breezes and harsh, scolding gales, the expanse of blue and sometimes grey that stretch on forever.  It will tell its children thing occasionally, songs of old and words of wisdom, but only if its children have the ears to listen.

The oceans and river, and lakes and streams provide life.  They are a tremendous force, and Qamar says that they remind a beast of their mortality.  Oceans can be evaporated, but rain replenishes it.  Even horses that ride the wind and master the fields can be felled by sickness and wounds, and they can never rise again.

Qamar tells them to respect every animal that lives on the plains, and even those who do not.  He tells those tales that the wind has told him, of the creatures of the lands, the skies, and the seas.  He tells them to respect the ants they may trample, for even they are resilient, in their own way.  Perhaps an ant is not as large as a horse, but they are just as tough, carrying grain after grain of sand for their homes, only to be trampled upon or flooded out in a moment.  Qamar tells them to respect their predators, the cats and the dogs.  They only try to survive, just as each horse tries to survive when they flee.  When a poor foal that is just a little bit behind its peers, just a little slow, is taken by the grasp of death, he tells them not to despair, he tells them how the world can never be fair, how the world always comes full circle, how even this tragic death is just another facet of life.

Finally, he tells them to respect the humans, and it is this that receives the greatest uproar of all.  They cry injustice, they cry of hate with tiny little voices that have not seen the world, that have not heard the whispering songs.  They cry that humans tear apart families that humans kill them that humans steal them and use them against their kin, how humans kill more than they can eat, how humans go against all he has taught them.

No, he will say calmly.  Humans are different.  Humans are gifted with speech, choices, love, hate, and emotions.  Humans are born with little instinct, which makes them completely different from animals. Humans are not stronger, and sometimes not more intelligent, but they can use others to their benefit, and humans are just human, and nothing can change that.  Therefore, they must respect them for all that they do, for their mistakes and their joys, for the children who were not born with the wind in their ears.  Because for humans, that instinct comes so much harder.

For seasons, he drills the youngsters in these ways, just as it has been for generations.  And then the humans come. They come and take those children and Qamar never does see them again.  They tell him that they will never forget, but he knows the truth.

They will forget.  Whether humans make them forget or they fail to remember amongst the joys of their new homes, they will forget.  They will compete against each other, testing their jumps, endurance, speed, and grace, for the only reason of pleasing and following the orders of their human masters.  They will scorn the losers; spit upon the dirt they run on, forget to listen to the voice in their ears.

And although they say they will never forget, he always tells them to never resent humans for what they will do.  He knows that they will come to love their humans and he does not want them to be torn between attachment and duty.  So he tells them that it is all right, that they will bring joy to their humans, and that that joy is all that counts.

Sometimes, Qamar wishes that they didn’t forget.  Sometimes he wishes that he were never taught that way, so that he doesn’t have to feel as if all he’s done in his life is worth nothing. 

In the end, he is glad to have the knowledge, glad that he could make the foals understand for just a little while, to give nature the respect it deserves.

He watches them leave.  He watches the sun leave, watches the sunset turn blue to red and yellow and gold and purple before becoming dark blue and black.  He watches the moon rise and the stars twinkle.  He watches, knowing that everything is one circle in the grand scheme that is called life.


Author’s Notes:

This story, just as my other one, deal heavily with life and questioning it.  I don’t mean to offend anyone; of course, this is just my take on the subject. 

Qamar means “moon” in Arabic.  He is an old mustang and teaches the foals in the herd about life.  The people who round the foals up sell them, but only do take a few.  They leave enough to keep the herd going.

It was, just as the last, meaningful to write.  I really loved writing Qamar’s despair and his feelings.  I also liked trying out the present tense, which is something I normally don’t do.

(“Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”)

This is a Latin phrase from a poem by Horace.  The full verse is “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” – "seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow”.  It can be compared to the Bible’s “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”.  These two phrases both express making the most out of the current situation because life is short and time is fleeting.