On Twitter, Thea van Diepen and I had a long conversation about fantasy & supernatural races.
And I realized something.
I’m all about vicious equine races (shh, don’t tell my daughter). Killer unicorns. Kelpies. Nightmares that are shadowy horse shapes of terror. Innocent-looking horses that suddenly bare their very sharp, very canine teeth.
My own version of a kelpie is a way horse. Lives on a far-future Earth with a dying, cooling sun. In roads. Smells like tar and fresh asphalt and burning–all those lovely smells that assault your nose as you’re driving past a construction zone on the highway with the windows down. When they materialize out of the highway, crumbs of rock are tangled in their manes. Their hides are hot and sticky.
Like water horses, way horses will drag people down into their element. That’s bad news, because we can’t live in road anymore than we can live in water.
Are you familiar with Dragonflight? There’s a scene in which F’lar is teaching Lessa and Ramoth to go between. He talks about the important of visualization and about finding a young rider and dragon entombed in rock from a fatal, long-ago accident. Yeah, way horses will take you down into their murky, gooey subterranean worlds. As long as you’re holding on, you’ll be all right, thanks to their inter-dimensional magic.
But then they leave you. In rock. Not pretty.*shudders* Have I mentioned that being buried alive is one of my big fears? Now you know.
Sometimes, when you’re driving, you see a patch of road shimmer ahead of you. It’s hot, so you think it’s a heat mirage. Or it’s been raining, so you think it’s slick, wet patch.
Nope. That’s the sign of a way horse, swimming just below the surface.