Friday, 28 August 2015
The horse that rocked (or didn't)
Gather round, dear friends, as I tell you a tale; a tale of ominous surprises on dark nights, of unexplained sights and horrifying surmises, and one that I fear may chill you to your very core. I make no apology for the frightful details that I will, here, relate, or the effect that this story may have on you, should you dare to read on, but know this - what you learn here can never be unlearned. You have been warned.
From time to time there are things - ordinary, everyday things - that when seen at a particular time, or in a particular way, assume an atmosphere entirely at odds with their usual demeanour. So it was, brave reader, when walking past this playground in South London, late one night, that I was brought up short by the sight of what I an only describe as this eerie playground horse.
Maybe it was the lighting that attracted my attention, or maybe it was the sinister ghostly creaking of the riderless horse on its spring in the dead of night, nudged by restless spirits or the bitter wind to canter through the night in a sort of back and forth motion. All right, if I'm totally honest (and despite my occasional inclination towards the melodramatic, I can rarely bring myself to be anything else) it wasn't moving, there was no wind, and there was no creaking, but I don't want that to detract from the atmosphere or whatever the Hell the point was that I think I might have been trying to make.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Sinister ghostly creaking. Right.
Perchance, it occurred to me, as the biting cold shrieked through the tree branches, whipped at my face and gnawed at my fingers (although, to be truthful it was a mild July evening and actually surprisingly pleasant) the thing that really sent a shiver down my spine was the fact that the otherwise apparently innocent playground was shut and chained behind heavy iron bars, its fibreglass inmates harshly floodlit and restrained. Wherefore, such stern and barbaric precautions? And who was being protected from whom?
Some might say that this was done for perfectly understandable crime prevention reasons, but maybe, it occurred to me, as I shied away from the gates as if from the very gates of Hell, they merited their fate, these mute and malevolent steeds of doom. Maybe their incarceration was entirely deserved and, but for the steadfast locked gate, oh faithful defender, they would have pulled me and any other innocent traveller down, down to their very destruction?
Who can say, dear reader? Not I. I will, however, say this: Bit spooky, isn't it?